Springtime has arrived, with a tease of summer weather. All I want to do is lounge outside with a cold beverage-in-hand with books (or magazines) galore. Mid-Century modern outdoor furniture has seen a surge in reproductions or like-minded designs from popular furniture design stores and pop-ups. And there is reason for it- timeless design aesthetic with simple and effortless looking lines that complement lounging. I am also partial to power-coated steel and wood outdoor furniture. These materials couple well with bold textile accents. Also, the true vintage ones have beautiful aqua, pinks, and orange colors that offer the perfect pop of color to an outdoor backdrop. Now get outside.
WHOA. It has been too long (January!) since the last round-up of my current chair obsessions. For this round-up there is no theme. Some are leather, others painted, metal accents, maybe color punch worthy fabric too. To begin is the Robin Day Festival Hall 658 chair. A beautiful retro chair with blonde wood and fabric components. The Tropicalia chair by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso is both playful and bold, and is the perfect punch of color for your space. I enjoy the geometric forms created by its multiple colors that are also used to create a pattern. Now, for those that source eco-friendly furnishings, the Ciel! chair for Tabisso is an elegant high-end chair both for residential and office use. Its craftsmanship takes into account the full life-cycle of its design, from inception through production. Combining both retro aesthetics with bold colors and form, the Ignacia chair by Sergio Martinez is statement worthy. It is the perfect accent chair. Rounding out this Chair Obsessions is the Leather Tillie Armchair. A modern spin on a classic English leather wrapped chair with a houndstooth cushion. It is time to lounge.
With Halloween upon us, it's time to showcase five stunning works of architecture with modern black façades. These building envelopes are far from ordinary, some worthy of a scream! 1. A building envelope with monochromatic cladding. 2. Glowing glass home with black cladding. A modern take on a cabin in the woods. 3. Historic goes modern in a Rotterdam reconstruction by Studio Rolf.fr 4. Black wooden louvers for a single residential design in Japan. 5. A stacked module house with a perforated façade in the shape of a tree. BOOOOOOOOOOO!
Not only masters of celebrating food and wine, Italians are forerunners in the world of design. I will be jetting off to Italy in the coming week, and I thought it would be fitting to have a Modern Monday that focuses on Italian furniture design. Clearly, I am a sucker for chairs, and this post features an adorable RIMA burnt coral armchair with an all metal frame. Perfect as a dinning chair with the Mario Bellini for Cassina table. I enjoy the monumental stature of the table mixed with the curvy lines of the RIMA armchair. Always on the hunt for lighting, the vintage Murano Chandelier by Cenedese is an elegant tubular delight. Prefer more whimsy in your home? Brass scones, “Il Diavolo” by Gio Ponti are essential. And, a space can never go wrong with modern brass and glass accessories. Finally, a vintage metal desk (but could be used as a side table) adds a bit of masculine mid-mod pop. The dark wood and metal legs are timeless in their modernity. Ciao a tutti!
Making food, drinking bubbles, sharing stories, and laughing until it hurts - memories are created at gatherings around the dining table. While eating and drinking with family and friends is one of my most cherished things to do, dining tables are a great facilitator to enjoying said gatherings. The Surf-Ace table is a current furniture obsession. Meant to mimic the material and construction of surfboards, this wood table is sweet on the eyes with its seamless edges and beautiful curves. If traditional or retro with a flare of contemporary is your style preference, the Adara or Brownstone Madison are beautiful rectangular topped table choices. The Mango Wood Bowl table is a multifunctional option with removable legs, converting the table into a lacquered tray or bowl. Rounding out this collection of dinning tables is KST. Its traditional round marble top juxtaposed by modern geometric legs adds a pop of color and fun to any space.
Clean lines and a mix of woods, powder-coated metal, and colorful textiles- it is time to get outdoors and lounge about. Thankfully, spring has sprung and rainy weeks are giving way to sunshine filled days. However, for those still too-chilly spring evenings (or last summer days) the heated outdoor furniture by Galanter Jones is a must. I love the simple curvy shape and stone material. To add color punch to your outdoors, the Acapulco multi lounge chair from cb2 and Fauteuil Caracas by Colonel are a must. Playful shapes, durable materials, and just the right shades of aqua, yellows, and pinks. For long hours of lounging, the Huron Large Lounge Chair & Ottoman from west elm is what you need (and I want). Its all weather cord is perfect for sudden downpours, and its simplicity brings elegance to any outdoor space. I couldn't resist the Cobbler Stool in teak by Skagerak, its perfect for extra seating indoors or out. The same can be said for the PS Sandskar table from ikea. In doors or out, this table does double duty when the table top unscrews to become a serving tray. And, how could I not include an outdoor textile: Summer Triangles by her art. Its bold, colorful, geometric, and perfect for outdoor naps.
"It’s been more than 70 years since the Eameses began experimenting with molded wood, using their “Kazam! Machine” to press thin sheets of wood veneer against a heated membrane that was inflated by a bicycle pump. As the designers pushed the material as far as it could go, they continued to explore and discover, surrendering to the design process that ultimately led to their Molded Plastic Chair. In its longstanding commitment to the Eameses’ vision of continued exploration, discovery and refinement, Herman Miller introduces the Molded Wood Side Chair (1950)." - Design Within Reach
Preservation of their natural surroundings and composition of natural (locally sourced too) materials set these timber residences above the rest. Located on the Vindö island in the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden is a wooden holiday retreat amongst dramatic topography. The materials are predominately related to local building traditions. It is a dynamic timber residence with a painted black exterior, with natural tones throughout the interior. A timber and glass residence located in The Netherlands, Villa V is semi-positioned within the slope of the hill in which it resides. Only natural materials were used for building composition, including a facade of Waxedwood sustainable timer and veneered plywood for the interior. A viennese boat house right at the waters edge composed of timber and copper, and meant to naturally weather and further complement each other over time. The facade appears to be a single cube when not in use. However, it is dramatically transformed when its doors open, exposing various internal compartments.
Bring on the gold, lacquer, craftsmanship, and wood. These elements set the tone for these scene stealing chairs. The Eames side chair golden. Gold leaf, fiberglass, lacquered metal, design perfection. In the same vein, Hans Olsen chair in a lacquered teakwood with metallic cover. Both of these jewels of design, work well in multiples or as a single statement side chair. I want both of them. Rami Tareef created COD for Gaga & Design at imm Cologne 2013. The intricately woven synthetic sleeve is a beautiful juxtaposition to the rigid steel frame. The colors are muted, but his design is successfully bold. STEEL chair by Reinier de jong is a simple chair that highlights its natural components. Color and texture results from the materials used to create what becomes STEEL chair. Similarly, the reclaimed teak rocker from sobusobu uses reclaimed and natural components to create a show stopping rocker. It is more subdued than gold and lacquered design, but just as attention worthy in any space.
Lighting can set the tone of a room or space. Peaceful, intimate, comforting, shocking, or subtle. These are a few moods lighting can interject onto its surroundings. Wood tones, brass accents, and playful silhouettes set the tone for these functional lights. The Fellow Lamp is an industrial designed lamp with quite the personality. Its wooden legs are in a fixed posture with an adjustable head for directional lighting. The Demi Lamp designed by Mattias Stenberg is its own little gem of high-tech lighting created from mouth-blown glass. The Pipe Table Light by Tom Dixon is a piece of sculptural light for any table or desk. It has a matt powder coated exterior juxtaposed with a shimmering anodized interior. The Factory Task Lamp from West Elm brings elegant industrial design to any workspace that needs direct bright light. Lastly, the Baltensweiler Type 600 Lamp is an avant-garde industrial mid-century modern design that is still contemporary today.
The bold & the beautiful sets the tone for this round-up of furniture objects. I am currently obsessed with the coffee tables comprised of marble yet used like paper to create ORIGAMI & Earthquake 5.9 furniture collections by Patricia Urquiola. The subtle colors are divine as well. Similar in color, the Mimosa side table (1984) by Ettore Sottsass takes my favorite beverage and re-imagines it as a subdued neon furniture object. Another furniture object that blurs into the world of art is the wire furniture series which resembles wire drawings by Jinil Park. The steel is transformed into distorted lines that when welded together form the furniture as a whole. Concrete cabinet by Jean Willoughby is the perfect combination of wood and concrete. The functional piece showcases the beauty rather than the utilitarian side of concrete. Finally, I could not resist a plywood crafted piece. The plywood table legs almost mimic crosshatching in their elegant geometric form. What better way to start your new year than interjecting color and unexpected textures and forms into your surroundings.
Black Accents whether in art, architecture, textiles, fashion, or interior design are my favorite. I have an inclination towards the bold pop black adds to its surroundings, and if it incorporates a geometric or minimalist twist, even better. Here is my round-up of current favorite black accents: 1. Love this modern interior photographed by Heidi Lerkenfeldt that showcases a variety of black accents from furniture, textiles, and a lamp. 2. The furniture object with some monochromatic punch in the Brooklyn home of Hannelore Knuts & Nicolas Provost. 3. Eames wire chair with a black leather "bikini" cushion. Perfect. 4. A black & white rug from House Doctor that features a geometric print (clearly I am a sucker for this design aesthetic). 5. Jean-Christophe Aumas' multihued Paris apartment. A perfect example to go bold and dark with wall color. The dark paint shown is from Dulux Valentine. 6. Black & white hand-woven rugs made in Sardinia and designed by Carollna Mells. Woven in the pibiones technique that creates a raised effect. 7. The black accent featured on the Cappellini Bac chair designed by Jasper Morrison offers a nice contrast to the light wood frame.
Alright, I absolutely love the combination of wood, metal, and leather. Three elements, textures, and finishes that when combined, produce endless furniture possibilities. BDDW has me excited about American crafted furniture again. Their Bronze Trestle Table and Lake Mid Credenza showcase true craftsmanship with metal accents. It is furniture that melds the natural with the industrial. Another metal and wood combination manufactured in the U.S. is the formed steel with solid walnut wood seat by Lockwood. For storage, I am currently all about the Chevron Grain dresser from West Elm. Love the grain of the wood with the subtle yet sophisticated brass-finished hardware. Now for the leather. The brass thin-framed chairs by Lawson-Fenning are obsession worthy. And how could I almost forget the gold medal of modernist furniture perfection, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Need I say more.
Furniture collections or stand-alone pieces that showcase wood through unexpected angles and continuous lines are my favorite. Hugh MIller of HM Handmade features this in his Folded Record Bureau. And it is SO FABULOUS. The bureau recalls mid-century modern simplicity, but with contemporary originality. Love the angled storage areas for records, and how the turntable is flush with the table surface. I also love his backgammon table that incorporates magazine or book storage (or instructions on how to play). The pop of color and geometric detail along the table top make this piece all the better. Another favorite of the moment is the New Alto home desk designed by Andreas Engesvik. The design incorporates a solid wood base with a delicate table top. I enjoy how the sides of the table top delicately flare upward, which juxtaposes its linear solid base. Enjoy these beautiful wooden angles + and lines!
Spring is right around the corner, and I have been in spring cleaning mode, which means more rearranging, refreshing, and purchasing than actual cleaning. I have got all my textiles covered (can always use more pillow cases though), but I have found that I need to mix up my furniture and introduce a few new elements: side tables and stools. These type of furniture objects are great for extra storage or seating, and some stools can double as both. Side tables and stools are great accent pieces that can introduce more playful and daring sides to your design, and ways that I like to tie in different materials into a room. I love how the objects above are examples of beautiful tactile and geometric surface elements. Or a Nod to the simplicity of form found in Danish furniture design of the mid-century modern era. Altogether, these furniture objects are absolutely fabulous.
What we love to do: eat and drink and laugh together. Dining rooms are one of my favorite spaces in a home. They can be incredibly formal, informal, or a perfect mixture of both depending on personal preference. Regardless, they are spaces for gathering and enjoying company, food, and drink. On top of it all they incorporate some of my most favorite things: fabulous family and friends, food, and a table and chairs. I love mix-matched chairs, dramatic walls, or the refined statement of mid-century modern design for a space to gather and share and celebrate.
Modern minimalistic architecture has been catching my eye lately. And surprise, surprise, those designed with concrete, wood, and glass curtainwalls to push the architectural form forward are especially compelling. The wood paneling on the exterior of the Sentosa House by Nicholas Burns brings warmth to its concrete foundation, and helps connect it to the beautiful surrounding landscape. The stunning Dutch Bridge house by 123DV invokes mid-century modern architecture and design. And, the Icelandic Brekkuskogur Cottages designed by Arkibullan Arkitektar are breathtaking in how angular, but organic they look and feel.
I love the versatility of wood for both interiors and exteriors. Depending upon the type of wood, if its finished or left untreated, its intended use, the structure, furniture, or product composed it comes to be, wood is one of my favorite materials. And, its a great medium to bring warmth and texture to office design and architecture. Along those lines, plywood has been of special interest recently. I enjoy how for such an informal type of material it can be transformed and dressed up from storage, full wall sliding doors, to exterior siding.
Winter weather invokes more time spent at home. Comfy cabins. Warmth. Fires. Hot toddies on the couch while relaxing. Just a few of my favorite things. These photos of beautiful homes inside and out, emphasize the joys of nesting while the weather outside becomes cooler and darker- or in Portland's case continuously gray from drizzling clouds.
One of my favorite shapes, if not my favorite, are squares. There are endless possibilities of creating forms from this simple shape. Storage is one of my favorite ways to introduce squares in box or cube form into a space. (Alright I cheated with the last image- they're stairs, but too beautiful not to include.)