Latest Articles in Plastic

Afforable modern designer chairs

13 Affordable High-Design Chairs

There are lots of handsome chairs out there, but sitting beauties that cost $250 or less are a rarer breed. Our picks run the gamut from traditional (the wooden, Shaker-inspired Salt or the Thonet-designed Era, the quintessential cafe chair) to the downright futuristic (we’re looking at you, oddly anthropomorphic Dr. Yes). We sat, swayed, shook, stacked; we hefted them into the air; we typed, ate, and made grand conversational hand gestures. Here’s how they stood up in our sitting showdown.
March 7, 2011
Dror Benshetrit's "QuaDror" joint combines four L-shaped blocks.

QuaDror Unveiled at Design Indaba

In its simplest version, QuaDror looks like a child's wooden puzzle. Dror Benshetrit aligns four L-shaped blocks, and effortlessly shifts them from a few flat planes into an elegant structure. It looks so natural that it's hard to imagine that it's not already familiar. Benshetrit's new universal joint, which was just unveiled at South Africa's Design Indaba, is poised to offer a tremendous range of structural alternatives at just about every level. "I'm passionate about things that transform," says Benshetrit.
February 28, 2011
Leff Art Studio

His-Her Collage and Ceramics Studio

Just as water and oil don’t mix, neither do the crafts of collage and ceramics. Nevertheless, a combination of the two was precisely what one creative couple living on Long Island requested when they contacted tbd design studio in the late 2000s. “Collage is all paper and glue, and pottery is all dust and moisture; those are terrible things together,” says designer Joshua Weiselberg, who went on to accept the project with his design partner Selin Semaan. On a site with just 700-square-feet of buildable space, the designers intersected two rectangular boxes to bring the artists—but not their materials—together.
February 22, 2011

Fantastic Plastics

While in Italy for a large press event regarding the 50th Salone Del Mobile, I took the opportunity to visit Kartell's headquarters in Noviglio, just outside of Milan. In a rambling campus of orange steel and glazed brick buildings designed by Ignazio Gardella and Anna Castelli Ferrieri, the company opened a corporate museum in 1999 to mark their 50th anniversary. Led by Claudio Luti since 1988, Kartell is best known for realizing a wide range of designs from an international roster of superstar designers. Less well known today is the company's history of innovation during the postwar years, and the role a select group of Italian designers and engineers would play in the 20th century's plastic revolution. What follows is a look at some of the company's outstanding vintage designs.
February 11, 2011
process 111 navy chair

Emeco's 111 Navy Chair

The tale of the Emeco's 111 Navy chair is that of a phoenix rising. In 1944, the Hanover, Pennsylvania-based company began producing the original 1006 Navy chair. But despite supplying these chairs—the first to be made from 80 percent recycled aluminum—for use in virtually every U.S. Navy application that required sitting, the company was on the brink of collapse by the late 1990's. While on his way to shutter Emeco, owner Gregg Buchbinder had a startling revelation upon reviewing records: Architects Frank Gehry and Norman Foster had long been ordering chairs directly from the factory. Inspired, Buchbinder revived Emeco with a series of striking new designs, including those from Gerhy and Foster.
January 23, 2011
Ballo Toilet Brush

Ballo Toilet Brush

Tis the season for having guests—and thus a clean house, as well. And while you'll want a toilet brush on hand, you may not want your current one out on display. Danish manufacturer Normann-Copenhagen recently released a new take on the cleaning tool, featuring a sleek design you'll actually want to put on display.
December 13, 2010
Zen Kitchen construction

Salvaged Jungle Kitchen

In the jungles of Maui, artist and builder Tom Sewell has built his own oasis. Using discarded materials from the Hawaiian island's sugar mills, he's created his own home and outbuildings as well as his Zen Complex—a residence for young artists who intern with him—on his 17-acre property in Haiku. His most recent work is a 36-square-foot kitchen made of salvaged Cor-Ten steel and corrugated polycarbonate.
December 6, 2010
subports group portrait thumbnail

Text Appeal

Will Robison and Jacob Krupnick believe that transforming basic transactions into “retail experiments” will change the rapport we have with what we buy. Subports launched in late 2009 as a techie, Brooklyn-based, text-to-buy business model—–a one-time online registration links your credit card information to your cell phone number, and purchases are made by sending an SMS—–but the implications of the service subvert the conventional add-to-shopping-cart experience. 
November 24, 2010
murrays law exterior portrait thumbnail

Murray's Law

“Form follows function” has been the go-to paradigm for evaluating good design since American architect Louis Sullivan articulated the idea more than a century ago. For Murray Moss, a former actor and fashion executive who opened his eponymous design shop in New York’s SoHo district in 1994, industrial objects are far more than merely the sum of those parts. “My job is to illuminate someone else’s ideas,” Moss says. Visitors to his carefully curated store-cum-gallery can view one-of-a-kind conceptual commissions alongside traditional crafts and a selection of mass produced pieces. By incorporating the narrative of theater and the drama of couture, he has assumed the role of arbiter, shining a spotlight on modern design’s growing imperative to both show and tell.
September 7, 2010