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Monday
Jun212010

designer profile: noël ashby

Where was your favorite place to live?
I’m quite happy where I am now so I’d have to say Chicago is my favorite place to live. It has character, grit, lots of trees, the lake, and it is a great place to make things.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
My favorite room in my home is without question my studio. I spend most of my time there, surrounded by things and possibilities: visuals, tools, wire, fabric, and the like—to me it’s wonderful.

As a child I used to dig around in my Dad’s home office and I was amazed at all of the things he had—paper clips, a stapler, pads of papers, and there were specific places to keep all of this great bounty. I now have the same, just on a larger scale.

What are your interests outside of design?
I like people a lot, and most activities involving people… music, art, food. I’m also quite fond of tinkering around with things, walking my dog Hank, going to yoga, or going to see or do something that I’ve never done before. This latter usually involves snacks.

Who are your design icons?
There are so, so many both past and present, and across all disciplines: music, art, and fashion as well as design. I always love seeing what Hella Jongerius is up to or what the Bouroullec brothers are doing.

Your personal decorating style is _____?
Spare but personal. Most things out in my home or up on the walls have meaning to me… be it hammer heads I found at a garage sale, artwork, my Grandmother’s ceramics, or a stack of washers that I know someday are destined to become something else.

Form vs. function?
One is reliant upon the other.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Just one?

What’s your favorite element/possession?
I’m quite attached to most of the things I surround myself with but home is never home to me until the hammer heads are up.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Besides color or a beautiful lack of color, almost anything hung up in multiples becomes interesting and if it happens to be something you really like, well, all the better.

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

Thursday
Jun172010

material world: flatware

photo by: saintpo2007Knives are the oldest and most basic of all kitchen utensils. Primitive utility knives were used for almost everything—to hunt and harvest, chop and carve. It was the most important tool anyone could own because of its usefulness.

Not surprisingly, the more one could afford the more ornate the knife. Being so readily available, wood handled versions were the least expensive. Ivory and horn were as prized as trophies and often uniquely carved. But all metal versions were the most expensive using only precious metals. Typically they were monogrammed to identify the proud owner.

Not too far behind, spoons developed as diets evolved. And last, the fork started as a simple two tined—or pronged—utensil used to dig into bones or shells for meat or to rescue it from the cooking fire. Eventually three and four tined versions became standard since they performed better.

As wealth increased in middle and upper classes, homes increased in comfort and home goods were made to address specific tasks. Knives remained prized possessions over other utensils often being stored under lock and key in sturdy wooden boxes to guard against thievery. Typical flatware sets consisted of only simple forks and spoons since knives were custom.

photo by: geishaboy500

At the height of the Victorian era, dinner courses soared from one to as many as ten and etiquette declared that no foods should be picked up by the fingers so placesettings could include fish knives, berry spoons or lettuce forks.

Spoons became as varied as today’s wine glass shapes with different versions for bouillon and gumbo. Luncheons required their own unique, often smaller, utensils including spoons specific to sugar, various teas and coffees which were being imported from exotic faraway lands.

After the 1920s, as wealth and luxury were checked by economics, efficient mass production and everyday life with less hired help all joined to give rise to the modern 5-piece placesetting.

As new production techniques were developed, silverplating became popular for everyday use while sterling is still for special occasions or formal entertaining. Markings of 18/10 or 18/8 stainless steel refer to the amount of chromium and nickel included. For example, flatware stamped 18/8 combines 18% chromium for durability and hardness with 8% nickel for shine and luster. Lastly, a shiny or matte look is achieved in the final processes by either polishing or brushing the metal.

CB2 pattern 518 flatware

For Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor’s first public outdoor sculpture in the US, steel plates were riveted to a frame then polished to a mirror finish hiding the joints.

Wednesday
Jun162010

recipe: quick eggs

eggs
butter (we love Kerrygold!)
salt and pepper

Place a small pat of butter in a porcelain silo mug—it adds flavor and keeps the egg from sticking to the mug.

Drop in one egg, cover with a microwave cover or paper towel since they can pop, and microwave for 35-40 seconds.

Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy quickly—they’re pretty much gone in two-bites!

hint: Every microwave is different so it may be a few seconds more or less. Increase time for more than one egg or mug.

Tuesday
Jun152010

artist profile: charles shotwell

Where’s your favorite place to live?
I’d like to try living in Italy or France.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
The bedroom—I love to read in bed.

Your personal decorating style is _____?
Lived-in comfort—I could elaborate on this forever.

Who are your design icons?
Buckminster Fuller.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Good and bad art.

What are your interests outside of design?
I love high performance motorcycles.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Riding motorcycles, vintage and otherwise.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The human brain.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
A board from my grandfather’s farm that was built by hand by my great grandfather. The farm is gone.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Keep an eye out for treasures at thrift stores, antique and junk shops, Salvation Army etc.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Try and learn to not feel the pain of working hard.

Monday
Jun142010

dwell on design, 2010

What: Dwell on Design
When: Friday, June 25th open to the trade only
             Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27th open to everyone
Where
: The LA Convention Center
Who
: 175+ exhibitors

Dwell on Design, 2009

CB2 is proud to be a Supporting Sponsor of Dwell magazine’s third annual Dwell on Design, the west coast’s largest modern design event, which will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 25-27.

Over the weekend, featured seminars, key-note speakers and over 175 exhibitors will be focused on sustainable innovations for the home.

Dwell editors will talk with community leaders, builders, designers, artists, architects, crafts- men and entrepreneurs on topics ranging from future-thinking about developing successful design, sustainability, urban density, design in the media, affordability and efficiency, green entrepreneurship, historic preservation, the intersection of architecture and art direction, and the growing convergence of design and food.

Curated for a design conscious audience, exhibitors will showcase the newest pre-fab home options and smart building materials. Special areas will be Dwell Outdoor and The Modern Family which promotes the creativity and originality behind modern design—with a multitude of hands-on activities and displays geared towards children of all ages.

Off-site, self-guided tours of an exclusive collection of must-see homes in the Los Angeles area include a Westside “Surf & Turf” and an Eastside “Hills & Hipsters” tour. Both are expected to sell out so be sure to log-on for tickets as soon as possible.

Sign up to receive on-the-spot tweets via CB2weho and watch for Marta, Director of CB2, who’ll be serving as a panelist during the conference. Also, stop by the CB2 booth to get a first look at highlights of our new fall collection and pick up a certificate good for $15 off an in-store purchase.