ICFF 2013 is just around the corner. Unfortunately this year I won't be able to make it, although I will be sending a friend in my place. In the meantime, all the exciting ICFF news is already starting to fill up my inbox. Volk has always been one of my favorites, and this year they are doing some exciting pieces that incorporate hand painting.
One Kings Lane has sort of been on fire lately. Today they have a pretty incredible line up of Scandinavian furniture for really great prices. Surprisingly a good deal of it is available for delivery before Christmas too. Now the hard part is picking a favorite.
I mentioned in my last post that my life is full of changes lately. One of the harder choices I've made was to leave a business I have been part of for the last two years. I started Modern Union with my friend Jaren a couple years ago and together we set out to make a name for ourselves building gorgeous modern kitchens and custom furniture in Salt Lake City. Truth be told, the vast majority of the actual work was done by Jaren, as I was still working a full time job on the side.
This sycamore slab table is the latest work to come out of the Modern Union studio, and one of the first things done without me being involved at all. It's a bitter sweet moment for me. My gut reaction is to be disappointed that I didn't have anything to do with it. It's so gorgeous I want to pretend that I'm somehow associated with it. Mostly though I'm just glad to see Jaren getting great commissions and still making absolutely flawless works of art.
Jaren is doing the exact work I'm wanting to promote on Grassrootsmodern. He's just one guy in a small shop. He's incredibly talented, and he's making amazing things. This particular table has some great heritage too. The 5 foot by 7 foot slab comes from a Sycamore tree that used to be at Westminster, a local college here in Salt Lake. I know from experience that it takes hours and hours of hard work to get the top perfectly smooth and flat. One large butterfly joint in the middle of the table not only provides a beautiful contrast it actually adds structural rigidity to and old crack in the middle of the slab.
I wish I could do more to support great local artisans like this. If you want to help support Modern Union, like their Facebook page, tell your friends about them, or even better, contact them and see what amazing thing they can build for you. Jaren has lots more slabs just waiting to be transformed
I stumbled across these three affordable modern side tables on Overstock.com today and figured they were worth sharing. As is always the case, you get what you pay for, but at least your not paying much. The Dyer End Table (above) has a great simple wire base and a "engineered wood" top with a basswood veneer. The consensus in the reviews seem to back up the fact that it's solid. If the top doesn't age well, hit up your local stone yard for a marble remnant.
The Triplet Round Glass Top with Tripod Base end table (talk getting literal with the names) is also a looker. The chrome and glass give it a much more contemporary look than the Dyer above. Again the reviews are almost all positive with most of them making comments on how sturdy it was. Again at $60 the price is right.
Sometimes I like it a little rough. I suspect in fact that many of you do. The latest trend in modern furniture is using reclaimed and less polished materials in contrast to clean modern forms to create an interesting visual tension. Feeling the olympic spirit, UK based James Henry Austin designed a range of furniture built from salvaged sports hall flooring (that a gym floor in case you wondered). The lines are simple and often even traditional but the execution and presentation are just right to make it modern and interesting.
I'm currently wrapping up a week long vacation (two more days in Cape Cod) in which I got to spend a few days in one of my favorite cities, New York. While there I did all the usuals, walked the High Line, dinner and drinks in Brooklyn (thanks Do or Dine!) amazing corn on the cob from Cafe Habana, and of course a little shopping in SoHo.
One of the best surprises was finally stumbling upon Bobby Berk Home, and the amazing Bobby Berk himself. Bobby Berk Home was a long time advertiser on Grassrootsmodern, but it's surprising how easy it is to abstract a person or place which you have no personal relationship with. I've heard great things about him from fellow bloggers Capree and Jaime and I have been Facebook friends with Bobby for a while so I knew his face. When I saw his shop I popped my head in and asked if he was around. Unfortunately he wasn't. After looking around his fantastically curated store, I was heading out just as he was coming into the store. Thankfully I recognized his face and had a chance to introduce myself and my girlfriend to him. I can now confirm that all the rumors are true. He's an amazingly nice guy, and has a great shop. If you ever find yourself around any of his 4 stores, make sure you stop and take a look. If you are in SoHo, don't be shy, ask if he's around. Oh, and of course you can check out his stores website (20% off Gus Modern this week!)
Thanks Bobby! It was great meeting you finally.
A huge congratulations to my friend and fellow blogger Tyler Goodro of Plastolux on his latest collaboration with Eastvold! It's great to see someone make the transition from talking about good design to producing good design. The Cube Side Table was designed by Tyler and made by Eastvold and is right on trend with one of my latest obsessions, wood and steel. He even has a walnut and brass version coming out soon that is going to be amazing.
I'm always thinking about good names for a website and/or business. The other day I was thinking about how much I like clean modern design but with age old hand made details. The name "Analogue Modern" popped into my head, and I was almost giddy to find out that the domain was still available. Seconds away from snatching it up, I started to wonder. Did I spell "Analogue" right? Yes and no. There are two spellings, and it looks like "Analog Modern" doesn't just exist, they are doing exactly what I had in mind. Despite the disappointment that someone got to the idea before I did, I'm mostly just excited to find another great indy shop putting out good furniture.
A few days ago I was at an open house for a local MCM Furniture store called The Green Ant. They've been around for years, but just recently expanded the store (congrats Ron!) and now have an entire half dedicated to more high end design. Sitting in the middle of the space was this Reale table from Zanotta. I loved the look of it, but I was a little confused as to why it was in the space, as it looked to be a new design and not truly mid century. You can imagine my surprise to find out that it was really designed in 1946 by Carlo Mollino. It's a pleasant feeling to continue to be surprised at just how timeless good design can be.
More pics from Zanotta's website
It's no secret that I'm a fan of steel and wood coming together to make beautiful furniture. It is surprising however that I have only mentioned Misewell before in passing lately, because they do wood and steel so well. The new Grain desk shown above is a perfect example of that. Solid walnut and black steel have never looked so good.
To say that I love these stools would be an understatement. They are simple, effective and cheerful. I really like the contrast of the walnut and the painted steel, and the detailing on the seat is perfection. Do want.
Day two of my resolution to keep the blog up to date with my day to day doings is a very late recap of the Palm Springs trip I took two months ago. It was the last weekend of Coachella and I flew into LA to meet my girlfriend for the weekend, one night of which we
spent in Palm Springs. The majority of my time in Palm Springs was spent in two places, the Ace Hotel, and a short strip of MCM thrift stores in an obscure section of Cathedral City.
I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about the Ace Hotel. Everything there was wonderfully styled, and cleverly marketed right down to the paper card holder your room key came in. The Palm Springs Ace Hotel is an old Howard Johnson and was much larger than I imagined it. There are at least 3 different buildings with rooms, and two separate pool areas.
The food and drinks there were surprisingly affordable for "hotel food" and were super tasty to boot. I think we pretty much ate all of our meals there, and didn't even think twice about it. In fact it's honestly the first time I have gone to some sort of destination resort type place that I didn't feel the need to get outside the compound as soon as possible. I could happily spend a full weekend poolside and never leave the hotel.
Speaking of poolside, it was exactly what you would expect at a Palm Springs swimming pool party. We were fortunate to be invited to a Madewell pool party which meant free food and drinks for the day. It was a perfect afternoon of hot sun, cold cocktails and beautiful people all around.
The next morning after a few cups of coffee and some much needed chilaquiles we set out to do some furniture shopping. We had a tip from a LA local about row of MCM stores in Cathedral City. After driving past random strip malls and building supply stores we found what we were looking for. Just off of Perez road before you get to Palm Date Drive is a group of 4 or 5 MCM stores full of treasures.
Hedge was one of my favorites with its combination of classic MCM and Danish alongside less traditional vintage pieces.
Others that deserve recognition is the amazing collection of Danish furniture at JP Denmark, and the amazing yet occasionally strange Colin Fisher Studio that was like being in a museum or a famous drug lords home.
I'm far from being an expert on Palm Springs, I'll leave that to Paul Kaplan and others, but I do have one little neighborhood I always like to drive through on my way out of town. I first discovered the Vista Las Palmas area when I was doing a video for the fiesta movement a few years ago. I still enjoy driving through it and looking at all the classic Palm Springs homes that are so similar and so different at the same time.
So thats my trip!
Now I want to hear what YOU love about Palm Springs, and your must do things when you are there.
I woke up this morning in the mood for little Harry Bertoia and I hit the jackpot over at Archive.org with this 1965 documentary. You know when the video starts out with Harry lighting his pipe with a cutting torch that it's going to be good.
UPDATE: You may need to follow the link below, Archives.org's embed is struggling.
I'm not sure what it is about this little table, but I absolutely love it. It's a vintage piece, and there is only one available, but for $20 the price is right. Available from the fantastically curated Forage Modern Workshop which has a great collection of vintage and new modern pieces.
It's been a while since I have checked in on Double Butter, and I'm happy to report that they are still doing great. In fact they are doing better than great. They are continuing to add more and more great designs everyday and it sounds like they have a successful business model that is paying off. Hats off to you gents!
Over the weekend Fab had a sale on Ginko Home Furnishing items. I had never heard of them before, but I was sort of blown away at the prices. Of course they were steeply discount because of the Fab sale, but even some of the retail prices on the stuff wasn't bad at all. The designs for the most part are very classic MCM and the construction looks good. Has anybody seen these in real life? Did anybody manage to pick anything up during the Fab sale? It looks like a lot of the good stuff is sold out, but the sale goes for another 5 day's and there are still some good bargains.
I like clever objects. I also like simple objects. So when a side table manages to be both clever and simple at the same time, it's almost a guarantee I'm going to like it. Throw in a little white Corian and some hand oiled domestic hardwood and I'm powerless to resist. Bravo Ampersand. Bravo.
Ralph Rapson isn't a name I had ever heard before, and I'm betting this may be the first time you have heard of him either. I recently received a book called Ralph Rapson: Sixty Years of Modern Design and I've been inthralled ever since. Though he's been designing furniture since 1939 it seems he may only just be getting the appreciation he deserves. Several pieces he designed back in the day are just being re released and can be found at Y Lighting. My particular favorites are the Greenbelt series (rocker shown above).
Has any else heard of Ralph Rapson? What's your favorite piece of Ralph Rapson Furniture?