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Wednesday
Jul082015

designer profile: leonhard pfeifer

Where was your favourite place to live?
I’ve been really fortunate to live in some amazing cities in different parts of the world but it’s hard to beat London for its energy and cultural institutions. I am grateful to have grown up surrounded by the natural world of New Zealand, but currently I’m enjoying living in a truly global city, where world class museums and galleries are on my door step.

Although… in the depths of winter we do fantasise of moving somewhere sunny and warm and haven’t ruled out a shift to Barcelona sometime in the future.

What’s your favourite room in your home?
Last year we removed a wall that had previously separated the kitchen/dining room and the living room—opening it up has created a wonderful space and on a sunny weekend with the door open to the garden, it’s definitely my favourite spot in the house.

What is the best designed item of all time?
In late 2013 I was in Romania (Transylvania in fact) visiting a furniture factory. It was perched on the side of a hill across the river from the small town, and to get there we crossed the “Austrian Bridge”—and as we crossed, my host remarked that several years previous, the company in Austria who manufactured and installed the bridge had written to the local municipality to inform them that the 100 year guarantee on the bridge was about to expire. I find this profoundly impressive and inspiring – that all those years ago the producer designed a product to such high production values that they could make a 100 year undertaking—and also that a product of such quality was valued by the village who had commissioned it.

What are your sources of inspiration?
When I’ve got a bit of a block, when a project isn’t heading in the right direction, I try to get out of the studio for a few hours—whether it’s roller-blading around one of our local parks or pushing my daughter on a swing—it’s good to get a bit of head-space outdoors to allow the thoughts to settle and inspiration to sink in—it’s something you can’t force.

What one item do you wish you owned?
When we moved to the UK from Brisbane 14 years ago, I put a lot of cartons in storage at my father’s workshop there. A couple of years ago, they had terrible floods and my father’s workshop went under. The flood waters and mud had a devastating impact, especially to my childhood photos. I threw out hundreds, stuck together into impenetrable bricks. It was truly heart breaking—but the negatives were in a carton stacked on the others so they survived—so the one item I currently wish I had was a slide scanner—to resurrect at least something from the old 110 and 126 negatives.

What are your interests outside of design?
We have a young family—my son was born just a few months ago—so home life is quite a focus at the moment.

Who are you design icons?
When I was studying Industrial Design in Brisbane, my father bought me an original Eileen Grey E1027 side table at an antique fair—it was the first iconic design object I owned and inspired me to learn about modernism and Bauhaus. Now I find the work of Naoto Fukasawa never less than the most considered, elegant and refined forms—with just the right level of minimalist composition.

Form vs. function?
Instead of thinking of “form” and “function” on a linear continuum (like a ruler with one at each end) I think they form a triangle along with “experience”, and it’s towards this experience vertex that my designs are intended. Each inform the other and both form and function are essential aspects, but ultimately it’s the experience of using a product, day-in-day-out, that is the focus of my design process.  

What’s your favourite possession?
I received a pen for Christmas, produced by the UK design studio Ajoto. My new instrument is machined from a solid block of aluminium and is fantastic to use—it’s perfectly weighted and flows smoothly across the page. I find myself looking forward to my next sketching session, just so I can use it. I enjoy using a tool of such quality and finished to such a high level of detail—even the packaging is impressively considered.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
In a word, REDUCE. Humans are natural hoarders and it’s easy to accumulate a bewildering array of “stuff”. If you’re thinking of decorating, reducing your stuff is a good starting point—whether you pass it on friends, sell it at a boot sale or market, recycle or upcycle it—it can be really cathartic to clear the decks and reduce the visible clutter before you start. Although, using the same rational, my advice could be oodles of built-in storage, where you can stow away your stuff out of sight.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
I think there’s a lot to the 10000 hours hypothesis—the idea that it takes about this many hours of dedicated practice to master a particular skill or become an expert. It raises aspects of dedication to and being completely focused on an endeavour, and about the effort and time required to achieve your goals.

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

Wednesday
May272015

designer profile: kirsty minns

Where was your favorite place to live?
I love living in London. There is always something new to be inspired by every single day.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
I love my living room, I have a shelf full of books and found objects and a big window that looks down over the city. A perfect place for daydreaming.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Travel, Art, Film, manufacturing processes, and I am fascinated by human psychology.

Form vs. function?
Sometimes the function needs to be that it has to be well formed. There is a place for both.

Who are you design icons?
I love Charles and Ray Eames they really embodied being a designer as a lifestyle choice. They also applied their talents across so many disciplines—their film work is incredible.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
That’s such a tough question as there are so many. For furniture, Charles and Ray Eames LCW chair is a classic as is Dieter Rams shelving for Vitsoe. It has to be something that is timeless.

What one item do you wish you owned?
Dieter Rams Vitsoe shelving.

What do you drive?
Mainly the London Underground, or a bicycle

What is your personal decorating style?
Eclectic mix. I love vintage mid-century modern furniture mixed with modern pieces.

What’s your favorite possession?
I used to be the head of development at Established & Sons and was lucky enough to receive a beautiful fluro yellow Zero-In table by BarberOsgerby. It is an incredible piece of engineering, The design was developed using sophisticated production techniques usually reserved for automotive manufacturing.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
I just bought a new sofa, A 1960’s Greaves and Thomas sofa bed beautifully restored and reupholstered with Harris tweed fabric. There is this amazing shop in East London called 2&4 which has the most incredible archive of pieces.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
It’s all about being savvy in how you put together pieces mixing new with second hand. Making your own prints for the wall can be a nice way of bringing to life a room on a budget.

What are your interests outside of design?
I love doing exercise classes and yoga- I find its the perfect antidote for a constantly switch on brain. I also love to travel. There is nothing better then planning your next adventure.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Challenge yourself everyday, enjoy the process and never stop learning.

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

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.