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Wednesday
May122010

artist profile: matthew lew

Where was your favorite place to live?
This is tough…I love Chicago, but I also love San Sebastian, Spain and Kauai, Hawaii. If I could do all three throughout the year, that would be great!

What’s your favorite room at home?
I just bought a new condo, so I’m not quite sure yet. I have my design plans all together and I think the powder room is gonna be pretty amazing because it’s small and you can just do some out-of-the-box design styles with it to really make a statement.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Travel. Something that makes me laugh. Color combinations. Chicago architecture. Music.

What do you drive?
I ride the CTA buses and trains, or I use an i-Go car.

What are your interests outside of design?
Too many to name so I’ll just name a few: I love PB and J sandwiches, speaking Spanish, reciting the lines from my favorite movies: Goonies, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and Tootsie. Mimosa brunches—also known as Sunday Funday!

Who are your design icons?
LOVE Jonathan Adler (whimsical, fun and bold…he can do no wrong in my book), Antonio Gaudi (brilliant architect and designer, I love his unique and highly individualistic designs as well as his mosaics), Gio Ponti (amazing furniture with fine lines as well as funky unique pieces).

Form vs. function?
Both. Success is a balance of form and function together where both help deliver the idea and create the ultimate consumer experience.

Your decorating style is ____?
Masculine Bohemian meets Vintage Modern meets Happy Graphic

What’s your favorite element/possession?
My 1912 Vintage Bank Safe that I turned into a secret bar!

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Sour Gummy Worms or Sour Patch Kids—but I only eat the red and orange ones.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Make a mosaic statement on an accent wall using 8.5x11” black and white photo copies of a repeated image. It can be done without damaging your wall, and for under $25 depending on your wall size.

Wednesday
May122010

watch: felt

Felt originated from wool which is about as old as the hills the sheep fed on. These new introduction at the Salone are far from folk costumes of the Highlands—they’re all stunning examples of sleek modern furniture in sophisticated neutrals and hot new colors.

While we’re anticipating new introductions this Fall, imagine what you can do now with Fedora tiles by Flor.

Tuesday
May112010

material world: angle iron

photo: flickr.com: While iron is a chemical element—atomic number 26, Fe in Mendeleev’s periodic table—steel is an alloy or a mixture of various elements. Sometimes the names are used interchangeably since they’re both heavy metals, but they are different.

Steel often contains carbon for hardness and strength, carbon steel, which is actually stronger than iron.

Efficient mass production techniques were developed in the 1800’s and steel production moved from the town “smithy” or blacksmith, to large smelting factories.

The industrial age dawned as stronger, more durable metal was used instead of wood to build taller buildings, larger ships, longer bridges. Train tracks were laid across the country opening up the west.

As industrialists provided the fundamentals for progress, architects’ imaginations went wild with bold ideas to use these newfound materials.

For example, built as an entrance for the 1889 World’s Fair which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, the Eiffel Tower was originally a temporary structure. Today it’s a communication tower broadcasting radio and TV signals—via 120 antennas—not to mention one of the most instantly recognizable structures in the world.

Using Bessemer steel beams, steel cages became the framework supporting the weight of skyscrapers. Previously, buildings were only a few stories tall because the outside walls could only carry so much weight—back then, all the weight of a building.

Today, steel is one of the most commonly used materials in the world for buildings, bridges and tunnels, tools and weapons, automobiles and machines, appliances and household goods—including refined industrial furniture.

Construction grade angle iron is actually steel that’s formed into an “L” shape which further increases its strength. It’s not only the functional framework for the bolt dining table, it’s also the form with raised lettering and exposed hardware, details of this architectural material.

Tuesday
May112010

watch: cloth planters

There’s something especially casual about potted plants in draped cloth. Whether it’s heavy duty canvas, inexpensive jute, or metallic Tyvek—creating a “fresh from the nursery” look can be easy and inexpensive.

Weather resistant? Be a slave to fashion and throw caution to the wind. Hmm… food for thought… Spring ‘11 is right around the corner.

Monday
May102010

watch: camouflage

Milan is one of the most fashionable cities in the world, so it was no surprise to see camouflage go from via Montenapoleone—Milan’s Magnificent Mile—to this year’s big furniture fair.

What’s always surprising is how it’s shown… and how we’ll interpret it in our future assortments!