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.
Although it might as well be short for radical, RAD is actually short for Ryan Anderson Design. That is he in the lower photo. Anderson grew up on the west coast during the ’80s, so rad was probably floating around in his head between gnarly and stellar. Graduating from Architecture School into an abysmal job market, Ryan founded his furniture design studio with fellow classmates Katherine and Ruben. As you might expect from an architect, the furniture exploits material properties. In the case of the Barbara Stool (that I am entirely enamored with) the sleek and structural steel is balanced by the warm character of wood. Furniture can also can come powder-coated in some pretty righteous colors with your choice of wood and size. The prices may seem steep to others, especially young architecture graduates, but as Ryan explains in this video by the Daily Texan, that this is not disposable furniture. You keep these sturdy furniture pieces long enough to pass down to other people, in a longer furniture cycle than most of us are probably used to. Cowabunga.
I wish I knew more about this chair. I know that it was designed in 1980 by Forrest Myers as part of his Wedding Gift series that strings together 5 tables and 15 unique chairs. This chair inparticular looks… well… foxy in the way it ties together strict geometry and taunting thinness. Seriously, it looks like it’s held up by spaghetti. Myers is probably best known for his big, blue wall in SoHo, which was the subject of a convoluted tug-o-war in Court after the landlord yanked down the original sculpture and planned to replace it with billboards. Eventually, Myers and the landlord reached an agreement. In 2008, a year after The Wall was resurrected, the Hedge Gallery in San Francisco featured a show of “dynamic new wire work” from Myers. If his newer furniture work is based in dynamic wires, then this Wedding Gift chair could have descended from a tightrope. And as exciting as his newer work is, I prefer his fine balancing act from 1980.
If you know more about the chair, please speak up.
I was thrilled to read that Konstantin Grcic was awarded Designer of the Year at Design Miami. So I thought you might be interested in a recent interview mostly about his work and one exhibition-specific work in particular titled Netscape. Netscape is an arrangement of 24 hammock-seat hybrids under a pretty amazing tent and takes advantage of Miami’s climate. It also worked out for Grcic that he could flat-pack and ship the net-seats to Miami after monitoring their fabrication in his Munich studio. Grcic describes Netscape:
“I knew that I wanted to create something special for the fair—something functional, but also something that incorporated my ideas of what a place like Miami is like in December. The idea for the commission was fairly immediate because the tent design by Moorhead & Moorhead really lent itself to a project like this. It’s a space for people to enjoy.”
I spotted this odd little stool/pouf thing over on MoCo Loco and it caught my eye. It was created by designer Nicolas Le Moigne out of the fiber of cement scraps and shaped into something more aesthetically pleasing though still extremely interesting. I don’t really have any more information on these, his site is extremely limiting, but I think these would be really rad to have as a couple of side tables that could double as seating. I wonder how hard it would be to make something like this myself?
I visited the new CB2 in Santa Monica last weekend and while poking around I found these rad little stone houses (technically a house, temple or condo) which when combined create a great little village. I guess these little guys could just sit on a table or something but I like the idea of them as bookends. They’re geometric shapes are really fun and their surfaces are nice and smooth, made of “natural mint sandstone”. I just wish I had a place to put these…
Last week Alex posted this crazy chair called the Prickly Pear Chair which I thought I was pretty crazy until I found the chair above. The Proust Geometrical Chair was designed by Alessandro Mendini in 2009 for Cappellini which features the intense pattern you see in the photos, which personally reminds me of dazzle camouflage. It also kind of reminds me of the unnecessary indulgence of the 80’s, mixing a classic shape with a contemporary pattern. Don’t think I’d ever want this in my home but it’s certainly fun to look at.
It’s that time of summer when the optimism of spring is evaporating as quickly as the turgidity of the potted plants on my front porch. It’s the heat that kills them. In the spring, it seemed like a good idea to plant dozens of delicate, thirsty flowers; but in the summer the ghosts of dead plants are reminding me that I should have planted cacti… or maybe just rocks.
New to me are the Prickly Pair Chairs by Valentina Gelz Wohlers. Introduced last year during Milan Design Week, the chairs cleverly bend a very French, oval-backed chair with the pads of a prickly pear cactus. There are even little spiny things in the tufts of the upholstery. The chair made me laugh the first time I saw it, and I’ve been thinking about how to downplay the absurdity of the chair in an interior ever since. I haven’t come up with anything.
But I still like the chair, and I need somethings other than dead plants on my front porch. Is there a waterproof version? Well, honestly, I’m not sure that water is a realistic threat… just ask the dead plants.