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Thursday
Oct222009

solar decathlon 2009

photo by jim tetro

The Solar Decathlon began in 2002 as an internationally-recognized biennial competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy to design, build and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar powered house.

20 university teams from around the world compete in 10 different contests including: architecture, engineering, energy performance, interior design, and lighting. Houses are constructed at the universities, then disassembled and transported to Washington D.C. for exhibition and final judging.

Collaboration among students from different academic disciplines is fostered during all phases of the competition including architecture and engineering students, who rarely work together until they enter the workplace.

A “whole building design” approach differs from the traditional “design then build” process because the design team considers the interactions of all building components and systems to create a more comfortable energy efficient home with reduced environmental impact.

photo by jim tetro

CB2 is proud to have partnered with the University of Illinois team, who designed and built Gable House shown above, by contributing furniture and accessories.

Some of the eco-friendly items used were the annex sectional, chosen for its sustainable frame and cushions. The darjeeling table and the gear tealights carried an industrial element into the dining room. Bamboo towels, cirrus rug, and Ecogen bath accessories accented the bathroom; and organic sheets, a sardinia duvet, and FLOR tiles were used in the bedroom.

photo by jim tetro

photo by jim tetro

Final judging took place October 15th and the team took 2nd Place—Congratulations to all!

Imagine, it all started with materials reclaimed from this old barn. Were you one of the thousands at the National Mall in DC? Would you like to share the experience?

Wednesday
Oct212009

canine casting call

dogs

On average our 80-page catalogs feature 12 people and 2 dogs. We usually send out emails asking if associates have time and interest in modeling and it’s worked well so far. But as we prepared to shoot our Holiday catalog, we decided to try something new so we emailed a canine casting call.

MrHungryIt included strict guidelines—such as very dark colored dogs don’t photograph well, they must be well trained, ie. no tinklers or growlers, and of course they had to be pretty darn cute.          

The response was amazing—and hilarious—a total of 41 dogs, 3 cats, 1 child (in costume as a pup) and 1… mr.hungry.

How in the world could we decide—and not step on any paws in the process?! We stuck to our guns and edited the way we always do—with a strong focus. In the end, we chose 5 top dogs for the shoot so watch your mailbox for the final 2 that made the editors cut!

And the other 36? Most will get a call-back for the Spring catalog which goes on location next month!

Tuesday
Oct202009

the making of: abyss bedding

Sometimes, a “handmade” description doesn’t tell the story quite like a picture. The following detail abyss bedding in the making—completely by hand.

250-thread-count cotton is stretched and silkscreened with a mud resist which will create the grid pattern. Fabric is then gathered and tied for dyeing.

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Dye is measured by weight, then heated over a wood burning fire. In the final processes, fabric is thoroughly rinsed and air dried.

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Thursday
Oct152009

inspiration: puerto rico

donna and daughter

We worked with textile designer Donna Gorman years ago while she was with Marimekko, and we were thrilled for her when she told us she was building a minimalist retreat in Puerto Rico.

The low, U-shaped house has only 3 main rooms—the open floor plan encourages guests to spend time together and the two bedrooms are identical in size with basic amenities.

Designed by John Hix and set on a picturesque lot, the house is constructed of low maintenance and hurricane-proof concrete. Its cooling, both visually and physically, in contrast with the warm tropical setting and we love the mix of raw concrete with sculptural bright whites and bold colors.

living dining room cropped

The cast concrete and concrete-plaster create an earthy backdrop to sleek furniture and graphic textiles. The edited use of these key elements maintains a modern focus and creates a casual and relaxed mood—perfect for Vieques.

Electricity can be difficult and expensive to acquire there, but the locale is exceptional for a solar-powered house, so they’re off the grid. Photovoltaic panels are mounted on the roof and tilted specifically to maximize the energy of abundant sunshine. The house also faces south to take advantage of the cooling Caribbean breezes—there’s no A/C—and an expansive view from the open air construction is filled with lush scenery.

P1010514

Accessories are crisp and elemental, such as clear peekaboo nesting tables, glass cylinder vases and white porcelain plates.

CylinderVasesAV1S9 WhitePorclnSqRepImageF9R

Overall, it’s an organized carefree retreat with the focus on the landscape, the architecture, and Donna’s playful photography and textiles. Congratulations Donna!

Can you tell we’re jealous?

kitchen

On site photos courtesy of Donna Gorman

Wednesday
Oct142009

wreath how-to

In our latest catalog, our creative stylists DIY’d a holiday wreath using ornaments from our bins—the result is a stunning, brightly colored and festive wreath to welcome guests. Since we often get questions about details in our photography, such as requests for paint colors used, we anticipated that a lot of you would want to know how it was made.

holiday wreath 1BSupplies:
1. Strong stiff wire that can be bent into a ring. We used aluminum wire gauge 20, about 55” long—due to the scale of the products in the shot, our wreath was rather large, about 28” in diameter. A wire hanger is also a simple way to go.

2. Ornaments. We used a total of 81 ornaments. For a smaller version, we’re guessing you could make a 14” wreath with about a third of the ornaments depending on how full you wanted it.

3. Strong tape to fasten the ends of the wire ring together or, pliers to twist the ends of the wire ring together.

4. Ribbon to hang the wreath.

holiday wreath 2Directions:
1. String one ornament at a time onto the wire ring, alternating colors, using smaller ones to fill in the gaps.

2. When the ring is completely covered in ornaments, fasten the ends together.

3. Use a ribbon to cover the spot where the ends are fastened together, and hang!

Tip: best not to go too large in diameter as the wreath could become too heavy and stretch out.

Thanks to curtis, art director, CB2 catalog, for this submission.