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October 16, 2007

Green: the New Orange for Halloween


In terms of useless consumption and wasted energy, holiday decorations rank high. These little plastic items are manufactured, shipped, sold in bright, big box stores with perfectly controlled air. They're used for a few weeks and then either stored for a while, until cuter ones come out next year, or thrown away.

But something different is happening in the world of Halloween decor this year.  Halloween has always been one of the most eco-friendly holidays, what with all the walking and homemade costumes handed down or made from old clothes.  The pumpkin, gourd, corn and straw decor works in its favor too.  But something has spooked the industry into providing yet another green Halloween-themed item.  Then again, going green is good business, so perhaps that was the motivation. Either way we were happy to find mini, 13 watt (equivalent to 60 watts of light) black and orange compact fluorescent bulbs by Globe Electric, $9.33 for a set of two at Builders Square.

Are they great design? Eh. Maybe for a party or front porch lighting for the little trick-or-treaters, but don't keep these around all Fall. For one thing, you'll miss the white glow of a more natural light. A red and green mix is available for Christmastime too. Remember though: it's the red/green combo that's key at Christmas. Go for red alone and you send a decidedly less-religious message. Red lights on porches and in windows are best kept to a certain district in Amsterdam. 

Posted on October 16, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

October 05, 2007

It's Not Even Halloween Yet

A Holiday-phobe's Guide to Savoring Fall, not Falling for Christmas...

I should have seen this coming. After all, the drum beat to the holiday season pounds earlier each year, but October 3rd. Come on, it's just indecent. We're still waiting for Halloween, not to mention the parade of fall weekends left to savor before Thanksgiving comes.  Nonetheless, among the bills, appointment reminders, and postcard on the successes of a local real estate agent, I found a most unwelcome delivery in my mail yesterday: the Holiday '07 catalog from West Elm. They may call it "Comfort & Joy," but this catalog delivers neither. Chock full of shiny items and rooms staged with pops of red, or purple and fuchsia (the new reds), the catalog includes a decorated Christmas tree, stocked bars and sparkling stockings and tree skirts. I hope they at least hesitated before including the image of a large antler hung with ornaments suspended over a bed (page 12, I can't find it on the website), but there it is. The sad thing isn't the commercialism or the proposal that we fast forwarding our lives and shopping plans, it's the fact that they skipped fall.

It's crazy- fall is a merchandiser's dream, just look to all the extra thick fall fashion issues of women's mags for evidence. For a furniture retailer it should be pounced on, and not in May. Now is the time to think of warming up the home. Even in temperate climates, sensibilities should be moving toward browns and grays, deep reds and blues. Beyond all the accessories this season can push, from bedding, to candlescapes, pillows, curtains and rugs, now is the time to think of updating furniture for the spate of parties happening once November hits. It's time to ditch the too-small dining table for one that the whole family can fit around, or at least add new chairs. It's time to think storage, as summer clothes trade spaces with fall's sweaters and scarfs and warm wool jackets. It's time to focus on entry ways too. More than a spot to ditch coats and boots, this space should be a welcoming clue to the look of the rest of the house.

There's much to do. I still have flip-flops sitting by the door and screens in my windows. I'm wearing shorts. It's October and in Buffalo, NY today it's 85 degrees. Get with it West Elm, don't rush me. I'm just stepping into fall.

Posted on October 5, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2007

The Guild's Artful Homeshow


The Guild's The Artful Home Show... A unique event blending the excitement of an art fair with the elegance and sophistication of a design showcase.

November 16-18, 2007

Friday, November 16   noon - 8 pm
Saturday, November 17   11 am - 7 pm
Sunday, November 18   11am - 6 pm

The Puck Building, SoHo
Corner of Houston and Lafayette Streets
New York City

$12 in advance / $20 at the door
Tickets are now available through our partner etix.

  • Discover and buy artwork by over  200 leading artists.            
  • Meet and talk with artists about their work
  • View artwork in beautiful room  environments designed by leading interior designers and architects.
  • Attend lectures and book signings by noted  artists, design professionals, and authors.                  
  • Artful concessions, live web access to over 10,000 additional art items at, and more!                

Posted on October 2, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2007

NeoCon Xpress Speakers Announced

If you'll be in LA this August 22 & 23 and are checking out NeoCon Xpress, be sure to sit in on one -or all - of the speaking sessions. Here's the rundown, just announced...

The first-ever NeoCon®  Xpress L.A., the West-coast architecture, design and facility management community’s premier opportunity to see hundreds of hot new products fresh from the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair, will feature top-name presenters when the show makes its debut at The Los Angeles Convention Center, August 22-23, 2007.

In addition to featuring all the hottest new products and trends from hundreds of manufacturers, NeoCon Xpress will showcase presentations from the industry’s top visionaries.

Angela Adams, angela adams Designs, LLC.   “Bringing Comfort to Contract”
Wednesday, August 22, Noon
Angela Adams is the CEO and Creative Director for angela adams Designs, LLC. Growing up on an island twelve miles off the coast of Maine, Ms. Adam’s island upbringing helped to shape her unique perspective on design. Her designs are known for their sense of timelessness, simplicity and balance. She is constantly exploring new mediums for her designs. Her contract industry work includes partnerships with Shaw Contract Group, Architex and Ann Sacks include broadloom & carpet tile, woven fabrics and ceramic tiles. Angela will discuss translating the aesthetic of her designs and the Angela Adams brand into contract environments.

Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity, “We Don’t Ship: How Community Design Delivers More Than Architecture”

Thursday, August 23, Noon
Cameron Sinclair is the co-founder and executive director of Architecture for Humanity, a charitable organization which promotes architecture and design solutions to humanitarian crises and provides design services to communities in need. Trained as an architect, Mr. Sinclair also developed an interest in social, cultural and humanitarian design. Named one of the seven people changing the world, by Fortune Magazine, Mr. Sinclair also is an adjunct professor at the Montana State School of Architecture and the author of Design Like You Give a Damn. Cameron"robert kennwill discuss how a new breed of designers is responding to humanitarian crises and rethinking the social and economic future of the more than two billion people currently surviving in sub-standard living conditions.

Jack Kyser, City of Los Angeles “Reinventing Los Angeles – Downtown and Elsewhere”
Thursday, August 23, 9 a.m. Breakfast, 9:30 a.m. Presentation
Jack Kyser, the Chief Economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), is known as the “guru of the Los Angeles economy.” Kyser is responsible for interpreting and forecasting economic trends in the Los Angeles five-county area, and for analyzing the major industries of the area. Kyser serves on the Economic Policy Council of the California Institute, the research and policy arm of the California Congressional Delegation. Hear about the revitalization of downtown L.A. and learn how these new developments will enrich the future of Los Angeles as it works to redefine its skyline. 

Debra Ertel-Hernandez, “Making the Business Case for Sustainability at Toyota”

Wednesday, August 22, 4 pm
Debra Ertel-Hernandez CFM, CFMJ, FMA, is the senior facilities operations administrator for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. Corporate sustainability is more than simply recycled content and the recyclability of products.  It is a business approach that creates long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic environmental and social developments.
Autos and the environment meet at every life cycle stage.  We will take a close up look at Toyota Motor Sales’ Business Case for Sustainability and their Global Earth Charter moving forward in the 21st Century and explore why the initiatives of major corporations like Toyota are becoming a major focus of the design industry.

Robert Kennedy Jr., Environmentalist “A Contract With Our Future”
Thursday, August 23, 8 a.m. Breakfast, 8:30 a.m. Presentation
The Southern California Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) will host the 2007 Catalyst: Ideas for Breakfast event at the Los  Angeles Convention Center. Renowned environmentalist  , will discuss the important role that our natural surroundings play in our work, our health, and our identity as Americans.  Mr. Kennedy will eloquently explain how good environmental policy is good business policy, good economic policy, and good policy for posterity.
Tickets for the Catalyst Breakfast are available July 1 at

Shawn Littrell, Designer
Thursday, August 23, 9 a.m.
Student Series at NeoCon Xpress L.A. will offer students of design and architecture an incredible opportunity to learn from the award-winning industrial designer, Shawn Littrell, who will speak to students about his projects, as well as making the transition from the classroom to the office. Littrell will also have an area on the show floor featuring various spatial projects and furniture exhibited at the Salon del Mobile in Milan.

Posted on May 30, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2007

Search for Modern

Focus on Modern? Contact Pure Contemporary!!

When we started Pure Contemporary a little over two years ago, the goal was to be the leading resource for people searching for contemporary and modern design and architecture. That goal became even more imminent with our announcement today to have Convera Corporation create a vertical search engine that indexes all sites around the world that focus on contemporary and modern.

There is no charge to be indexed -- but sites will have to show that they meets the needs of our readers. If you are a manufacturer, designer, retailer, architect or media site (including you bloggers!!) that offers news, products or services that focus on contemporary or modern design, please send an email to us. We will contact you and give you directions on how to submit.

Posted on May 16, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2007

5 Reasons to NOT Use Flash in Your Website

It's time to rant on the overuse of Flash websites. It should be an easy concept to remember for all of us in modern design: Less is More. If true about design, that mantra is doubly true with websites and the use of Flash.

Let me explain.

"Flash" is a programming language that allows you to create "interactive movies." It is a terrific tool for adding audio, video and animation to a website. Unfortunately people rely on Flash for creating the ENTIRE website, creating one long movie. Yes, yes, I know, you can have buttons and "skip" to the part of the movie you want to go to -- just like a DVD. But truly, for those of us who use the web for the purpose of finding the information we want -- frankly, Flash is a pain.

5 Reasons Why Your Site Should Not Be Loaded with Flash

  1. Readers can't hit the back button. Readers get to a spot, and want to turn around by hitting the back button. With flash, you can't. You either have to start again, or leave. Trust me, unless people are being paid to get the information (ala a reporter), people will just leave.
  2. Link colors don't work. Manufacturers show a list of all products and designs on their sites, readers click on some random sequence of them -- but the links don't change color to let readers know they've already clicked on it. Truly obnoxious and violates web 101 on ease of use.
  3. It's not truly interactive. The web is about choosing one's own destiny -- go where I want to go (forward, back, etc). Downloading pictures of things we like. Flash limits your interaction.
  4. It's not modifiable. Did you know on conventional web pages you can change the size of the font? Or use the Find feature? Or have a page translated? Or make the page fit your browser? Flash is about controlling the user's experience -- jamming the font size down one's throat and in a specific language. Not a good match for us independent types.
  5. It is overused. Nothing is more obnoxious than getting to a site that makes me sit through its animated intro. You think it's clever -- I think: Home Movies. Obnoxious, disrespectful of readers time, and frankly, quite boring.

2 bonus reasons to use Flash sparingly

  1. Google can't index the page. So we 91% of web users who use search engines to find things we are interested in -- won't be able to find you. (Béné, that was the reason Charles Kaisin's site never came up when we were researching honeycombed furniture.)
  2. It's expensive and consumes more important resources. You should be investing in PHOTOS (you are designers and manufacturers, after all), updating your site and answering your emails. I know. I contact many of you regularly -- getting good photos is like asking for gold -- and that is the reaction from the companies who bother to answer their emails.

In my next post, I will tell you when you should use flash.


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Posted on April 6, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (2) | TrackBack

March 27, 2007

Champagne Room...

Supremely functional yet totally unnecessary, the Veuve Clicquot Loveseat by Karim Rashid wins points for modern luxury that finally has fun. Note the sitters face each other, separated only by a perfect champagne cooling spot which, thankfully, is easily moved out of the way.


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March 22, 2007

Elite Upholstery?


Elite Leather, known lately for its contemporary leather looks and collection by Lulu DK, is reintroducing fabrics to its sleek line. It's a forward move that has the family-run company looking back--to a time when it was called Elite Upholstery.  Shown above is the Munich Chaise, but all Elite Leather designs will be available this spring in a choice of over 80 fabric selections.

See the Elite Leather catalog.
Who is LuluDK?

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Posted on March 22, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

March 08, 2007

Art Wallpaper


Behold - a single sheet of handpainted, one-of-a-kind, French Dot wallpaper from NAMA ROCOCO, the coolest avant-garde wallpaper designers we know.  This one goes for $220 and it's suitable for framing. That makes it affordable one-of-a-kind art and an easy way for commitment-phobes to try the wallpaper trend without falling too deep.

And the best part? NAMA ROCOCO, for all it's talent and bonafide starpower, is actually accessible. No clicking happily, thinking you're on your way to finding out prices and making a purchase only to be stonewalled, forced into calling a 1-800 number to finish your business. NAMA ROCOCO sells online. And through April Fool's Day they're having a sale, really. 

More wallpaper ideas:
Stuck on Wallpaper All Over Again

Posted on March 8, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (1) | TrackBack

February 05, 2007

Reaching Nirvana


Does this chair speak for iteslf or do I have to say it? Sculptural and comfortable (that's with the optional fitted sheepskin upholstery), this chair has the aesthetic wit of the Eames duo and the material understanding of Bertoia. Not only that, the manufacturers gives us all the info--including detailed prices--right on the website. Tons of great pictures and straight-forward web marketing, I'm reaching Nirvana myself. See the rest at

Posted on February 5, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

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