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Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-20 22:50
With a heavy dose of inspiration from Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, architect Carlos Zwick designs an art-filled home on stilts for his family of eight in Potsdam, Germany.
In the late 19th-century, the Parkrestaurant Nedlitz was a popular excursion destination in Potsdam, Germany, that boasted a boat dock, terraced garden cafe, and ballroom. While the spot remained a frequented weekend retreat through the Cold War, it had fallen into complete neglect by the time architect Carlos Zwick, founder of the eponymous Berlin-based firm, purchased the lot in 2014.
In addition to overgrown brambles and crumbling buildings, the site came with strict guidelines for renovation. The original terraced steps near the waterfront had to be preserved; the existing forest of large maple, oak, and chestnut trees couldn’t be removed; and the view of Lake Jungfernsee from the main road had to remain clear. Despite its challenges, the architect thought the property was a perfect place to build a home for himself, his partner, Claudia Kensy, and the couple’s six children, thanks to its wide plot, pristine view, and lake access, as well as the easy drive to Berlin.
Carlos approached the Potsdam Design Council with building proposal after building proposal until he finally received approval for a drawing that hoisted two large, box-like pavilions into the trees, allowing for minimal impact on the landscape and preserving sight lines to the waterfront from the road. The home floats 10 feet aboveground on inverted tripod bases with reddish-brown steel posts that branch upward, mimicking the trees around them.
"Haus am See is a modern interpretation of a tree house," says the architect. "Like a wooden nest, it nestles between the crowns of the old oaks and chestnuts." Carlos saw the "ancient and dense" tree population as both a challenge and a creative boon. Indeed, the home’s two pavilions are so intertwined with the trees that one of the site’s enormous maples is bracketed within the windowed walls of the living room. The team also covered the roof in greenery and installed a solar thermal system to further integrate the home with its environment.
The building itself has a Miesian look that Carlos describes as "a rational and calm language of forms," featuring clean, horizontal lines and a cantilevered porch that stretches across the 72-foot waterfront facade. The understated simplicity of the structure belies its grand size: at roughly 7,664 square feet, the home offers plenty of room for the family of eight and their three dogs.
The main pavilion, which runs parallel to the lake shore, includes the kitchen, dining, living areas, and the principal suite, while the twin pavilion, set at a right angle reaching back toward the road, contains the children’s rooms. A small, common entrance with stairs and an elevator links the two wings, for now: Carlos points out that the distinction between the structures would allow for flexible, multi-unit usage in the future.
The steel supports leave plenty of protected space under the pavilions for an "open-air basement," as Carlos calls it. "There is room for everything," says the architect—including cars, bikes, and table tennis, as well as a hot tub, sauna, and firewood storage.
Down the steps from the open basement, the waterfront holds what Carlos calls "a magical attraction." The family keeps canoes, stand-up paddle boards, and an old sailboat ready to go. The original 19th-century stone terraces that lead down to the water were carefully maintained.
While the stilts lift the home up and away from the lake, the view from inside feels very immersive, with the water seeming to lap at the edge of the balcony. The architect framed the lake-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows with pale wood beams and used glazing on the balcony to keep the view as open as possible.
Meanwhile, the interior is spare but warm, and feels appropriate for a family with six children and three pets. Accent walls of yellow or green and bright, oversize art provide hints of color, while prominent dog beds, dangling wire lamps, and an unconcealed refrigerator contribute to the casual, welcoming vibe.
The home offers plenty of places for the family to relax together, from the spacious living room to the music nook. Carlos says they especially love to congregate in front of the large fireplace with the dogs, or around the 25-foot-long olive wood table in the open-plan kitchen and dining area.
The exuberant paintings throughout the home have been collected over the years, with some even painted by Claudia. "Art is a great passion in our family," Carlos says, noting how much Claudia enjoys working in her studio with a view of the trees.
The original Parkrestaurant Nedlitz currently sits on the other half of the property, and Carlos is converting the old buildings into a new restaurant. The historic buildings can be seen from the kitchen’s side window, providing a nice stylistic contrast to Haus am See.
Builder/General Contractor: M.A.T.O. GmbH
Structural Engineer: Holger Schreiber
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-20 22:31
Send us your best work in the Dwelling, Renovation, Prefab, Small Space, Garden, Kitchen, Bathroom, and Object categories by Tuesday, October 5.
Along with the most outstanding projects featured in Dwell Magazine and Dwell.com in 2021, this year’s Dwell Design Awards will honor the best new work submitted by our community across 10 categories: Dwelling, Renovation, Prefab, Small Space (less than 800 square feet), Garden, Kitchen, Bathroom, Furniture, Lighting, and Accessories.
On October 13, the Dwell Design Awards will open to voting on Dwell.com. An esteemed panel of judges will help determine a winner and a runner up, and Dwell readers will select a community pick—all to be announced on Dwell.com and Dwell Magazine in January 2022.
Jared Blake and Ed Be are the founders of Lichen, a Brooklyn- and Queens-based interior design shop and incubator. The two partnered in 2017, combining years of experience collecting, selling, and trading designer furniture throughout New York City. Together, they aim to create a community of "lich-minded" individuals enthused by music, creativity, and design.
Barbara Bestor is the founding principal of Bestor Architecture, which has actively redefined Los Angeles architecture through design, art, and urbanism since 1995. Her varied and progressive body of work—which experiments in spatial arrangements, graphics, and color—connects with people on many levels, often outside the boundaries traditionally delineated for architecture. She believes that good design creates an engaged urban life and embraces the "strange beauty" that enhances the everyday experience.
Bestor’s work spans "stealth density" Blackbirds housing, retail and restaurant flagships, dynamic workspaces, award-winning residences, and pioneering arts projects that are deeply rooted in their communities. She received her undergraduate degree at Harvard University, studied at the Architecture Association in London, and received a MARCH at SCI-Arc. She is the author of Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake.
Chris Cornelius is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of New Mexico. He is the founding principal of Studio:Indigenous, a design practice serving Indigenous clients.
Cornelius—a collaborating designer with Antoine Predock on the Indian Community School of Milwaukee—is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the inaugural Miller Prize from Exhibit Columbus, a 2018 Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Award, and an artist residency from the National Museum of the American Indian. Cornelius has been exhibited widely, including the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Cornelius was the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at Yale University in spring 2021. Studio:Indigenous received a 2021 Architect’s Newspaper Best Of Practice Award for Best Small Practice, Midwest.
Tosin Oshinowo is a Lagos, Nigeria–based architect and designer best known as the founder and principal of cmDesign Atelier, established in 2012. Grounded in a deep respect for Yoruba culture and history, Oshinowo’s designs embody a contemporary perspective on the next generation of African design and afro-minimalism—one that prioritizes sustainability, resilience, and poise. She’s currently working on a project with the United Nations to plan and rebuild a village in northern Nigeria destroyed by Boko Haram.
In 2017, she created Ilé-Ilà—House of Lines in her native Yoruba language—offering chairs designed and handmade in Lagos. Oshinowo is a registered architect in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a member of the Royal Institute of the British Architects with degrees from Kingston College in London, the Bartlett School of Architecture, and the Architecture Association London. In addition to undertaking brand partnerships, writing prolifically, and giving talks, she has won numerous awards, including City People’s Real Estate Award for Architect of the Year in 2017 and the Lord’s Achievers Award for Creativity in 2019.
Originally from Thailand and now based in Los Angeles and New York, Kulapat Yantrasast is a thought leader and practitioner in the fields of architecture, art, and sustainable design. He is the founding partner and creative director of Why, a multidisciplinary design practice and AD100 Firm since 2019. In 2007, Yantrasast led the design for the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the first art museum in the world to receive the LEED Gold certification. The firm recently engaged in major museum renovation projects, including the Rockefeller Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yantrasast has also designed a number of cultural facilities and private residences from Malibu to Chiang Mai.
Formerly a trustee of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Noguchi Museum in New York, Yantrasast has been on the Artists’ Committee of the Americans for the Arts since 2005. In 2009, Yantrasast received the Silpathorn Award for Design from Thailand’s Ministry of Culture for outstanding achievement and notable contributions to Thai contemporary arts and culture. He was the first architect to receive the prestigious award.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-20 21:44
Cats love to lounge, so we might as well make nap time cute.
If your cats are like mine, every cardboard box that enters my house is suddenly the new favorite sleeping spot. It’s kind of sweet, but unfortunately for my furry friends, the recycling must eventually be taken out lest my home become a clutter of bedraggled boxes.
If you’re searching for a cozy place for your fur baby to snooze, these much-cuter options—like a miniature sofa or a wall-mountable wooden house— will accommodate your feline friends while preserving the feng shui.
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Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-20 21:43
This green-roofed home by Snegiri Architects bows in deference to the enveloping woodlands.
Not a single tree in the surrounding birch and pine forest was cut down to accommodate the construction of the Hill House, a passive home on the outskirts of Moscow that’s designed to use 90 percent less energy than a regular residence.
The home was designed for "a man fond of innovations," says architect Nikita Kapiturov of St. Petersburg–based firm Snegiri Architects. A long driveway leads to the side of the home, which includes the client’s Tesla charging station and parking spot. The slanting green roof is carpeted with a cascade of greenery that includes stonecrop and dwarf crops such as wild chamomile.
The exterior is made of darkened larch wood saturated with natural flax oil to help with the home’s passive insulation. The home’s foundation incorporates Swedish plate technology that helps to winterize it, keeping the structure essentially cold-proof and resistant to frost.
Most of the structure’s energy-saving windows and doors are positioned on the sunny side of the house to aid in keeping the residence warm in the northern clime. The glazed doors open to a spacious terrace, flooding the interior spaces with light.
Inside, an oak staircase connects the home’s two floors. Luxurious materials like brushed satin-brass fixtures and walls of mineral Greek plaster mingle in a bathroom to rich effect, nodding to theme of lightness and darkness at play throughout the home.
Architect of Record: Nikita Kapiturov, Snegiri Architects / @snegiri_architects
Builder/General Contractor: Snegiri Architects / @snegiri_architects
Interior Design: Snegiri Architects / @snegiri_architects
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-20 15:54
Eye-catching patterns, colors, and handcraft in the brand’s latest soft goods will dress up your windows.
Exclusive textile designs by New York–based visual artist Marcie Bronkar and San Francisco–based textile designer Seema Krish are the latest additions to Hunter Douglas’ Design Studio line of side panels, drapery, roller shades, and roman shades. Inventive patterns and textural details—rendered in styles ranging from intricate embroideries to semi-opaque fabrics—bring new infusions of global dimension and historical depth to the brand’s sophisticated line of window treatments.
Influenced by her upbringing in Mumbai, Seema Krish’s work focuses on handcraft and holds a contemporary lens to the vibrant motifs and techniques of traditional Indian textiles. The designer looked to nature and drew on the aesthetics of block printing and embroidery, in particular, to create her new patterns for Hunter Douglas.
"They can be used by themselves or effortlessly layered together," Krish says of the seven designs in the collection. Her Floret fabric, for instance, is inspired by traditional shibori dye techniques and blooms with bold, flowerlike geometry. Intersection is influenced by the interplay of yarns in weaving, and its hazy, painterly lines echo the foggy weather of the designer’s hometown. Waves, which mimics the ebb and flow of ocean tides, flows with a repeating V-shaped pattern. "The hope is to spark a memory of travel or a distant culture while bringing quiet beauty to our living environments," says Krish.
A self-described "modern traditionalist," Marcie Bronkar takes inspiration from historical art and design to create her lively patterns. For her Hunter Douglas collection, Bronkar says she relied on the premise that "natural light can and will enhance the texture and dimension of these textiles when brought into the home."
Bronkar’s standout designs include Lily, a pretty floral pattern derived from an original work on paper; Grand Fleur, which features embroidered patterns inspired by Bronkar’s personal collection of 17th-century Venetian vestments and shawls; Laurel, derived from a favorite ceramic piece the artist found in Mexico City; and Oleander, which is a wonderful ode to paisley. "I love creating patterns that find their way throughout a home as the owner sees fit," says Bronkar.
Both collections coordinate with Hunter Douglas’ existing lines while creating new design possibilities. Ron Rubinoff, President of Hunter Douglas Window Designs Group, notes, "It’s an incredibly exciting moment for Hunter Douglas. We are certain that these artists’ aesthetics and our wider Design Studio line will resonate with consumers as they seek out inspired designs to complete the look of their windows."
Learn more about Hunter Douglas and its window treatment solutions for the home at hunterdouglas.com.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-18 00:01
We speak to the architect and educator about how Indigenous culture influences his work, and how empathy can dismantle colonialist approaches to design.
A citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, architect and educator Chris Cornelius has worked relentlessly to expand Indigenous sovereignty in the field. He’s the founding principal of Studio:Indigenous, a design and consulting practice serving Indigenous clients, and teaches a course called "De-Colonizing Indigenous Housing" at the Yale School of Architecture. Cornelius’s teaching and design career straddles both Canada and the United States, defying traditional notions of borders as boundaries.
Among his many accolades, Cornelius was among a group of Indigenous architects who represented Canada in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, and he was a design collaborator on the Indian Community School of Milwaukee (ICS), which won the 2009 AIA Design Excellence award from the Committee on Architecture for Education. His 2019 lecture at the University of Arkansas, "Make Architecture Indigenous Again," elevated Indigenous values in contemporary architecture and drew upon his 2003 Artist in Residence Fellowship from the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Cornelius is known for such works as trickster (itsnotatipi), a temporary installation in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and Wiikiaami in Columbus, Indiana, a piece inspired by the dwellings of the Miyaamia people indigenous to Indiana. For Cornelius, every structure starts with a story. His passion for drafting comes to life when using Indigenous narratives to inspire physical spaces that pay homage to heritage, while respecting the natural landscape. As an architect and educator, Cornelius pushes the boundaries of what we consider architecture and increases representation for native people in the field.
Cornelius: I think I always knew I wanted to be in architecture, even before I knew exactly what it was. I was fascinated with building. My father was a brick mason, and I became intrigued by the fact there was someone who designed the things he was building. In particular, I was interested in the drawings. By the time I started high school, I knew I wanted to be an architect, and everything I did was moving toward that goal. I took every drafting class I could. I even competed at the local and state level in vocational competitions for drafting by the time I was a senior.
Each project is unique, but most projects start by drawing ideas. I think it is important to start drawing even before you know what it is going to be. I like to start with stories and find ways to draw—not illustrate—through the story. There is so much content in Indigenous stories, science, history, technology, architecture, ecology, etc. I believe architecture should have as much content and serve as a tool of conveyance for sharing those things with all living things, as our relatives.
Indigenous knowledge has always contained ecology and history. I try to teach my non-Indigenous students in the same manner. For my studio at Yale, I gave students a series of readings that were about Indigenous history, policy, ecology, storytelling, and research paradigms. What I realized in that process is the more I taught them about Indigeneity, the more they realized what they didn't know—and it wasn't their fault. Their K-12, undergraduate, and partial graduate studies had taught them nothing about Indigenous history in the U.S. and Canada. This wasn’t a shortcoming on their part, but a failing in the system of colonized knowledge.
Because I tried to expose them to more Indigenous thinking, I believe our conversations about architecture became enriched by why it was important to think of our other living relatives or why exercising Indigenous sovereignty, whenever possible, is imperative.
The model of architectural education which has been in existence for about 150 years is very good at teaching students about the what and the how of architecture. It has failed students by not teaching more about the who and the why. I am trying to change that as an educator.
Being a professor of architecture is a gift. The best students are ones that seek mentoring, and it was an important part of my own maturation as a designer and educator. I can enjoy watching the development of students at my Yale Studio, like Max Wirsing and Ruike Liu.
I have also been fortunate to connect with Indigenous students of architecture (most are in Canada) and try to advise them as much as I can. I hope the workload for Studio:Indigenous will continue to expand. This is the only way for me to take on some of these individuals as employees.
When I started Studio:Indigenous in 2003, I did not see many Indigenous designers serving Indigenous clients. It's not that there weren't any, I just wasn't aware of them. I decided to start my practice to serve Indigenous people because, in my experience, design had not served them well, and I wanted to change that. This meant not specializing in any type of project, but to find the best way to translate the culture into an architectural experience.
We need to start including different voices in the conversation. This must happen from the top down—and bottom up. We need leaders from groups we haven't seen before. We need people in the design disciplines from groups we haven't typically heard from. We can't just stay in a world of reading lists and resource guides. We need to lift people into leadership roles, faculty positions, firm principals, governing positions, policy makers, client representatives, etc. I think our students (and not just students of color) are demanding it. The people controlling the funding mechanisms need to examine the ways they have always supported and/or fostered white-only mechanisms. I think most have done it unknowingly and unintentionally.
The built environment is Indigenous history. This relationship is sordid and complex.
We start with an understanding that if we are intervening in this landscape, we are intervening on Indigenous land.
Most U.S. cities are founded on Indigenous settlements. This land was not a "wild frontier" when European colonizers arrived. It was a complex network of civilizations that saw themselves as stewards of the land. This land was managed, maintained, and cared for like a relative that needs assistance. The built environment should not be seen as different from the non-built environment. It is all one robust family that we, as designers, facilitate interaction between key elements.
I believe that all design schools should require Indigenous history and policy courses. I think every design student should know the 1887 Dawes Act as well as they do the U.S. Constitution. Site analysis and history shouldn’t start with when a place became a city or state, but with the people indigenous to that landscape.
Decolonization starts and ends with addressing the dispossession of lands from Indigenous people in the U.S. and Canada. Colonized thought would want us to build and continue the differences between each of us to keep us apart. I believe true decolonization starts with the realization that colonization is fueled by a lack of empathy.
We can begin to dismantle the apparatus of colonization by incorporating empathy into the methods and strategies we use in design.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-17 21:58
Get that back-to-school feeling, without all the homework.
Whether you’re heading back into the office this fall, or stocking up on storage for upcoming picnics, tote your lunch in style with these stylish alternatives to the classic brown paper bag.
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Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-17 20:03
The Scandinavian-inspired prefab—a minimalist design that starts at $179K—is one family’s happy place by the sea.
Juris Grišins and Laura Komisare needed a break. Life in the big city of Riga, Latvia’s capital, was exhilarating, but the couple wanted somewhere they and their two children could spread out and connect with nature. "I come from a small town, and the first few summers I spent in the city were painful," remembers Laura.
Seeking some solitude and a view of the Baltic Sea, Laura and Juris, who works in finance, found an idyllic lot close to the small village of Roja, steps from the Gulf of Riga. But then the question became, what to build on the lot?
They approached an architect friend who had helped them remodel their apartment in Riga, and she drew up a plan for a summer home. "We told her what we wanted and the proposed home was twice as large as our apartment in the city!" says Laura. "Plus, digging the foundations for such a structure was going to be so expensive and so permanent."
No one knows what’s around the corner in life, says Laura, and they didn’t want to be tied down. So, they turned to prefab.
Another friend, Raimonds Gusarevs, had recently founded a prefab home building company specializing in designs no larger than 600 square feet. Based in Latvia, Manta North is an effort to bridge the gap between the homeowner and the factory, to make the home building process simpler and more efficient, says Gusarevs. "We have fixed prices, four floor plans, and two types of roofs to select from," he explains.
Manta’s two models—the Slope with the gabled roof and the Ray with a flat roof—can be configured and purchased entirely online, delivered direct to the site, and installed in less than two hours. "Manta means ‘good thing’ in Latvia, and our homes are good things from the North," says Gusarevs.
Gusarev also points out that every structure leaving their factory is carbon negative, removing three tons of carbon from the atmosphere thanks to the materials used and engineering processes employed.
"We don’t have all the extra expenses of a big house, we can clean it ourselves, and it is totally sufficient for what we need and how we use it."
–Laura Komisare, resident
Each is highly energy-efficient, featuring cross-laminated timber construction and cladding in thermally modified wood—timber that’s been heated at high temperatures for durability and strength. All materials used are sustainable and environmentally friendly, resulting in an eco-conscious design that promotes simpler living.
For Laura and Juris, it was the perfect solution for their summer retreat. "We don’t have all the extra expenses of a big house, we can clean it ourselves, and it is totally sufficient for what we need and how we use it," says Laura. "It also gives us a lot of flexibility for the future. We can just bring it with us if we move."
The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home arrived fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and all lighting, heating, and water fittings and fixtures in place. All the couple needed to add was furniture.
While it can get a bit tight at times, "especially when it’s raining!" says Laura, the home’s minimalist aesthetic and 516-square-foot floor plan promotes being closer to nature. "We spend a lot of time outside, walking in the woods, going to the beach," she says.
Her daughter, who’s six, and her son, three, enjoy running around outside. An adjacent open shed, also made by Manta North, provides shelter to enjoy dinner al fresco during the warmer summer months. It’s also an excellent spot for building snowmen in the winter.
Originally intended as a summer house, the family has found they use it almost every weekend. During the pandemic, the space proved perfect for isolating before a family gathering over Christmas. "We stayed here for ten days, and it was wonderful," recalls Juris. "It felt like another reality."
With no TV and few modern distractions, they spend their time reading, walking, or just sitting and listening to the sound of the sea. "It’s a great place for doing nothing," says Laura.
Manta North was founded in 2018 and Laura and Juris’s home was the third to roll off the factory floor. Subsequently, the company has produced close to 30 more prefabricated homes, delivering them to Iceland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Its two models start at $179,000 for 516 square feet, preinstalled with smart lighting, radiant floor heating, and mini-split air conditioning units that can be controlled with a voice assistant and a smartphone app. In the future, Manta plans to create units that can connect, allowing for home configurations spanning up to 1,500 square feet.
The company expects to have U.S. manufacturing facilities in place next year, with homes being delivered in both New York and California in early 2022.
Builder/General Contractor: Manta North
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-17 12:57
Gon Architects transform a 323-square-foot urban dwelling owned by a music-loving journalist into a beach-inspired retreat with theatrical details.
After living in the same small and dark attic apartment in Madrid’s Lavapiés neighborhood since 1993, Spanish journalist Manuel made the decision to transform the 323-square-foot unit into a bright space that feels more like a holiday home. "We called the apartment Beach House, which refers to the client’s desire to live in a space that has all the attributes of a vacation house—bright, carefree and comfortable," says architect Gonzalo Pardo, founder of local firm Gon Architects. "The difference is that this house is located in the center of a city without a sea."
The original apartment was split into three rooms—a living space with a kitchen and dining area, plus a bedroom and bathroom—with a semihidden terrace that the resident rarely used. In addition, the sloping roof featured exposed wooden beams that gave the space what Pardo describes as a "somewhat gloomy" feeling. "When we arrived, we were very clear about the actions needed to transform the space," says the architect. "They can be summed up in three words: demolish, perforate, and furnish."
As a result, the existing wall between the bedroom and living space was demolished, and new perforations were added to the roof to create skylights that flood the interior with natural light. The perimeter of the apartment was also furnished with a bespoke, floor-to-ceiling storage system that is covered in mirrors and includes a kitchenette.
Manuel’s passions include listening to rock music and opera, as well as using social networks, such as Instagram. In response to these interests, the architect incorporated scenographic elements into the space, such as a large, gray curtain that the resident can close to divide the primary living area from the bathroom, storage wall, and front entrance. Strategically placed mirrors make the compact apartment feel more expansive and also allow Manuel to take selfies with his home in the background.
"The final outcome is a luminous apartment that can be modified by opening and closing the curtain depending on the mood," says Pardo. "The passage from one room to the next is fluid, and each [area] is characterized by the few pieces of furniture in the apartment—a table, three chairs, a lamp, an armchair, and the bed."
Because the intention was to create a relaxed and comfortable space for Manuel, the architect used a simple material palette marked by ceramic tiles, mirrors, and simple painted finishes. Still, one of the defining features of the renovated apartment is the bright, Yves Klein blue–painted floor, which works to reduce the overt brightness that was introduced through the addition of the skylights and establish a unifying element that runs through the interior. "[The International Klein Blue floor] creates a dialogue with the sky and helps to blur the boundaries between the interior/exterior, public/private, and open/closed spaces," Pardo says.
The terrace—which is connected to the unit via glazed doors and a tiled wall that continues from the interior to the exterior—is one of Pardo’s favorite elements of the project. "The tiled bench on the terrace invites you to lie down and take a nap on summer afternoons, eat with friends, or just sit and read," says the architect. What more could you want from an urban apartment designed to evoke the relaxed lifestyle offered by a beach house?
More from Gon Architects:
Builder/General Contractor: reDO Construcción
Interior Design: Gon Architects / @gonarchitects
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 22:35
Positioned along the Mediterranean, the family home features modernist lines and a living area that connects to a gorgeous backyard.
Situated below La Concha mountain in the Spanish city of Marbella is a simple white home tucked into a lush site. With a detached guest house, the residence, a renovation and expansion of an old villa by Febrero Studio, was imagined for a young couple with a baby who love entertaining family and friends. Clean lines and pure forms evoke modernist aesthetics, while its character and materiality speak to local vernacular.
"The brief was very clear from the first moment," says Febrero Studio, a Madrid-based architecture and design firm founded by Mercedes Gonzales Ballesteros and Jesús Díaz Osuna. "They wanted a house with open spaces that create a big impact and a calm, peaceful atmosphere."
The volumes of the main home are shaped by the structure of the villa that stood on the site. It had been completely abandoned, but the structural brickwork and concrete was in perfect condition. So, the architects decided to preserve these elements and extend the existing structure out to create the new home.
The roughly 3,230-square-foot home is divided into a private "night area" and expansive, open-plan space for living, cooking, and dining. The living space is on a lower level that opens to the pool, and a semipublic entrance corridor separates the two spaces. There’s also a separate guest house, which is fully independent.
The floor of the "day area" extends from the interior to the exterior and leads out to the pool, which is surrounded by a lush garden. This, in addition to large windows that frame the surrounding landscape, and the pergola that shades the outdoor dining space near the pool, dissolve the lines between inside and out. Conversely, the "night area" of the home has smaller window and door openings, giving the space a more private feeling.
Throughout, a palette of natural materials complement the beautiful setting. The floor is constructed from large sheets of natural stone by Pangaea, the walls are artisanal clay, and all the timber is American ash with a natural water-based protection.
"All interior materials are natural and in the same range of color—mainly beige and sand," say the designers. "It took a lot of time to find the various materials and to get them to work together as a whole."
The natural materiality of the home is complemented by carefully crafted timber furniture and statement lighting, such as the simple timber beam that hangs above the kitchen island, or the trio of striking geometric pendants above the dining table.
"All the spaces in the home have been designed for slow life and relaxation without any shrillness and are based on the purity of materials," say the designers. "Our favorite part of the project is the way the kitchen and living area open out to the pergola and pool in one continuous space."
Architect of Record: Febrero Studio
Interior Design: Febrero Studio
Photography: Germán Saíz
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 22:08
Norske Mikrohus’s latest project is a 174-square-foot-home that promises to get you closer to nature.
David and Jeanette Reiss-Andersen, the cofounders of Oslo-based Norske Mikrohus, just unveiled their most compact design to date: a wood-wrapped tiny house named Rast. "We created Rast for anyone who wants to experience the outdoors close up, and in a sustainable way," David says.
Clad in local timber, Rast measures 174 square feet. "Norwegian spruce is light and weather resistant," David says. "We wanted it to be as lightweight as possible, so that it would be able to access dense and remote areas. The fact that it has wheels means that it doesn’t leave any footprint."
Jeanette, who designed the tiny home, selected a dark stain to make the Norwegian spruce exterior blend with the landscape. She outfitted the interior walls and ceiling with a pale birch veneer that expresses the wood grain. "The birch veneer has a beautiful glow when oiled," David says. "Much of our inspiration came from the Norwegian hills, fjords, mountains, and lakes...our tiny home concept is based on being able to live in nature without interfering with it."
The tiny house on wheels is marked by large windows and glass double doors that swing open and tie the interior to the outdoors. "We consider the outside environment to be just as important as the indoors, especially with this model," David explains. Large windows, even in the shower, provide plenty of sunlight and let the outside in.
Rast is designed with Nordic weather conditions in mind—its roof can withstand heavy snowfall, and its walls incorporate thick insulation made of wool, glass, and aluminum. On sunny winter days, occupants can stay warm and comfortable inside while still feeling tied to the outdoors. "The large window in the shower really puts you in touch with the natural surroundings," David says.
The couple outfitted the living area with a built-in daybed that converts to a double bed at night. "During the day, it works as a sofa and features a small built-in table that folds out and offers a place to enjoy a meal and the view," David says.
The secondary sleeping area, which is arranged with bunk beds, can accommodate up to four people. A small table pulls out from the foot of the lower bunk bed and offers a second compact dining area.
For storage, the couple tucked hidden drawers and shelving into built-in furniture pieces. Storage shelves can be found beneath the surface of the pull-out table, and the living room daybed lifts up to reveal two large storage drawers that pull out from beneath it. "Those drawers can hold anything from bedding to luggage and hiking equipment," David says.
According to David and Jeanette, tiny homes offer the ideal way to travel. "They’re affordable and require less maintenance," David says. "Rast supports a general minimalist trend, and appeals to environmentally conscious people, who want the freedom that comes with traveling and living simply and sustainably."
More from Norske Mikrohus:
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 21:29
It’s been right in front of us all along, but architect Jane Hall’s latest book makes it abundantly clear: Design as we know it would be nothing without a woman.
Since the early 20th century, women have been a steady force within the design world. However, their efforts by and large have gone overlooked, relegated to the shadows of those of their male counterparts. In Woman Made: Great Women Designers, British architect and author Jane Hall compiles outstanding works that have greatly impacted the trajectory of design, giving female creatives the attention they deserve.
"The patriarchal nature of architecture, among many reasons, is why a large number of women leave the profession in pursuit of other focuses, which often lead many into other design disciplines," argues Hall. "An incredibly high number of architects featured in Woman Made started out in architecture, so it felt like an apt way to make visible even more women who have done, and are continuing to, make important work that often goes unseen across all fields of design."
The book spans designers from the early 20th century to present day, highlighting the experiences of women responsible for profound innovations. Take the modular apartments designed by Charlotte Perriand in the late 1920s, for example, which were a response to changing attitudes to family life. On a more conceptual level, Hall offers Jane Dillon’s whimsical furniture, an attempt to reclaim the home from the patriarchal gaze.
With the book, Hall aims to give credit where credit is due. "Women in design face the same types of obstacles that women in other professions experience," she explains. "The greatest threat is that a gender bias means we are less likely to see the work of women in comparison to their male counterparts"—which makes a work like Woman Made—a compendium of pioneers and newcomers in the fields of architecture and design—all the more important.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:36
Every year, we present the most exciting designers making furniture, lighting, and other objects for your home. Here is this year’s list...
For three years, we’ve been asking everyone featured in the Dwell 24, our annual roundup of exceptional emerging designers, to reply to a Proust Questionnaire–style survey about their lives and work. And this year, for the first time, none of them chose the dictum "less is more" as a personal credo. San Francisco designer Viviana Matsuda went so far as to call out minimalism generally: "I think it’s very arrogant and has notes of classism." At Dwell, we don’t wholly agree. Taken as a style signifying the privilege to have a fashionably empty space, it is certainly, well, hollow. But we like to believe subtraction has merits that transcend trends.
That said, we love the provocation in Matsuda’s statement. It has echoes in the work of many of the designers in this year’s group. Several told us about how they spent time during periods of lockdown and isolation by going deeper into their practice, honing ideas, and focusing on materials or craft rather than responding to external influences. That has resulted in work that feels personal—"That bench is me," says North Carolina designer Esi Hutchinson of one of her recent projects—and that short-circuits many of the cyclical design trends we usually see.
As always, we aim to spotlight designers from many different backgrounds working in a variety of media and in a multitude of locations and contexts, but as we put together the list, some common threads surfaced. Many are working with found or upcycled materials, or otherwise reckoning with waste in the furniture and textile industries. "We’re desire creators—and are probably very responsible for the amount of waste that society produces," says Brooklyn designer Sean Kim. Others have looked to textiles as a medium for experimentation. Take Singapore designer Tiffany Loy, whose pieces slink down walls and otherwise unravel the rectilinearity of the loom, or New Yorker Liam Lee’s surreal squiggles built up over unnaturally vivid piles, or Brazilian Alex Rocca, who, armed with a tufting gun and a repertoire of oblique film references, makes satisfyingly textured wall hangings.
Above all, as we put together the first Dwell 24 reflecting a transition from lockdowns toward cautiously venturing out, we saw a variety that defies pre-pandemic design trends in favor of individual obsessions. And if this period emboldens us to, like Matsuda, challenge orthodoxies about what our homes should look like—and to listen to designers who have spent this time refining their distinct voices—we can’t think of a better way for us all to emerge.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:23
At Blue Green Works, creative director Peter B. Staples creates lighting fixtures inspired by film, architecture, and New York City.
Designer Peter B. Staples brings a cinematographer’s eye to his designs for Blue Green Works, the studio he founded last year with longtime collaborators James McAvey and Dan Persechini, who handle the business side of things.
Staples studied film in college, when he considered the field the nexus of his curiosities about architecture, fashion, and narrative, but eventually found his way to design, where his multifaceted interests have informed his work.
Take the studio’s inaugural Palm lighting collection, which was inspired by the "brutal beach modernism" and storied hedonism of Fire Island Pines, the gay vacation destination. "The luminaires were conceived around sex and voyeurism," Staples says. "They change as you move through them and play with different vantage points or transparencies."
The studio is based in New York, and the city is providing more inspiration for its next act. "Here, people live out their dreams on the streets and in the restaurants, inside stores and bars," Staples says. "I think it’s all kind of like a movie."
Learn more about Staples by reading the Q&A below.
Hometown: Moline, Illinois
Describe what you make in 140 characters. We make lighting fixtures using steel, brass, slumped glass, and fiberglass.
What's the last thing you designed? We just launched our first collection of lighting: it's a total of seven pieces between two series.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Music and coffee.
How do you procrastinate? Listing to the same song on repeat until I find some clarity.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? Ceiling fans and televisions. I just think we could do better. They should be great objects, not just appliances.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Horace Gifford, Jim Jarmusch, Piet Hein Eek, Rihanna, Billy Cotton, Frank O'Hara, and Nina Simone.
What skill would you most like to learn? Carpentry.
What is your most treasured possession? I have a painting of Olivia Hussey from Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet that my grandmother painted from a photo in Life Magazine. It hung in the entryway of their house when I was a kid and I always loved it. It's mesmerizing — Juliet has this amazingly intense gaze and the composition is a bit off. I have it in my apartment now and I'm more in love with it every day.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? I grew up in a Gustav Stickley house surrounded by craftsman furniture. I remember it as being rich and moody like the inside of an instrument: a lot of wood, a lot of resonance. I also remember playing on a golden shag rug and dancing to the Velvet Underground.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Despise is a strong word but I'm worried about how much marble we have left.
Finish this statement: All design should... Serve a purpose while making you feel something.
What's in your dream house? A Joe D'Urso coffee table, a Piet Hein Eek cabinet, some great Stickley chairs, some Donald Judd art, white slipcovered sofas, and my friends.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? More realistic. More open. More approachable. More conscious.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:21
New York–based designer Liam Lee is quickly gaining notice for his vibrant, captivating textile panels.
Liam Lee’s textiles contain multitudes. The meandering lines and clustered forms that traverse his throws can alternatively be seen as representing microbes, star charts, or topographic maps. "I let the compositions unfold organically," the New York designer explains. "I think of them as large-format, slow sketches."
For Lee, the labor-intensive process of dyeing and hand-felting merino fibers into a woven base began in 2019 as a side project from his day job as a set designer. When the Covid-19 pandemic halted productions, he was able to keep working on textiles from the confines of his apartment, and the solo design practice became a full-time pursuit.
While Lee’s panels are available through the Noguchi Museum and Heath Ceramics, they live a second life on social media, where their tactile qualities translate vividly. "My goal is to provide a space that viewers can project themselves into," Lee says, "to allow for a moment of meditation."
Read the Q&A with Lee below to learn about his connection to Charles and Ray Eames, his enviable library, and more.
Hometown: New York, New York
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I make objects for the home that seek a balance between functionality and aesthetic uncertainty.
What's the last thing you designed? A handful of textile and stoneware pieces for Heath Ceramics.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Many cups of coffee.
How do you procrastinate? Book hoarding and looking through the books I’ve hoarded.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? I would love to design a collection of cookware that can take a lot of use and gets better with age. I love to cook and feel that cooking with beautiful, well-made tools makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? A few ofmine are Martin Puryear, Jens Quistgaard, Rei Kawakubo, Hayao Miyazaki, John Milton, Djuna Barnes, and Isamu Noguchi.
What skill would you most like to learn? Glassblowing!
What is your most treasured possession? My maternal grandfather, George Matsumoto, bequeathed his collection of architecture books to me. It includes volumes by Max Bill, Lewis Mumford, Sigfried Giedion, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, and György Kepes.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? At my grandparent's house when we were younger, my cousins, siblings and I would try to spin each other as fast as possible in a very old rosewood Eames lounge chair. My grandfather, who studied at Cranbrook in the 40s and became friends with Charles and Ray Eames there, was not at all phased by our game that inevitably and tragically resulted in disaster for the chair.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Our collective infatuation with the surface of things, which I think has led to design solely for the image of the thing rather than for the thing itself.
Finish this statement: All design should... All design should—on a basic level—serve its intended physical function. But I tend to be drawn to design objects that also elicit some sort of emotional response or get me thinking.
What's in your dream house?An interior courtyard with one magnolia tree.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? I would like design to be much more tactile.
How can the design world be more inclusive? The design industry can be more inclusive by offering more well-paying, substantial opportunities to designers of color as well as promoting their work and asking them what they need to advance their careers. Museums, design and art schools, firms, galleries, publications should actively recruit and promote people of color to positions of power and pay a living wage.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? People often don’t understand the amount of time and labor—both mental and physical—that goes into creating something new.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:17
The furniture designers at Orior are applying a contemporary perspective informed by traditional methods.
Though Brian and Rosemary McGuigan established Northern Irish furniture line Orior in 1979, over the past two years the company has been reinvented under the creative direction of their son Ciarán—with the help of their daughter Katie, an occasional adviser who runs her own clothing line.
"Building on a brand my mom and dad started forty-two years ago, I didn’t want collections," Ciarán says. "I wanted to create objects with their own identity."
He and his U.S.-based team are reimagining pieces from archival lines in new styles. Katie, in London, is drawing on her experience as a fashion designer to create work like the Orcal rug, which features a bold print inspired by the Irish countryside.
The McGuigans are reinvigorating their brand through more than just furnishings. In Georgia, where Ciarán went to school, the company is creating a space where staff can meet with clients. Ciarán says, "It’s where we’ll bring our ideas together."
Read the full Q&A with Ciarán below.
Hometown: Rostrevor, Ireland
Describe what you make in 140 characters. We design and make high-end heirloom furniture
What's the last thing you designed? A desk.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Linking up with my team on WhatsApp for constant banter.
How do you procrastinate? Reading up on soccer.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? A vanity, I could do a banging job
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? My sister Katie Ann McGuigan is my muse
What skill would you most like to learn? I would love to learn how to weave rugs.
What is your most treasured possession? Early works by artists Andrew Humke and Lou Ros.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? Being immersed in the Orior workshop as a child.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? I’m not a huge fan of trends.
Finish this statement: All design should… Last.
What's in your dream house? High ceilings, open space, and a ton of art.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? The amount of time and thought that goes into every single detail.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:14
At Atra Form Studio in Mexico City, Alexander Diaz Andersson makes globally inspired furniture that pulls from his Swedish-Mexican roots.
Though Atra Form Studio exudes a distinctly Mexico City cool—no surprise, given its flagship gallery is in chic Colonia Roma, across from famed restaurant Rosetta—its refined but robust furniture is shaped by influences from around the world.
Creative director Alexander Diaz Andersson pulls from his Swedish-Mexican roots, while his mother, Maria, business partner, James Williams, and their team of designers from across Europe and the Americas lend their skills to create work with an increasingly global appeal.
But that doesn’t mean the company’s output is anything approaching generic. Williams describes the bold but streamlined forms of pieces like the Ala chair as having a "Scandinavian midcentury modern origin but mixed with the flavors and feelings of Central America."
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:10
Tiffany Loy’s woven art draws from her deep knowledge of traditional techniques across Singapore, England, and Japan.
Singaporean designer Tiffany Loy describes the weaving loom as the earliest computer, its products a binary system of threads going under and over one another to create images. Her work—shaped by studies in Singapore, England, and Japan—unpacks thousands of years’ worth of knowledge and techniques.
With weaving, "there is so much that one can discover," Loy says. "For example, the same white threads used to weave two different fabrics will result in different shades of white, since the behavior of light and shadow depend so much on the texture."
Though she works with an eye to the past, her creations are inventive and often delicately complex. Her Pastiche textile layers two patterns: Zigzagging fine blue woven lines run over bold painted yellow lines. The composition distorts when stretched over the folds of a Zanotta Sacco bean bag chair, turning a familiar form into something new and beguiling.
Read the full Q&A with Loy below.
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I create bespoke textile designs as well as fibre-based art pieces.
What's the last thing you designed? A new type of wall-covering made from a range of environmentally-responsible materials.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? I start the workday with a wholesome breakfast to help me concentrate.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? The face mask—if it was both effective and extremely comfortable it wouldn't feel like a hassle to use it.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? I admire Dóra Maurer's attitude and enthusiasm for working across a range of media, while expressing ideas along the same thread.
What skill would you most like to learn? Picking up different languages quickly—if that's a skill.
What is your most treasured possession? My first weaving loom.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? Playing with LEGOs when I was about five years old.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? I'm generally not into trends to begin with.
Finish this statement: All design should... add value to life, or at the very least, not make it more difficult.
What's in your dream house? Space! And plenty of textile surfaces.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? I'd like design to be less mass-produced, more bespoke, and more appreciated.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? Design takes time.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:08
Studio Beson founder, Gregory Beson, harnesses his early experience as a woodworker to create thoughtful, one-of-a kind furniture.
Brooklyn’s Gregory Beson began his career as an apprentice woodworker, learning the trade on renovation and restoration projects in New England. But he started making furniture as a way to create more intimate relationships between objects and their eventual owners. "Every stick of walnut is different, so every table I make is different—the client gets a special table…their table," he says.
After graduating from Parsons School of Design, Beson introduced a line of wooden furniture alongside more experimental pieces made from materials like rock salt and bonemeal. In whatever medium he is working, Beson subtly composes lines and surfaces, as in the quietly complex Thirds table, made of solid walnut modules.
Now, as an instructor at Parsons with students and apprentices of his own, he has the resources to explore, guided by his belief in deliberate humanism. "Design should have a tenderness toward people," he says. "It should be thoughtful, caring, and decisive."
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:06
Mac Collins is a young designer making a big name for himself through his functional furniture and objects that are rooted in the art of storytelling.
You could say that Mac Collins is a storyteller as much as he is a designer. Though he started at England’s Northumbria University with an idea about studying sculpture, he soon developed an interest in creating functional objects that could become part of the narratives of peoples’ lives. "Making chairs is almost the perfect embodiment of that for me," says Collins, now a designer in residence at his alma mater.
He infuses his work with complex histories, through both visual aesthetics and how his objects manipulate the body. His breakout project, the Iklwa chair, was an exploration into his Afro-Caribbean heritage. The piece is meant to evoke feelings of power and prestige in its user, serving to protest the oppression of his ancestors. "I want to weave these stories into things," Collins says, "and let the narrative lead the design process."
Read the Q&A with Collins below to learn more about the emerging designer.
Hometown: Nottingham, United Kingdom
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I design and make narrative-driven furniture and objects.
What's the last thing you designed? A lounge chair and accompanying stool for the Discovered project, run by Wallpaper* magazine and The American Hardwoods Export Council (AHEC) for the Design Museum, London.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Since my activities differ day-to-day, the only consistent ritual I have is to prepare my space for the task that I am about preform. My studio environment is not generally the tidiest, and so before instigating a task I will organize and clean that particular desk space to create a calm environment.
How do you procrastinate? I share a studio with another resident designer called Joe Franc, much of the less productive time in the day is spent chatting and joking with him. That being said, though we're not physically completing tasks, the topic of conversation is often rooted in the principles of design and is likely still time well spent.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? An office/desk chair—firstly, because I need one, the desk chair I currently have was found out the back of a doctors practice. Though it is still fit for purpose, it is one of those recognizable cheap blue ones and it is ugly. So, from a self-indulgent perspective, it would be great to design one specifically for myself. Secondly, modern desk chairs are often so high-tech looking—I would be interested in designing one that still functioned well but was more sleek and striking.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Maya Angelou for the ability she had to articulate complex ideas so clearly. In design, I would have to say Enzo Mari and Sergio Rodriguestwo figures whose work particularly appealed to me right at the beginning of my education in design. Hella Jongerius, for her unique perspective of the world and approach to creating work.
What skill would you most like to learn? Though I make furniture, I had always had a feeling that I would have been good at designing and making garments. If the opportunity ever arose, I would be keen to develop an understanding of fashion design and pattern cutting.
What is your most treasured possession? A vintage Omega Seamaster watch that was left to me by a close family friend. The object is treasured for numerous reasons. The sentimental stories and history that the object carries. The appreciation I have for the design—the composition of shapes and the interlocking links of silver and gold. The seamless functionality of the object, and the appreciation for the intricate interworks that I have never seen but know are there.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? There used to be a Muji in Nottingham when I was younger. I was an avid drawer and when I was perhaps 8 years old I was given an aluminum propelling pencil from Muji. I treasured this pencil. I could appreciate that this was more effective and more enjoyable to use than any other pencil I had used before. I could appreciate how it felt in my hand, found the clicking action satisfying, and loved the hidden rubber at the end. I still use these pencils in the workshop some 15 years later.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Corny transformation furniture.
Finish this statement: All design should... Exist for a reason that is beyond financial gain.
What's in your dream house? A Chieftain Chair by Finn Juhl, 005 Coffee Table by Soft Baroque for Vaarnii and an original painting by Chris Ofili. An iteration of the Soap Table by Sabine Marcelis as my office desk, and a side table by Simone Brewster.
How can the design world be more inclusive? Many groups are excluded from accessing and using certain types of design. Similarly, there are areas of the design sector that are not yet open to designers from all communities, which limits the pool of experiences influencing the design of objects around us. The greater diversity in experiences feeding into the industry, the more sensitive the industry will be to a wider range of individuals.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? The process of coming to the right conclusion in a project is longer than some people expect. Design is a game of decision making—the contemplation to make the right decisions takes time.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:03
K-apostrophe is a collection of made-to-order accessories by Los Angeles–based artist K’era Morgan.
K’era Morgan started out as a visual artist, but saw home furnishings as a way to make her creations more accessible to those who might not be able to buy original artwork. "I started with a collection of eight throw blankets, simple as that, because I have a natural affinity for home," the Los Angeles designer says. "And everybody has some sort of connection or memory with a blanket."
Her line, k-apostrophe, now also features tapestries, pillows, and prints, all showing off painterly splashes of subdued and comforting colors bounded by organic shapes and lines.
Although her patterns hold their own on a flat surface, they really come alive in three dimensions. "I want to see how a two-dimensional surface will change when I make it into an object that can also be folded or wrapped around," Morgan says.
"When you lay your head down and a surface creases, what happens? There are some beautiful surprises that happen—and I like that."
Read the Q&A with Morgan below.
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I'm an artist and design woven home decor products—pillows, blankets, and tapestries—that are based on my original artworks.
What's the last thing you designed? That is a hard one because I generally multiple design projects happening at the same time, but they all come to completion at different times. I just launched wallpapers in collaboration with the creative consulting firm Wall for Apricots. I recently completed a trio of custom, hand-painted lamp shades for a client and I will be launching new floor and lumbar pillows that are handwoven by an artisan collective in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Meditation, then journaling/drawing. Mediation is a must for my overall wellbeing. Journaling at times takes the form of written words then other times it takes shape as line drawings in the same sketchbook. There are many days when the tasks of running a business takes me away from the creative aspect of what I do, so I try to dedicate a bit of time daily to doing something creative even if it's drawing for a few moments. It's essential to work that muscle regularly.
How do you procrastinate? The simple answer is, I clean. Since I have a home-based studio, procrastination usually takes the form of doing tasks related to maintaining a household. It's funny how I can rationalize doing housework during work hours instead of working on k-apostrophe. It's one of the reasons I'm forcing myself to consider finding a different studio space away from home although my garage studio is a great space and very convenient.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? I recently explored how to apply my painting skills and aesthetic to lighting and I would like to continue that exploration. Although I'm not sure more lamps are needed, I'm drawn to the idea of colorful illumination. Lighting is essential and it's often treated as an afterthought. It affects our mood, how we live, how we work, etc. I would love to create something that is a beautiful reminder of how crucial light is in the form of a functional object d'art.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? I'm a fan of many of the designers that I've discovered through the Black Artists + Designers Guild. Learning about the broad community of designers with whom I share a culture that have forged successful careers despite an industry that can be rather exclusive has been very motivational. Doing what they've done is heroic in my eyes.
What skill would you most like to learn? The art of upholstery. I've been enchanted with it for a long time and the idea of giving something old a new life is very appealing to me for sustainability reasons. Just like a fresh coat of paint can change a room, fashioning a new "skin" onto a sofa, for example, can reinvigorate it and thus change the environment in which it is kept. I think it also has to do with growing up in a household and within a culture where we had to be creative with what we had.
What is your most treasured possession? An opal stone that is strung on a necklace that my father gifted my mother for one of her birthdays. She passed it onto me before she transitioned. She and I are both Libras and opals our birthstone. It's shaped into a sphere bead which is almost impossible to do because opal is a soft stone. It wasn't until several years ago when opals started becoming trendy did people actually notice it and comment how beautiful it was.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? Probably my fascination with the design of KangaRoo sneakers that featured a side zipper pocket. As a latch-key kid, I had to learn to keep up with my house key from a young age and believed this shoe was designed for me and other kids like me. It was a simple invention that made a huge impact on me.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? In general, I don't like trends. This is a result of times that I've felt the pressure as a creative just starting out to design something in the vein of whatever was popular at that moment in order to achieve the awareness or success that I desired. I learned quickly that is a dangerous place to be in. So,as a philosophy, I try to stick with what I like and reflect on what it is about a particular design or that calls my attention.
Finish this statement: All design should... have a purpose even if is purely decorative.
What's in your dream house? A lot of natural sunlight, a boat-load of original artwork created by friends and a dining table to seat 10 comfortably. A master bath that includes a fireplace and a tub next to huge windows that look out onto an amazing view. A vintage, curved Milo Baughman sofa and a sitting room with leather flooring.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? I hope that as designers we will be able to engage more in the process of making and producing what we design—or at least finding sustainable, shorter supply chains. Collaborating with manufacturing partners is and can be a wonderful thing. It's essential for many of us and can be the lifeblood for manufacturers or keeping a craft tradition alive. But there is something to be said when as designers we are also artisans and craftspeople that have the skill to make what we dream up.
How can the design world be more inclusive? By owning the fact that the community has exclusive tendencies and understand or at least examine why or how that is. Then, move beyond the respective bubble. Do the work to connect, extend, and follow through.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry?
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 18:00
Brussels-based Studio Biskt combines ceramics and industrial design to explore innovative clay creations.
Since establishing Studio Biskt in 2018, Charlotte Gigan and Martin Duchêne have combined their skill sets—Gigan is a ceramicist and Duchêne an industrial designer—to push the possibilities of their material of choice. "We want to take clay out of its usual form as cups and vases to show it’s not fragile," Gigan says.
Case in point: their ongoing Balik project, a series of objects incorporating modular clay brick extrusions. In the Balik bench, the clay units span two parallel tubes of metal to create the seat, proving the material’s ability to create a strong, reliable support for every sitter.
But their products are more than just engineering innovations; they’re also playful experiments that show how industrial systems can be used to create things surprising and beautiful. Where the duo’s explorations will take them is anyone’s guess. As Gigan puts it, "Our products are constantly in movement and never finished."
Read the Q&A with Gigan and Duchêne below to learn more about Studio Biskt.
Arlon, Belgium —Duchêne
Paris, France —Gigan
Describe what you make in 140 characters. We work at the crossroads of art, design, and handcraft.
What's the last thing you designed? We are currently busy with flower pots.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Hm not really, we discuss every day what we will be doing. It's not really organized.
How do you procrastinate? We talk with our workshop's neighbors.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? We'd like to bring contemporary ceramic design deeper in our living environment by designing handles or heaters, for example.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? We don't especially have heroes or mentors, but let's say that we are motivated daily by our environnement and our friends who also work in the art and design sector.
What skill would you most like to learn?
Glass blowing. —Gigan
Handwheel sewing. —Duchêne
What is your most treasured possession? Our love, ha!
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? IKEA
What contemporary design trend do you despise? This is not a design trend yet, but we really despise the new space travel companies.
Finish this statement: All design should... be open source.
What's in your dream house? Simple things and a big garden.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? We would love to see it become more local.
How can the design world be more inclusive? More simplicity.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? We wish non-designers had a better understanding of the difference between crafts and industry.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 17:57
Multidisciplinary artist Llane Alexis utilizes discarded textiles and other materials to create distinctive furniture and home objects.
Some people wake up and brew a cup of coffee to get their day started. Artist Llane Alexis does a headstand. The inversion reflects his distinctive approach to design, which takes waste and turns it into something useful.
Alexis began his artistic career in 1997 as a painter in Havana and went on to make a name for himself designing handbags and other accessories. But in his latest chapter, he has begun making furnishings and other objects for the home that mesh painting, sculpture, and personal history—like braided baskets made from salvaged materials.
"I like to use things that are discarded and work with natural fabrics like denim, cotton, and silk," he says. "I love color blocking and playing randomly with my fabrics." That approach and his signature braiding style draw from the handcraft traditions of his hometown, where people would get creative with whatever resources were available. Alexis is now taking that intelligence to the design world through collaborations with California brands like Dosa and Heath Ceramics.
Read the Q&A with Alexis below.
Hometown: San Francisco, California
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I transform off-cut fabric scraps into bags, accessories, and larger-scale home goods such as baskets and furniture objects.
What's the last thing you designed? I created a collection of braided and hand-stitched, painted fabric baskets and doorstops for Nickey Kehoe in Los Angeles.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? A headstand first thing in the morning.
How do you procrastinate? I don’t have time to procrastinate.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Nature. Everybody copies her.
What skill would you most like to learn? I’m curious about filmmaking and sound design.
What is your most treasured possession? My tools: my scissors, my thread, my needle, my thimble.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? As a kid growing up in Havana, Cuba, playing baseball was practically mandatory. I hated the sport and still do. But the hand-stitched mitts and baseballs were so beautifully made and are of heirloom quality.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? I don’t despise the trends as much as the followers.
Finish this statement: All design should...inspire and be accessible.
What's in your dream house? A black-bottom pool and an edible garden.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? There should be no excuse for unsustainable design.
How can the design world be more inclusive? Let’s dismantle, abolish, and restructure to start.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? The labor involved in handcraft.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 17:55
In North Carolina, Esi Hutchinson creates furniture that is deeply personal and deceptively simple.
"That bench is me," says Fairview, North Carolina–based designer Esi Hutchinson about Occurring Between Me, her surprisingly complex cherrywood seat. From above, the piece could be any other simple wood bench, but a peek below reveals a hectic clutter of crisscrossed supports on one side and two straight legs on the other.
She describes the duality between the chaotic (but still functional) forest of legs and the comparatively staid side as semiautobiographical. In fact, the 2020 RISD grad says this thread of self-reflection runs through all of her work.
"When I’m working on my designs and different projects," Hutchinson says, "I’m just trying to become a better person—or the person I would like to be."
Read the Q&A below to learn more about Hutchinson.
Hometown: Fairview, North Carolina
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I craft objects that reflect my ever-evolving inner dialogue.
What's last thing you designed? I designed a tank top cut low in the front inspired by slits and loops.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? I am compelled to work with my hands and make things. I would say I am constantly making and scheming up my next project in the meantime— whether that’s in furniture, paint, cloth, or jewelry.
How do you procrastinate? Probably by thinking more about the concept I'm working on. Sometimes I get put off about starting a new project because I’m scared—I don’t want to mess up and disappoint myself.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? The fact that every iPhone nowadays no longer has an earphone jack blows mind! Big companies want to build upon their success and rapidly release new versions of what is likely already a good design. I think that the earphone jack is a prime example of a good design that just needed to be left alone.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Simon Porte Jacquemus, the 70-year-old man I play pickle-ball with, and my father.
What skill would you most like to learn? I would love to go to Italy and learn how to make shoes from leather.
What is your most treasured possession? My senses.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? When I was about seven or eight my dad’s sculptor friend, Bruce Johnson, was volunteering on a building project in the rainforest park where we lived in Suriname. He asked me if I wanted to make something with him. Even though he made most of the project with a chainsaw, I still got to use a grinder to scrape designs on to the four-legged, brownheart stool. I barely could even carry it.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Epoxy resin tables.
Finish this statement: All design should... At least consider sustainability within every project.
What's in your dream house? My dream house would be a midcentury modern house, full of my friends art, a small pool, and a yard that leads into a forest that's large enough for a hike. And of course a studio with welding and wood machinery, a sewing machine, and a great sound system.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? I think it would be helpful for the world if design were more sustainable physically and economically.
How can the design world be more inclusive? I grew up in a house filled with vibrant street art, and artist and designers who didn’t have very much and made things with what they had. There are artists and designers literally everywhere. Not just the people who have a websites or an Instagram.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? I wish they understood how much mental and physical effort goes into it. Some people pour their heart and soul into creating things and sometimes that isn’t healthy. It’s hard work.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 17:53
With recent work including NFT collectors’ cards and a collaboration with French furniture brand Sifas, Döppel Studio’s body of work defies categorization.
Parisian designers Jonathan Omar and Lionel Dinis Salazar of Döppel Studio have extracted humor from a rather hopeless time. "During this year of hibernation, we kept thinking about how people like us weren’t shaving," says Omar. "So," adds Dinis Salazar, jumping in, "we decided to apply this effect of the lockdown to modern design icons and see how it would change them. Would they still be recognizable? Would they have the same effect in a room?"
The result—their Hairy Design Icons series—has turned such classics as Marcel Breuer’s Wassily chair and Big-Game’s Bold chair into shaggy explosions of electric blue.
Though the pieces were originally only available as NFT collectors’ cards, they will soon be physical. "For us, digital techniques are a way to push the boundaries of the realms of possibility, and we work hard to make the physical match our digital ambition," Omar explains.
Read the full Q&A with Döppel Studio below.
Hometown: Nevers, France
Describe what you make in 140 characters. We are a design duo working on micro- to macro-scaled projects.
What's the last thing you designed? A perfume bottle.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Listening to documentaries and podcasts.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? We'd like to redesign toilets and trash cans because they have been used everyday for decades but there has been no efficient evolution.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Jean Prouvé.
What skill would you most like to learn? Handcrafting skills like glass blowing and pottery.
What is your most treasured possession? A pair of dice.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Fake sustainability and fake craftsmanship.
Finish this statement: All design should... be contextualized.
What's in your dream house? A tree.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? It's not about cost and it's not about fame. It's about culture.
You can learn more Döppel Studio on Instagram.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 17:51
Thabisa Mjo is a Johannesburg lighting designer whose work draws from her South African roots.
Johannesburg designer Thabisa Mjo couldn’t have predicted where her work would end up. After graduating with a degree in film production design in 2013, she decided to take her knowledge of lighting, construction, and narrative into "the real world," as she puts it. The result was her first lighting collection, Tutu, which uses a colorful, pleated lampshade to recall the fabrics of a traditional xibelani skirt worn by South African Xitsonga women.
In 2015, Mjo impulsively entered the fixtures into the Nando’s restaurant chain’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search and won the chance to create a lighting design that is now used in restaurants around the world. Mjo has since found fans in more rarefied circles as well. The Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs has made two of her works, a Tutu light and the Mjojo cabinet, part of its permanent collection
Read the full Q&A below to learn more about Mjo's approach to design.
Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa
Describe what you make in 140 characters. Lighting and furniture.
What's the last thing you designed? Two tables including the Flute Table, which is made out of terrazzo, and the Bright Bable, which is woven out of a grass called ilala palm.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Deep breath in, deep breath out, and constantly reminding myself to just be observant as I go about my day
How do you procrastinate? When I get an idea for a product, I'll see it vividly in my head but it will take me weeks to actually put it down on paper. I suppose there's always the question of how to translate it to paper and ensure it's as great on paper as it is in my head
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? Sneakers for myself as I wear sneakers everyday. A well-made sneaker is one of those things that always makes me think "I wish I'd thought of that."
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Oki Sato, Peter Mabeo, Bibi Seck, and Beauty Ngxongo.
What skill would you most like to learn? The balance between something beautiful but strikingly simple. And execution—how to make things well.
What is your most treasured possession? I don't know if I have one.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? My earliest memory of design really came in the form of fashion. I remember being five- or six-years-old and showing up at school in a huge, satin pink baby ballerina dress and everyone looking at me like I was weird.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? I dislike the very idea of trends in and of itself. I feel they inhibit us from being authentic because we might, even on a subconscious level, be always be trying to make something in order to fit in with whatever is trending. This is limiting.
Finish this statement: All design should... be functional and invoke something in us
What's in your dream house? A James Turrell sculpture.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 17:49
Beirut-based designer Richard Yasmine creates furniture and objects inspired by his Lebanese heritage.
Beirut designer Richard Yasmine sees two forces pushing his work. The first is a desire to highlight contemporary social and philosophical issues, and the second is to do so in a distinctly personal way that honors his Lebanese heritage.
The result is a style that, in Yasmine’s words, "mixes craziness with sobriety and a dash of fantasy" and probes heavy topics like preparing for a possible afterlife while drawing from forms dating back to the Stone Age. The black-and-white-striped After Ago series, for example, is inspired by Memphis, Art Deco, and brutalist motifs as well as Yasmine’s feelings about his home city and its history.
Or take the all-white "The Cure" (Heavenly Pie(a)ces) series, which "is intended to help people struggling with perceived complexities of beauty and time," Yasmine says. "The chair’s backrest is reminiscent of a tombstone, which invokes a message of destiny and regeneration. The pendulum clock is a reminder to seize the moment."
Learn more about Yasmine's design ethos by reading the Q&A below.
Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I stimulate my imaginary world to try out emotional, creative ideas [that are] sometimes provocative but always minimal, bold, and straightforward.
What's the last thing you designed? A new chair minutes ago, which may sees the lights soon or will remain a memoir on my sketch book.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? I'm passionate about coffee. It feels so good for the brain and improves creativity.
How do you procrastinate? Procrastination is the thief of time, and for me time is so precious, we are not allowed to procrastinate.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? We as designers are already constantly constantly everyday objects and the future generations will keep on redesigning. This is the cycle of life.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Well, my fictional heroes are Tom and Jerry, but someone who gives without expecting something in return is a real life hero.
What skill would you most like to learn? If metaphorically, I can say "control my emotions."
What is your most treasured possession? Time.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? My paternal family was in the couture industry, therefore I was so attracted by shapes, colors, fabrics, and materials. The interior of the family house was filled with multiple objects and furniture from the '20s, and some art deco and vintage ones. My single hobby was drawing dresses and houses on any paper around...These were my very first memories and a solid base in the structure of my personality.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Trends have a cyclical pattern, therefore contemporary trends are a reinterpretation of previous movements or an inspiration from various cultural heritage. For that reason I don’t despise any, noting that design must be forever timeless...
Finish this statement: All design should... Evoke a kind of emotional connection.
What's in your dream house? A large kitchen since im a good gourmet chef.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? Sooner or later we will go back to normal and the show must go on.
How can the design world be more inclusive? The world of "Design" is vast. In my opinion we will always find exclusive, inclusive and accessible design. It's a matter of choice.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? The appreciation of the whole process yet the respect of the journey behind each design object: starting from the concept, sketching, and prototyping until reaching the final outcome. Not to mention the many hours spent by highly anticipated craftsmanship on each object to see the light. A design object is an unwritten book.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 17:45
At Cassius Castings, founder Thomas Musca makes furniture that pushes the boundaries of concrete.
Thomas Musca, the founder of Cassius Castings, has a fascination with concrete. In 2019, the Cornell architecture grad began experimenting with glass fiber–reinforced concrete furnishings inspired by John Lautner’s Sheats-Goldstein residence and 20th-century Soviet brutalism, both quintessential examples of "concrete forms highlighted by poetic vacancies," Musca says.
His hobby snowballed into a Santa Monica, California, business of made-to-order furnishings and custom site-based projects that push concrete’s possibilities. "As long as you can envision a negative space that is structurally sound, you can create it," he says about the material’s plasticity. "Concrete isn’t oppressive. It creates spatial light qualities that help you appreciate the environment around you."
Part of Musca’s concrete evangelizing involves "pour parties," where he invites friends and prospective clients to mix and pour the substance into a mold and then watch as furniture materializes before their eyes.
Read the full Q&A below to learn more about Musca.
Hometown: Santa Monica, California
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I design and make concrete furniture. The goal is to create pieces that turn an inherently clunky substance into something sleek.
What's the last thing you designed? Cassius Castings' latest project is a triple-cast, 21-foot-long, continuous cantilevering concrete bench with integrated tables and armrests. It's an 850-pound custom behemoth for a client's backyard.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? I put on music, sit at the kitchen banquette, and sketch on leftover pieces of wood from previous builds, while consuming multiple espressos.
How do you procrastinate? If I want to procrastinate big-time, I walk the entire length of L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard. It's 16 miles of divergent neighborhoods and architectural styles. I take a friend and make a day of it. A meal in K-Town is mandatory.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? The glue gun. Much of my day is spent building molds and coaxing adhesives to cooperate. You have no idea how many times I've gotten burned. I would come up with a version that protects unsuspecting fingers.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? John Lautner, Jonas Salk, and Nina Simone.
What skill would you most like to learn? Back when Cannondale made their racing bicycle frames in the U.S., the fit and finish of the aluminum welds was spectacular. I’d love to be able to TIG-weld alloys that well.
What is your most treasured possession? My recently acquired pickup truck. Gone are the days of onlookers gawking in hardware store parking lots as I frantically cram plywood into the back of a VW Beetle.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? My parents had a George Nelson Marshmallow Sofa in the kitchen when my brother and I were toddlers. Its midcentury modular circles were fun to sit on and the ample negative space meant that all the food we spilled fell right through to the floor for easy cleanup. The built world could be playful, useful, and cool.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Anonymity. With very few exceptions, major structures are now designed by risk averse teams catering to developers. Architects have ceded far too much ground. This results in nondescript buildings and spaces, utterly devoid of character. Another pet peeve: fake materiality. Ugh.
Finish this statement: All design should... strive.
What's in your dream house? A 300SL in the garage and a Basquiat in the living room of a Case Study House.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? By becoming more event based and interactive. People care about something when they witness or participate in its creation.
How can the design world be more inclusive? By paying interns.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? The onus isn’t on the public to understand the industry. It’s on designers to create work that serves human intuition and excites people.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 17:43
Joyce Lin is a multidisciplinary designer whose deconstructed objects explore internal structures.
Like an enthusiastic anatomy professor redecorating her living room, Texas designer Joyce Lin exposes, explodes, and suspends the components of formerly familiar pieces of furniture.
For Skinned Table, she peeled away an otherwise ordinary specimen’s varnished surface and pinned it back on a few inches above the underlying wood, making skin levitate over bones. Similarly, the dismembered parts of her Exploded Chair are suspended—Damien Hirst–style—in acrylic, as though frozen the moment before they come together or fall apart.
By working with objects others have discarded, the designer calls attention to how materials are sourced and resources are used and exploited, an interest that goes back to her student days, when she pursued dual degrees in geology-biology and furniture design at Brown University and RISD.
After graduating in 2017, the Alabama native started her design practice in Houston, where she also manages a woodshop in a 300,000-square-foot makerspace. There, she is surrounded by tinkering engineers—fitting neighbors for someone dissecting the conventions of furniture design.
Learn why Lin designed her own fanny pack and more by reading her responses to our Q&A below.
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I make objects that deconstruct furniture forms, materials, and archetypes to make sense of being a maker in a rapidly changing environment.
What's the last thing you designed? A policy document for a communal woodshop.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Getting stuck in traffic on my daily commute is my greatest source of contemplation and creation.
How do you procrastinate? I don't really procrastinate, but when I am not being a workaholic I watch anime.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? The fanny pack. I want to like it, but there are some major design flaws regarding size and position, which is why I made my own that I use every day.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? No one is perfect, but I'm constantly inspired by certain qualities in my parents, my old teachers and mentors, and my friends.
What skill would you most like to learn? Basic electrical engineering and financial investment.
What is your most treasured possession? A small blanket given to me by my grandmother when I was born, featuring an image of nine Santa Clauses riding a bus together.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? I used to make miniature furniture and home goods using trash and scraps like toothpicks and glue caps.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? I have a whole Instagram bookmarks folder of orb lights sitting on phallic shapes. I don't hate it, but it's becoming its own species.
Finish this statement: All design should... have integrity.
What's in your dream house? A spacious woodshop with air conditioning, dust collection, and spray booth!
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? Maybe slow down, and put more thought and care into what we put out in the world.
How can the design world be more inclusive? Lowering tuition costs for design schools, and more financial support for emerging artists and designers who do not have family wealth as a safety net.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? I would like the public to have a greater understanding of how things are made and the time, skill, and money that go into making physical objects.
Permalink - Posted on 2021-09-16 17:40
The Paris-based duo behind Sabourin Costes create playful designs across creative disciplines including product and furniture design, interior architecture, and visual merchandising.
"Right now, we’re slightly obsessed with resin," says Zoé Costes, cofounder of Paris design practice Sabourin Costes.
The material is perfectly suited for the studio’s experiments with transparency and reflection, its mutability lending itself well to various colors and shapes. "It feels like a playground to us—we spend days making new color recipes and testing different finishes," Costes says.
Since joining forces in 2019, Costes and codesigner Paola Sabourin—who met at Design Academy Eindhoven seven years prior—have applied this whimsical approach to a range of products, including hardware, vases, and seating, like the stool from their Boudin collection (below).
Another highlight of theirs is Tribune, an interpretation of a cabinet de curiosité, where the shelf’s high-gloss finish mirrors and appears to multiply the objects on it. "Even though the shelf can be relatively small, it is designed to have impact," Sabourin says. "We liked the idea of having something like a miniature piece of architecture hanging on the wall."
Learn more about the duo by reading the Q&A below.
Hometown: Paris, France
Describe what you make in 140 characters. Objects, furniture, and interior spaces. We aim to create objects that bring a bit of joy and poetry into our interiors.
What's last thing you designed? A minimal and bold bench for an entry hall in Marseille, France.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Not a daily one. Everyday is different, so no rituals per say, just one fluffy creative mess.
How do you procrastinate? We often end up drawing new objects just to avoid finishing what's ongoing and just a little less creative...
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? A light switch—those details can make all the difference and nothing much has been done in that particular field.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Charlotte Perriand (a classic) and our mums (a classic, too.)
What skill would you most like to learn? Throwing clay, bronze casting, and scuba diving!
What is your most treasured possession?
My secondhand travertine, Brutalist low-table. —Paola
Handmade Air France posters from the 70s. And Anakin, Paola's cat. —Costes
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? We really can't remember. It seems like we both discovered design in design school...
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Animal-shaped objects and wallpaper.
Finish this statement: All design should... strike a cord.
What's in your dream house? Windows everywhere and a Pierre Paulin's Osaka couch.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? We would love the pandemic to bring people in the design industry closer —whether they are designers, editors, gallerist, curators, clients... A bit more kindness and a little less competition, maybe?
How can the design world be more inclusive? It's about a communal effort that, in our opinion, starts with facilitating access to design education.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? The amount of work hidden behind every handmade object.