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Tuesday
Aug092011

designer profile: jonas wahlstrom

Where was your favorite place to live?
Chicago, no doubt. This is where my adult life began. I got married, had my beautiful kids here, as well as started my wood working and design career. I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.

I have to say that I have been pretty fortunate to have lived in so many different parts of the world in my life. I grew up in Sweden and after my military service (as a chef on the fearsome HMS Älvsborg) I lived in Stockholm, worked as a chef, and totally fell in love with the city. After Stockholm my cooking took me to the Cayman Islands for two years—this was a great time. I also had an extended stay in Japan, which was pretty amazing as well.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
Our sitting room—I have full view of the kitchen and living room where the kids are roaming.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The large wind turbines. They serve a great purpose and are majestic to look at. Truly mesmerizing.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Could be anything really, but I like to look at everyday objects and scale them up or down transforming their shape or lines into something for a furniture piece. The legs of the Dylan table were inspired by the simple, yet functional shape of a paperclip. I was fiddling with one and after twisting it a bit, it gave me an idea for the w shape of the legs (convenient since my last name starts with a “w”).

What one item do you wish you owned?
A summer home in my native Sweden. To be able to spend a few weeks in the summer over there would be amazing.

What are your interests outside of design?
My kids!!!! Family is what it’s all about for me. Who are you design icons? Tadao Ando, Poul Kjaerholm, Richard Serra…to name a few.

Form vs. function?
Both for sure. If something is supposed to provide a certain function then that has to come first. If you can then incorporate form to enhance the feeling of an object, that’s true design.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
My house. My wife and I have worked really hard to make it our own, and it is something that really becomes a part of you.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Food, I love to eat. I was a chef for 8 years—in the Swedish navy, Stockholm, Cayman Islands, and then here in Chicago.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
This one is super low budget… de-clutter. Too much stuff will sometimes make a space cave in on itself. Although it’s important that your dwelling reflect your own personality, keeping it organized and clean will make it a place to relax and recharge.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
I think now the best advice I can give to anyone is to live their life and do work that feels meaningful to them, but hey I don’t really feel qualified to give advice when I haven’t figured out where I’m headed myself. Maybe when I am in my eighties I have earned the right to have any say.

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

Thursday
Jul282011

artist profile: melvin geisenhofer

A dynamic collaboration with our friends at San Francisco’s Creativity Explored, a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art.

True to his expressive use of color and repetition, Creativity Explored artist Melvin Geisenhofer abstracts a whimsical woodland in tonal greens, heathered blues, taupe and tarp green using a shaded dyeing technique to achieve a sense of depth.

Born in 1941, Melvin has been a regular at the studio since 1985. In his early years at the studio, his works had more recognizable faces often with wide, toothy grins.

More recently Geisenhofer tends to abstract and obliterate the faces with layer upon layer of marks in a thick network—he’s also been painting on larger canvases resulting in looser, less constrained pieces.

Tuesday
Jul262011

designer profile: federico churba

Where was your favorite place to live?
Home sweet home! I live in a small cosy house with a large green garden in the surroundings of Buenos Aires, and love it!

What are your sources of inspiration?
The surroundings… I love to go around with my camera and take pictures of many things, and usually work with them trying to find connections and clues of identity. Then, trying to convert them into pieces of contemporaneous furniture.

What do you drive?
Different choices, depending on the weather and what I am wearing! but mostly my 1957 Vespa.

What one item do you wish you owned?
A house on the beach, definitively.

What are your interests outside of design?
I love to play the piano, but I believe nobody feels the same at home!

Who are you design icons?
Many… but if you force my, I would Vico Magistretti.

Form vs. function?
It depends on the project.

Your personal decorating style is ?
At my office? we change the wallpapers every time we work on new projects.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
My piano. It is old and sounds very bad, but I don´t think I could change it for a new one.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
The movie theatre around the corner of my studio.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Throw away everything you don´t need—really cheap.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Don´t become a lawyer.

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

Tuesday
Jul192011

designer profile: manuel saez

Where was your favorite place to live?
Brooklyn. It is a true multicultural experience. It has the small friendly neighborhood feeling and quick access to Manhattan and all the good things new York can offer.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
The kitchen. Big and practical!

What are your sources of inspiration?
Everyday things. Sculpture, art, science shows, nature… Depends… Yesterday I found a chewed up dog stick at the park and I am going to do a sculpture with it.

What one item do you wish you owned?
Phillip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan.

What are your interests outside of design?
Sports—I play rugby and squash. Also like motorcycles and bicycles.

Who are you design icons?
In terms of product the Eames aluminum series. As far as designers I like Phillip Stark, always criticized but he knows how to control what people feel…

Form vs. function?
Yes! The true is Balance between them, in the context the design will be used.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The screw! Not big task can be accomplished without it being involved at some point.

Your personal decorating style is _____?
Minimalist. However I also like my girlfriend’s style. She is an interior designer that uses textures and earthy tones to create a feeling of cozy comfort.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
A vintage long, black leather coat I bought on the street in Malaga Spain.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Good food and great company. I love to cook and entertain friends.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
White paint! Anything looks good in white spaces and objects…with white you can hide or highlight.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Received: you need to exercise some restraint!!!—Niels Diffrient Gave: do what you love and be patience.

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.