April 29, 2009
April 27, 2009
“We need Bromeliads!” This was landscape designer Adam Ehlmann’s response to our challenge of filling our Liscio and Vaso Rettangolare Illuminated Planters with some tropical color to capture the vibe of Southern Florida. “Bromeliads are one of my personal favorites,” explains the designer who works for Craig Collins International, “because of their amazing color in foliage and flower, their toughness and the immense variety of species available.” With the help of Jorge Rodriguez at local nursery Sunshine Bromeliads, he chose several smaller neoregelias (a.k.a, “neos”), which are a type of Bromeliad. Rodriguez offers some tips for keeping neos happy: Different varieties require different light levels for optimal color, so be aware of what you’re buying. And be sure not to over-water – they don’t like sitting in pools, a little spray on the leaves is nice though. As far as planters go, Ehlmann was especially pleased with the Liscio’s illuminated quality in the courtyard of their office, “it really adds to the lights we have strung around the trees.”
April 22, 2009
Some of the most heated discussions I’ve been involved in at DWR have been over naming products. People take this very seriously, and yet, we all know that the name is forgotten as soon as the customer gets the product home. I seriously doubt that anyone says “Andrew, how many times do I have to ask you to get your elbows off the Spanna Extension Table and put your Fog Linen Napkin on your lap? Shape up or I’ll send you to your Matera Bed with Storage without dinner.”
Dare to dream, DWR.
At least I don’t have to name cars. This morning I idled behind a Toyota Rogue (are they kidding?) and pitied the poor bastard who came up with that one. Actually, make that two poor bastards. Toyota used the name in the 1980s and Nissan recently slapped it on the back tailgate of their compact SUV.
Nail polish colors would be fun to name, and I’d suggest the name “Less is more,” in case anyone from Revlon is reading. Naming lingerie would also be enjoyable (again, I suggest “Less is more” as the name).
At DWR, the name “Otis” was recently suggested for a new table we’ll be introducing. My mind immediately went to elevators and “Otis, my man!” in Animal House. Generally, we try to avoid using personal names because: 1. It’s too much like other retailers, and 2. If a customer has a bad association with a name – an ex-boyfriend or a mean boss, for example – then that product is not going to elicit feelings of serenity and relaxation.
Of course, we make exceptions, so you can stay seated in your Ray Club Chair and keep reading rather than emailing me to point out this fact. (That goes for you lounging on the Albert Sofa as well.) So, I gave some thought to Otis. Mostly I wondered how Otis Elevators got their name. It turns out that Otis was the last name of the man who founded the company in 1853. Elisha Graves Otis did not invent the elevator, but rather, he invented a safety mechanism that prevented these “lifting platforms” from plummeting to the ground. (Kudos to them for not choosing to use his middle name.)
The company made its first elevator sale to a furniture factory at 275 Hudson Street in New York City. The price was $300, and it was partially paid for with a cannon. Otis elevators were originally powered by steam, in the 1870s they switched to hydraulic elevators that relied on water pressure, and in 1889 the first electric elevator was installed. This innovative company also solved the problem of how to install an elevator into the curved lower legs of the Eiffel Tower. The solution was a hybrid of sorts – part elevator, part inclined railroad similar to funicular lifts used on steep hillsides. The Otis machines went into service in 1889 in the north and south pillars, only to be dismounted in 1910. The relationship between the Otis Company and Gustave Eiffel had its ups and downs (forgive the pun), causing dramatic statements like, “we have borne and suffered and achieved on your behalf,” to be written to one another. Read more about it on the Otis website.
As far as naming conventions, the elevator had its awkward moments, from “ascending rooms” (apparently they did not descend) to “hoisting apparatus” which was the name Otis used in his 1861 patent. For our table at DWR, we named it the Metric Table – look for it in June. The name Otis will remain in my tickler file, in the event that we introduce a table or chair that’s height adjustable. For insights about our own name – Design Within Reach – read a recent blog post by our CEO.
Windy, mild and mostly frost-free, the San Francisco Bay Area offers a huge range of horticulture possibilities. Flora Grubb, whose nursery in San Francisco’s Bayview district has attracted wide recognition as a design-driven gardener’s destination, looks to exploit those favorable conditions. “With so many compelling, low-water plants available, why waste our advantage?” says Grubb. “You can make use of a palette that includes everything from stunning foliage plants, ancient ferns, bold palms and exquisite succulents. The range of textures and colors is infinite.” We sent Grubb three Rubber Tubs, which are crafted from recycled tires. She filled these durable planters with Urginea maritima (the smaller plant with green leaves), Agonis flexuosa After Dark (the purple leaf tree) and Banksia menziesii Dwarf (the larger shrub with green leaves). Grubb explains her approach: “The language of the modern garden has too often become about reputations of architectonic plants. For this project, we wanted to stay away from the predictable and instead chose to include three rare specimen plants. They all require little water and can thrive even in windy locations.” Learn more about Flora Grubb here.
April 21, 2009
April 17, 2009
Designed and built by graduate students at Taliesin West (Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture school in Arizona), Taliesin Mod.Fab is a prototype prefab house that combines Wright’s principles of architecture with some green design. Mod.Fab can be built on or off the grid and uses fixtures like rainwater harvesting, grey-water reuse and natural ventilation. They estimate that the one-bedroom, 600-square-foot structure would sell for $100,000, though it’s not in production yet. (It is included in the Desert Shelter Tour at Taliesin West through April 25. And you might recognize some of the furniture, as it’s on loan from us here at DWR.) Or, if you really must have a piece of Wright’s legacy, for slightly more money (just $2.7 mill.) you could own the Fawcett House, which appears to still be on the market.
April 14, 2009
April 10, 2009
It’s time again for our annual survey. We know a lot has changed in the last year. How do you think DWR is doing? What’s most important to you right now? What can we do differently? How can we help?
April 07, 2009
During South by Southwest, Austin turns into a giant live music venue, with bands playing anywhere they can fit. It’s the highest revenue-producing special event for the Austin economy, so we were thrilled to be a part of it – offering up the Studio as a stage. We partnered with record label Everloving, out of L.A., to host seven bands on Friday, March 20. We had about 700 people come through the Studio that day to check out the diverse acts. The gracious musicians commented that our Studio was by far the most fun and relaxed set of the festival. We were honored to have them. One of our favorites – Herman Dune, a duo from France – is in the video below, playing amongst the Eames and Nelson classics. Call it “modern rock.”
Posted by Vickie Collins, Proprietor, Austin Studio
April 03, 2009
April 02, 2009
Forget Adidas and Nike. This shoe connoisseur—who works in the DWR Dallas Studio—gets his kicks only from Puma. The Dallas Morning News recently paid a visit to Goltl, who showed them some of his collection. When asked about his favorites, this self-described “sneakerhead” named his “Monster Pack” that includes five pairs: one is modeled after Godzilla and the other four are the monster’s arch enemies.
Read the article here.