Michael Okuda is a graphic designer responsible for the gorgeous interfaces you see in Star Trek films.

michele roohani Okudagrams20

 

Being a Trekkie since I was watching the series in Iran as a child and later an avid fan of the Next Generation, my design sensibilities have been shaped subconsciously by Okuda:

michele roohani Okudagrams29

 

I am a User Experience designer and create interfaces every day but Michael Okuda keeps creeping back to the simplest flow chart I make!

michele roohani Okudagrams09

 

The whole beauty of Star Trek bridge was thanks to these otherworldly interfaces we have been exposed to; Jean-Luc Picard added the spice. ;)

michele-roohani-Okudagrams26

 

You would see commander Ryker interact with LCARS (Library Computer Access/Retrieval System) more often than Picard:

Riker star trek okudagram michele roohani

 

Here is the holodeck interface where you can choose between scuba diving or a conversation with Einstein:

holodeck michele roohani

 

Okudagrams  came in different colors and shapes but always intriguing and in the time when you couldn’t stop the film to absorbe the image, I was always pissed at not getting enough of these ephemeral beauties!

michele roohani Okudagrams15

 

Here is another one:

michele roohani Okudagrams14

 

and the good doctor in front of the DNA comparison scan:

michele roohani Okudagrams17

 

Long before Tom Cruise bedazzled us in Minority Report and the impractical but exquisite 3D interfaces he reacted with, Star Trek introduced us to what could be done and now is being done and used by millions:

They even had an LCARS mobile!

michele roohani Okudagrams02

 

All of these images are not from Okuda of course; many have been created as an homage to ST and Okuda by fans.

michele roohani Okudagrams21

 

U.S.S. Enterprise in all its glory:

michele roohani Okudagrams24

 

Okuda designed logos for a number of NASA missions and programs including the STS-125 mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA has always been  more of a fan of Star Trek than Star Wars!

michele roohani Okudagrams16

 

So Okuda received the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal.

michele roohani Okudagrams13

Again different variations  of Tricorder or the  multifunction hand-held device used for sensor scanning, data anlysis and recording data. A smartphone!

michele-roohani-Okudagrams30

 

Even the old generation of Star Trek had its own Okudagrams:

michele roohani Okudagrams34

 

I like this one about the shuttles:

michele roohani Okudagrams07

The next one even has a Facebook and Twitter button! ;)

michele roohani Okudagrams03

 

Can’t get enough of these:

michele roohani Okudagrams31

michele roohani Okudagrams01

I am looking forward to reading “Make it so, Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction”. I learned about the book listening to UXpod with Chris Noessel.

Norouz 1393 michele roohani

Another Valentine…

February 14th, 2014

In spite of commercialism of this day, it’s always a good idea to let people you love, know it.

valentine michele harper roohani

“Today we are obliged to be romantic

And think of yet another valentine.

We know the rules and we are both pedantic:

Today’s the day we have to be romantic.

Our love is old and sure, not new and frantic.

You know I’m yours and I know you are mine.

And saying that has made me feel romantic,

My dearest love, my darling valentine.”

by Wendy Cope (1945 – )

rifle paper michele harper

Or as Oprah says “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right!”

new year 2014 Dordaneh michele roohani

I went to “The Last Bookstore” in downtown L.A. and came out happy after seeing thousands of books in this quirky place!

michele roohani last bookstore christmas tree

Last time I was in Los Angeles I bought a bunch of used books about wine and took them back to Paris; the books were great and I like the bookstore’s sense of humor:

crazy books michele rouhani

Even funnier are their section of “books by color”!

red books last bookstore michele harper

They have taken this idiocy to the max:

books by color michele roohani harper

Only people who love books can laugh at them like this by arranging them by color!

book labyrinth michele roohani

Some people play chess,

old men playing chess M+V michele roohani

some chat,

book talk michele harper

but they mainly read…

t bookstore michele roohani

They have a little art gallery :

lst bookstore micheleroohnai

There is a Borg section,

borg lenses michele roohani

that I liked a lot:

borg shop last bookstrore los angeles rouhani

I was even able to find one of my favorite issues of National Geographic magazine about Suleiman the Magnificent from 1987!

national geographic michele roohani

Just some snow outside and it would have been a perfect christmas scene…

derniere librairie michele roohnai harper

No snow but they have this amazing labyrinth made out of books that starts with a funny tunnel:

labyrinth michele roohani

with a soldier standing guard outside…

bookstore soldier michele harper

If you don’t like what you read, you know what to do:

last bookstore michele harper

But when you get over your anger, you can sit down quietly and read again,

globe bookstore micheleharper

A nice book about Christmas,

neimann markus xmas book

before these ladies get angry at you…

women books last michele rouhani

And throw you out of…

last bookstore michele dordaneh roohani

Merry Christmas everybody!

books xmas lamp michele roohani

See my 2007 Christmas in Beverly hills here.

See my 2009 Christmas in Strasbourg here.

 

So I am crazy about my new Pantone app; it helps me find the colors that make me happy like these red/tangerine/persimmons on this sexy koi:

christophe gilbert pantone colors roohani harper

This gorgeous Dior hat is in my favorite color, RED!

Dior rouge Ben Hassett pantone michele roohani

And this wine  palette has all the colors of your favorite Bordeaux and Bourgogne:

michele roohani bordeaux Pantone palette

Let’s go to the pinks now with this “femme rose” from 1959:

michele roohani dusty rose palette

or this tangerine/ochre skirt that reminds me of Veuve Clicquot, my favorite champagne:

michele-roohani-clicquot-Pantone-palette

I love the combination of pink and orange like a romantic sunset:

michele-roohani-orange-pink-palette

and all shades of soft peach puffs,

michele roohani peach guipure Pantone palette

and this pretty tan/rose:

michele roohani hot summer Pantone palette

with its paler pastel cousin, rose smoke:

michele roohani rose sand Pantone palette

But let’s go back to happy cherry blossoms from Christopher Kane,

michele roohani Christopher Kane Pantone

or these crimson cherry lips from 1950:

michele roohani crimson lips palette

or these irreverent Louboutin shoes in pink flambé,

michele roohani dufoura Pantone palette

stunning mimosa socks, from Meadham Kirchhoff:

michele roohani sexy stocking Pantone palette

or this ultramarine green and pink combo. (All of these pictures and their sources are on my Pinterest page)

pink teal pantone michele harper

Funny but only after I made this following palette, I came to appreciate the necklace and its moca/turquoise/rose palette:

michele rouhani necklace turquoise moca pantone palette

Now let’s explore the realm of moss/sage in this apparitioin by Elie Saab:

michele-roohani-Elie-Saab-Pantone

Look at this mint princess here:

michele roohani mint pantone palette

The periwinkle fairy:

michele roohani periwinkle fairy Pantone palette

and the wisteria goddess from Marchesa:

michele-roohani-wisteria-Marchesa-Pantone-palette

I love the steel blue on her,

michele roohani steel palette

A little detour into more serious and warmer colors:

michele-roohani-gray-brown-Pantone-palette copy

and back again into the flashy seafoams from Blanka Matragi:

michele harper Blanka Matragi

and royal blues:

michele harper lapis lazuli Pantone palette

Blue being my other favorite color, I end this post with this quiet blue palette on a rainy afternoon in China photographed by Eric Lafforgue:

michele harper blue maulpoix Pantone palette

“Blue makes no noise.

It is a timid color, without ulterior motives, forewarning or plan; it does not leap out at the eye like yellow or red do, but rather draws it in, taming it little by little, letting it come unhurriedly, so that it sinks in and drowns in it, unaware.”

“Le bleu ne fait pas de bruit.

C’est une couleur timide, sans arrière-pensée, présage, ni projet, qui ne se jette pas brusquement sur le regard comme le jaune ou le rouge, mais qui l’attire à soi, l’apprivoise peu à peu, le laisse venir sans le presser, de sorte qu’en elle il s’enfonce et se noie sans se rendre compte de rien.” Jean Michel Maulpoix

 

Kashan…A jewel of a city in the semi-arid center of Iran. I went back to Iran after 20 years. I visited several historical houses in Kashan and enjoyed my first visit to this region. This is one of them, built around 1880 with exquisite mirror and stained-glass work:

دردانه روحانی خانه طباطبائی کاشان roohani kashan

A much smaller example is the hotel we stayed in; this amazing boutique hotel (below), the “Manouchehri House“, revived from its ruin by the good taste of its owner, Saba Manouchehri,  her super talented designer, Shanhnaz Nader Esphanahi, and Akbar Helli the traditional architect and master repairer of historic houses. Going from this (picture not mine):

manoucheri house before picture michele roohani

to this:

خانه منوچهری دردانه روحانی کاشان

and this:

manouchehri House Saba Kasahn Dordaneh Michele Roohani

This is the view from my room:

Kashan watermelon michele roohani

A first floor room with three beds for my parents and myself. Even the bed covers (designed by Shahnaz Nader Esfahani) are custom made for the hotel and purely Iranian:

bed cover shahnaz nader esfahani manouchehri dordaneh

Still jet-lagged, I could’t sleep well the first night and I saw the sun rise after having stared in delight for a couple of hours at the moonlit garden:

manouchehri house michele roohani

We had to take advantage of our short trip and a knowledgeable guide so we hurried to the breakfast area,

saba manouchehri dordaneh roohani michele

and tried to remember to take a look at these cute garden sculptures upon our return to the hotel!

persian sculpture michele roohani

We had our Persian tea and out the door:

tea chai dordaneh rouhani iran

Our first stop was at the Tabatabaei House. This splendid house was built in the 1840s for the affluent Tabatabaei family.  It was designed by Master Ali Maryam. It has 40 rooms and more than 200 doors:

tabatabaee house kashan iran rouhani

It is the same house that you see at the beginning of the blog post. I was amazed at this majestic balcony and its ceiling that looks like a traditional Persian rug (below).

tabatabei kashan rug ceiling michele roohani

Kashan is world famous for its beautiful rug weaving tradition,

kashan rug dordaneh roohani

and I can very well imagine Mr. Tabatabaei asking his architect to create a rug on his ceiling like the rug he must have had at his feet:

ceiling rug kashan michele roohani

It doesn’t happen  often  for me to be overwhelmed by what I see and hesitate about what to shoot but I was taking pictures left and right and no time to take notes… ;)

historic house kashan roohani

But I remembered to take a picture of myself!

dordaneh roohani Tabātabāei house kashan

The colors on these pictures have not been processed — the golden glow that you see everywhere is real:

tabatabei house sunset dordaneh rowhani iran

The intricate stucco work on the walls is even more beautiful in the midday golden light:

tabatabei facade kashan michele rouhani

The persians are historically known in the art of plastering:

tabatabaei house stucco michele roohani

The stained glass is omnipresent in all of these old houses,

kashan vitrail dordaneh roohani

Some are exquisite!

Boroujerdi stained glass windows kashan michele roohani

We decided to go to the bazaar for lunch. Iran, the pistachio capital of the world is a heaven for nut lovers:

persian nusts michele roohani

I found this guy’s expression in front of the sheep’s heads hilarious! The local Chelo-Kabab,  the only thing that Shahs and Mullahs equally love and agree upon, didn’t disappoint us. Chelo-Kabab is the national dish of Iran consisting of steamed basmati rice and lamb kabab.

chelokabab michele roohani

After lunch we headed to the Fin Garden. A Unesco world heritage site, it is a historical Persian Garden that symbolizes the earthly paradise. Designed for Shah Abbas I and completed in 1590, it is the oldest garden in Iran still in existence.

Fin kashan pool michele roohani

Water runs through it (it houses Kashan’s Fin Bath) and beautiful trees and flowers and water sources everywhere have a heavenly effect on people.

Kashan ceiling paintings michele rouhani

Flowers are everywhere on the ceilings and walls (above) and outside like the omnipresent pomegranate and roses:

pomegranate michele roohani kashan

Kashan is like Grasse in France, the capital of rose essence, Gol-Aab:

kashan rose michele roohani harper

and some more ceilings:

Fin ceiling kashan dordaneh roohnai

and more gorgeous frescos:

fin kashan ceiling michele roohani

I loved this image of this tired chador clad lady:

chador woman fin garden kashan michele roohani

The next day took us to a famous bath or hammam: Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse. I want to take you first to the roof—very typical of the ones in this region, it lets the sunlight in. You will see these roof domes again from inside.

Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse dordaneh

Thes multiple domes  contain convex glasses to provide sufficient lighting to the bathhouse while concealing it from the outside:

Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse ceiling dordaneh

The bathhouse is a traditional Iranian bathhouse from the 16th century. It has two main parts:  Sarbineh (the dressing hall) and Garmkhaneh (the hot bathing hall). The following image is of Sarbineh with its octagonal pool and its 8 columns.

Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse michele roohani

The interior of the bathhouse is decorated with turquoise and gold tile work, brickwork and amazing plasterwork:

Amir Ahmad Bathhouse kashan dordaneh

A symphony in gold and turquoise…Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse dordaneh roohani

Me being a Roohani (religious in Persian and a common last name like Smith) and the new president being a Roohani, you would think this dude could be my dad or an uncle:

mullah dordaneh roohani kashan

My dad—Morteza Rouhani— a retired pediatrician and not a mollah (here with our kind guide, Abbas Ghamkhar), was tired of following my mother and me around . Everybody asks me but my father has  no connection to the Iranian President!

doctor morteza rouhani dordaneh

Another great tea (I call it paradise in a glass) and we were ready to head to another historical house.

persian tea naser-al-din shah dordaneh roohani

The same person who built  the Tabatabaei’s House later  built this one, the Boroujerdis House for Mr. Tabatabaei’s newly married daughter. It is considered a true masterpiece of Persian traditional residential architecture. It has a funny story:

Boroujerdi house main facade kashan

The groom not being from Kashan, was not accepted first as a good suitor (he was in the tea making business) and to show his wealth in spite of not being one of the Kashan nobility, he asks the same architect to build his home with samovars and teapots in the exterior wall carvings! I was laughing taking these pictures:

Boroujerdi samovar kashan michele roohani Iran

There are great plaster and stucco works of fruits and flowers and wall paintings by the royal painter Kamal-ol-molk, and three 40 meter tall windcatchers which help cool the house to unusually cool temperatures.

Boroujerdi house kashan dordaneh roohani

A windcatcher (below) is a traditional Persian architectural element to create natural ventilation in buildings:

windcatcher boroujerdi house kashan michele roohani

and this is what’s happening inside the dome, magnificent ceiling,

boroujerdi ceiling dordaneh rouhani

after magnificent ceiling…

Borujedis house kashan dordaneh rouhani

I wished I could have made a better travel log about this mystical place:

dordaneh rouhani boroujerdi house kashan

One last image from the other side of Tabatabaei House—after all we started the blog with it:

tabatabei dordaneh rouhani kashan

Ok one more:

stucco work historic house kashan michele roohani

We went back to Tehran, tired but happy. Guess what we drank the minute we got home?

persian tea glass michele roohani

I will keep a great memory of this beautiful city—home to my favorite poet, Sohrab Sepehri. This swallow kept us company at our hotel, the Manouchehri House:

swallow kashan manouchehri michele roohani

A poem of Sepehri in English:

“I am a native of Kashan
Time is not so bad to me
I own a loaf of bread, a bit of intelligence, a tiny amount of taste!
I possess a mother better than the leaf
Friends, better than the running brook

I am a Muslim
The rose is my Mecca
The spring my prayer-carpet
The light, my prayer stone
The field my prostrate place
I take ablution with the heartbeat of windows…”

in French:

“Je viens de la contrée de Kashan.
Ma vie somme toute n’est pas trop difficile.
J’ai de quoi vivre, un brin d’intelligence, un minuscule talent.
J’ai une mère plus douce que les feuilles de l’arbre.
Des amis plus limpides que l’eau courante.

Et un Dieu présent quelque part, tout proche:
Parmi les feuilles de giroflées,
Au pied de ce pin élevé,
Sur la face consciente des eaux,
Dans les lois du monde végétal.
Je suis musulman.
J’ai comme direction de la Mecque une rose.
Comme napperon de prière une source.
Comme sceau de prière la lumière.
La plaine est le tapis de ma prière.
Je fais mes ablutions aux vibrantes fenêtres de la lumière.”

and in Persian:

اهل كاشانم
روزگارم بد نيست.
تكه ناني دارم ، خرده هوشي، سر سوزن ذوقي.
مادري دارم ، بهتر از برگ درخت.
دوستاني ، بهتر از آب روان.

من مسلمانم.
قبله ام يك گل سرخ.
جانمازم چشمه، مهرم نور.
دشت سجاده من.
من وضو با تپش پنجره ها مي گيرم.

 

So is the new president of Iran a true reformist? Is he Khamenei’s surprise to Iranian people to cleanse himself partially of the catastrophes of the last elections? Ahmadinejad’s 8 year parenthesis is finally closed (with a four year delay) but questions remain amid the euphoria of Iranians.

hassan-rowhani-iran

He never even vouched for the green movement yet people voted for him. Can Iranians finally begin to hope for easier times? The world needs a moderate Iran to calm down the chaos of the Middle East. I hope (against my better judgment) that the new president wants and can make a good difference…

sina shiri farsn ews iran

“He has three law degrees, including a doctorate from a university in Scotland, and as president of Iran’s strategic research center, he regularly publishes essays. Rouhani is more likely to at least speak more diplomatically to internal and external challengers. And unlike Ahmadinejad, when addressing United States politicians and citizens, he may not need a translator” says Ben Brumfield. 

00525-10

These are some pictures of the spontaneous celebrations in Iran even though “Rouhani has not called for an overall sweeping shift in Iran’s foreign policy. For instance, Rouhani has neither asked Assad to step down from power nor pressed to halt the Islamic Republic of Iran’s military, intelligence, financial, and advisory support to Damascus” says Majid Rafizadeh.

00525-11

The pictures are from Arash Ashoorinia:

00525-14

The irony of having a Hassan in Iran and a Hossein in the U.S. as presidents is not lost on us, Iranians, who all grew up with the names of these Shia martyrs;)

These young people were happy to oblige and let me take the below picture in a restaurant in Tehran last month (I went back to Iran after 20 years); did they know something was happening?

young people iran tilit michele roohani

Let’s hope for the change in spite of all our doubts!

chappatte iran

I love these cartoons by Joep Bertrams (below) and Patrick Chappatte (above):

JOEP BERTRAMS

We finally have some Spring in Paris with these Anemones (daughter of the wind)…

anemones michele roohani

“The anemone is one of the earliest flowers in spring, appearing in April, and continuing through May.  The name, anemone, or wind-flower, some writers claim, was given because it is so fragile that it withers when the wind blows over it; others say that it only blooms when the wind blows it open.”

anemones and hyacinths michele harper

It’s the first day of spring and the Persian new Year of 1392 starts with Noruz (No: new, Ruz: day):

Norouz 2013 michele roohani

We are celebrating in Paris with a newly converted Venus,

Noruz 1392 haft seen michele roohani

I have extensively written about the Noruz (or Nowruz, Norooz) before in my blog, so if you’ve been with me in the past 4/5 years, you must know all about the items that go on the Noruz spread.

haft seen persian norooz michele roohani

The famous “haft seen” of 7 S’s:

Nowruz goldfish samad michele roohani

My fish, Samad (his name has nothing to do with the S’s… ;) ), has been with us since two Noruz’s ago and he is happy to play his role this year with the famous Haji Firouz , the politically incorrect Persian messenger of the New Year:

haji firouz nowruz 1392 michele roohani

Haji Firouz’s face is covered in soot and he is wearing bright red clothes and hat. People consider it only as a face paint and there is no racial implication.

Nowruz-fish-michele-roohani1

Do you remember  Samad on my previous year’s Noruz card?

One of the S’s is Sekkeh or coin; the last Shah of Iran is overthrown even in my Haft Seen…

coins sekkeh nowruz michele roohani

It was raining in Paris on the first day of spring:

paris roofs michele harper

but I didn’t care because a bunch of hyacinths can bring the spring to your room.

hyacinths michele harper

Happy Noruz and,

Norouz paris venus michele roohani harper

happy 1392 to all of my Persian friends!

michele dordaneh roohani1392 persian new year

Some links to my previous Nowruz posts worth your time (I promise):

Nowruz 1390 here

Nowruz 1389 here

Nowruz 1388 here

My most visited blog post (and most used images without my permission) Haft seen here

Just decided to add this photo of myself (3 months old) on my mom’s lap having my first Noruz and not terribly impressed…

dordaneh first haft seen michele roohani