Latest Articles in Designer

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A BoConcept Makeover

When we moved into an Edwardian apartment in San Francisco's Mission District four years ago, we trucked in our furniture, set the pieces where we thought they made sense, and haven't changed much since then. So when BoConcept reached out to tell me about a new service they were offering—in-home design consultations—I jumped on the chance to gain some new perspective on my living space. One afternoon Caroline Krogh-Jensen, owner of two San Francisco stores, and Christopher Stanley, senior design consultant, met me in my apartment to discuss my style, desires for my living space, and to take a slew of measurements. Then they went off to their studio to concoct two fantasy proposals: what they'd do with my living room and adjacent parlor/dining room with an imaginary $12,000 (they called this option "Keeping it Real") and also what they'd do with $23,000 ("The Works"). This was a floor-to-ceiling overhaul, including rugs, light fixtures, and all furniture—working around an existing fireplace and large painting. The full experience costs $150—which is actually a credit toward a future BoConcept purchase. Here's what the team came up with.
July 11, 2011
Photo by Sayamon Riddang, Bailey/Gardiner Creative.

Free Design Advice!

Good professional design advice don't come cheap—but for two days at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, it comes free! This coming weekend, Saturday June 25 and Sunday June 26, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Architizer is sponsoring free intensive 40-minute design clinics with experienced architects, designers, and landscape architects from nine firms. All you have to do is sign up for a time slot, describing your "architectural malady" and stating some preferred day to meet. (You also need to have purchased a ticket to Dwell on Design).
June 23, 2011
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Hotel Jules, Paris

One of my favorite discoveries on my trip to Paris earlier this year was the Hotel Jules, a chic and relatively affordable 100-room hotel on Rue La Fayette in the 9th arrondissement—walkable to Montmartre, to the Opera Garnier, to the Champs-Elysées, and to Paris' famous department stores. According to Grace Leo, chairman and C.E.O. of G.L.A Hotels (which operates and manages the Jules): "I wished to create a place that was cool, funky, chic and at the same time did not get an 'attitude,' which is the trap so many fashionable hotels can fall into (especially in this city). The added plus was that this area is becoming a real desirable area for Parisians to live in again after several years of being dormant." The place was renovated by French interior designer Tristan Auer, and the style is a deliberate mix of 70's funkiness and 50's and 60's kitsch. I found the hotel exceedingly comfortable, stylish, and down-to-earth, with surprisingly creative design solutions peppered throughout. Click through the slideshow for details!
May 30, 2011
All photos in this post by <a href="">Thor Radford</a> (Radford Creative).

Building the Maxon House: Week 13

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 13: Kinetic architecture: A tour of Turner Exhibits   Stepping into a space designed by Tom Kundig almost always evokes a sense of wonder. As our design got underway, the firm arranged visits for our family to some of Tom Kundig’s built projects, including Delta Shelter and Chicken Point Cabin. Beyond being artfully designed objects in their respective settings, they both featured examples of Tom Kundig’s passion for kinetic architecture. The Delta Shelter has sliding steel shutters that open and close with the turn of a wheel. Chicken Point Cabin has a massive wall of steel windows that raise and lower, also with the turn of an oversized steel wheel powered by human energy and assisted with an intricate set of spinning Willy Wonka-like gears.   Wonder isn’t a solo venture. Kundig’s projects are the sum of his talent, the collective talent in the firm, and the network of artisans and craftspeople he’s come to know over the years. Early on in our project, Tom reached out to the founder of Turner Exhibits, Phil Turner, to engineer “wonder” for our project. The details of this venture will be disclosed in a later post but today I’d like to take you behind the scenes—to Turner Exhibits, founded in 1987 and today owned by Greg Cain and Steve Groves. The company designs and fabricates kinetic architecture systems and museum-quality exhibits and displays. My son Jack accompanied me on a shop visit to learn more about how they’d engineer kinetic architecture for Maxon House and to get a better understanding of what they do, how they do it, and how we’ll work with them on our project.
May 25, 2011
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Molo's Softwall Room Divider

Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen, founders of the Vancouver-based firm molo, have created the ideal room divider, a paper softwall.  
May 24, 2011
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Suita Sofa by Antonio Citterio

I'm smitten with this modular sofa, designed by Antonio Citterio in 2010. Suita is his first non-office, non-waiting room collaboration with Vitra—that is, his first design for the home—and the piece is almost endlessly customizable.
May 20, 2011
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Materials for Consideration

Galerie Kreo is one of the most unique spaces I know of for design. The gallery, run by Didier and Clémence Krzentowski, sees itself as a 'research laboratory,' commissioning and displaying one-off and limited-edition pieces by the likes of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Pierre Charpin, Hella Jongerius, Jasper Morrison, and Martin Szekely.  When I was in Paris earlier this year I caught their wonderful exhibition of work by L'ECAL students and teachers, "A New Generation of Lights."  Their current show is "Matières à réflexion," or "Materials for Consideration," and it looks like a good one. It's been extended till May 15, so if you can, check it out in person. If not, here's a virtual sampling of the works on view.
April 27, 2011
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In the Bouroullecs' Studio

A highlight of my trip to Paris earlier this year—and I can't believe it's taken me this long to share it with you—was a visit to the Bouroullec brothers' studio in Belleville. It was an exciting moment for the designers; they were in the midst of organizing the first major exhibition of their work in France, the epic "Album" show at the Arc en Rêve architecture center in Bordeaux (which is on view until April 24), and were developing a new wooden chair for Mattiazzi, the Osso, which is premiering at Milan as we speak. They were also preparing to work on a new line of ceramic tiles for Italian brand Mutina, which will launch in the fall. After I toured the studio with their executive office manager, Fanny (I wish I could share more photos of their woodshop and workspace, but they requested privacy), Erwan sat down with me for a chat about the exhibition and their recent work. "All our projects are site-specific, created for a particular company," he said. "All have their own logic and character—none are a copy-and-paste of something else. They generate from a simple question: how do you build this, how do you use this?" As for their aesthetic? "We look for a softness of space, but with electricity inside." Click through the slideshow for a glimpse into the Bouroullec's world.
April 19, 2011

Q&A with Coyuchi's Design Director

Though my number-one dream job remains journalist and editor (lucky me!) a close second is textile and furniture designer (third place: documentary filmmaker). So I was excited about my recent email exchange with Laura Jo Wegman, who joined the Point Reyes linen brand Coyuchi as Design Director in 2009. At Coyuchi, Wegman designs and oversees the production of the entire product line including sheets, blankets, towels, robes, sleepwear and more. Since her arrival, she's totally transformed the brand, introducing new materials, textures, and color palettes, and drawing inspiration from her immediate environs: the fog, the shore, the trees, and the colors of west Marin.
April 14, 2011