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April 18, 2005

The (In) Complete Kagan

S_bosworth_pic1What is Vladimir Kagan up to? The wily septagenarian with the energy of a 17-yr old, just hired Sharon Bosworth to head up Vladimir Kagan Designs. Bosworth, formerly of Thomasville and Preview, said in an interview that she her duties will include positioning Kagan's custom/couture and licensing business for growth.

So with Bosworth at the helm, Kagan will have more time to focus on the artistic end of the business -- including creating new designs for upcoming textile, lamp and rug licensing deals. Which only goes to show the sequel will soon be in order, as the Complete Kagan is already (thankfully) out of date.

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High Point No-Shows

The timing couldn't have been worse. With Las Vegas looking to subvert High Point as the American furniture fete, could it be that the Milan Furniture fair is what struck the fatal blow? The Italian fair ran concurrently with the IHFC offering and the European contemporary manufacturers voted to stay abroad. Many of the showrooms at 220 Elm were depleted of staff and product. Some companies didn't even bother to send a secretary from the old world to the High Point show.

It's fair to say that for contemporary and modern manufacturers, the European market is a far more lucrative one than the US one. So while no slight was likely intended, the upshod for the dealers, the designers and the press was -- the trip to High Point was in vain. Viva Las Vegas?

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April 16, 2005

Frank Gehry Redux

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec created a large installation to showcase Vitra's collection at "Pelota" the former sports arena in Milano. Set against the famed backdrop is Frank Gehry's "Striped Beaver." Look famiiliar? Don't let it gnaw at you any longer. It's a re-do of his highly touted line of corrogated furniture from two decades ago.

In addition to Gehry and Les Bouroullecs, the temporary showroom also features designs from Maarten Van Severen, Jasper Morrison, Philippe Starck and Werner Aisslinger.

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Philippe Starck in Milan

P_starckThe theme of Milan is dusting off the old, re-fabricating in new materials -- and of course, adjust for inflation. Xo introduced the latest Philippe Starck design -- which borrows from earlier designs.

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April 13, 2005

Dilbert Likes Modern

The saying goes that you never know someone until you live with them -- yet, certainly, the legions of Dilbert fans know their favorite hapless engineer in a way that they may never know their own family members.


When Creator Scott Adams decided that the champion for Cubists everywhere deserved his own Dream House, he queried readers to fill in the details. The result is Dilbert's Ultimate House, or appropriately, DUH.

Pictured, at Dilbert's house the dining room table and pool table are one in the same. Now that's easy entertaining.

As Adams has skewered the workplace with his magnifying glass on the inanities of management and the irony of business practices, he seems to have now turned his magnifying glass on the inadequacies of the traditional American abode. He excises the "useless" cubicles of formal living and dining rooms and super-sized foyers, and opts for the Home Theater (which can double as a Scream Room), lofty basement ceilings for Gaming and indoor Basketball and, of course, the Dog or Cat room.

Readers filled in the details: Zodiac(TM) surfaces in the master his and her baths, easy load toilet paper holder from Moen, turret with Dilbert-spectacle-shaped windows (which sort of looks like a look-out tower to spy on neighbors). The most striking set of specs was for the kitchen -- er, Control Center, which demanded more dedicated organization for the myriad activities that occur there. Things like:

* Shredder, waste basket and filing -- for mail
* Charging station -- for PDAs & cell phones
* Cutting table on wheels to double as serving cart
* 2x sinks and dishwashers (one dishwasher for clean dishes -- one for dirty)
* Cabinet Solutions for pots/tops/bakeware and Tupperware
* High end audio & video system
* Homework niche.

If manufacturers are paying attention they might read between the reader suggestions and realize they could save a mint in market research dough and see what the X-Generation envisions in a house that meets the needs of today's technologically enhanced and hectic lifestyles.

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Sharut Launches Icon

IndexWith the focus in high-end consumer electronics squarely on plasma and LCD TVs, furniture manufacturers are scrambling to create equally modern pieces for TV display. Few have gone as far as Sharut Furniture to serve this emergent market. At High Point this week, Sharut will debut an entirely new division, Icon (they call it IcOn), to be on sales floors this fall.

The Icon Collection consists of wall units with backlit panels that make a TV look like it’s floating just in front of the unit’s back wall. Very Jetsons, or, as Icon says, very “Ian Schrager.” Either way, the collection offers a range of sizes, and prices from 1,699 to $3,899, that provide lots of storage but, in a mix of colors with matte, satin and lacquer finishes, still manage to look cool and sleek. Right now, the Icon Collection is wall units only but Sharut is planning to add a case goods collection of side, end and coffee tables, too.

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April 08, 2005

Glass Chandeliers Cross Style Boundaries

It’s hard to choose lighting. There are endless types––floor lights, sconces, chandeliers, torchieres, uplights, downlights, track lights, you get the idea. So when you’re faced with a room that has no lighting whatsoever, endless options can just be daunting. Especially, as a recent Ask the Experts question on Pure Contemporary pointed out, when the rest of the home has original 1800s crystal chandeliers illuminating rooms set off with contemporary furnishings. How do you use lighting to strike a balance between the old and new?

We asked Julie Edwards. As founder of the online contemporary design mecca Europe By Net, Edwards uses her uncanny ability to foresee design trends and style shifts to stay on top of her business. For this question Edwards said, hands down, find a glass chandelier. But then she went one step further and searched through her stock to bring us her top three choices in glass chandeliers that brighten a room of any style.

Edwards' picks pictured, Artimide's Pantilica blue and Leda white with the Murano by I Tres (center).

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Aqua Creations' Web-based Water-World

_aquacreationsAqua Creations recently launched a new Flash-heavy website to present its ethereal, aquatic inspired designs. The site works well for Aqua Creations, specializing in anemone-like lighting and furniture, because of stunning photography and a clean, easy to navigate layout. If you're not familiar with the company but have a yen for unique, warm, sculptural designs, it's more than worth your time to take a look at the site. And, just a tip, you can skip the long Flash presentation at the beginning by clicking on one of the light gray icons you'll see above it. If you're just browsing, click the Presentation icon and sit back for a relaxing slide show that will make you rethink your land-locked vision of lighting and furniture.

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April 06, 2005

Motorola Security Puts Future in Sight

Motorola's getting into the smart homes market with the Home Sight System. All controllable from one computer, the Home Sight System lets you monitor your whole house with a network of cameras, sensors and software that keeps you apprised of what’s happening inside and outside of your castle. The System will be joined by futuristic accessories to debut May 2005.

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Neon Artist Makes Lighting a Gas

Neon's heyday, when "open" signs gave way to huge wall murals and fluorescent club decor, is decades past and not much missed. But forgoing the old methods of the 1980s, neon artist Matt Dilling has elevated the glowing glass tubes from "cheesy" to vogue. He did it by adding one more quality to neon’s arsenal of bright colors and endless shapes: pop culture.Neon

Dilling, founder of Brooklyn's Lite Brite Neon Studio, brightened the residential décor landscape with his neon chandelier and wall sconce creations and has just added a floor lamp and table top candelabra to the collection. These fun forms are for neon what Andy Warhol was for Campbell’s, they make it interesting again, cool, whimsical and funny.

From the reserved Burberry line, for which he created a neon plaid, to the chichi Stella McCartney boutique for which he made a huge neon sign glowing “Girls, Girls, Girls,” Dilling’s neon far transcends the strip club style he now freely mocks. His lights are available at Brooklyn’s The Future Perfect.

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