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Thursday
Apr082010

on location: tryon farm

Tryon Farm, the outdoor site for CB2’s summer catalog, is a working, sustainable community for residents who see themselves as caretakers of the land—who value the simple joys of being in natural settings, care about the conservation and preservation of open space, and steward the wise use of resources.

The mission of Tryon Farm is to build and maintain a healthy environment, an energetic community, a nurturing home; and to protect or re-establish mainstays of the regional landscape—farmlands, woods, prairies, wetlands.

Originally a 170-acre dairy farm in northwest Indiana, new simple houses and lofts are clustered in seven “settlements”. From farmstead to woods to meadows, each is distinct—defined by its natural elements.

For example, the Farmstead settlement comprises the farmhouse, barns and sheds that were the original farm, and in the Pond settlement, homes recede into the landscape near a pond that’s a native habitat for frogs, minnows and herons.

To accomplish their goals, they insist on using clean sewer water for irrigation, controlling storm water, keeping night lighting low, minimizing road building—and their natural wetlands sewage system operates independently of a municipal system. Architects carefully design to the landscape so window placement takes full advantage of the sun for lighting and winds for ventilation—not to mention the beauty of expansive views.

One key aspect of any sustainable venture is the maintenance or repurposing of existing structures. So the old farmhouse was converted into a bed and breakfast and the barn is a community center for potluck suppers, association meetings and viewing old movies.

Regular and seasonal events are diverse and include workshops on conservation and planning of rural and urban areas, advice on organic gardening and landscaping, bicycle repair sessions, feeding goats and chickens, splitting wood for fires, and bonfire circle suppers.

Next Saturday, April 17, from 10am to 3pm, help plant 1,200 tree saplings as a windbreak on the edge of a rolling alfalfa field. Reward is an informal lunch in the old Tryon dairy barn with music, stories and a salute to Mother Earth. Register at Earth Day Tree Lunch.

Thanks to curtis, catalog art director, for all on location photography.

Wednesday
Apr072010

material world: mirrors

Calm water was most likely the first source of one’s reflection–which eventually led to narcissism named after the Greek god Narcissus.

Over time, many advances were made in the development of mirrors which led to today’s pristine versions. If you’ve ever seen dark, spotty antique mirrors, imagine what crude reflections the Romans saw from blown glass coated with molten lead.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/91829349@N00/2833711420/Venice became a center of mirror production in the 1500s using new techniques based on its glass-making expertise. Not long after, owning them became a luxury and status symbol which helps explain the decadent Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.

Obviously they’re one of the most reliable ways of making a room appear larger. In the 70s however, mirrors were a literal reflection of disco and Glam Rock as their floor to ceiling sparkle overwhelmed many a sunken living room. For a modern look to increase space visually, consider infinity mirrors.

It’s no surprise that original Feng Shui beliefs were that mirrors related to the element of water and can increase or shift energy flow. In recent decades, proper placement in Western homes became just as relevant as yoga and green teas.

Today, “spy” mirrors—convex glass reflecting a wider area than flat glass—are most often used for safely allowing a peak around a corner. But they’re a whimsical touch when placed in an eclectic, sophisticated room.

Tuesday
Apr062010

artist profile: brian everett

Where was your favorite place to live?
So far it’s been living in Kansas City. It has a small town feel, with all the offerings that larger urban areas have. Fantastic restaurants, and the art & music scene is very impressive.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Without a doubt it’s music. I can’t go a single day without listening to something. I’ve been playing the guitar for about 10 years, and used to play in a small band in college. Music is such a huge influence on my life, and sometimes I wonder if I should have chosen a career in the music industry.

Who are your design icons?
Definitely the Eames and Raymond Loewy as early examples. One of my favorite current designers would have to be Tom Dixon.

Form vs. function?
Function—which isn’t to say you can’t have both. I don’t think it is necessarily one or the other but for me, form follows function. You could design the coolest looking chopsticks on the planet, but if they can’t pick up sushi, what’s the point?

What’s your favorite element/possession?
A Saarinen side chair—that I found!

What one item do you wish you owned?
Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House. Does that count as an item?

What are your sources of inspiration?
Anything in my day to day life can trigger inspiration for me, but one of my main sources would have to be nature. I am forever obsessed with trees.

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.