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June 16, 2006

Screened In

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Knoll Showroom, Mexico City, Mexico, 1961.

As mid-century modern style continues its run as the "it" style in retro modern decor, Austrian designer Erwin Hauer capitalizes on the success of his 1960's work for the one and only Florence Knoll for Knoll and relaunches his efforts with Erwin Hauer Studios.

At the time, Hauer developed the Continua series, a group of perforated wall screens that let light through in the most interesting manner. Often layered, rather than being a single flat wall with holes in it, Hauer's screens, whether backlit or front lit, allowed the most possible amount of light to shine through and be diffused.

This year, Hauer formed Erwin Hauer Studio, EHS, with three like-minded artists. They've since been regenerating his old designs and using advanced technology to add new ones. They're currently working on a 25' high, indoor/outdoor, limestone bas-relief wall (Design 306) for a new residential high-rise within Manhattan's Rockefeller Center.
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EHS created this screen for a Knoll Inc. showroom this year.

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June 15, 2006

DWR Holds Shipping/Herman Miller Sale

DWR Free Shipping EventHerman Miller Sale

Been eyeing one of those iconic modern pieces for some time but annoyed about having to budget for shipping? Design Within Reach (DWR) is eating the shipping for the contiguous United States through next Monday. That translates to roughly a 20-25% savings. Of course items by Kartell, Knoll, Herman Miller and Cassina are excluded -- but there is a tidy 10% off sale going on for Herman Miller products through Saturday.

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Piano Man

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Detail_ph_1Poul Henningsen was given a carpenter's workbench when he was just three years old, and that gift, as a critic later said, would "make the boy the craftsman of the next century's Danish cultural history".

Look at his piano and I think you'll agree that Henningsen was a rare creative mind.  He worked with a utilitarian philosophy and sought to create objects that serve the function first saying even, "We do not want any new shape unless it is required by the task before us".  Henningsen is remembered for wanting to bring good design to the people.

But this piano-- Utilitarian? For the people? Henningsen first created 50 of them in 1931 for the cocktail lounges of a fleet of Scandinavian ferry boats.  The piano has recently been reintroduced and built with state of the art components from Schimmel.

As always, the piano employs a jazz inspired shape, that certainly looks as musical as it sounds. The clear top brings the inner workings of the piano to light and the leather sides soften what might otherwise be a harder, lacquered look.  It sounds sublime and looks as though it may dance away itself, but not into the common person's living room. This artistic creation retails for over $80,000.

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June 14, 2006

The New Plaid

Nw48sand_1 If you've been reading us for a while, you know we love the story behind the product -- particularly the brains behind the product. Karen Harris, the designer who recently came in runner up to Rohm and Haas paint contest for her bold colorblocks and random stripes entry, also designs accessories (those are her pillows on the bed).Dscf0010

An architect and a fan of the De Stijl period of art, she has created a bold and modern plaid in this rug for Momeni, depicted here in black on beige (a beige on black is also available).

Momeni rugs are 100% wool and are available in rectangle, circle or runner in a variety of sizes.

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June 13, 2006

Pure Contemporary Rendered as Modern Art

Pure_contemporary_graphWhat is modern art than the use of new materials and new inspirations? Must it be mixed with human deliberation? And can deliberation be captured  -- with the results input to yield a new piece of art?

We think so. Most of us deliberate over our websites -- cogitating the human experience. Sala, a young Swiss conceptual artist, has created a graph generator that renders an illustration of a single page. Are you a fan of the more simplistic? or the complex?

Here PURE CONTEMPORARY design blog's home page shows the head (a black, grey and blue flower -- with a "body" of colorful tentacles. Sala gives an explanation of what his color choices mean.

For graph theory junkies, Yale professor and data visualization expert Edward Tufte has an interesting discussion on the graphs on his message board.

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Modern? Contemporary? What's the Difference?

We spend a lot of time discussing the difference between the words Modern and Contemporary with designers, readers and folks who are just plain confused. Sometimes the words are used interchangeably but that usage doesn't sit well with most, especially DWR founder Rob Forbes. Here, Forbes details the differences for L.A. Times writer Janet Eastman.

Forbes is usually serious when he's discussing modern design. He can spend 20 minutes explaining the difference between the words "modern" and "contemporary" -- in a nutshell, modern is a lifestyle while contemporary is a time period. "Everything that is made at any current time is 'contemporary,' " he says.

"Modern is a progressive attitude that takes advantage of new technology and social purpose. It's a disciplined approach," he says.

The hybrid Toyota Prius is an example of solving an environmental problem "that's modern thinking." The iPod works for him with its reduction of gadgetry and gizmos. He says he respects Google for its simplicity. "It's smart, modern too," he says.

He rails against "stupid" objects, overcomplicated technological gadgets "like my programmable thermostat that I can't figure out" and new retro-looking cars that "focus on superficial styling."

"Modern simplifies our living so we can devote our time to things that add value; it adds to the pool of what makes us important as people. You could be living in a Craftsman and going to work on a bike and that's a modern lifestyle," says Forbes, who rides a Vespa the two miles between his office and city loft. "Modern is honest and helps you not be distracted by stuff that have no meaning to you."

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June 12, 2006

Snaidero Opens in Norwalk

Snaidero_2Snaidero USA - the North American distributor of Snaidero - Italy’s leading manufacturer of high-end modern kitchen cabinetry, has announced the opening of Studio Snaidero SoNo -- as in South Norwalk, Conn. This is the second kitchen design store for owners Stephen and Kristen King, who have operated a showroom in Greenwich for the past four years.

When the King's decided to open a second showroom in a hip, up-and-coming area, they knew Norwalk was a perfect fit. “South Norwalk appealed to us for a second showroom because the people who frequent the area for its restaurants and growing retail shops, as well as those who live and work in the area, are exactly the clientele we service” said King.

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Explore the Outdoors with Dora

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Flowers freshen this modern outdoor armchair by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba for Zanotta. The printed Polyethelyne frame is made for sitting outside and can be choosen in white, aluminum, beige or black. 

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If the matte body color doesn't do it for you, order Dora sans flowers in a sun reflecting lacquer of white, red, brown or black.

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Choose your Planet

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Build your own bouquet of lighting with the orb shaped Planet chandelier from La Murrina. 

Hand blown glass flowers fit individually in the chandelier's metal core, and the consumer can choose the flowers in as many colors as he wants (clear, white, amber, aqua, grass green, black, red, orange, rose, yellow and acid green).  Create an understated look with all clear, or a pop look with aqua and orange––the possibilities make us giddy. But whatever the colors, the look is modern, customized and backed by centuries of Italian glass-blowing tradition.

The Planet comes in two sizes, 26" and 44" diameters, and two finishes, gold or nickel.

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June 09, 2006

Design Hog

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Moooi's animal tables come in Pig, Rabbit, and Horse styles, all in black, all very well summed up in the text that accompanies them on the Moooi website. "Furniture to fall in love with at first sight or hate forever." Agreed.

Photography by Maarten van Houten

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