October 31, 2006
Gadgets Masquerade for Halloween
Alessi scores big as a Halloween-centric design company, what with all their modern gadgets dressed up to masquerade as fun, less practical items.
The Magic Bunny jumping out of a hat is actually a toothpick holder. The cute little guy with the pot on his head is Rudi, a cup and container. In the world of Alessi, devilish goblins become bottle openers, ferocious bears are nail clippers and a little piggy face, a pencil sharpener.
October 30, 2006
Fire & Ice & Lava-Lamps
Ever since the power outage have been particularly taken with candles. Saw this interesting holder designed by Mathew Jackson. Aptly named Thaw, the tealight flame is canistered in an actual ice cube. As the cube melts, the water drains back into the freezing unit! It would make a nice decoration for the holday season. (When the ice melts, it's time for guests to say goodnight?!)
The holder is designed by UK novelty manufacturing firm Mathmos. Its website is a bit Flash heavy so it is a bit hard to navigate at times, but muddle through. As the inventor of the Lava-lamp it has a great pedigree for offering borderline kitsch items with an edgy innovation.
October 29, 2006
Affordable Hanukkah gifts
Looking for an afforable gift for Hanukkah (begins on December 16 at sunset)? Check out Macy's line from Nambe!
With sleek, stylish, and modern menorahs, Seder Plates, and dreidels you'll find something for all eight nights.
Stay tuned for more modern holiday gift ideas from Pure Contemporary.
October 27, 2006
Spotlight on Rick Lee
We bumped into the ever affable Rick Lee at the Gamma Showroom in High Point last week. He had just left the American Leather showroom where he had several new pieces introduced, including the Menlo Park Bed and the Uptown seating group for some lucky urban living room. We interviewed him a couple years ago and there's a nice spotlight of Rick on Apartment Therapy: SF showing some of his older designs.
October 26, 2006
When a Not So Cool Stove Gets Hot
I've always been a fan of the sleekness of the ceramic cooktop. In my modern kitchen no grates or grills would interrupt the clean lines. I know that cooks swear by the functionality of the gas stove -- but I would chance a scorched roux before compromising on style. The new electromagnetic stove tops seemed to be the ticket to the control quandry, and so I was convinced I would swap out my gas Jenn Air cook top for an electromagnetic range.
That was until we had a freak storm that dropped 20 inches of snow -- and felled zillions of trees and power lines. Talk about island living. For the next four days it was that ugly, oversized gas grill situated in the middle of my island that helped feed four families. It truly was the fire in our kitchen.
We cleaned our collective fridges and dumped everything into skillets and wokked up some great treats. A neighbor's propane grill (ours was out of propane) prepared salmon, sirloin, chicken and ribs. Clean up, as much as there could be clean-up with 7 people living on the island, was a breeze as hot water, electric water heater now depleted, was generated in pots sitting on a seemingly perpetual flame.
We lucked out with another modern convenience. Our gas fireplace is electric start and sealed, but fortunately I had turned it on an hour prior to the 95 hour outage. That fire in our family room provided the sole heat for our house and was the camp fire around which we and another family slept. For four days wet clothes were hung by the mantel with care (kids love 20" of snow).
What of my wish for an electromagnetic stove? I haven't given up, but I just might need to set up the Jenn Air in the basement as a back up. Oh by the way, our newest appliance is a 6000 watt generator; neither sexy, nor stylish, but very, very functional. As for the snow, it only lasted 2 days. I am still trying to reclaim my island.
Top Photo: Midnight shot of snow-covered, leaf-laden tree in East Amherst, NY. Weight peels limb from tree. Middle pic: Island Living -- the next episode of survivor?
October 25, 2006
Your Family, Branded
You may not know it, but you are a marketing maven. You've developed a split second ability to take in and understand advertising messages that are coming at you so often and so quickly, you probably don't even realize it. Everything's an ad, and they're insidious. Sometimes it's a beer commercial bundled with a movie pro-mo. Sometimes it's a billboard shrunken down to fit along the back of a park bench.
If something about it catches your eye and captures your interest, you'll take the information in. You know before you realize it if the shape or colors or symbols or sounds relate to something you're interested in. Just like you could use those cues to look at a line up of people and guess who would be most likely use an i-pod, or a barbeque grill, or a sewing machine.
Constant exposure to advertising has made you a brand expert, and you can match brands with their consumers. You can choose brands that sum up the way you see yourself (or want to see yourself), too. That's the idea Eric Alan, a creative director from L.A., had when he hired architect extraordinaire Neil Denari to redesign his family's modern home.
In order to design this very modern house, they had to come up with an overview of who the consumers (or, really the inhabitants) were going to be. They developed the Family Brand. It gave them a focus, a goal and an audience for which to build the project, which, like all great products, has a name--The Happy New House.
It was designed around such brand attributes as: "Artsy but not artsy-fartsy. Cultured by not elitist." and "Spontaneous but not disorderly."
See the whole house concept (it's still being built) here.
While it's not within everyone's scope or desire to build a brand new house designed by a famous architect, it is within our power to think about the idea of brand when we do other home improvements.
Remodeling a kitchen? Think about what you want to get out of it-- a place to relax, to entertain, to cook for a big family? Think about what your attributes are. Do you go gaga for new technology, revel in luxury, insist on green goods? Use your answers to develop a plan that will facilitate your needs, and build your home into a place that represents a brand you really care about: yours.
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October 24, 2006
A real winning modern kitchen
Created by Jorge Pensi, the innovative kitchen has already won six design awards within the first year of being introduced to the market, including the "iF Design Award 2006", "Good Design Award 2005", and "red dot design award 2006".
Find more products by Jorge Pensi from Knoll.
Renewable and with a rating that's 16% harder than maple, bamboo's gained ground as a reliable and attractive material for flooring and cutting boards. But now, its position in kitchens is rising to countertop height.
Bamboo countertops by Totally Bamboo come in 1.5" or 2" thickness and a range of styles, including parquet or natural grain patterns, each with a unique and striking edge.
Thirty inches wide with 96" or 60" lengths, the bamboo countertops are an easy way to install a green cutting board style countertop. Totally Bamboo's countertops are put together without the use of formaldehyde-based glue, which in 2004 the World Health Organization re-designated as a proven human carcinogen.
Check out a range of bamboo products and order online at Totally Bamboo.
October 23, 2006
Modern Rocking chairs offer all of the homey comfort of their traditional predecessors, without tipping a home’s decor back in time.
That’s why we love the Keinu by Eero Aarnio. With a form so round the ball stop is actually a necessary part of the design, Keinu gives rockers a curvaceous and exciting look they’re just not known for.
The seat creates a signature Aarnio cocoon around the sitter with closed sides that reach up to the armrests, and the bright yellow version gives makes the chair a fun way to rock the stress out. Even Anthropologie, the outfitter and home store known for making older designs and styles relevant again, jumped on this design.
Is this a sign that modernism is finally becoming mainstream enough for the well-heeled traditional-ite? We hope so.