I love the design of this beautiful chair, coffee table and screen from ITOKI Design. But what I love almost even more, is the story behind the material used.
In the 50's and 60's, Japan embarked on a nationwide effort to plant cedar trees for use in the domestic building industry. With new technologies and alternate materials, the need for cedar has declined precipitously, leaving these artificial cedar forests abandoned and decaying. Rather than clear and waste this once precious resource, the Japanese government has issued a mandate to make use of cedar in innovative ways. In Hida, a special process has been developed to compress by one third, the otherwise soft and weak cedar into sustainable strong boards. Itoki Design has partnered with Hida to imagine new and thoughtful products from this ancient yet reinvigorated material.
I'm not an interior designer. I wish I had some sort of formal education, but instead I just go by gut feelings. That's why I love it when fantastic interior designers like Michelle Wentworth share simple, effective rules that can make our homes better places. Enter Mo + Mo Living.
Mo+Mo Living combines the pared back aesthetic of modern minimalism with a considered way of living. By sharing ideas, design, and resources we hope to inspire our readers to live more simply and to create and find beauty in the everyday. We believe in considered living and that the everyday experience is enhanced by thoughtful choices; having fewer things, investing in well-made products, simplifying our environment, surrounding ourselves with beauty, eating clean and fair food.
DesignPhiladelphia 2010... Wow. What a trip! As you know, I was invited to attend this year's event by the fine folks from DuPont / Corian. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. As it turns out, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in a long time. The exhibits were fascinating, but what truly made this experience so special were the incredibly genuine, warm, intelligent, and stimulating people that I had the good fortune of meeting. It was affirming and empowering all at once. I wasn't expecting that.
Read the rest of the post after the jump!
Dupont invited five bloggers to this event and we all had the opportunity to meet designer Todd Bracher on a one-on-one basis, as well as a group lunch. I can honestly say that Todd is one of the most inspiring people I've ever met. He has a genuine love of life and truth, and is on a never-ending quest for knowledge and ways to improve the human experience through design. To hear the process behind his work was fascinating, to say the least. [For a little taste of what I'm talking about, check out the video above, which was part of Design Boost 2010.] Be sure to check out his portfolio, as well.
The main event of this whole trip was the Carte Blanche exhibit launch, held at the Corian Design Studio. The exhibit features the work of 25 international designers and artists, who were tasked with the challenge of creating something from a single piece of A4-sized, white Corian. From the cheeky to the seemingly impossible, it was interesting to see the many varied interpretations and possibilities that were achieved. One of my favorite pieces was Moucharaby. The mass and the mesh. by designer Philippe Délis (third image, left side). The moucharaby is a natural ventilation system common in North Africa and the Middle East, that consists of a tight latticework that accelerates the air's passage. I loved seeing it re-interpreted in this new material and scale. Check out all 25 designs here. Also pictured: Looking Forward by Stefan Diez and Liasons by Inga Sempé.
We also had the opportunity to explore some of the other Corian-related exhibits, including this outdoor conversation room featuring modular Corian walls by DIRTT, as well as the Woven Car by artists Anne Conte and Jeanne Wiley. Unfortunately, the Woven Car exhibit was closed at the time we were scheduled to see it, but I was able to take a few photos through the window and meet with the artists later in the day. This was the first collaborative project for Ann and Jeanne, who took an old, rusted-out MG Midget and gave it new life through recycled and overstock materials. The entire exterior is made from recycled seat belts that were woven by hand, while the interior is comprised of pieces of Corian cut-offs. You can learn more and see the whole thing here.
I was also impressed with the Corian Design Studio, which had this incredible table, seemingly made from a single (and giant) piece of Corian, suspended between two rooms. I couldn't stop touching it! It may have been the single most-photographed thing on my trip - I was that obsessed. Isn't it strange what catches your eye sometimes?
As you can see, this whirlwind trip was packed full of visual and intellectual stimuli! I can honestly say it was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life, both on a personal and professional level. Itweeted this while I was there, but it bears repeating: It's always nice to be reminded that there are genuine people in the world. I was not expecting to connect with so many*. So, a huge, HUGE thank you to DuPont for inviting me to be a part of DesignPhiladelphia 2010. I'll never forget it!
*Have you ever had experiences like this, where you were expecting something a little more formal / all business, and you walked away with renewed faith in humanity or even just new relationships you hadn't anticipated? I'd love to hear your stories!
GRMers - I'm super excited to let you know that I'll be heading off to the nation's largest design celebration this week: DesignPhiladelphia. In its fifth year, DesignPhiladelphia boasts over 450 participating designers and 150 exhibitions, as well as countless lectures, discussions, and workshops.
While there, I'll be attending DuPont's Carte Blanche Exhibition, discussing design with Todd Bracher*, and admiring the car weaving skills of Jeanne Wiley, amongst other things. If you're headed to this event or are in the area, come find me! I'll be the short girl with glazed-over eyes and a constant smile: living in design heaven!
Of course, I'll be keeping my ears to the ground and my eyes peeled for new affordable-modern designs to share with and keep you inspired, so stay tuned!
Move over boring old paperclips and make way for the Numberclip! That's right. The classic office aid gets a fun (and extremely functional) face lift: clips in the shape of numbers from zero to nine help organize, categorize, and systematize. Also, they just look cool.
I absolutely love it when designers take common materials and rethink how they should be used. Especially when that material is something as inexpensive as styrofoam. The Lior N2 pendant (polyester scratching lamp) is made of polystyrene. It starts as a clean simple form but changes both in it's light quality and shape when scratched. Absolutely beautiful. More photo's after the jump.
David Joseph-Goteiner is my kind of guy. When he sent me an email, the opening line immediately caught my attention. “Where are all the affordable, simple, comfortable chairs?” My thoughts exactly. He went on to explain his personal manifesto.
After failing to find an affordable, simple, and comfortable chair, I decided to begin my quest to design and fabricate my own chair. Using my three years of experience in the metal shop, I jumped into this challenging independent “senior project.”
Today, I’m over halfway toward my goal: to create four prototype chairs that are affordable, simple, and “sustainable.” I will pitch these four prototypes to manufacturing companies in an attempt to get one of them mass-produced.
He currently has two of his chair designs complete and is well on his way to completing his third. Make sure you check out his blog "Four Chairs, a Foray into the Design World" and give him plenty of feedback about his designs and mission.
Since things are turning a bit chilly in these parts, my mind has turned towards staying warm. Our home does not have a fireplace, so we would need some sort of free-standing indoor variety. I ran across this unique fireplace concept from industrial designer Camillo Vanacore. It is made from a special kind of ceramic that turns transparent with heat. When the fireplace is off, it appears white, but as things heat up it becomes clear, allowing for an unhindered view of the fire inside. As it cools down, it returns to its original appearance. While still just a concept, the idea is interesting. I'd love to see this in other shapes besides a cylinder, although the resemblance to a giant light bulb is pretty cool.
What other uses could you think of for this unique kind of ceramic?
Can you recommend any other modern indoor fireplaces?
I'll admit there's a lot of junk on Flickr, but every now and then you find some real gems, like these shots from Lori Andrew's interior design portfolio. She has such a great sense of design and I love how she is able to combine styles to create truly unique interiors. I don't know about you, but whenever I see such great interior shots, I want to rearrange my whole house! Lots of inspiring images after the jump!
Check out the whole set here.
Ribbons of steel distribute magazines and the weekly news in three classic colors: red, silver, and black. Ships flat, assembles in minutes. Designed by Eva Peace, Sweden.
Helmet Stand available from PID.se: $87
Why are all smoke detectors so ugly?? If you can give me a good answer, I'll give you a lollipop. Fortunately for people who care about the aesthetics of even the smallest detail, Jacob Jensen created a smoke detector just for them (and you...and me). I admit it looks a little like a Star Wars prop, but that's not always a bad thing, right? This high quality, highly sensitive smoke detector can be temporarily put on a 10 minute "break" in the event you're planning to burn some bacon, etc. A nice function to have in some households. Available in white or grey.
Atypical materials combine to gorgeous effect in 22 Design Studio's Concrete Ring Collection. See all 8 designs available from Molla Space.
Cement is the most common architectural material in Taiwan. In 2006, the founder of the 22 Design Studio observed exquisite, cast-in-place concrete architecture in Japan, and realized that the materials were capable of producing various features, appearances and values through creative design. Back in Taiwan, 22 Design Studio devised a series of rings inspired by architecture and urban life through the combination of cement and stainless steel.
Water is something that we can't live without. I have always been surprised that an entire market has been created around selling something that is almost free. For those water snobs only a bottled water like Voss will do, but then there is the rest of us. Plastic water bottles have gotten a bad rap lately, which has helped out companies that make non plastic water bottles like Sigg. Well there is a new kid on the block, and they are here to show that not only can a plastic water bottle be healthy and environmentally responsible, it can look amazing too. The Kor One Hydration Vessel is a new water bottle which will be available soon. It's BPA free, wide mouthed, and absolutely sexy. At $29 they aren't cheap, but if you stopped buying bottled water and just filtered your own at home it would not only be better for the environment, but cheaper overall.
More pics after the jump.
As we have remodeled our kitchen I have had to do quite a bit of rearranging electrical. Since we moved everything to the opposite walls there are spots were we had power, that we no longer need it. For example we had a fan above our stove, and a light above our sink. Now we just have a blank coverplate over the junction box. I came across this great idea at Interior design room to make the invisible visible. I actually like the idea of making it a design element instead of just trying to hide it. Whether it will actually look good or not.... we'll see.
I have had several reader write-ins lately about the fabulous Home Hero Fire Extinguisher. This fire extinguisher has all the bells and whistles that you would expect to find in a fire extinguisher plus something you wouldn't, stylish design. It has a ergonomic shape for easy one handed use, and a modern look that will fit into about any decor. The idea is to create a product that looks nice enough that you can actually leave it in a place that will be easily accessible, not buried in the back of a cupboard underneath your tupperware collection. They also have a 2 in 1 smoke and carbon monoxide detector that connect wirelessly to other Home Hero smoke detectors. This creates a system similar to hard wired smoke detectors where if one goes off, they all go off.
Fire extinguishers are available exclusively at Home Depot for around $30.
Tonight is the night. The winner of the People's Design Award will be announced at 10:00 PM EST on their website, or if you are in New York you can go to the gala. For those of you like myself who aren't even close to NYC, Target and Cooper-Hewitt have teamed up to provide free admission to art museums all over the country. Check the map to see if there is one near you. If you just want to browse good design from the comfort of your computer you can look at all of this years nominees here.
I am a big fan of cards, and while my wife and I usually make our own, we appreciate a good card. Good cards is what Modern Printed Matter is all about. Everything from modern furniture to tasty graphic design. There is something about the simplicity of this Barcelona chair card that I really like. It's printed on 80 lb cover stock in black ink and measures 4" x 5.5" (folds from the top). It comes with an A2 shimmery white metallic envelope (square flap) and is blank inside for your personal note. Sold as a set of six cards for $10.
Available from the Modern Printed Matter Etsy shop.
Lately I have been thinking about going back to school to get a degree in graphic design. I have been looking for some good blogs that relate to graphic design, but so far I haven't been able to find any. I know there has to be a bunch of them out there and I figure that if anyone would know about them it would be my readers. So if you know of any good ones, please leave a link in the comments to this post. Thanks!
A couple of weeks ago I was at the outdoor retailer show looking for cool new product designs. One of the products that I came across while I was there was a Stanley 16 oz vacuum drink bottle. They were kind enough to let me take one home for product testing, and I have to say I have been loving the design. It has a very convenient twist open top that you drink from. My favorite feature though is that all the pieces of the top actually come apart for cleaning. With my other pop top thermos I felt like I could never get that stuff as clean as I wanted to. Personally I that think it looks pretty good in matt green and orange.
Available from Stanley for $30.