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Thursday
Jun022011

designer profile: amanda ip of slate design

Where was your favorite place to live?
This is tough. I’ve lived in Singapore, London and Sydney—but I think Chicago wins. It has the perfect mix of everything you could possibly want in a city.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
My living room. I absolutely love the way the city looks at night out the floor to ceiling windows. Not only is it a great open space for entertaining and, despite it really not being that big, it’s managed to accommodate people in the double digits for Lollapalooza sleepovers.

It’s also full of things that I’ve made or collected over the years that totally paint a picture of who I am. One of my favorites is a black stained Baltic birch plywood bench I made in college. It’s the first piece of furniture I designed that someone tried to buy.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
My Absolut Vodka ad collection. Their old print ads were just so cool. My obsession began in 7th grade and 12 years later, I’m still on the hunt! For years my collection of about 200 sat in plastic sleeves in a huge 3 ring binder. Now my favorites are framed and proudly cover an entire wall of my living room.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Collect something and display it.

What’s your personal decorating style?
Eclectic modern…in limited colors of black, white, beige and green.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Bacon.

Who are your design icons?
Frank Gehry. Andy Warhol. Frank Lloyd Wright. Mies van der Rohe. Zaha Hadid.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Everything and anything around me… but there is nothing more incredible than traveling somewhere new and exploring foreign cultures.

In your opinion, what is the best-designed item of all time?
Matches. The ability to create fire whenever you want with a single strike with something that fits into your pocket? Mind blowing. And they smell so good.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
My Dad, when I briefly considered going to college for business instead of industrial design…things are not a straight line. You can’t predict where you will go or what you’ll end up doing some day. You can only do what makes you happy, every single day.

You may study one thing, find yourself a job in another, meet someone or go somewhere that leads you down a totally different path and before you know it, you may not know how you even ended up where you are.

But, however unimaginable or unattainable your dream may have been from the beginning, you only get there in the end by loving what you do and following all those little paths.

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

Thursday
May262011

designer profile: diana lu of slate design

Who are your design icons?
To name a few… Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Hans Wegner…

What one item do you wish you owned?
A pair of Verner Panton’s Bachelor chairs.

Form vs. Function?
Both. ­Good design cannot exist without the other.

What do you drive?
A Mini Cooper S.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Everything. People, places, art, music, fashion, materials, buildings, life.

Where was my favorite place to live?
I’ve traveled many places but never lived anywhere else—Chicago’s a great place to come home to.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
The bedroom. I live in a first floor flat where adjoining rooms lack sunlight. So I recently swapped the bedroom and the living room and absolutely love waking up to the view of our garden.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The clothespin. Some things are simple—while other things are beautiful—the clothespin is both.

What are your interests outside of design?
Travel, bike riding, ping pong, cats, video/board games and getting ready to be a new mom.

What’s your signature?
My design style—honest forms with unexpected details meant to be discovered and make you smile.  

What’s your personal decorating style?
Creating a space that looks lived in using vintage and modern pieces—simple, clean and comfortable.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
My blanket from when I was 5.  It’s #1 on my list of things to grab if the place were to go up in flames.

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

Wednesday
Apr132011

milan 2011: designers and artists

Just when we think it’s presidents and economists who shape our world, we return to Milan for the Salone and remember it’s really the designers and artists.

Designers who solve problems through ingenious design and artists who add beauty—who provoke thought through compelling imagery, music, prose—while making our world more awesome.

We’re constantly thrilled and amazed by their ability to imagine a lamp that’s not just a casing for electric light, a bookcase that not just shelves— but one that’s breathtaking, sexy.

And while we’re extremely grateful to be working with creative and talented designers and artists, we remember the engineers who make their ideas a reality and just how equally important it is to laugh… to take fifteen minutes and four euros to enjoy a toy a designer created for us to play with.

We can choose to think of a swing as rope and a piece of wood or an old tire… or our castle fortress as a simple cardboard box… it’s all in allowing ourselves to imagine possibilities, and to enjoy them.

Monday
Jan102011

designer profile: michael solheim

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
It depends on your definition of design. Modern Formula 1 cars are the best designed item from an engineering perspective, and maybe some of the Apple or OXO products from a usability perspective. But for pure aesthetic sensibility I like Jasper Morrison’s Low Pad chair for Cappellinni, the 1961 Ferrari 250 Berlinetta, and Naoto Fukawasa’s humidifier for +/- 0.

Form vs. function?
Both, but function comes first.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Music, movies, traveling, art, and culture. Often I try to think about products I’d like to own myself. I recently saw an exhibit in Tokyo called Memories of Cartier, which was very inspiring.

What one item do you wish you owned?
A vintage wooden bar.  It would be fun to play bartender and mix a few drinks for friends.

Where was your favorite place to live?
Rome is hard to beat for all of its history, art, design, and food. I spent a summer there learning Italian, traveling to see art, drinking espresso, and making friends.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
The kitchen. I love food and drinks.

What’s your favorite possession?
My espresso machine.  Morning with a good cup of coffee is my favorite time of the day.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Travel.  I indulge in going places rather than buying things.  My recent travel indulgence was subletting an apartment in Tokyo for a month.

What is your signature?
Lacoste.  I have a baby picture where I’m wearing a green Lacoste polo, and I’ve loved the brand ever since.  Happy to wear the clothes whether they’re in or out of style at the current time.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?
My Dad always told me “work hard, be smart, have fun”.  It’s also important to dream big.  You will have setbacks, but never give up.

Friday
Jan072011

the making of: dangerous liasons

Designed by Legendre+Rutter to pay homage to the 2009 theatre poster for the Canberra Repertory Society production of the 18th-century tale, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”; Chicago designer Lance Rutter’s original illustration and lettering achieved its rich coloration and detail with a unique process that included rendering every line with a brush pen and printing directly on bright red paper.

Hand-tufted—in reverse, then backed—using Indian and New Zealand wools, each dangerous liaisons rug takes approximately two days to produce. Execution of the design is a tribute to the talent of the craftsmen who interpret the original illustration into a tapestry using just six yarn colors.

To fully appreciate the drama of the design, contact your local hardware store for hardware to hang one on a wall as artwork.