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March 15, 2005

Flat as a .... Sewing Machine?!

Flat is good. Really. 'Specially when it is a sewing machine. My mom and I licked like 90 books of GreenNot_so_flatmode_1 Stamps to get the FlatisewSinger-in-the-table that now resides in my basement. I lug it out to make Halloween costumes. That's why I thought Itay Potash's Flat Mode Sewing Machine was cool. Seen in Metropolis via ApartmentTherapy.

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Hot Spot for Contemporary Art: Berlin

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Berlin may be bankrupt but its art scene is burgeoning thanks to low cost living and government subsidies for artists living there, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The article, For Young Artists, All Roads Now Lead to a Happening Berlin, describes the new bohemia of Berlin as characterized by low rent costs for great spaces and thriving culture. Seems like the place to be if you want to start an art collection of your own. Young artists from all over Europe are drawn to the low cost living and several contemporary galleries provide enough social interaction for any bon vivant.

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March 13, 2005

Design Institute of America Leaves Metal/Glass Void

Blending metal with glass was the hallmark of Design Institute of America. Over the years, DIA had manufacturered the ideas of Vladimir Kagan, John Mascheroni, Rick Berry and Michael Wold into gorgeous tables and curios. Glass was clear or not, metal came in dozens of plated finishes. The process was specific -- acid dipped and electroplated, not powder coated. Last week, DIA closed its doors leaving a huge void in the mid to upper end table market. Who will fill it? Will it be Elite Manufacturing? Johnson Casuals? Comfort Designs? Will Canada's ArtItalia re-introduce a table line?

Tell us who you think the new player will be.

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Huffman Koos Killed DIA?

DIA is DOA -- and all evidence points to the late Huffman Koos as the culprit. DIA, aka Design Institute of America, closed its doors on Thursday without fanfare, leaving retailers and designers mouths agape. What went so wrong that this Jasper, Ind. darling, the originator of "have-it-your-way" glass and metal occasional items, suddenly called it quits?

Its a simple story that plays out time and again. A chain retailer, the Holy Grail of distribution for a manufacturer, can also be its bane. When Huffman Koos, the furniture chain closed its doors last July, it left unsecured creditors holding the bag. DIA, like Broyhill, Lane, Excelsior, Century, Shermag, had extended huge lines of credit to the Pennsylvania company in hopes of keeping it alive. According to the InterNet Bankruptcy Library, DIA was owed over $330,000.

Huffman Koos may not have caused the fatal blow, but it certainly left DIA in a weakened state.

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March 12, 2005

Now Opening: Houses of Sagaponac

Tired of flavorless homes littering the landscape? Philanthropist and real estate developer Harry "Coco" Brown was and embarked on creating Mr. Brown's neighborhood in less-than-tony Southhampton, Long Island. The former theater producer turned real estate mogul assembled an all-star cast of architectural talent -- and set about, in Horatio Alger style, to turn this raggy-wrong-side-of-the-tracks terrain into a modern enclave. The first house is complete, three more will be done in July, and, of the first four, all but Architect Annabelle Selldorf's minimalist maison are sold.

Image2 Annabelle Selldorf's vision at Sagaponac.

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March 11, 2005

Product Guide Performance

Pure Contemporary's Product Guide is designed for the information hungry consumer. If you've reached out to a manufacturer that you've seen in the Guide, we'd like to know how your experience was. Did you purchase a product? See something you like? Click the COMMENTS link and tell us.

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Elite Leather & Lulu DK from Fabric to Furniture

Lulu_picElite Leather partnered with NYC textile designer Lulu de Kwiatkowski, founder of Lulu DK, to design whole new line for the furniture company, Lulu DK for Elite Leather. The collection debuts in April at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point and includes 20 pieces, including chairs, beds, ottomans, sofas, sectionals and accents.

Lulu creates bold floral and geometric patterns for fabrics, wallcoverings and baby linens. They're familiar with a twist so, she's said, both you and your mother can love the same print.

Details on her designs for Elite are sparse at best (some bold colors, some muted, with coffee browns, polar blues, and some pieces in one of her signature styles, printed leather) but what is obvious is the furniture company's drive to grab onto a new market. Lulu's popularity lies with a young urban market interested in quality contemporary pieces, and willing to pay for them--prices for Lulu's Elite pieces range from $1,500 for chairs to $8,000 for sectionals. Will they follow their textile savant over to the furniture industry? Or will she cultivate a new following of furniture lovers?

Just click Comment to tell us what you think...

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March 08, 2005

Alno Pictures Your Kitchen

As it continues to push its re-branding effort here North America, Alno, Germany's largest kitchen maker, has introduced the Picture Line, a patented process of putting images, like your wedding picture, on cabinetry. The Picture Line is a key component to AlnoUSA's personalization campaign. Literature notes that when you tire of an image, you can easily swap out the door -- leaving the cabintry in place. Much easier than Mao's way.

But if you are shy about having faces adorn appliances, Alno has hundreds of images for you to chosse from -- or pick your own. In fact, if you're not ready to sell the hood of your car as ad space to a major corp, start small, like in your kitchen.

Alno_picture

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March 07, 2005

Cars and Responsible Design

Recently, a designer Pure Contemporary interviewed mentioned an oft heard complaint, that most car designs are irresponsible when it comes to the environment--all style, no content. That sent us scrambling to find the few companies and designers who put their focus on ecology but don't skimp when it comes to style.

Our favorite was the winner of the 3rd Peugeot Design Contest, where each contestant was asked to create their perfect version of a future car: one that takes into account the designer's tastes, needs and specifications. For Andre Costa, a 23 year old designer from Portugal, this meant electric power. Costa developed the Peugeot Moovie, and it looks more like a futuristic bicycle helmet than any car we're used to seeing. Its electric power is meted out to drive two enormous back wheels. The reasoning behind their size: bigger wheels need fewer rotations to move the car; fewer rotations means less electricity is used. Kudos to Costa, and to Peugeot for sponsoring this event. Peugeotandrecosta

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Sony Should Leverage Rashid Designs

Hey Sony, rely on strong marketing and those cutting edge designs from Karim Rashid to help you climb back to the top of electronics food chain.
Karimrashidsony

Sony announced Monday that company chairman and group CEO Nobuyuki Idei, who along with company president Kunitake Ando, announced his resignation over the weekend, will be replaced by current chairman and CEO of Sony Corp., Howard Stringer. The move is the first time in Sony's 70 year history that a foreigner will lead the company.

Wondering what this has to do with design? Well, it's a heads up of sorts. You see Sony was once regarded as a world leader in electronics, a designation that's slipped from their grasp over the past few years and, as pointed out by The Motley Fool, "the company's shares are trading at a little more than a quarter of where they were when they peaked in 2000."

The once successful company failed to jump on emerging electronics trends like mp3 players, plasma tvs and digital cameras. In other words, they lost their connection with the shifting attitudes and needs of their market. But, with a new leader, and presumably a new attitude, they should pounce on marketing the beautiful designs Sony had developed by none other than Karim Rashid.

Our guess, people just don't know that Sony is home to Rashid-designed TV's, telephones, stereo systems and more. C'mon Sony, we searched your website without finding any mention of Rashid's name or his products. What happened to them?

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