Monthly Archives

October 2006


Seattle Design Schools?

October 3, 2006

Can anyone help decor8 reader Helen from Seattle, Washington?

She writes, “Hi Holly, I am a marketing professional looking to go back to school and change my career path. I live in Seattle and I’m looking into evening interior design programs. So far I have talked to Seattle Art Institute and I will be talking to International Academy of Design. Since you are in the field, I would like to get your opinion and perspective on the above schools. Do they have a good reputation? Will companies hire based on the above name recognition or lack there of? Anything you could provide or suggest would be greatly appreciated. Since I do work full time, I am somewhat limited to just evening programs in the Seattle area.”

Sorry Helen, I’m not too savvy when it comes to design schools on the west coast, can anyone provide Helen with some direction?

Thanks Helen for writing in!

Home Tours

Heath Ceramics – Factory Tour (Sausalito, California)

October 3, 2006

By: Anh-Minh Le, decor8 west coast contributor

Heath Ceramics - Factory Tour (Sausalito, California)
I have long been a fan of Heath Ceramics and was joyful beyond words when I realized that they have a factory store in the Bay Area. And, even better, they offer free factory tours.

For those not familiar with the company, here?s a little background info: In 1948, Edith Heath ? an industrial designer and potter ? founded her own ceramics studio. She specialized in tableware and tiles, eventually making her way into museums and stores across the country.

Even after half a century in business, all of the pottery is still made by skilled artisans in Sausalito, Calif., using the methods that Edith herself developed (she passed away in December). About three years ago, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey purchased the company. The husband-and-wife team brought some of Edith?s old designs out of retirement and have managed to maintain her high level of quality as well as her wonderfully simple aesthetic. (We?re talking about pieces that you can pass down from generation to generation.)

Heath Ceramics - Factory Tour (Sausalito, California)The factory tour takes about 30-45 minutes ? depending on how many questions you ask ? and covers the entire building. Since tours are only given on the weekends, you don?t actually get to see any of the work being done, but you get detailed descriptions of how everything works. And you can get up close and personal here; there are no red lines that you aren?t allowed to cross.

It is amazing to me, in this day and age of outsourcing and mass production, that there is still this successful ceramics studio churning out beautiful products that require very skilled hands. Heath actually makes its own clay! And their own glazes! And all of the glazes are sprayed on by hand! That takes a pretty steady hand.

Heath Ceramics - Factory Tour (Sausalito, California)Any pieces that aren?t quite up to snuff are considered ?seconds,? and you can purchase them at the factory. The tour ends in the overstock tile room ? which is filled with firsts and seconds. Heath tiles are only available for purchase at the factory and in Ann Sacks showrooms.

Heath Ceramics - Factory Tour (Sausalito, California)The factory store also offers plenty of tableware, as well as books and textiles (like Lotta Jansdotter aprons). The table pieces can be deeply discounted, and there?s even a clearance section where saucers were marked 10 for $1. Yes, you read right ? 10 for $1!

Since the tours take place at 11am, you may arrive in Sausalito a little hungry. No problem. The staff puts out some tea and light snacks (I think it was a coffeecake when I went). Go ahead and test out that tea cup before you decide to purchase it!

Heath Ceramics - Factory Tour (Sausalito, California) Throughout the entire factory, Heath tiles are all over the place ? as a backsplash, as a decorative work of art ? providing plenty of inspiration for visitors. If you happen to be in the area, I highly recommend stopping in and seeing it all for yourself. (In case you can?t, I took plenty of pictures!)

Heath Ceramics - Factory Tour (Sausalito, California)
Heath Factory
400 Gate Five Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 332-3732
For store and general inquiries, please call x13
Open daily, 10am-5pm
Tours, Sat-Sun, 11am
(Call ahead for tour reservations)

Heath Ceramics - Factory Tour (Sausalito, California)
(images from anh-minh le)

Inspiration, Shopping + Products, Travel

coffee + cre8tive {oct 3 ’06}

October 3, 2006

Today is a holiday here in Germany, the coffee + cre8tive {oct 3 '06}You can relax here and enjoy a simple cup of coffee in a most chic atmosphere. Don’t you just love it? I could have stayed for hours, and here in Europe, you can linger at these ultra chic establishments just as you would back in the states at Starbucks.

Notice the chandeliers with shades over them? I especially enjoyed those, along with the wallpaper, which was applied to one wall and then extended onto about 70″ of the ceiling. The rest of the ceiling was white. It looked great, I wish I would have thought to photograph it for you.

Up today… A factory tour of a ceramics company based in California, an interview with a Boston interior designer, and some fresh finds to give you something to spend your money on! :)

coffee + cre8tive {oct 3 '06}(images from decor8, click on them for full size)


Cohda Speaks Up!

October 2, 2006

Cohda Speaks Up!I recently wrote about the Roughly Drawn Chair, a new design by Cohda in the UK. I was fond of the design, and like anything else I find appealing, I felt the need to share it with decor8 readers to get your thoughts on it.

Whenever I post, comments range from “this is great” to “it’s not really my taste”, both of which I respect and have deep appreciation for – your comments impact me, the designers, and each and every one of our readers. The differences of opinion that we freely exchange here on decor8 is what makes the blog more interesting. I encourage more of you to openly share your views on the designs I post. One of the best things about blogs is that we aren’t static websites, rather interactive ones that have a genuine pulse. It’s fun to learn from one another and to gain a new perspective. It’s very helpful to designers to learn about what others have to say about their work, the mini reviews that you leave via your comments is of great benefit to them. Designers appreciate it when you leave constructive criticism. On the flipside, detailing why you appreciate the design is also helpful.

Unfortunately, you’ll always find a few readers that, for whatever reason, post comments that, whether knowingly or not, challenge the integrity of a design, which can lead to other readers forming suspicions about the product themselves. I think it is unfair to speak against anyone if they are not in the room to defend themselves, so to speak. After I posted about the Roughly Drawn Chair and a few anonymous comments sprung up calling the design “pathetic” and “a bad copy”, I felt the need to give Cohda a heads-up. I was hoping they’d want to get involved in the conversation, and I’m so happy that they’ve replied. Here’s what they had to say:

From Cohda to decor8 readers –

It’s wonderful that there has been such debate surrounding our recycled designs. As some of the comments have raised concerns as to the innovation and possible copycat inspiration, we thought we would try and answer a few of these issues. We thought it also appropriate to forward more detailed shots of the work to limit confusion. We have added an image of our new Blood Seat launching later in the year and would welcome any additional comments.

Blood Seat

Cohda Speaks Up!Our work has evolved through a long period of research into the growing problems surrounding domestic plastic packaging waste in the UK. This is a huge problem with hundreds of thousands of tones of plastics waste being land filled annually. With very little public understanding as to the problem and the most notable recycled designs produced in the 1990’s we felt there needed to be a re awakening. The majority of recycled plastic designs have been limited to flat pack construction so we set about creating a process that would engage the public once again whilst braking from the traditional forms associated with recycled design. One of our key designers has undertaken two years of research at the Royal College of Art in London developing the new processes and bespoke tooling methods required for the work.

This in-depth research has let to the U.R.E process, which we use to re-form
waste plastics (bottle packaging and milk crates) direct into useable designs and unique forms. No virgin materials are used to create any part of our designs and therefore have a 100% recycled makeup. This also means that they can be recycled once more at a future date. We are also in the process of devising live exhibits to being scheduled for 2007 where the public will be part of the process, able to bring along their plastic waste and have transformed back into a design instantly. Thus eliminating large sections of the recycling process, saving vast energy and resource. Not innovative? You be the judge.

Additionally with reference to the comparative designs, as you may or may not be aware the wonderful Marcel wanders chair is produced in carbon fiber strands and the Campana brothers Vermelha was made from cotton rope and steel, so we find it a little odd that our designs have been compared so easily as bad copies or other designs despite not using any processes or materials even remotely similar.

We agree that there are blatant inspired designs out there on the market that offer a nod to the work of more influential designs and designers, but this series of work if far from that.

We worked exceptionally hard to develop unique process and designs, putting
vast resources into the project. With the designs now receiving strong admiration for their environmental objectives and innovative use of waste materials we fell we have fulfilled our initial aims for the work.

We are flattered that the design has be compared in such a way, but making decisions on the pieces being copies with very little knowledge of there context, background and makeup is a little strange.

Thank you for taking the time to comment on the work and on Cohda, we welcome all

(images from cohda)


Marlies Pekarek + Tropfnass Collection (Switzerland)

October 2, 2006

Marlies Pekarek + Tropfnass Collection (Switzerland)
I recently came across the work of artist and object designer Marlies Pekarek of Switzerland. If you have a moment, view her online gallery and Tropfnass, her collection of unusual everyday objects. I found her soap figures to be most interesting, transforming something so mundane into an art form. I like how they look on a plexiglass shelf, don’t you? Her ghost curtains , sheer and ethereal in appearance, are equally intriguing. Some of her art, especially her series of diary drawings, could be a form of art therapy, much like what Niki de Saint Phalle became known for in her early years. Take a look at it and let me know what you think… Marlies’ has some captivating watercolor drawings in muted pastels that have a restful quality about them, reflecting a poetic imagination. At least in my opinion.

“Marlies Pekarek turns the mundane of the everyday object into pieces of sensitive art which put the mechanisms of valuation into question, behind uniformity lies individuality. The polarity of value and trash, art and mass production, meet and cross over.”

Your thoughts on this work?

Marlies Pekarek + Tropfnass Collection (Switzerland)

(images from marlies pekarek)

Arts + Crafts

La Marelle en Papier

October 2, 2006

I’m sure you know about 19-year old Coxi, the blogger and fashion design student behind La Marelle en PapierOne illustrator I found out about via Gra?a is Bobi + Bobi (shown above). From there, I also came across La Marelle en Papier – limited edition cards, illustrative art, and notes. If you’d like to view Bobi + Bobi’s work, check out their blog and online store. Their work is very youthful and free, using techniques that are often mixed – drawing, painting, and scraping.

Another illustrator whom I love on La Marelle en Papier is of course, Camilla Engmann, who has her lovely cards listed there. Chiaki Miyamo, Delphine, Olivier Philpponneau, Peggy Nille, Princesse Camcam, Sophie Adde, and Sophie Leblanc are all amongst my other favorites. Dreamy!

Chiaki Miyamo – Ah!
La Marelle en Papier
Delphine – Such soft hues!La Marelle en PapierOlivier Philpponneau – Would make for great wallpaper, am I right?

La Marelle en Papier
Peggy Nille – Lots of vibrant hues and loaded with details.

La Marelle en Papier
Princesse Camcam

La Marelle en Papier
Sophie Adde – Collage art with an Asian theme.

La Marelle en Papier
Sophie Leblanc

La Marelle en Papier

I’m heading out to dinner with a couple of friends, but I’ll be back a little later to post some more. Thanks to everyone for your emails concerning my brother-in-law, your support means so much to me. Thank you!

(images from la marelle en papier)

Scroll Up