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Wednesday
May132015

designer profile: paul isabella

photo by: Josh Goleman Where was your favorite place to live?
I have lived in a number of different places (around 15 in total) so that is a tough question.
I loved growing up in Barcelona, which was an interesting and gorgeous city and had such a big impact on me. Currently, my wife and I live
in the Hudson Valley, NY and we think it’s pretty great. It’s quaint and quiet, but has easy access to NYC.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
The kitchen is where a lot of fun happens. My wife and I love to cook and love experimenting with food.

What one item do you wish you owned?
A teleportation machine.

What are your interests outside of design?
I love to spend my time growing food, fly fishing, biking, xc skiing, and generally enjoying new experiences and the simple pleasures of life.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The axe. It’s fascinating that something that has been around for nearly a million years is still needed and in use today.

Who are your design icons?
Lately I have been very influenced by the way the Shaker communities lived and the simple innovations they employed in everyday life.

Form vs. function?
I would say function informs the majority of things in my life, with form coming in at a close second.

What are your sources of inspiration?
I get most inspired when I come across unexpected details.

What is your personal decorating style?
Minimal folk art with lots of handmade touches.

What’s your favorite possession?
My wife’s great grandfather’s drill press from the 1920’s that I restored. It’s fun to have something that old still running, and still in the family.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Good wine and good food.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Don’t over think it. Keep it as simple as possible. And learn how to safely use a table saw.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Don’t let doubt kill your forward momentum.

To see all of Paul’s current works for CB2, go here.

Tuesday
Mar312015

artist profile: deanna fainelli

Where was your favorite place to live?
Taipei. It’s a colorful, vibrant city with great food and relatively few westerners and the people are notoriously friendly.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
My favorite room is any place where friends and family are gathered, which is usually the kitchen. I spend a lot of solo time in the studio so at home I savor time with people.

What are your interests outside of design?
Exploring and seeing places with fresh eyes, bike culture, flea markets, and food and wine with good company.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere, but I especially love rust and the decay of abandoned buildings. Recently I got permission to photograph the inside of an abandoned Naval hospital built in the 1850s. My friend cancelled so I did it solo. I was terrified and trembled for the first hour but I was determined to look around. I was not disappointed.

Who are you design icons?
Ray and Charles Eames created undeniably timeless, beautiful designs that are still relevant today. Also, I have a lot of respect for the bold and fearless fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, whose rebellious spirit paved the way for current trendsetters like Marc Jacobs.

What is your personal decorating style?
Clean, modern design with pops of color (usually orange) and a touch of Boho to add personality and warmth.

What’s your favorite possession?
A Kay Bojesen teak monkey that belonged to my grandmother. It hangs in my office next to the computer where I see it every day. I’m looking at it now and smiling.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
I indulge my desire to get lost and follow my instinct.

What one item do you wish you owned?
A perfectly preserved 1960s Airstream trailer.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
There is no English equivalent for the popular Dutch word gezellig which loosely translates to cozy. A common and inexpensive way to make a room gezellig is with candles or multiple strings of white lights—they instantly make any room warm and inviting.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Don’t try to please or appeal to everyone. Find your niche and do it well.

To see all of Deanna’s current works for CB2, go here.

Thursday
Mar122015

meet us: strand design

photo by: Anjali Pinto marina 24” mirror rack

Sharon

Where was your favorite place to live?
I currently live in the Chicago loop, and so far, I think it is my favorite.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
Though not exactly in our home, I would have to say our balcony—we’re on the 47th floor and the view is wonderful.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Travel inspires me, the city inspires me, but more often than not, what inspires me to want to make something is when I feel annoyed by an object and want it to be better in some way. So I guess you could say I am frequently inspired by what annoys me.

What do you drive?
I don’t really. Since I live and work in the Loop I’m primarily a pedestrian.

What are your interests outside of design?
Reading, cooking, camping in remote locations, running.

Form vs. function?
Both in perfect harmony.

What is your personal decorating style?
Clean, modern, and simple, with attention to the beauty and richness of natural materials.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Travel. I am compelled to go somewhere at least every six months. I’d do it even more often if I could.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
As a teacher, I try to remind my students to have fun. They’re trying to become designers because they love design and it’s what they want to do. If you’re not having any fun, then do something else.

Ted

Where was your favorite place to live?
I love living in Chicago—but I’d live anywhere as long as it is close to Lake Michigan and the food is good.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
The bedroom is full of light and that is the best way to start a day. I love waking up to the sunrise reflecting off of the steel and glass buildings across the street.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
Luders 16 sailboat. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I can stop and picture the form of that boat in my mind’s eye. One can never have too much cold-molded mahogany around.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Tinkering and reading are big sources. Materials and manufacturing processes never cease to inspire. And, of course, I’m inspired by everyday life; being social, talking with people, traveling and just walking around.

What do you drive?
In my mind, a Porsche 912. In reality, a Toyota Yaris hatchback—but the two are really so similar, I don’t know why I make any distinction at all! I love messing around with cars but I haven’t had the time or space to do it for too long.

What are your interests outside of design?
Travel, food, sailing, swimming, family, camping … preferably all mixed up together.

Who are you design icons?
Jean Prouvé and all of the anonymous designers who make most of what we use everyday.

What is your personal decorating style?
Spare, wood, white and lots of light.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Buy a table saw and you won’t have to buy furniture anymore.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
You’ll never make a living making things.

To see all of Strand’s current works for CB2, go here.

Wednesday
Feb182015

meet gere kavanaugh

photo by: Laure Joliet What: Afternoon Tea with Gere Kavanaugh
When: Saturday, February 21, 2-4:00 pm
Where: CB2 Santa Monica

Now more modern than ever at age 85, Gere Kavanaugh was one of the trailblazing female designers of her time as the third woman to receive an MFA degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Still prolific today, her work celebrates her passion for creating ingenious design from the simplest of materials—including our exclusive mood dinnerware, inspired by Kavanaugh’s archival designs dating back 30 years.

We look forward to sharing her other passions —tea and conversation—this Saturday.

Friday
Feb062015

design collab no.1: the backstory

It was April in 2012, at the Milan Salone, when CB2 was captivated by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Whatnot exhibit. That collection showcased the talented team of professors and students at SAIC—about a 10-minute L train ride from CB2’s merchandising office.

After months of discussions, a 2-semester course for 12 students was envisioned with the end-goal of one product per student creating a collection that would be produced exclusively for CB2. In order to get it on the School’s calendar for students to opt into, the first class started over a year later in the Fall 2013 semester.

The course required two experienced professors—Jim TerMeer and Tim Parsons
a teaching assistant, Carlos Ortega, supplies to realize and prototype concepts, and a lecture series created specifically for the students and presented by CB2’s diverse staff.

The class assignment came from the CB2 Merchandising team, who collaborated with the students and professors just as they do with established designers.

Ryan Turf, Managing Director, and Ali Williams, Senior Director of Business Operations and Strategy, kicked off day 1 talking about what it takes to run a home furnishings brand.

The professors knew time would be tight, so they had assigned homework 3-4 weeks in advance of the first class—students researched statistics and urban migration trends to create a presentation as a way to share fun facts as well as their views on the subject.

Armed with a solid and practical understanding of small space living, they moved to the conceptual side a few weeks later. So as they explored what a snail could teach them about nesting tables and hoarding squirrels inspired expandable storage containers, a true to scale 250sf apartment was created in the classroom from cardboard and sheet foam—complete with a kitchen and bathroom.

Many concepts were sketched and ideas floated, debated, enhanced, critiqued—all were voted on and the best ones moved into the protoyping stage.

Students learned presentation skills each time they met with CB2—from introducing initial concepts to demonstrating how hand-made full-size prototypes could actually work.

Some weeks the CB2 team would visit the school to see how concepts were progressing—other times, the class would meet at the CB2 offices.

Final drawings were delivered at the end of the semester in early December 2013, and they were immediately sent off for sampling with high hopes they would be selected for this Spring 2015 assortment.

While the students enjoyed winter break, factory-made prototypes were being created and a second round was shipped to Chicago—incorporating feedback from CB2’s buyers after their initial review.

Classes resumed at the end of January and the lecture series continued, including conversations on marketing, visual merchandising, catalogs and eCommerce. As soon as the samples arrived, everyone worked fast, furiously and collaboratively to confirm final details so production could get started to meet delivery deadlines.

In the end, each student submitted a concept that became a reality for the Design Collab No.1—space saving furniture and accessories. Textiles which reference the square footage of floor plans, an ultra-thin energy-efficient LED pendant, a room divider with over 200 hooks to store or display, and a jewelry cabinet hidden behind a wall mirror are just a few products from the collection.