A layman's view on interior design.
The Chicago area North Shore Magazine has put together some interesting articles about architectural salvage - recycling old artifacts from old buildings that have a date with a wrecking ball. It could be architects trying to restore another old building with original door knobs or just a home owner looking to spice up the room with an Italian hand-carved marble fireplace. These artifacts can be found in salvage shops or on demolition auctions, where the article offers some practical tips for North Shore auctions that clearly could be adopted for any demolition auction:
"1) Bring plenty of cash. Credit cards are a no-go and checks are only accepted from Murco members (you pay $35 for a year's worth of bidding privileges and a Murco T-shirt, as opposed to $5 for an individual bid card).
2) Bring your own tools. Begging strangers for a crow bar is never attractive. Also be sure your vehicle is big enough to haul away the items you've got your eye on.
3) Arrive early. Chances are if it's a North Shore auction, there will be a line. Items are auctioned piece by piece, and if you snooze, you lose.
4) Measure and measure some more. Nothing is more tragic than bringing home the leaded glass doors of your dreams only to find they are three inches too wide.
5) Avoid distractions. A good deal on a closet organizer may be enticing, but not if it makes you miss out on the one item you came to bid on."
Old interior decor artifacts look great in your garden too
Tired of looking at the same old thing hanging on your wall? Open Door Networks Inc has taken the screensaver/desktop image a step further with Envision, the simple idea of packaging it nicely and start a service that provides you with weekly web image show. Furthermore, the software shows only the images on the web sites you specify in a slide show sort of way. So what? I already have a screensaver based on images on my dull grey PC in the corner. Well, now when you can wall-mount the new iMac you can have true everchanging art on your wall! Neat-O!
Ok not that much of an impact sitting on your desk, but imagine on the wall...
One of the things I appreciate about the Americans is that they're very practical. I found another example of that non-sentimental attitude in this article in The Ledger. Apparently the original style of French furniture didn't quite suit the American taste. Well, simply adjust the design and voilà - a better French design. They don't even have to go to France.
A tweaked Louis Philippe design
The robotic vacuum cleaner now a granddaddy
IMHO, one aspect of interior design is to make life at home easier to live. I should be looking forward to coming home and relax. But even a home needs taking care of - or does it?
The Swedish company Electrolux was the first to launch the robotic vacuum cleaner in 2001 for the consumer market, the Trilobite. Now the second generation is out, version 2.0, and the competition, e. g. the Roomba Discovery has reached version 3. The fact that it's been hacked says a lot how popular it is. They have similar features, like they both dock automatically with their power station when they're finished. The Trilobite is way cooler, though. Over at Engadget they're all fired up over the Roomba. They even have a video where you can see the Roomba docking.
Fossil Trilobite. Now where's the ON switch...?.
Trilobite, by name as well as by design.
Roomba, if you prefer the more plastic look and feel
Remember the beef the US had with France over the war in Iraq? Some people went to extremes renaming "French fries" to "freedom fries". Well, now it looks like it spilled over to the antique market where Americans have been known to pay big bucks for French antiques.
It seems like American buyers have stopped travelling to important events in the world of antiques in France. At least as reported from The 22nd Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris by The New York Times:
"Another designer, Charlotte Moss, went back to New York with a list of items to propose to clients who had stayed home. She was at Jorge Welsh's stand admiring a blue-and-white Ming platter when a friend, Ann Nitze, walked by. 'That'll look wholesome at someone's next barbecue,' Ms. Nitze, an art dealer, said dryly."
The French dealers might not be happy, but I bet the antiques are...
"Hmm this Louis XVI bed looks perfect for my poodle"
Ponder the following passage from an article in the International Herald Tribune:
"Not only do they want cars and electronics, they want upmarket home furnishings, too, offered with upmarket style and pizzazz. Indeed, for an ad industry struggling to come to terms with sluggish growth in the West, China and its 1.3 billion consumers are the great hope."
If you're in the home furnishing business and have a Chinese connection, now would be a good time to start up some business in China if you're interested in them greens. I suppose you could argue that doing business in China is endorsing the dictatorship there. I've heard the same argument about having the Olympics in China. I personally believe, though, that the more we begin to depend on each other between countries (e. g. doing business), the more control can be wrung from the hands of a totalitarian government. Isolation is never a good thing. It only makes people suffer while the top hogs always will have food on their tables. Look at North Korea or Cuba. I'm convinced that if the US lifted it's embargo towards Cuba today, the island would be democratized within a couple of years.
Ok, I got into a political side track here, but hey - life isn't all chairs and pillows.
Guess who's coming to dinner? Yep, the everpresent Mao never misses a family moment
To turn your home into a gallery is an interesting concept - if you don't have to live in it, I suppose. Check out this überdesigned Paris apartment. It's pure design porn and does lend itself beautifully to a stylish article, but I think I would freak out if I were to live there and have my cereal in the kitchen/morgue every morning.
The kitchen. Full of warm fuzziness
The red light district? Nope, the children's corridor
The public room - why it had it coming
As the summer withers away here in Stockholm, the construction and re-building projects in our streets and other public places are scurried to finish before the winter cold tightens it's grip. Swedes are known to be modern and efficient - maybe too efficient, I sometimes think. Many times the new Metro station or public square is opened to public before it's even finished. I think that how we perceive the public room tells us how to treat it. A public construction site invites the feeble-minded to scrawl all over the walls and drop their cigarette butts on the floor. Think about it: wouldn't you think twice about littering a clean new bus station and at the samte time don't even think once about littering a half-finished dirty one?
In the transition from half-done to finished, something is missing. The public room is never allowed to feel new and fresh. Why not clean it up at least once and perhaps even have a corny inauguration to mark the event?
The same psychology applies to graffiti, or the scribble that it usually is. Being surrounded by filthy walls makes us feel bad about where we live and a sense of insecurity that in turn affects how we treat each other. There are a few true graffiti artists, but the rest just serves as a recruitment base for small time criminals (future big time criminals). Reclaim the streets? I think we just lost it to an unsecure manipulated bunch of kids...
Try to reclaim the added cost of the ticket next time you take the train, Lowe!
The classic luxury item
I find the typical image of the ideal American home so overloaded that it's amusing. Take a look at the images at the site getdecorating.com where they've gathered a remarkable collection of "ideal" interior decoration settings. It seems like the idea is to express wealth and cosyness by cramming the place with stuff.
For me, the ultimate luxury is empty space. Isn't that great? You have the classic luxury item available for free when designing the interior of your place. Don't be afraid to use it!
If you're interested in Scandinavian design I'm sure you know about one of the greatest Swedish designers, Carl Malmsten, who's furniture from most of the last century still hold their own against anything made today. Well, if you ever go to Stockholm, make sure you stop by at the Carl Malmsten store and ask his grandson Jerk, the owner, to show you around the unique handicrafted pieces of furniture, the classics or the NU line of furniture from young designers carrying the Carl Malmsten torch of art and handicraft. The address is nr 5B on the most exclusive street in Stockholm, Strandvagen. Then take a stroll down the street to see if you meet the tennis legend Björn Borg, who also live on Strandvagen.
This baby makes a palace out of any home
I saw on eBay that people still are selling Gmail invitations. That doesn't seem right to me. If there are any of you readers that need a Gmail account just put an e-mail address in a comment to this post and I'll send you an invitation. I currently have six Gmail invitations.
Take a look at this image and try to guess what kind of house this is:
Ok, the title probably gave it away already. No, it's not a corridor in a large mansion. Yes, it's the interior of a yacht, not a superyacht but a megayacht! I saw this image in an interesting article in the Nautica Superyacht magazine discussing different approaches in interior design for yachts. It really gives you a look inside a world that few has access to. For me, it also confirms the fact that money can't buy you even the slightest sense of aesthetics.
I'm not an expert on yachts but I don't get the idea why you'd want to make the inside look exactly like the interior of a house. Where's the adventure?
The result of a large sum of money in the hands of aesthetically challenged american megayacht owner
Man's defiance in the face of nature's powers
Looking at the images of the Villa Nackros, built on water, and at the same time following the news about the current hurricane Frances trashing the Florida coastline, it struck me how much in denial we as humans are when it comes to natures untamable forces. It doesn't matter how much we get our asses kicked by all elements - we just keep challanging them, building close to water, over earthquake chasms and on the moon. This passage from an article about the hurricane in the New York Times I think sums it up very well:
To the north, in Vero Beach, Wayne Watkins walked along an abandoned U.S. 1 holding his mixed poodle, Petey. "He likes his morning walk," Mr. Watkins said as the wind practically buckled his knees. "So he got it." Mr. Watkins added: "I was in Nam in 68, 69, so this is cake city."
Oh sweet defiance! I think I'll buy one of those floating villas some day and park it outside the coast of Florida. I want to go out in style!
(Read more about Villa Nackros designed by Staffan Strindberg)
The calmness before the storm in Villa Nackros
Last words from the Villa Nackros living room: "What's that dark cone-shaped thing coming this way?"
Following up on that recycle theme earlier, here's a lamp (85 actually) that ended up in MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art in NYC). It's from famous Dutch designers Droog Design and I saw the other day that you can buy it from moss for USD 3270 or from inreda.com for SEK 26950. Myself I am already fighting a losing battle against cable abundance in my apartement, so I'll pass on this one - or was it the price tag?
I wonder when that Cuban stuff will find it's way to the shops...?
Did a bulb just go out? Not to worry with this mofo