DWR is now open in Charlotte, North Carolina's South Park District. They'll be welcoming all local customers and design fans to celebrate their opening on Thursday, May 31st from 6-9pm. In addition, from May 21 to June 1, we'll donate 10% of all sales from the Charlotte Studio to The Mint Museums, an integral part of Charlotte's cultural landscape. Please stop by and say hi, test drive the best in modern design and shop for a good cause.
April 30, 2007
Design Within Reach, in partnership with Airstream, is announcing the introduction of the Design Within Reach Airstream travel trailer. The Design Within Reach Airstream will be available in June through Airstream dealerships across the country. Award-winning architect and designer, Chris Deam, curated the trailer with elements of design and practicality, including accents by George Nelson (Ball Clock), Tom Dixon (Wire Coat Rack), Heller (Hellerware dishware) and Paul Smith striped upholstery (by Maharam).
Please stay tuned for additional inforamation: www.dwr.com/airstream.
Today marks the opening of the Philip Johnson Glass House. Located in New Canaan, CT the house is the newest historic site being run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The house and its surrounding buildings on 47-acres embody architect Philip Johnson’s modernist experimentation with forms and materials and, lucky us, it’s now open to the public (by appointment only). The site’s mission is to be a center point and catalyst for the preservation of modern architecture, art and landscape. Sign up now to get on their mailing list, maybe you'll even get an invite to their gala picnic in June. Even better, make your plans now to head out to Connecticut to take your very own tour with enough time to snap some pics and be inspired by this one-of-a-kind design icon.
The list of buildings being run by the NTHP is impressive to say the least, so take some time to check those out as well.
April 27, 2007
While the photography team at DWR loves living in the San Francisco Bay Area, the fog and utterly mild weather make it damn near impossible to shoot an outdoor catalog anywhere locally, especially in January (yes, the catalog has that long of a lead time). To capture images like the Bertoia Diamond Chair reflected in a sun-dappled pool, we had to pack it up and head south. Where to head when shooting product that reflects mid-century modernism? Palm Springs, of course.
Once called “the playground of the stars,” Palm Springs still retains much of its former glamour. Truly a Mecca for mid-century design, the city continues to grow and nourish those principles. This is evident at the Viceroy Palm Springs Resort – where we were not only lucky enough to stay, they let us shoot there too (see above). In continuous operation since 1933, and designed in the Hollywood Regency style, it underwent a renovation starting in 2001. With the efforts of interior designer Kelly Wearstler (“Playmate of the Month” in September 1994, I might add. That’s Palm Springs for you.), the resort’s design moved toward a more whimsical style from the original look. It mixes the best of the ’30s with mid-century modern now favored in Palm Springs.
Special thanks to the Viceroy for accommodating the whole photo crew (and our gear). The people, the setting and the city itself inspired some of the best work this team has done. Thanks again!
Posted by Michael Sainato, DWR art director
Mr. Plastic himself, Karim Rashid, talks chairs in the May 2007 issue of Dwell. I’ve been meaning to feature the piece here for a while as I just love the idea of designers evaluating and grading their peers’ work. In this instance Dwell asked Rashid to evaluate 5 plastic chairs and then the Dwell editorial staff also weighs in on each Three of the five chairs featured in the review are in DWR’s collection: Jerszy Seymour’s Easy Chair, Vitra’s Verner Panton chair and the Heller-produced and Mario Bellini-designed ArcoBellini. The fourth chair is Ross Lovegrove’s fabulous Supernatural chair (pictured above) for the venerable and ambitious Italian brand Moroso. The fifth chair is the La Marie chair from Kartell designed by Philippe Starck.
What I love about Karim’s assessment is his total honesty. He respects the other designers work there’s no doubt. But he also points out what he finds wrong with the chairs: hard edges on the Arco, the Panton chair’s dated look and the tendency of the polypropylene Easy chair to get dirty. I’d love some of these designers, the ones alive that is, to take on Rashid’s designs in a thoughtful critique. Or better yet, maybe these frank conversations of design could lead to something even more exciting: a collaboration.
April 20, 2007
Perhaps best known for his diamond-back wire chair, Harry Bertoia was fascinated with expressing sound. He conceived of metal sculptures and monotypes to interpret his unique ideas. He was fundamentally both an artist and a designer, graduating from the Cranbrook Art Academy and later teaching graphics and metalsmithing from 1939 to 1943. I just read that the first exclusive auction will be held of his metal works, monoprints, and sounding sculptures at Wright 20, an auction house in Chicago. The auction is May 22, so you have just enough time to read up on him, check out some of his amazing designs, and fly to Chicago (if like me, you live in San Francisco.)
If the auction isn’t for you, then lucky for us, Design Within Reach is finally carrying his wonderful Diamond chair. I really want one of those.
April 18, 2007
Several of our buyers at Design Within Reach are in Milan at the Salone Internazionale Del Mobile, Italy’s world-class design showcase. I can’t help but be jealous. It sounds so dreamy to see all the latest technologies, materials and designs coming about before anyone else. Thanks to businessweek.com we can check out a few of the items they’re seeing. My favorite is a light in the shape of a sea urchin (above) by Kyttanen. The light isn’t actually produced until it’s ordered. When it is, it's using stereolithography to 3-dimensionally "print" the lamp. Wow. Here’s a link to the slideshow with some of the products that are appearing at the fair.
April 17, 2007
Back when we launched this blog one of the first things I wrote about was Alexander Girard's wooden dolls reissued by Vitra and carried by DWR. Girard, the brilliant mid-century designer responsible for my favorite textile designs, has been everywhere in recent years. His designs found their way on Kate Spade handbags and just recently on children's building blocks. The blocks are produced by the type-house/design firm House Industries in coordination with Girard's estate and feature the alphabet and many of Girard's iconic graphic images like his "love" symbol and the sun illustration for his La Fonda del Sol restaurant. Like many of the toys spotlighted in Design Notes they're appropriate of for any mid-century modern lover and of course their offspring.
April 16, 2007
Currently on display at the Decorative Arts Museum in Paris (Musée des Arts Decoratifs) is a retrospective of visionary designer and artist Joe Colombo entitled "L'invention du Futur." The exhibit begins around 1951, with his painting and joining of the Movimento Nucleare, or Nuclear Painting Movement, and much of his abstract/surrealist style painting that followed. This was soon followed by his work in 1952 on the design of the Nuclear City which, similar to (and possibly inspired by) Frank Llyod Wright's Living City, was a look into a future when a city may need to be entirely rebuilt from scratch or on top of another city. This almost Futurist view of how all elements of life and society work together as a whole would permeate the work through his entire, albeit short, life.
The exhibit brings together a large body of his work to light, most before unseen, with over 100 samples of lighting, furniture and other designed objects, several small scale and actual size models of buildings and interior environments, along with countless hand drawn sketches, photographs and diagrams. As you walk through his body of work there is an incredible sense of consistency that comes with Colombo's work that is sometimes lost with other designers that have created such a large amount of work. This no doubt is the result of his singular vision and relentless pursuit of an ideal living environment, which even today with the rise of modular housing, sounds more relevant than ever:
"We see the house as an instrument of the like that can satisfy a number of precisely defined needs...The 'Container' (the house) will need to be as 'elastic' as possible so that its contents can move around freely according an individuals personal dynamic; this is necessary for the lifestyle of today."
April 06, 2007
This past weekend, DWR joined our friends from Kithaus in the Prefab Zone at CA Boom (the positively…er…explosive West Coast design show in Santa Monica, California). Prefab structures were all the rage at the show this year, as people are becoming more aware of its potential - the response to the Kithaus K3 that we set up was enthusiastic to say the least. Chris Hope, our director of Studio design, fully outfitted the K3, focusing on the home office. The beauty of the K3 lies in its flexibility: home office, extra bedroom, poolside shade room, artist studio, meditation space; it can be built in a matter of days and requires minimum site preparation. (For more info about the K3, or to get your very own, drop a line to Dow O’Neal at doneal at dwr.com).
April 05, 2007
The 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize – architecture’s most coveted award, given annually – was recently announced. British architect Richard Rogers is this year’s laureate. Rogers’ portfolio includes the Centre Pompidou (with Renzo Piano) in Paris, Madrid’s Barajas Airport and the Lloyd’s of London tower. Learn more about Rogers and his work here, in this nicely thorough Washington Post article.
On Thursday, March 29th, DWR's Denver Studio partnered with Ride Snowboards for Design the Modern Board, a competition aimed at finding the next greatest snowboard graphic. Earlier this year we sent a call for entries to graphic designers throughout Colorado and submissions poured in from all over the Front Range. Stakes were high as Ride agreed to produce three inline boards featuring the winning graphic as well as top sheets for the two runners up. We had nearly 300 guests including artists and their entourages, snowboarders, clients and the usual suspects. In conjunction with the event we held a huge raffle with over 55 prizes including gear and gift certificates from local ski shops and restaurants. All proceeds from the raffle benefited Snowboard Outreach Society, providing at-risk youth with mentoring programs, along with opportunities to snowboard and engage in civic activities.
DWR Denver - Studio Proprietor
April 04, 2007
It's hard to move around Paris working where I do, without taking notice of chairs. Talking about café chairs in Paris almost seems like a cliché. But about 25% of cafés are filled with Marais chairs, another 40% are filled with chairs almost exactly like our Cricket chairs. I did see a café or two making use of the Jasper Morrison Air Chair, though the strangest use has to be a McDonalds fully outfitted with white Eames Molded Plastic Side Chairs. (click here for image)
The chair that really caught my attention however was the lounge sibling to our recently launched Cricket Chair - not used in a café but, rather, scattered about in the Jardin de Tuileres, the large park stretching out from the the end of the Louvre. For the most part they were concentrated around the fountains with tourists and locals alike sitting in them, taking each other’s pictures, talking and moving the chairs here and there. As I looked around I noticed that many of the chairs were arranged often facing each other and sometimes in small groups - there was something about this chair being in the right place and having just the right lounging posture that seemed to facilitate conversation.
I sat for a while watching people move about and listening to my iPod (the international sign of "I'd rather not take a picture of you and your family by the fountain"), and wondered, maybe I'm looking too deeply into these simple chairs and have read one too many of Rob Forbes's Design Notes. However, upon leaving I saw the image posted below: a bench that looks as though it could hold a majority of the party in question by itself, but instead they chose to circle the bench with ten chairs, using the bench as a sort of a conference table. Whether a serious or casual conversation had taken place, I can't be certain. But whatever it was, I'd bet that it didn't last less than an hour.
One of the best parts of living in NYC is the fact that art is everywhere. Many of the world’s greatest museums are housed here, many major artists and galleries reside here and you cannot escape art even if you tried in Manhattan. A Lichtenstein tile mosaic is housed in a grimy subway station and graffiti art abounds on sides of trucks and building walls.
When you find art in a nontraditional setting it can be quite a revelation. This happened to me recently in a tattoo parlor of all places. Troy Denning and his wife own Invisible New York, a tattoo parlor that masquerades as an art gallery. Their current exhibit features the work of Damion Silver, a Boston-based graphic artist. His work uses “recognizable found images,” such as BART cards, and encompasses “paintings - both traditional and custom cut, illustrations, etched glass, and screened wood.” It is definitely worth checking out. Getting a tattoo, that one’s up to you.