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Thursday
Apr012010

spring entertaining essentials

Invited guests for Spring holidays? Start with modern essentials—and repeat often.

1. Playful centerpieces of clustered turf balls bring the outdoors in.

2. Open air is refreshing in pressed vinyl dot placemats.

3. Fresh, clean, go with anything, dress up or down—white square dinnerware.

4. The more the merrier—party, party, party—with lots of forks, knives and spoons.

5. Plenty of bubbly, with fresh strawberries, in simplicity flutes.

6. For little bites and big color, caymen dessert plates.

7. Blossoms in joyce vases celebrate the joys of Spring at each placesetting.

Wednesday
Mar312010

10 essentials: todd

1. My best friend Rocky.

2. Warm summer nights in southern California.

3. Fire pits and water fountains since they move randomly and distract me.

4. Camper shoes for their minimalist design and comfort.

5. Anything related to space or space travel.

6. Twilight Zone marathons when it’s raining, under a cocoon throw. http://www.flickr.com/photos/miriku / CC BY 2.0

7. Camping…on the beach…in Mexico.

8. Makers Mark in a winston glass.

9. The movie Objectified —I love the design process.

10. The Eames’ house.
Walk around the property in amazement of color, structure and location—it’s right over the beach!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/miriku / CC BY 2.0

Thanks to todd, senior visual merchant west, for this submission.

Tuesday
Mar302010

material world: terracotta

Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, 210BCDirectly translated, terracotta is baked earth. A material that’s literally as old as the hills, its been used for centuries to make everything from simple pottery to over 8000 soldiers which form the Terracotta Army. Between those two extremes—a vast array of building bricks, roof shingles, and cladding on steel supported skyscrapers.

After the Chicago fire of 1871, the need to rebuild the city allowed it to become a lab for technological advances in architecture at the same time steel became more readily available for building construction. The modern sky- scraper was born and clad in decorative glazed and unglazed terracotta. Hence the architect Louis Sullivan’s coined phrase, “form ever follows function”.

photo courtesy of flickr/yeowatzupPreviously it had been used in the building and decoration of the Forbidden City in the 1400s and plaques in Mesopotamia around 1950BC. Whether baked in the sun or high fired in a kiln, often terracotta is unglazed and textural. Its porosity makes it perfect for potted plants since it can absorb and hold water like a sponge, then feed them naturally over time.

For vernazza, terracotta is molded into a sleek modern dinnerware profile void of all ornamentation. The beauty of the design is in the detail of the proportions and the stark contrast between the warm unglazed terracotta body and the glazed soft-gray center.

And just as durable terracotta pottery survived thousands of years—dating as far back as 3000-1500BC—vernazza easily goes from the refrigerator to the oven or microwave. So yes, its safe in the dishwasher.

Thursday
Mar252010

designer profile: mark daniel of slate design

What are your sources of inspiration?
Travel, music, architecture, caffeine.

Who are your design icons?
Le Corbusier, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Hans Wegner.

What are your interests outside of design?
Cars, motorcycles, woodworking, video games.

What do you drive?
An old BMW.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
My 1973 BMW R75/5 motorcycle. I’ve spent the winter restoring it and am counting the days until I can start riding it!

Where was your favorite place to live?
Definitely Paris. I got to spend my senior year of college there. It completely opened up my world view of art, architecture and design.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
I’m a huge reader so it would have to be a library—which is currently in transition from the kids’ playroom. I have plans drawn up for built-in bookcases, a fireplace, and my Eames lounge.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
This isn’t a very original answer but I have to say the iPhone. Not only does it revolutionize how I work, play and communicate, but it comes in a beautifully designed package. Really the ultimate fusion of form and function.

Form vs. function?
Function first, form is a result or an expression of the function. If it doesn’t work, it’s not good design.

Your personal decorating style is ___?
I’m very anti-clutter, so my house and studio spaces reflect the “less is more” school of thought.

What one item do you wish you owned?
I’ve always wanted a Arne Jacobsen Swan chair.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Photographs, lots of photographs. Photos of your family, places you travel, things that inspire you make your space personal and meaningful.

To see all of Mark Daniel’s current designs for CB2, go here.

Wednesday
Mar242010

creating wall“paper”

We’re planning our next trip to Milan and remembered how much we loved Richard Ginori’s collaboration with Paola Navone, designer of The Taste Lounge, shown lower right.

While they used hundreds of various patterned china plates to achieve the mosaic, Andy Warhol’s cow appetizer plates can do the trick.

Start with a clean wall and map out the space with a level, a ruler and pencil.

Check your local hardware store for 3M’s Command Strips to mount the plates without nails or hooks—use the Velcro version if you’d like the option of changing the color pattern.