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beam and anchor jocelyn robert

Portland's Beam & Anchor

Painter Jocelyn Rahm and furniture reclaimer Robert Rahm are the married partners behind Beam & Anchor, a new warehouse space in Portland that provides workshop space for craftsmen as well as a retail quarter for peddling their made goods. Beam & Anchor was mentioned briefly in our May "Now '99" issue (now on newsstands) in a piece on co-working 2.0, an exploration of collaborative studio spaces across the U.S.A. Now that it's up and running, here's a peek into what makes B&A tick.
April 25, 2012
coverings 2012 fireclay tile crush

Coverings 2012: Fireclay Tile

Artisanal tile company Fireclay was at Coverings for the first time this year and exhibited their brand of glass and ceramic tile that's a treat to look at and boasts some mighty strong environmental creds. The company, based in San Jose, California, was founded in 1986 and churns out thousands of pieces of tile, which is all made in the United States. They launched a couple new lines, Crush (a tile made from 100% recycled glass) and the Runway Collection by Austin-based designer Kelly LaPlante, along with some tried and tested favorites.
April 21, 2012
Ventura Lambrate RCA mylar

Ventura Lambrate Trumps in Milan

For the second year running, Milan’s Zona Tortona feels more like Zona Tortura, a nightclub dotted with big brand showrooms, than the former creative epicenter of the Salone furniture fair that it has been for years. Dance music pulses out of black-curtained buildings past the large men (bouncers?) dressed in black suits that guard them while costumed kids handed out free drink tickets. For those seeking a slower-tempo compliment to the commercial fair center at Tortona, the best relief is Ventura Lambrate, where the warehouses surrounding the polytechnic university—themselves beautiful objects of architectural design—are filled with student work, some fresh takes on old products and materials, and design that borders on art. Check out our slideshow of what to see at Ventura Lambrate.
April 20, 2012
Hau tree overview

Hau Tree Lanai in Honolulu

I was in Honolulu, Hawaii, last week to talk at a green design conference, and in my two quick days there I was able to see a few of the sights. Though I managed to eat at some trendy, and rather well-designed spots—tip of the cap to Salt and Morimoto—I was reminded of a fundamental lesson of design over a decidedly unhip breakfast at the Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. Sometimes a single element of a space's design (in this case, the hau tree) can make it so magical that the fetishism so often shown for meticulously sourced tablewares and organic pork belly goes completely out the window. Located down at the Diamond Head–end of Waikiki in an unspiffy old hotel, on a pretty but pedestrian stretch of beach, the Hau Tree Lanai eschews just about every design trick in the book—see the pink tablecloths, white wrought-iron patio furniture, and institutional tile floor. But that hau tree creates such a perfect canopy, shielding diners from the hot sun while giving us this ribbon-width view of the flat blue sea, that you don't want to be anywhere else. 
April 13, 2012
2 bluelagoon5

DesignMarch Iceland 2012

For the fourth year in a row, product designers, architects, artists, and fashionistas opened their studio doors across Reykjavik, Iceland, for DesignMarch, a four-day roaming festival of art, design, crafts, whale foreskin cowboy boots, and late night parties soaked in birch-flavored schnapps. This year's event, held from March 22–25, attracted an estimated 35,000 people (about a tenth of the country's total population) and offered a frost-covered window into the burgeoning, wildly energetic—and sometimes wildly weird—design scene of the most northern capital on Earth.
March 27, 2012
zecavo terrace

Villa Zevaco

On my last morning in Casablanca I had the good luck, and lots of local recommendations, to swing past Chez Paul for breakfast. Considering the strong influence of French cuisine on Morocco's pastry life, it should come as no surprise that the croissants were extra flaky and the butter rich as can be. But Chez Paul also has the good fortune of residing in the splendid modern villa that Jean-Francois Zevaco and Paolo Messina designed in 1949 as Villa Sami Suissa.
March 21, 2012
tile casa mosaic

Tiles of Casablanca

Wandering the streets of downtown Casablanca, one sees a whole other use of tile on building facades. Instead of the reddish concrete with colorful accents you see in Marrakech (which I documented here), the White City has a decidedly less decorated feel. As an early 20th century laboratory for art deco, art nouveau, modernist, and neo-Moroccan design, Casablanca emphasizes form over ornament. And yet, that great ceramic tradition can still be felt. Here's a glimpse of the use of tile I saw over the course of a couple days wandering around Casablanca.
March 19, 2012
tile bahia palace

Tiles of Marrakech

I was in Morocco last week and it should come as no surprise to design fans that I was ensorcelled by the variety and complexity of Moroccan tilework. From elaborate mosaics on palace walls to simple geometric designs on the street, I found myself snapping photo after photo of tiles. Here are a handful of highlights from my time in Marrakech. Look for more in the next couple days from Casablanca.
March 15, 2012
Julio Julio

Julio Miranda Thiel's Workshop

I had the chance to visit master potter Julio Miranda Thiel's workshop at the Beldi Country Club just outside of Marrakech. I met Thiel at a dinner a few nights before and he graciously invited me out one morning to see how he marries traditional Moroccan craftsmanship—the town of Safi is the hub of the country's considerable ceramics trade and turns out loads of potters—with more modern forms. Thiel himself studied design in Chile and Argentina and told me that his education was "thoroughly modernist." Here's what I saw.
March 9, 2012
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