Freelance designer Zoë Mowat lives and works in Montreal. Her ‘Cache’ cabinet is just one of a number of great pieces which she has designed over the last few years. Combining color, material and form in unique ways – Zoë creates work which continually strives to question the value of objects and what it means to have them.
Her combination of simple forms, smooth lines and bold colors are really fantastic. Her designs feel fresh and her use of materials are appealing. Her ‘Cache’ cabinet is a really good example of what she does so well. Here we see solid walnut sitting beside a simple grey and a strong blue; together they form a cabinet which is as fun and playful as it is simple and elegant. For me, it’s a winning combination and I’d love to have one of these in my house.
This table by Norwegian designer Caroline Olsson is both beautiful and clever. Made of birch, the table works quite literally on two levels – turning from a dining table to a coffee table by simply folding its legs.
Caroline explains that the inspiration for the design came from the anatomy of the knee, and the way in which the bones can only bend in one way. She adds, that once the table is folded down it starts to look like “a small foal who has bent its legs and laid down to rest in the meadow”. It’s an elegently simple idea and it wears its title of ‘Bambi’ with suitable charm.
Knit sweaters always looked cool to me, the complexity and depth that simple yarn can create. So taking that idea and applying it to a stool, albeit in a much chunkier version, is pretty great. Five in total, these stools have a really high aesthetic value, as well as being super comfortable. Claire-anne O’Brien, the creator of the stools, did a fantastic job, especially choosing the patterns and colors, as well as the pale wood used for the simple legs. You can see more photos of the knit stools by clicking here.
I came across this smart little design the other day when browsing tumblr and I have to say it’s a rather splendid idea. Another Picnic Table came about as part of a collaboration between designers Wouter Nieuwendijk (on the left) and Jair Straschnow (on the right). Their simple new spin on the iconic picnic table seems like such a clever idea that it feels odd that no-one has ever thought about making one like this before.
Their variation has two very interesting changes on the traditional table. First, they’ve split the bench into separate seats so that they’re easier to access. This has also allowed them to offer a second option – where the bench can transform into a relaxed seat. This is something which Nieuwendijk believes is lacking within public spaces. “While there are numerous benches for public space” he says on his website, “easy chairs are never to be found in parks and leisure areas, where one would expect them most”. It’s a fair point, and Another Picnic Table really seems to work in adding enjoyable seating to the public space. I’d love to see some of these near the parks where I live. The table is part of a larger collection called Outdoor Grassworks which according to Straschnow, is designed to “refresh the way we use public space”. Take a look at more images from the collaboration here.
You may or may not know about the super famous Barcelona chair, which was designed by Mies van der Rohe for the German Pavilion in 1929, but after watching this video you will definitely know more about it than most folks. You’ll also be able to point out the fake ones you see across town, which may very well outnumber the real ones considering the price. It’s a beautiful chair, and although I can’t imagine myself dropping five thousand hard-earned dollars for a modernist chair anytime soon, I’ve wanted one for most of my adult life. The ottoman is two thousand dollars.
As of lately I’ve been really curious about people’s process when it comes to creation. I try to post about it often because I think there’s a value in learning from how people do the things they do. So I was really inspired when I saw these photos of Yves Behar and his team working on the SAYL chair for Herman Miller. His motivation was simple:
“How do we create a task chair that is attainable? Can we make a comfortable, supportive, healthy, and beautiful chair at a lower price point?”
As for his inspiration, he looked to the Golden Gate bridge, probably the most famous suspension bridge in the world and it’s ability to support so much weight with so little. And I think that’s what’s so interesting about this chair, is that Yves and his team were trying to create something that was basically nothing. It’s honestly the bare bones of what a chair should be. I also enjoy the fact that they tried building this chair in so many different ways. There’s that quote by Benjamin Franklin which says, “I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong,” which I thought was quite apropos.
There are lots more photos under the cut, be sure to check them all out.
Sometimes it really pays to know creative people. Case in point, I’ve had the same, crappy IKEA desks since I moved to Los Angeles, which I’m sure many of you out there do too. They’re cheap, they’re reasonably sturdy and more important, they’re functional. But since Kyle and I moved into a new place I’ve been craving a new desk, something super wide that we can both work at and still have room sprawl all over our desktop. Thankfully, my good buddy Eric Trine is one talented guy. You might remember Eric’s name from the Los Angeles, I’m Yours art/flea market that I put on with Poketo. He was our go-to carpenter who built/found/created so much of what made the show special, and we were so indebted to him. So when I wanted a table made, I knew exactly who to go to.
He ended up using some local, reclaimed beech wood which he found here in Downtown Los Angeles. The desk is really large at 8 feet wide, to fill a great big wall in our apartment. We have an eclectic range of woods in our apartment but I wanted the desk to have a darker surface. It looks cleaner for longer, in my opinion. He also did this really cool thing where he patched the random little holes and tiny gaps with yellow resin, which works really well with our place (our palette is very warm, with lots of reds and oranges and yellows). He also designed great, stylish legs that support the 200 lb. desk. By no means are they “standard” desk legs.
One side effect that I didn’t think of is the smell of real wood. When you go to IKEA, it just smells like particle board and a bit of nothing. Having real wood is a treat on it’s own, as silly as that sounds to say. Did my desk cost way more than one from IKEA? Definitely. But I’d rather pay more for something that can last for generations than a piece of particle board that, with faith and glue, lasts you 10 years. It also makes me happy that I can support a local craftsmen, who also happens to be a good friend.