Category Archives: design

Retio: One very cool radio

While generally I don’t like promoting devices on Kickstarter, I make an exception for the beauty above. As Yanko Design says, this steampunk radio, speaker and clock comes with a display made from real nixie tubes!. 

It’s very cool. Over at Yanko Design they have lots of beautiful pictures of it, plus links to the Kickstarter.

Love it.

 

The palette of Dieter Rams

This is fun. Someone has translated the colour palette of Dieter Rams and has illustrated them like this, with the Hex codes about them. There are a number of them on the blog of PresentandCorrect.com; here’s an example:

If you own any Braun products with his design work, you will recognize the colours immediatey.

The entire post is here. To be honest, the whole blog is great. Start at the top, here.

Incredible modular storage I wished IKEA offered

I love these playful modular cabinets that put a quirky spin on storage by using geometric shelves found at Yanko Design. You can mix and match the pieces to design the best storage for your room. And if you get tired of it, you just have to reposition things and you have a whole new look. Fantastic.

Good design: OneClock

Alarm clock

The clock shown about is the OneClock. It looks great on the outside, and it’s smartly designed on the inside. Over at Colossal, they say, well:

Say goodbye to the days of being jarred awake by the alarm blaring from your iPhone. The creative team over at OneClock designed a streamlined device with the intention of rousing people in a more peaceful manner, one with soothing melodies that are in stark contrast to the startling sounds many of us hear every morning.

Smart. For more on the clock, click on the link to Colossal. Not only will you learn more about the clock, but there’s lots of great photos of it too.

Crazy coffee tables!

Coffee table that is also a planter

Let’s face it: many coffee tables are boring. For a view of some that are anything but, you want to go to this link.

Take the one above, where you can have a coffee AND grow a garden.

For something completely different, there is this steampunk version:

Steampunk coffee table

There are also simpler but unique ones as well.

Smartwatches: more than just the Apple Watch

 

There was a flurry of smart watches coming on the market a few years ago. But that seemed to have died down. Now after reading this,
Innovative smartwatch designs that are the perfect culmination of form, functionality and style! | Yanko Design, I wonder if there will be a new outbreak of smart watches. Apple’s Watch is great, but it can’t be all things to all people.  To see what others are doing, check out that Yanko Design post. (The braille watch, shown above, is one example of smart watch design that is unique and brilliant.)

The anti-smartphone

I love this! Not just for the design, but for the thinking behind the design. To see what I mean, read: An Anti-Smartphone With a Rotary Designed and Built by Space Engineer Justine Haupt | Colossal

Contrarian or anti-design patterns get us to rethink the technology we take for granted. One of the reasons I love it.

Not your parent’s sofa

If you have ever shopped for a sofa, you can quickly start thinking that there is not much to choose from. If you think that, I want you to check out this: Sofa designs so good, they’re impossible to resist: Part 3 | Yanko Design.

For example, you have this burgundy beauty here:

As well as some that aren’t quite as out there, like this:

You might never want to approach any of them, let alone buy one, but after you are done looking at them, you will have to admit there is more than one way to design a sofa.

If I had the space in a sheltered woods then I would build this home

So many small homes are…well…not great. Small! But nothing special.

This one is arguably an exception to it. Not only is it more attactive than most, but it is fairly fast to make: This DIY Guesthouse Cabin Comes in a Kit and Only Takes Three Days to Build | Apartment Therapy.

You can argue it is not a home at all. Fair. But it is related, I think. And worth checking out.

Do you love books? And design? And bookshelves?

bookshelf

Then you want to go to this page and check out the magical bookshelves there (like the one above). This lover of books and design absolutely drooled over them (metaphorically speaking).

(I don’t know how comfortable or useful that chair is above, but I love the idea of it.)

The process of hand blocked wallpaper

Is shown, here.

Captivating.

Alternative materials for buildings homes (concrete) and furniture (drywall)

I thought both of these pieces were interesting. First this one, on the home of artist Sue Webster (shown below)

and then this piece on drywall furniture: Drywall? Dry Furniture Takes On the Issue of Affordable Furniture (shown below)

Not sure I’ll ever warm up to furniture made of drywall or homes with that much concrete, but it’s worthwhile considering them and what it would be like.

Some of it reminds me of the houses and furniture that Frank Gehry used to build.  Perhaps we will all live in such houses in the future.

 

Virtual Travelling: Sinner hotel, in Paris

I won’t be going anywhere any time soon, but if I could, I might go and stay at this boutique hotel in Paris, just to stay in that bed.

The hotel, in the Marais district of Paris, is a stunner. You can find out more about it, here, or by visiting their website, here.

Once the pandemic is over, I think there will be an orgy of travel. And what better place to stay than a place called Sinner? 🙂

P.S. This suite is nice, too.

PPE for the .01%: the Louis Vuitton Monogram Face Shield

If you have more money than you know what to do with, by all means, get your own Louis Vuitton Monogram Face Shield. Details here.

How to be a better Maximalist

 

If you love maximalism but worry that you will get stuck looking more like a hoarder than a design pro, you need some rules to follow. Apartment Therapy has six rules your to follow, and you can find them, here.

I found the above image at vinterior.co which has gorgeous stuff. Check them out.

The very stylish MOON Coffee Machine

 

This beautiful coffee machine isn’t a product you can buy, but I wish I could. It’s beautiful. For more on this design product, including more photos, check out Stylish MOON Coffee Machine Design.

The timeliness of a stylish gray sofa

If you are about to buy a sofa, it is tempting to get something colourful and bold. I recommend you consider getting a neutral coloured sofa and let the other parts of your room do the colourful and bold parts. A solid gray sofa can provide a great anchor for the rest of the room. To see what I mean, check out these sofas. None of them are dull, but all of them work really well in the rooms they are in.

I also like gray because unlike some other neutral colours, it doesn’t show wear and tear as much. 

It may be fun to get a bright coloured or black sofa, at first. In the long run, gray is the best choice.

The soothing calm of Japanese minimalism in a canal house in Amsterdam

If you want to soothe your eyes and spirit with some calm today, check out this canal house in Amsterdam:

Design Milk has a feature on this place and every image is a sight for sore eyes. To see what I mean, take yourself to this page.

You’ll be glad you did.

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Is the Citroën Ami One the future of urban vehicles?


I am not sure of the viability of this vehicle, licence or no: You don’t need a licence to drive the Citroën Ami One in Yanko Design,

I do think it is interesting though. And Yanko Design has great photos and a write up on it. Worth reviewing and considering it. We need alternatives to the automobiles we have now. Perhaps this is it.

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A cool ride: the 2019 Honda Super Cub C125 Motorcycle


No real reason to post this other than I thought it was a nicely designed motorcycle. And if you are interested in a good way to get around a city, you might want to check it out, here:  2019 Honda Super Cub C125 Motorcycle | Uncrate

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One quick thought on the new Mac Pro

One thing that struck me about the new Mac Pro is that Apple has finally gotten to do design again for a hardware. Most of their products these days are as minimal as can be when it comes to design. With the Mac Pro, at least, they can apply new design ideas to their product. I like it, even if it is compared to a cheese grater. But I liked the previous model, even though it was compared to a garbage can.

For more on the device, see:  Apple announces all-new redesigned Mac Pro, starting at $5,999 – The Verge

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A minimalist lamp

This,  a Simple Lamp that Requires No Hardware by Emmanuel Gonzalez, is really as beautiful as it is simple.

Great design.

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For Dieter Rams fans

Two good recent pieces on the great Dieter Rams, here:

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The William hotel in NYC, or how to use bold colour in your home.

I have not stayed at the William, but I don’t need to in order to appreciate the beauty of the place (shown above). Regardless of your travel plans, if you have decorating plans, it’s a great place that illustrates how to effectively use bold colour in your home. For many, using bold colours can be both desirable and intimidating. Some concrete examples can help you achieve your bold colour dreams and overcome your bold colour fears.

For more, see this:  A Bold, Colorful Hotel in the Heart of Manhattan – Design Milk

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10 iconic Bauhaus furniture designs


For fans of Bauhaus, or those who want to become one, there’s this: 10 iconic Bauhaus furniture designs: chairs, tables, a lamp and a chess set.

It includes a number of pieces by Mies, including the Barcelona chair, shown above.

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Taking a tiny home for a test drive

If you ever thought about living in a Tiny Home, here’s your chance to try them out before you buy one. Simply rent one of the ones listed here:  Tiny House Rentals for Your Next Getaway (Apartment Therapy). There is a range of places and styles and prices for them.

I have thought of living in one myself, but wondered if I could manage. This could be one way to find out.

Photo courtesy HomeAway

More on tiny homes


Two more tiny home stories. First up, Muji also has a tiny prefab home and you can see more pictures (like the one above) here: Muji Hut Launches With 3 New Tiny Prefab Homes Collection of 9 Photos by Aileen Kwun – Dwell.

Second, here is an odd but topical story for a tiny home heated by Bitcoin mining technology! 

 

A tiny home that seems livable


Many tiny homes look nice to visit but the thought of living in something so small seems impossible. An exception to those homes are these MADi houses, featured here: MADi Flat Pack Tiny House – Fast Set Up Eco Friendly | Apartment Therapy. 

They seem spacious, thanks to the A frame and all the windows. Better still, they seem very affordable.  Tiny home fans (or skeptics), take note.

You can find more about them here.

Minimalist Cork Made Furniture by Daniel Michalik

Over at Fubiz they have some remarkable furniture made with cork, like this:

and this:

Not a relative, but a fine designer with a good last name 🙂 Check out this link for more: Minimalist Cork Made Furniture by Daniel Michalik – Fubiz Media

In an alternative universe this is the next hot smartphone


I am unexcited about the direction in Smartphone design. The key design idea that less is more in a phone is becoming Less is a Bore. Perhaps that’s why this design of a Blackberry got me thinking about it. While it still has a gorgeous screen, the phone itself is worthy of looking at and touching. It strikes the right balance. The phone as a design object is worthwhile.

It would have been good if Apple had struck out in a new design direction with the iPhone X. Instead they went with Less is More. Instead we have a phone with the Notch and a camera on the back that sticks out. It’s as if Apple would have preferred not to have these cameras and sensors,  so rather than design the phone to incorporate them into the design, they stick out, figuratively and literally. In a few years from now when Apple has gone in a different direction, Apple fans will look back and exclaim how poor that aspect of the phone design is.

As for now, we live in an age where the screen dominates design, from TVs to smartphones. In the future that may change and the technology that we interact with will be contained in objects that have noteworthy design in them.
For more on this beautifully designed phone, see If BlackBerry Ditched the Keyboard | Yanko Design.

The digital beauty of Laura C Hewitt’s ceramics

I love the ceramics of Hewitt, especially for the way she works in digits as part of the overall work. Such as this piece


and this:

Now here’s what’s great. First, you can see more of her work here, at Colossal:
Kernel Panic: New Binary Ceramics Punctuated with Typewriter Keys by Laura C. Hewitt 

Second, you can buy her work here, at her Etsy store!

It’s rare I can share work that is not only beautiful but that you can acquire. Glad I can do that here.

A peek inside the sublime new NYC residence designed by the great Zaha Hadid

Fortunate souls walking along New York’s High Line can catch a glimpse of the magnificent building pictured above. Now, thanks to Design Milk, you can get to see what it looks like inside by going here: 520 West 28th Condominium Residence by Zaha Hadid – Design Milk. 

Not surprisingly, it is as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside. I would love to live there. Take a peek inside and you’ll see why.

40,000 home decor links to make your place more attractive

Ok, not quite 40,000, but quite a lot. Some are very practical, some are inspirational, and some may even have you building your own furniture (as I did).

First, here are a bushel of links from the Apartment Therapy web site. They have lots and lots and lots of pages filled with ideas for people who rent apartments that can be used by anyone, renter or owner. Very practical, low cost, smart ideas and approaches to home decor. Good stuff.

Not so how to oriented, but this handful of links might give you some ideas and inspiration to improve your place:

Now that you are inspired, here are some good links I found for buying furniture:

Or if you want to build vs buy furniture, you might want these links:

Finally, if you are not so much into furnishing your place but more into painting it, then consider these few links:

(The lovely entrance at the top of the post is from a link to How to Make a Small Apartment Feel Huge | A Cup of Jo)

My latest batch of home decor links

Image of a bedroom from Cup of Jo website

As I redo my place, I have found dozens of interesting links, mostly from  the site Apartment Therapy. There’s lots of great ideas, tips, and other news from that site. Buzzfeed Home also has some good stuff, some of which you’ll find below. (The image is a link to the Cup of Jo website. It also has some great home decor ideas, among other things.)

Before & After: Budget Bathroom Upgrade | Apartment Therapy – it doesn’t take much to upgrade your bathroom, and if you want a manageable space to redo, this may inspire you to get going on this.
Furniture Finds: 10 bold and brilliant removable wallpapers – perfect for people who want the boldness of wallpaper, but also the ability to change your mind.
Renters Rejoice: Stylish Solutions to Your Most Common Design Woes | Apartment Therapy – if you are new to decorating, this is worthwhile
The Best Plug-in Sconces (No Electrician Needed!) | Apartment Therapy – like the wallpaper, this is another good idea for people who don’t want to commit.
31 insanely clever cleaning hacks for your messy home – before you decorate, you need to clean. Use this to get your going.
Decorating Mistakes First-Time Homeowners Make – Hither & Thither  – more good advice for those starting off
Affordable Vintage Rugs – Best of Etsy – rugs make such a difference, but they can be very expensive. Use this to help with that.
5 Ways to Update Thrift Store Art | Apartment Therapy – original art is better, in my opinion, but if you have lots of walls and/or lots of thrift art you want to use up, check this out.
A Brief History of Memphis, The Design Group that Defined the Look of the 80s | Apartment Therapy – I don’t know if we will ever see a resurgence of the Memphis Design style, but in the 80s it was influential. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but interesting nonetheless.
The Kitchn’s Guide to Cleaning Your Small Electric Appliances — Cleaning Guides from The Kitchn | The Kitchn – more good cleaning advice.
A Bubbly Life: DIY Wooden Shoe Rack – this is a great, simple project for anyone. I am not sure how good it is to sit on, though. Be advised.
Small Design Details That Make a Big Impact | Apartment Therapy – a handful of good ways to simple ways to improve your living space
A First Apartment in Boerum Hill | A Cup of Jo – a great place. Lots of ideas to take away from here.
31 creative ways to hide eyesores around your home – good advice from Buzzfeed Home
31 insanely clever cleaning hacks for your messy home – good cleaning advice here
How to Make Vinegar Cleaning Spray (That Smells Good!) | The Kitchn – …and here
Grown-Up Versions of Your Favorite Teenage Decorating Trends (You Won’t Believe How Good They Can Look) | Apartment Therapy – ha! If you miss your old room, you can go back again…and reuse those ideas.
DIY Mid Century Modern Coffee Table (Under $50!) – Wonder Forest – another good DIY project. This one is especially good if you want to design a table that fits a particular place. Other than Ikea’s Lack table, you won’t find a cheaper one anywhere, save a garage sale.
25 Clever DIYs for Small Spaces | Apartment Therapy – more good do it yourself ideas.
Get the Warm Industrial Look on a Big Box Store Budget | Apartment Therapy – if you like that look, you can get it without shelling out big bucks at places like Restoration Hardware by reading this.
This is What It’s Really Like to Live in One of Those Tiny Houses | Apartment Therapy – intriguing.
Bright Ways to Beautify a Basic, Boring Bookcase | Apartment Therapy – more good ways to improve your house.
12 Useful & Beautiful Things You Can Do With Butcher Paper | Apartment Therapy – plus you can let your kids draw on the walls and not freak out. 🙂
7 Ways to Fill a Wall that Are as Useful as They Are Beautiful | Apartment Therapy – have a big wall? Here’s some good ideas to make it look great.

Glitches as a design pattern for fabric

The good folks at Glitchaus have taken an oddity of the digital world – glitches – and used it as the basis of their designs of scarves and wraps. If you are in need of either, or you’d just like to see some innovative fashion, it’s worth visiting their site.

A very cool Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

Over at themakerista.com is a very cool hack of 3 Billy bookcases that result in something with a built in look. Here’s the work in progress:
And here’s the final product:

You may not try something as challenging, but if you are interested in spiffing up your tired old bookcases, check this out this: The Makerista: Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

MyDomaine will make you appreciate IKEA in a new way

The folks at MyDomaine.com have a number of great articles of how to use IKEA furniture in a chic way. Here are four of them:

Well worth a look if you are on a budget and need to furnish your place. For example, I really like how they used IKEA bookcases to make this:

The history of a great collaboration: Philippe Starck, Ian Schrager and the rise of the NYC designer hotel

It seems commonplace now, but the idea of hotels having the same cachet as a nightclub seem to me to come about in the 1980s with the rise of Ian Schrager as a hotelier. While he collaborated with others, the partnership he formed with Philippe Starck resulted in some really fantastic hotels, as can be seen in this post: The 21st Century Interior – Case studies – Philippe Starck/Ian Schrager: Designer Hotels – Blog – APID.

Nowadays many of these hotels have changed, but in the latter part of the 20th century they were opening with all the excitement of a new nightclub, which in some ways they resembled.  I remember hanging out in the lobby of The Royalton as it was just getting ready to open, talking to the staff in their Hugo Boss suits, marvelling over the designs of Starck, thinking of how the blue carpet made one feel as glamorous as anyone in the city. Later on I stayed at the Paramount and Morgan’s, each visit made Manhattan that much better.

Recently the hotels have been changing as they have been upgraded. Only The Hudson seems to have retained that earlier quality, it seems. Soon even that will transform into whatever brings in the guests. I haven’t been to The Hudson yet: I must get their before it is too late.

I am not sure if there is a history of great hotels, but if there ever is, I expect some of these places will find their place in it. Meanwhile, read the post on these hotels, and check out The Hudson in NYC while you can.

(Top photo of the Royalton, bedroom photo from the Paramount. Both linked to from the post, which has more great photos.)

 

Pebble and their smart watches are not going away yet

After the Apple Watch came out, I wondered how this would affect Pebble, the company. Turns out, instead of folding, they have plans to evolve and grow. For evidence of this, check out their latest watch (in the photo, as well as here: Pebble Smartwatch | Smartwatch for iPhone & Android). They seem to be aiming to finding a market for those wanting some of the features of the Apple Watch without all the functionality (or cost).

With the watch above, you can see them adopting higher end materials and also getting thinner (and round). It is more expensive than the original Pebble, but likely better quality. And still much cheaper than Apple Watch.

I have a Pebble and I really like it. It does what I want, which is send me notifications without having to get out my phone, which is great in meetings, at events, or driving (carefully). And you can even easily write code for it. Finally, it is a great watch that needs to be rarely charged.

Needless to say, the Apple Watch is a great product. Depending on your needs, it could be a better choice than the Pebble. But the Pebble is a good product too, and I think there is a place in the market for a range of watch makers. Get one that suits your needs. With the Pebble, now you have more choice.

Some beautiful and inspiring examples of floor tiling to inspire (or fright you :))

This post, 12 Creative Ways To Use Floor Tile from Design Milk, has some beautiful and imaginative uses of floor tiles. The one above is one of my favorite, but all of them are great.