Latest Articles in Design

Bard Graduate Center founder and director Susan Weber

In the Material World: Susan Weber

Long before Peggy Guggenheim bought her first Jackson Pollock, the Wittlesbach Dukes of Bavaria were snapping up antiquities. Before Philip Johnson’s Glass House or even modernism, the movement, existed, architecture of the Iranian-Sassanian tradition was revered for its innovative domed constructions. The Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture (BGC) may not the only place in Manhattan where you can delve deeply into such scholarly subjects, but it is certainly the most influential. Susan Weber founded the center (with $20 million of her then-husband George Soros’s money) in 1993 “to advance the recognition of the decorative arts as one of the primary expressions of human achievement.”
August 6, 2012
Modern design by Munich, Germany's hansandfranz

Munich's Dynamic Duo: Hansandfranz

Hans and Franz were a pair of characters in a Saturday Night Live sketch who yodeled with fake Austrian accents while wearing Schwarzenegger-send-up body padding. German Gen Y’ers Horst Wittmann and Konstantin Landuris took this moniker as their namesake when they launched their Munich-based design studio in 2006, while still students at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts (they graduated in 2009 and 2010). With a fresh eye to tomorrow’s design challenges, and their signature upbeat humor, they took two thoughtful lamp prototypes to Milan the following year and were hailed as "Futurism from Munich." A succession of interesting design pieces and unusual cross-pollinating collaborations have ensued for the duo, who credit the magic of their Bavarian childhoods—Landuris wanted to be an astronaut, and Wittmann was a graffiti artist—as their inspiration. “I still have the same fun and challenges today in design as I had as a graffiti artist but now I’m addicted to the complexity of three-dimensional objects…and it’s all legal,” says Wittmann. Yes, there is a boyish charm to the cleverness of the work—and several winks to outer space.
August 6, 2012
Winka Dubbeldam architect headshot

Moments with Winka

Award-winning designer Winka Dubbeldam is the principal of leading design firm Archi-Tectonics, NYC, a Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and—while widely considered to be a leading voice in modern design—also something of a real estate newsmaker. Dwell recently shared a lively conversation with the highly quotable Dutch architect, covering topics philosophical, practical, and playful—from women in design to baroque to the "need for problems" to, well, the trouble with neon.
August 3, 2012
Lisa and Emily White of Layer

Material Explorations with L.A. Firm Layer

Situated at the cross-section of architecture, art, and installation, Los Angeles–based architectural practice Layer has consistently managed to delight and surprise. Complex yet not intimidating, their work has graced experimental spaces and museums alike across Southern California, engaging visitors to see the space they inhabit in a new light. Founded in 2009 by Emily White and Lisa Little—both graduates of Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)—Layer is unusual in that two women head up the firm, but according to the two, that only makes the venture more interesting. We chatted with White and Little to ask about their beginnings, unique challenges and what else we can look forward to from the firm.
July 31, 2012
Dwell Friday FInds Pinterest Board

Pinterest Inspiration

Dying to see the digital content that inspires the editors, photographers, and designers of Dwell? Then look no further! From graphic design to food to fashion, Pinterest boards  provide an exclusive window into the creative and cultural aspects of Dwell's modern perspective. We've put together 10 of our most inspiring and rapidly-growing boards to give you a sneak peek. Join us today, and we may "repin" you!
July 31, 2012
Modern living space with sheep's wool hanging and antique furniture

Rural Home on a Holland Harbor

Inspired by her natural surroundings, a Dutch felt artist intuitively crafts a home on a northern Holland harbor.
July 29, 2012
Pinterest Dream House design board

Top 10 Pinterest Design Boards

As a follow-up to Pinterest's top design boards, we've discovered 10 more boards that are leading the social scene in modern architecture and design. These boards are meant to inspire and to be shared—you might even spy a few pins from Dwell along the way.
July 28, 2012
Felt-maker Paula Leen handling felt fabrics

Sneak Peek: 'A World Apart'

Our July/August 2012 issue, on newsstands now, turns the spotlight on designers' own homes across the globe. One of my favorite projects in the issue is Paula Leen and Kees Middendorp's home in the northern Dutch province of Friesland, which I visited last winter and profiled in the magazine in "A World Apart." Leen, a felt-maker, and Middendorp, the town of Akkrum's harbormaster, showed me around their marina-side home, which they'd lived in for 16 years as renters before getting the opportunity to buy and renovate it. The resulting space has an aesthetic that is strongly influenced by their surroundings—all gray and black and white, "the colors of Friesland," as Leen puts it. It's filled with Leen's handmade felt pieces, salvaged vintage furniture, and custom iron fixtures, including an 11-foot-long kitchen island and a staircase that connects the upstairs living space with the downstairs workshop. Check Sunday to read the full story. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek and some choice quotes from Leen.
July 28, 2012
Teaching materials conceived and commissioned by Maria Montessori

MoMA's 'Toy Story'

MoMA’s Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000 may be the world’s most engrossing toy box. Sadly, you can’t play with the 500+ items on exhibit July 29 through November 5, 2012, but to linger over each for a few minutes is enough to transport the viewer to her childhood and today dream of what a youth spent in another era may have looked like (spoiler alert: primary-colored with tubular steel furniture). Inspired by Swedish design reformer and social theorist Ellen Key’s 1909 tome The Century of the Child, in which she declares children’s well-being and rights to be the defining mission of the next century, Juliet Kinchin, Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, amassed a collection of toys, books, posters, and furniture representing the path of design philosophy over the course of the last 100 years—no small feat. Of the exhibit, Kinchin says it will "hopefully engage people of any age." She won’t have to worry about that. On our way out, a line was queuing for Philip Worthington’s interactive piece Shadow Monsters. A real-time transformation of everyday shadow puppets into growling monsters with spikes and teeth, it was hard to resist. The opportunity to climb into the larger-than-life Peter Opsvik Tripp Trapp chair is reason enough to visit. The exhibition will be on view through November 5, 2012, at the Museum of Modern Art in the The Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Exhibition Gallery, sixth floor. And, courtesy of MoMA, visitors can download a family guide.
July 25, 2012