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August 19, 2012
Wohnung by Le Van Bo

Democratic Design: The Work of Le Van Bo

Van Bo Le-Mentzel arrived on the shores of Germany as a young refugee from Laos. He was fascinated by Spiderman and dreamed of the day when he could help the helpless. Today, he still prefers to wear blue and red, in homage to his superhero, and—after studying architecture at Beuth Hochschule, a University of Applied Sciences in the working class Wedding district of Berlin—has found a way to emulate him. Like Peter Parker, he has a day job, though Van Bo has a few: as a celebrated hip hop-rapping MC, a prolific radio and television show broadcaster, a graffiti-artist, a social media king and ambassador for startnext.de, the German version of Kickstarter, and as a full-time employee at Dan Pearlman Communications and Branding. By night—and this is the Spiderman part—he moonlights as a guerilla furniture designer. Inspired by Berlin’s Bauhaus legacy and the cool factor of DIY, he creates the plans for beautiful, affordable furniture and releases them for free from his website hartzivmoebel.de. “This gives the power to the people to make their world a more aesthetic, more social, more uplifting place, without government, police or multinational interference,” he says. “They are plans for happiness—and change starts with you.” In exchange for the free plans, he has asked the furniture makers to send him pictures of their finished products along with stories of its making and uses. The result is the book Le-Mentzel & The Crowd: Hartz IV Moebel.com, published by Hatje Cantz in July—a delightfully inventive showcase of a brave new world where virtual crowds and furniture can change your life.
August 17, 2012
ALTforLiving Refuge Soren tables

Soren Tables by Refuge

This pair of end tables is a particular favorite from a new collection by French furniture company Refuge: sandy-stained natural oak shaped into drums, with layers subtracted from the middle.* Refuge makes its clean yet earthy range of furniture—mostly pale wood, white fur, and gray upholstery—in Megève, located in the Savoie region near Switzerland (hence that upscale chalet vibe). 
August 9, 2012
Portrait of Danish designer Cecilie Manz

7 Questions for Cecilie Manz

Republic of Fritz Hansen launched Danish designer Cecilie Manz’s chair and table at this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. Inspired by the rounded shape of a stone on the beach, the minuscule chair is upholstered with a leather trim and a plastic base and will be available in September. Dwell Editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron sits down with Manz to chat about chairs, women in design, and her first Salone.
August 6, 2012
Brooklyn designers Crystal Ellis, Stephanie Beamer, and Hillary Petrie of Egg Collective

New Furniture from Egg Collective

Though Egg Collective opened its wood shop in Brooklyn's Navy Yard in 2011, the of-the-moment design studio has been incubating for many years. Its three founders—Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis, and Hillary Petrie—met when they were freshman undergraduate architecture students at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and have been collaborating ever since. "Our friendship and our working relationship have always gone hand in hand," says Ellis.
August 3, 2012
Zig-Zag Desk by MMD

Best Desked

Although we shouldn’t admit it, the Dwell reception area doesn’t always resemble the best of modern design. Actually, it can become a little crowded when filled with mailing boxes full of products coming in and out of the office. This means we can truly appreciate cutting-edge reception furniture, like the Zig-Zag desk designed by Zbigniew Kostrzewa for Polish office furniture company MDD, which won the 2012 red dot product design award.
July 26, 2012
Catenary Stool by Token

Catenary Stool by Token

Brooklyn design studio Token cites rigging equipment, bridges, and the classic director's chair as inspiration behind their new Catenary stool, recently debuted at ICFF. You might recall that another new furniture design we featured—Cassina's reissue of Franco Albini's Veliero shelving unit—also references civil engineering and nautical influences. Is there a micro trend in the works?
July 23, 2012
powder coated modern end table in red, white, and black

Sixagon by Misewell

We first featured Wisconsin designers and brothers Paul and Vincent Georgeson in our December/January 2011 Young Guns round up. They've launched a handful of new products since then, but one of their oldies but goodies, the Sixagon, caught our eye when we saw their booth at ICFF this year. The powder coated piece comes in three colors—red, black, and white—and retails for $350. Here's what Paul has to say about it. 
July 13, 2012
modern gray beanbag armchair with blue Cordonnet stitching

Frolla Armchair by Skitsch

Beanbag chairs are mainstays in most family rooms, dens, and children's rooms and it's no wonder since they're casual, comfortable, and easy to move. Italian design company Skitsch just launched its Frolla armchair, an updated version of the beanbag chair that channels the informal vibe of the original but gives it a more supportive structure and sophisticated form. Designed by Andrea Radice and Folco Orlandini, Frolla is the perfect perch in which to curl up with a good book, plop down in front of the tube, or spend a lazy summer afternoon. The removable cover features cordonnet stitching in an electric blue yarn and the base fabric comes in a beige or grey cotton. Retail price is €590. Visit skitsch.it for more information.
July 10, 2012
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