March 31, 2006
Illuminations of a Geisha
With its new table light "Geisha," the venerable Italian glass maker Murano proves that a beautiful woman really does light up a room. In vibrant red Murano glass, the Geisha is slim, elegant and versatile. She can be a lamp or a vase.
March 30, 2006
Lounging: Still Popular After All These Years
Image courtesy of Spectrum Workplace.
MODERN LOVE; OUR 50-YEAR AFFAIR WITH MIDCENTURY DESIGN BEGAN WITH THIS CHAIR
BY LINDA MATCHAN, GLOBE STAFF
It was the mid-1950s, a time of big ideas and soaring spirits.
Disneyland opened. The Soviets launched Sputnik l. The Hula Hoop was invented.
And on March 14, 1956, a chair debuted on NBC's "Home" show, officially ushering in a revolutionary era of modern furniture design.
It was a leather lounge chair and ottoman designed for the Herman Miller company by the husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames, introduced with unparalleled fanfare (for a chair): The crescendo of violins, the parting of curtains, the glare of TV lights.
Most viewers had never seen anything like it. The shape was abstract, like sculpture. The lines were clean and simple, and there was curved molded wood on the sides. The leather was as supple as a baseball mitt.
Yet for all the hoopla, the Eameses could hardly have known that a half-century later their chair and the so-called midcentury modern design movement it has come to symbolize would not only endure, but enjoy a revival that is actually gaining momentum.
The chair will be the focus of a traveling exhibition that opens in May at New York's Museum of Arts & Design, called "The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design." Also in May, the Shelburne Museum of Vermont is presenting "Homey and Hip", an exhibit of furniture designed for Knoll that includes work by Eames contemporaries - Isamu Noguchi, Harry Bertoia, and Eero Saarinen, and other influential designers of the period.
More Tips on Choosing Paint Colors!
These tips from www.furniture.com's lead design consultant Davis Remignanti guide the timid toward color boldness and keep the bold from heading too close to brash.
“Start with the walls,” Davis advises. “Unless you live in an apartment and can’t paint, avoid white walls.”
Incorporating color into your home doesn’t have to be intimidating - if you put it into perspective.
“Reflect on your own fashion tastes when choosing colors for your home. Many people know what colors look good on them. Those same colors can be incorporated into your personal space, because they are familiar, flattering and comforting.”
First Things First: Identify any major room features that you can’t (or don’t want to) change - the color of woodwork, the brick in the hearth - then decorate with and around them.
Work Your Way Up: If starting with an empty room, select a rug or floor covering first. You’re more likely to match walls and furniture to the rug than vice versa. The colors in your rug will provide good choices for wall and accent colors.
Create Your Color Palette: Good room design should incorporate a palette of at least five colors: two main colors, one supporting color and two accent colors. For hints on combining colors, see www.furniture.com/color.
Create a Flow: For rooms connected by an open archway or large doorway, choose harmonious color palettes. You’ll create a color link between the two spaces and avoid a jarring transition from one room to the next.
Use Patterns Sparingly: For beginners, it’s better to use only a single pattern per room. If the rug carries a pattern, avoid “competition” by keeping window treatments, upholstery and accents simple.
Don’t Over-Indulge: Too much of the same color in a room can be a mistake. Even if it’s your favorite color, maintain a good balance of main colors and accent colors around your room.
Light It Up: Generate an elegant room-wide glow by using gold or peach hued light bulbs in table lamps. Bright enough for daily tasks, they can add a beautiful warm tone to a room.
Embrace Change: Be brave with your accent colors, because they can be changed easily. Candles can be burned, picture frames re-painted, pillows recovered. Go with your instincts, but don’t be discouraged if you’re not happy with your choice – it’s all part of the process of getting comfortable with color.
“Whatever the decorating challenge, it’s important to remember, no rules are written in stone. Still not confident about making color choices? Many manufacturers now offer paint samples and fabric swatches – take advantage and test your color combining skills on a small scale first.”
“In the end,” Davis advises, “take your time and enjoy the experience. Your color confidence will grow with each project. And before long, you’ll have created a stylish, inviting home, and your friends will start asking you for color advice!”
March 28, 2006
Swarovski Crystal Car by Ross Lovegrove
I've been a huge Ross Lovegrove fan for years for his fearless nature. A friend said, don't you mean futurist nature? No. Anyone who can be so forward thinking in abstract and insistent on the integrity of that concept through execution -- is fearless. A vanguard of product design, the Welsh-born 47-year old has created for iconic brands Sony, Apple, Hermes, Vitra -- and now, Swarovski.
Certain to make headlines next week in Milan, the Swarovski Crystal Aerospace Car marries Lovegrove's passion of designing a car in materials never before chosen. Each crystal acts as a solar gain to power the car. Stay tuned.
Thanks BornRich for the tip!
Brand Recognition & Home Furnishings
I was speaking with a well-known product designer who was worried that the Internet was enabling his designs to be copied and knocked off by factories in Asia. Sadly he's right. But the answer is not to pull up the drawbridge, or eliminate all images of products from the Internet. (Note to readers: this is an actual strategy by some misguided companies.)
While the temptation is great to lock up the designs and funnel customers to product only through the front doors of retailers who have purchased the goods -- this goes against the grain of what the rest of us want. Time has become so compressed that all of us consumers want the ability to research online, validate our decision and then and only then schlep to a store to make a purchase.
But that doesn't mean the designers and manufacturers have to roll over for the rip-off artists. Look at the music and motion picture industries which are faced with the same knock-off infringements perpetrated in countries that do not follow international copyright laws. Still, music insiders concede that without the net, there would be NO music sales. Kids listen to everything digitally -- and buy it all as downloads. There are studies that show that the bootleg actually increases the sale of real.
In fact, every consumer product can be knocked off -- Nike sneakers, Manolo Blahnik shoes, Gucci purses, Rolex watches -- but in all those cases the manufacturer has built equity into the BRAND. Most furniture brands are worthless: the retailer has ripped the tag off the furniture for 50 years, marketing products under its name instead.
Manufacturers have to start building their brand equity so when i go shopping I only want a specific label (signed by the Product designer!!) because the brand exudes sexiness and brilliance -- and I want my purchase to be associated with sexy and brilliant.
Manufacturers can keep their products off the web -- and out of site of our Googling fingers. They will be ripped off less -- but unfortunately out of business in 5 years.
What do you think? Do brands mean anything to you?
March 27, 2006
Twisting Torso Turning Heads
Now the second tallest building in Europe, the Turning Torso is based on the human body's torso twisting in mid-motion. 623-feet, 9 distorted cubes and 45 floors complete the overwhelming residential and office structure
"It is an astonishing building that still amazes me," said Calatrava at the unveiling. "It changes when you look at it from different angles."
Up next for Calatrava -- he has designed a corkscrew-shaped residential tower set to be the tallest US building (planted in Chicago), and the new PATH train station at Ground Zero in NYC.
March 24, 2006
Go Fleur It!
Orange22's working on a new table series called Botanist.
Dario tells us it combines minimal honest design with the beauty and feminine touch of nature. Each piece starts with a single piece of aluminum, which is precisely cut, bent, and faced with either a high impact powder coat or an epoxy coated real wood veneer.
March 22, 2006
Pre-Fab Modern Garden Room
MetroShed has launched their new outdoor pads for 2006 - and they look oh so inviting.
Featuring sliding glass doors 6 feet in length, and insulated wall panels, these outdoor living spaces can be placed directly on level gravel. Polycarbonate roofing is available in clear, bronze, gray and white.
And for the four legged family members, check out MetroKennels.
March 21, 2006
Wave of Success
Stanley Jay Friedman knows a good design when he comes up with one, and apparently he's not afraid to parlay his old winners into new concepts.
Best known for his award winning Undulatus Bench, Friedman just launched two new undulatus-like creations: Uzzie ottomans and the Charlie Table, all for Brueton.
Tried and true shape on new pieces –– it works for us.
Fine Fantasy Furniture From Bretz
One of the most packed showrooms at IMM Cologne was Bretz, the progeny of a century old German furniture family. The Brüders Bretz are way out there -- they do for furniture what Jean Paul Gaultier did for fashion. Riveting, horrifying and yet strangely exciting.
With a mantra of Less is Bore, Bretz is fetish and fantasy, whimsy and weirdness all in one. It would be too easy to shrink from Mamut (pictured at left) which looks like a tiger after a kill. Instead dare to look again. Make up the zoftig sofa, with its generous rolled arms, in red chintz, remove the center legs, and Hollywood horror turns to glam. And that's the point. One man's animalistic hunt for comfort is matched by another's restrained pursuit.
Who is right? Neither and both. Bretz isn't about form versus function, rather creating an individualized style. A 6-legged sofa or 4? You decide. To help you throw away your inhibitions, grab a glass of wine, undo that top button and click on the Bretz 3D planner -- and explore your comfort zone.
Note the planner is best viewed on Internet Explorer or Firefox.