Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cool Calendars for 2012

I hope you've all had a fantastic holiday season! If you're like me, I always get a bit sad once the season is over and all the pretty lights and festive decorations have come down. But the new year is an exciting time, and these hip calendars definitely give you something to look forward to, visually speaking, in the new year. Here are my top contenders for 2012, proving that physical calendars are not the stodgy, outdated desk paraphernalia of yore. Granted, all my life is contained on my iPhone, but there just isn't a replacement for a hip desk accessory to help you keep track of the days of your life.

This colorful accordion number is from designer Erin Jang. I love the happy colors and the chic simplicity!

And my absolute favorite is this complex piece, the Verlag Hermann Schmidt Time Cube. Pure genius.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sarcastic Styling

While doing some very legitimate research for my thesis, I came across this interesting article in the New York Times asking whether authenticity is an overdone trend. Very interesting article, which I recommend reading, and the comments were even more insightful. However, as often happens in the nature of very rigorous academic research, I found myself distracted by one of the links mentioned in the article. As in several hours, distracted. Oops. So, naturally I had to share to help distract you and delay whatever it is that you really need to be doing. But as laughter is good for the soul, don't feel too guilty. Check it out and have a good laugh, then get back to work!

So what was this distraction? This incredibly unique and witty blog done by a comedian who finds humor in the styling of various home decor catalogs. Such a brilliant concept, why didn't I think of that? Now, I understand (to some degree) how difficult it is to style glossy photo shoots to sell furniture, but Molly Erdman manages to hit the perfect balance of sarcasm and wit in her blog Catalog Living. She's created a fictitious couple, Gary and Elaine and chronicles the nuances of their relationship through various objects in their home. Here are a few of my favorite posts:

Hope you had a good laugh. And there's much more on her blog...if you need an excuse to procrastinate!

Monday, October 31, 2011

In Knots Over Knits

As I intermittently hop up to hand out candy to cute trick-or-treaters, I decided this cool fall evening was the perfect time to pick out some of my favorite items from the knitted trend I've been observing for awhile. And can I just say my favorite Halloween moment was when this little 18 month old Minnie Mouse came to the door, and her eyes lit up when I put some Skittles into her pumpkin. Her dad goes, "Now what do you say?" She looked momentarily confused and then shouted, "I love you!!" I think he was looking more for "Thank you" but it totally made my night! Cuteness.

Anyways, back to the issue of knits, I'm not a fan of those "knit bombers" who cover random urban paraphernalia (such as street lamps or bus seats) with psychadelic-colored yarn koozies. Neither am I a fan of granny doilies. But I love the craft of knitting, especially as it's applied in a modern way. I think these pieces hit the perfect spot between kitschy and cool.

1) Llot Llov's Matt lamp. 2) Ceramic vases by Annette Bugansky. 3) Knotted Egg Lamp by Sarah Parkes. 4) Knit Stools by Claire-Anne O'Brien. 5) Veil curtain by Woodnotes. 5) Knitted Pouf by CB2.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sweet Paul's Food for Fall

DIY dog shampoo and puppy bling

Lovely and tasty fall treats

Dark Halloween

I would not categorize myself as a hard-core foodie by any stretch of the imagination for two reasons. First being that I'm super picky. You can't be picky and be a foodie--I mean, you just can't ask a renown chef to leave the mushrooms off his signature recipe, it's just not right. Secondly, if I were to come across an unexpected $200, I would likely find myself at Kade Spade rather than Momofuku. However, I consider myself a pseudo-foodie, so with the recent fall weather went on an exploration of the most exciting fall recipes I could find. If I'm going to go to the trouble to cook something, it has to be worth the effort for my tastebuds.

Thanks to my favorite site, Pinterest, I found lots of delicious autumnal recipe offerings, one of which led me to this site which I am now completely obsessed with. And you know me, I just had to share. Sweet Paul is a gorgeous magazine full of incredibly styled photography. It's like he's the hip Martha Stewart of Oslo (now residing in NYC). He does it all--crafts, food, entertaining. All with a chic sophistication that is sadly lacking in most DIY magazines of today. The good news is that all of his lovely magazines are archived online for your viewing pleasure. And every recipe comes with a beautiful accompanying photo. The current issue has an entire section devoted to pears, avocados (two of my favorite things), beets (meh, not such a fan--see, there's the picky in me), in addition to tons of other categories.

I seriously can't wait for the holiday issue to come out November 15! But in the meantime, there's a great blog, so you can get your daily fix as well.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crazy for Missoni

Last night I had dream that I camped outside a Target (and let me tell you, I'm not that girl) and got into a violent tug of war over a zig zagged blender against my best friend the second the doors opened. What in the world triggered such a bizarre dream? Well, the fact that I've been scouring the internet for weeks to get a glimpse of the Missoni collection for Target, and yesterday I finally found it! And while there are (unfortunately?) no zig-zagged blenders, their awesome prints have been applied to just about anything else your heart could desire. Galoshes? Check. Luggage? Check. Patio furniture? Yup. A bike? You got it.

I haven't been this excited about a Target collaboration in a long time, so I have to say good job Target for bringing that fabulous Italian sensibility to America. Let's hope this helps us overcome our overwhelming beige obsession and embrace some of that Italian love of color and pattern! September 13 can't come fast enough. And this might be the one time I'd actually show up at a store before it opens, but hopefully I can refrain from any violent tug of wars.

All photos from (and they have photos of the ENTIRE collection there for your viewing pleasure).

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back to School with a Pop

Colorful tape dispensers (image from Design Milk)

Pretty  in Pink (image from Poppin)

(image from Happy Mundane)

With the first of August always come the back to school ads. And while I'm no longer really in school (lingering thesis proving otherwise, sigh), I still feel that rush to go to the store and buy a bunch of fun pens and notebooks, just to celebrate that oncoming arrival of fall and that cool morning air that has to be coming...eventually.

So I was thrilled when I came across this super cool company, Poppin, offering some of the most fun office supplies I've seen in awhile. I love their color, modness, and attitude. Seriously, who knew office supplies could have a sense of humor? They're packaging makes me smile. And even better, they're really reasonably priced.

I'm off to remodel my desk!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Salute to American Industrial Designers

I'm loving these cool new forever stamps from the US Post Office. These limited-edition stamps feature twelve twentieth century American industrial designers. Derry Noyes was the art director who chose which designers made the cut. All twelve can be purchased as a set for $5.28 from the USPS website.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design

In my constant quest to find great design books for my library, I came across this one by Christiane Lemieux, of the beautiful modern textile and home decor brand, Dwell Studio. I had the incredible opportunity to hear a speech by Christiane at SCAD Style in Savannah last year. She was such an inspirational speaker and so willing to share her success story and encouraged each of us art school students to pursue our own dreams. As a thank you for that inspirational lecture, I wanted to share her new book with all of my readers. It's called, Undecorate.

I'm copying a portion of this interview done by the Bloesem blog in regards to her inspiration for the book (and you can read the entire interview here):

What do you mean by Undecorate...and what do you like about it?
Undecorate is how I describe what I see happening in interior design right now. I think this movement is multi-factoral in its genesis. First, there is the advent of the design blog. Interior design, design media and publishing is all of the sudden in the hands of everyone.  People who are not professionals in the strict sense - are writing, designing and sharing ideas.  The result is amazing, innovative, organic and personal. Hence Undecorate. Secondly, People are also thinking of their spaces less at something to start and finish. Homeowners are constantly tweaking and refining their homes. Your home, your personal space is a path not a place -ie: your child's room is constantly changing as their lives change.  The family spaces evolve too. Like your life- things are constantly transitioning and peoples homes reflect that. They also share those changes and stages on line. To decorate has a start and a finish.  It's static. Undecorating is constant and fluid. Lastly,  I think the advent of social media - discussing and sharing design ideas has changed the way we think about our spaces.  You can now create a mood-board, send it to your friends and have them comment.  Design has become something collaborative. Its an amazing change from decorator driven content.
As a professional interior designer, hearing that design and decorating is shifting from being controlled by trained professionals to homeowners makes me nervous. But she's right. And honestly, I think there's room for both professionals and enthusiasts in this field. After all, both groups can inspire each other and work to create new trends and ideas.
Photos provided by Amazon and Irene, of Bloesem.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sand, Surf, and Shopping!

Not much is better than a relaxing day on the beach, unless you happen to be at near the Hague (that's the third largest city in the Netherlands, in case you're wondering), more specifically, it's suburb Scheveningen, during the two days H&M hosted a cute pop up shop featuring all sorts of summer sundries in blue.

Better still?  25% of all proceeds went to a good cause as the venture was part of a partnership with Wateraid which is an NGO that helps provide clean water and education to some of the poorest people in the world.

Sun, water, shopping, and helping out a good cause?  Now that's a good way to spend a summer afternoon.  How about H&M try that somewhere in the States next?

Photos by Jonathan Loek [team Peter Stitger].

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Classroom of the Future, Designed by Students

If you talk to anyone today about the current state of grade school education, you'll virtually open up a Pandora's box of all sorts of problems and issues.  But this project, with a bunch of talented eighth grade students in New York shows that these kids have a lot to offer, and proves that design has a valid role in the classroom and should be integrated along with all the other basics like math and science.  Perhaps this seems like a hard fight when violence and budget cuts steal most of the media attention, but I still find it one more valid concern to add to the mix.

The project was called Tools at Schools and was done in association with Bernhardt Design, Aruliden, and The School at Columbia University where students were asked to design the school of the future.  They became immersed in the entire design process from research and concept, sketching, 3d drawing, and creating scaled models.  For the academics out there, you'll be relieved to know this incorporated such established disciplines as math, statistics, and language as they worked with communication, graphics, and overall design.  Then to make it even cooler, their drawings were actually turned into production drawings and manufactured.  Final prototypes were featured at this year's ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair, for those who don't know) in New York City this past week.  Honestly, how cool is that to have your homework assignment actually come to life?!  (I'm seriously jealous of these kids!)

My favorite quote is from one of the students, "I used to think that design was really exotic and abstract.  Before Tools at Schools the first thing I would think of when I heard the word 'design' was fashion, things that Lady Gaga would wear.  It amazes me to think back and see how off I was.  I have opened my eyes to see that everything around me is designed: the computer I work with, the jewelry I wear and even the pencil I use."

Some highlights of the final design included a smart tray that sits at the edge of the desk, allowing a student to prop up a book, hold art supplies, or act as a keeper for various objects used during a science experiment.  Strategically placed hooks keep backpacks close at hand but out of the way.  And the color gradation on the lockers is a refreshing change from that sea of identical metal boxes typically lining the halls.

The kids actually created some beautiful and functional stuff, as you can see from the previous photos.  With the fresh eyes kids bring to the world, why not incorporate more design projects into the curriculum in all realms, even solving some of the world's perplexing social problems.  They might just learn something in the process, and actually teach us "experts" a thing or two along the way.  I mean, look in all the classrooms around you.  Is the furniture there as cool as this?  I didn't think so.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pop-Up Books

There are many places to go for inspiration such as a walk on the beach, the lobby of a hip, new hotel, or my current obsession; pinterest. But one of my favorite go-to spots whether I'm panic stricken over a looming deadline, or just want to kill a rainy afternoon is an architectural bookstore. Granted, I love all types of bookstores, but there's just something special about one devoted entirely to design books. So I was thrilled to learn about this pop up architecture bookstore in Manhattan, Van Alen Books.

I love technology as much as the next guy, but I find something sad about the potential for all books to go the way of the Kindle. Don't get me wrong, I love the ability to have your entire library on one device, but there just isn't a digital replacement for the act of flipping through a beautiful book filled with glossy design images.  So I'm in full support of this venue which aims to prove that print isn't dead. Although, they admit that it isn't what it used to be which is why this shop is part bookstore, part public forum.

LOT-EK was the firm that designed this eye-catching space on West 22nd Street. The look is in keeping with their gritty urban style. The main focal point of the space is bleacher-style seating made from recycled doors. To see their original concept images and learn more about their design, click here.

All photos are from the opening party last month and can be found in the Archidose Flickr stream.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

British Bits and Bobs

After spending a lovely summer in Oxford several years ago, I can honestly say that I love everything about England. The history, the architecture, the accents. And I'm a sucker for fairy tales. A "common" girl lands her dream prince? What's not to love? So I'm super excited about this royal wedding taking place in a few short hours. In honor of William and Kate, I've put together a collection of a few of my favorite British things. Congrats to the happy couple, and best wishes for a long and happy ever after!

1) John Lewis Mug. 2) London River series plates by Cermica Blue. 3) Jonathan Adler's British flag pillow. 4 & 5) Pillows by Bliss Living Home. 6) Bridge Lime print by Paul Catherall. 7) 56p Stamp Rug. 8) London shower curtain by Bliss Living Home.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Milan: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Hemp Chair, by Werner Aisslinger

Aim Lights, designed by Ronan & Erwin Bouroullec

Story Vases by Front and the Siyazama Project

Grinza chair for Edra

Sadly, I still have not had the opportunity to attend the annual Salon Internazionale del Mobile that closed last Sunday in Milan. Maybe next year. Here's a (very) brief roundup of the things I've found memorable from this year's extravaganza, as observed from the scenic digital vantage-point of my desk.

The Good: Rumors have it that things are picking up and manufacturers are expecting sales at least as good as they had in 2007. Really? That seems a bit optimistic, but I hope they're right.

Also good are these streamlined, stackable (and eco!) "Hemp Chairs" by Berlin-based Werner Aisslinger. No idea if they're actually comfortable to sit in, but they look awesome.

I really am in love with these Aim lights designed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, carried by Flos. You can position them in any direction, at any height thanks to their cable suspension system. Genius.

Finishing up the good category are these inspiring vases handmade by South African women through the Siyazama Project in collaboration with Front. These vases tell their stories about the effect of HIV, poverty, and unemployment on their society. Nice that in all the dazzle of Milan's Design Week, there's an awareness of those with less and an effort to support them through this local craft movement.

The Bad: Despite all the glitz and glam, few designers are lucky enough to make a living at their craft.  Depressing but interesting article by Justin McGuirk from the Guardian here if you want to read more.

Also bad, very few American designers exhibiting this year. Granted, it's hard when our own government doesn't support designers, as other countries do. Priorities, people. If huge corporations get bailouts and tax breaks, why not a small bit for struggling designers trying to make a name for themselves?

The Ugly: Okay, I try to refrain from criticizing design (I mean, after all, was I there pitching my latest furniture pieces to the critics? Um no.) But I just couldn't resist a comment on this last image. What is this thing? It reminds me of a mutilated Sharpei. Not cool. Not cool at all. But to be fair, these two Brazilians do some good, and unusual work (which I fully support. It's nice to see something different...usually). You can see other pieces from these two here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Conceptual Creations

I came across this top image online and thought it was a must buy, so I started Googling everything to see where I could get it. I discovered lots of interesting new design blogs (who are as much in love with it as I am), but sadly no Babees Honey actually exists. Such a disappointment. But my search led me to the designer of this beautiful product, Ah&Oh Studio, and I loved their work so much I decided to go ahead and blog about them. Hey, if I can't get my beautifully packaged honey, at least I can do my part to help promote some incredibly talented freelance designers. Who knows, maybe someone will see their genius and actually bring this product to market.

The site says the designers created this concept of Babees Honey to encourage kids to reach for the natural stuff rather than refined sugar.  It's been awhile since I was a kid, but I don't really remember sticking my hand into the sugar canister as much as the cookie jar. But either way, it's a noble goal.

I thought I'd also post their Scent Stories fragrance concept (sorry, unfortunately this product isn't real either).  I love that their inspiration came from dark, moody classical literature characters and that the bottle represents the iconic shape of the inkwell.

Wish more real world packaging looked like the work by Ah&Oh.  Refreshing and versatile. Initially, I'd never guess the same designers did innocent and sweet honey along with dark and stormy scents.  Any manufacturers out there listening? The design blogging world has spoken.  We love their style, so give them some work!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Interactive Invite


Invitations to fun events are always a great treat to receive in the mail. Beautifully designed ones are even better. And this imaginative wedding invite could be the coolest one yet. These two lovebirds are also music lovers (she's a DJ at night, and he's a Grammy-nominated sound engineer), so they incorporated this into their unique interactive packaging design (calling this merely an invite seems a bit of an insult). With a bit of folding and spinning by the user, the entire invite transforms into a paper record player and emits a song produced by the couple. Adorable!

I have no idea how this works. Apparently it involves a flexidisk record and a sewing needle. Who knew?!  Not only is the sound component great, the graphics are superb. Definitely check out the video to understand how the whole thing works (and to hear their song). Best wishes for a long and creative life to this couple! (more photos and info can be found on Kelli Anderson's (the designer) blog.