Monthly Archives

November 2006


coffee + cre8tive {nov 2 ’06}

November 2, 2006

I’ve been out and about in search of the November issue of Real Simple magazine. All the newsstands here that have American magazines still display the October issue. Arrrr. Frustrating. I was so intent on finding this issue because my friend Michelle Caplan has a two page spread in it. How cool, huh?

coffee + cre8tive {nov 2 '06}

I featured her when I launched decor8 after finding the great Ms. Caplan online last year. I purchased some art from her back then for my home and just love it, very rich in meaning, highly personal. Since so many of you read this blog from the states, look for Michelle in Real Simple this month – I think you’ll enjoy the article. I have to wait until I’m back in the states to check my mail (wahh!), my issue should be waiting for me at the post office.

By the way, can you believe that Domino magazine is no where to be found over here? Even in the Netherlands, I couldn’t find it at all. I hope that changes in the future, as I see some American magazines over here that I roll my eyes at as I walk by the newsstand because they’re so bad – I don’t even read them in the states. I plan to visit Berlin and Hamburg soon, so I’ll check there since they are large cities and may have more of a selection of int’l press. So sad not to have my Domino.. At least there’s (thank god) to hold me over until my return.

coffee + cre8tive {nov 2 '06}Speaking of good press, did you read the article in the NY Times House and Home about our pal Vanessa DeVargas (aka Turquoise), another LA talent? If you aren’t yet familiar with her, here’s an interview I had with her a few months back. Congrats on the NY Times article, Vanessa – great photo of you and your space, too!

I love seeing these talented ladies receive well-earned exposure – way to go, girl power!

(images from real simple, new york times)

Events + Markets, Travel

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves

November 1, 2006

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
I’ve finally organized all of my notes and completed my assignment for Domino magazine, so let’s take a peek at Dutch Design Week, shall we?

First stop is Lift-Off Loves, where I headed immediately upon arrival this past weekend in Eindhoven – this was my first glimpse of Dutch Design Week. First impressions are everything, and as I strolled through Lift-Off Loves, I knew that waking to catch a high speed train at 4:00 a.m. for a 5 hour journey was well worth it. As the rain began to fall, we dashed towards the shelter of a building in city center with Lift-Off Loves posters on this windows. It was about at this moment when my breakfast of about 10 cups of coffee and some deep fried cheese thing, no clue what that was (lekker though!), finally kicked in. My false-sense of energy (I slept 4 hours the night before) had arrived because here I was attending the highly esteemed Dutch Design Week. Although this was the 5th annual presentation, it was my first time, and I was beyond excited.

As we entered the building, we were greeted by reception with plenty of information about the Lift-Off Loves exhibit along with a voting card, and lots of smiles. I appreciated the warm welcome, as I was quite wet from the rain and with the temps being much cooler in Holland than in Germany, I was chilled to the bone. Reception directed us inside a vast light-filled space where ceilings seemed to go on forever.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesAmidst a sea of Macs were six or so busy creative types shuffling things around, very involved in what appeared to be work as usual. The space was actually a well-known creative studio, Buro Vormkrijgers, and despite being a Saturday, they seemed completely engrossed in their work. Following lead from a few who, unlike us, seemed to know what they were doing, we entered a long, multi-colored, very narrow hallway.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesAt this point, I realized that this was the actual space for the exhibition (not the main room as I had assumed). Each office was completely gutted of the usual furnishings (desk, chair, etc.) and outfitted with products on display, each room belonging to a designer or design team . The doorways were clearly marked so you knew exactly who was presenting in the space, and many of them were available for a chat. See the designer’s name on the floor? That’s what I’m referring to… Easy to find who you were looking for, although in my case, all names were new ones to me so I wasn’t scouting for anyone in particular.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesNote: Lift-Off Loves wasn’t an exhibition for the Design Academy Eindhoven graduates (I’ll cover that later), it was more of a meet and greet between the public and about 16 or so established designers. When I say established, I just mean that are out of school and most have their own business with some of their products in production, some post, and others with fingers crossed hopinh the exposure at Dutch Design Week would give them some solid leads. We arrived just as the exhibit opened, so we were lucky to get a glimpse of most of the products before the crowds rolled because within an hour, the place was hoppin’ and it was hard to see anything with so many visitors packed into each of the tiny rooms.

Directly off the hallway was what appeared to be a lunchroom or conference space transformed into an area where the public could mingle, rest, or to meet Ninne Meulendijks, an illustrator who presented her work there. She graduated just this year from Sint Joost in Holland. Aren’t her posters great?

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesNanne was so sweet and friendly, eager to explain her work and a real pleasure to meet. Being the first person that I spoke to, her enthusiasm and warmth was the perfect start to my day. Here’s Nanne…

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves “Dat Hoort Zo”, the dictator of how you have to behave, is a project consisting of 10 posters meant to bring attention to “the silly unwritten rules the Dutch live by, handed down by each generation, all following rules but few asking why”. Through it, Nanne infuses humor and sarcasm into illustrations created to imitate the political propaganda common during the communist regime under Stalin. “Everything looks great and free, but you get oppressed in front of your own eyes if you do not comply!” she said. Nanne is using this project to raise awareness in a playful way with hopes that the younger generation will start to ask why they repeat the traditions handed down, ones that she thinks are quite stupid.

Here are more views of her work, a series of 10 limited edition posters (only 8 of each available), priced at 106,- Euro each, 83cm x 100cm. Each is signed and numbered. You can purchase them from her directly if you are interested, email her at nanne[underscore]meulendijks[at]yahoo[dot]com

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesIn addition to her posters, Nanne illustrated “Kind van Niemand” By Jochen Otten and Pepijn Koolen. If you’re interested, the ISBN number is: 90-810220-1-6. I tried finding the book online with no luck, so if you’d really like a copy, just contact Nanne, she may be able to help you find one. She also works on projects for magazines, too.

Next, we visited Cultivate to check out Doggy Style, their new Woofers. These creepy headless dog speakers in black or white had a certain appeal though. I’m just not sure I knew what it was. Nonetheless, someone took the time to design it and I’m sure many will take to it as it would make quite the conversation piece. I didn’t dislike the concept though, I just prefer my dogs with heads. 599,- per set.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves Following Cultinate, we browsed the works of Wiebe Boonstra from Studio Wiebe. His latest works, a 3-tiered table called the Bird is Free and the Apartment 17 chair upholstered in black leather (also available in cognac) with classic tailoring techniques. The base was matte, but also available in polished aluminium. The cool thing about this chair was its memory spindle – it rotates back into the original position. Kinda neat. For 2,950- it’s yours. I’m unsure of the cost of the birdy table. It looked almost like a fountain to me, and had a little gold knob that embellished the top. What do you think? Opinions so far, anyone?

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesNext, onto the exhibit from Wikita who showed their new collection of pillows, priced between 35 and 200,- Euro each. I’m not so sure about these… Thoughts? I guess I didn’t expect pillows to be part of this presentation, so it took me a little off guard. Then again, with all the pamplets in Dutch, perhaps these pillows were more than they appeared – could’ve been created from a new material perhaps, or completely eco-friendly perhaps??? Not sure. Since arriving, I noticed that all information was only available in Dutch. With 34,000+ attendees at Dutch Design Week from all over the world, I would have expected a little English language love! When the designer wasn’t present (the ones that were all spoke fluent English), I knew I was lost because I certainly couldn’t understand the Dutch materials and my Dutch friend, Danielle, wasn’t due to meet up with me for another two hours… I digress… Anyway, I figured this much out on my own, that if you’d like more information about these pillows, you can contact Wikita via email at wiet[at]hotmail[dot]com.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves Next, I visited Floor van Ast and David Krings. David had a few of his porcelin designs on display (like a very cool cake stand). Although he doesn’t have a website yet, you can email him at davidkrings[at]hotmail[dot]com if you have a question for him.

Floor showed kitchen tools designed for smoking fish, storage bottles, cookie stamps and preserving jars. All are prototypes and not yet for sale, but hopefully that will soon change. Designs were based on traditional Dutch kitchen tools, but giving them a breathe of fresh air for our times. Floor, who graduated at ArtEZ Arnhem Academy of Arts and Design, displayed her graduation project called “Keukenwerk” translated Kitchen work, containing kitchen accessories. She designed these products based on her obsession with food, she loves to cook and enjoys the utencils used during the preparation process. She also loves to study the history and meaning of food in modern society.

Floor comments “This collection of accessories appears to take you back in time as these aren?t day to day accessories but products that ask of your time and because of their specific use. You realy have to work with them.” She continues “With this project I would like to give consumers back there control on what they eat, how their food should taste, and the consistence of the ingredients in their food.”

Here’s David and Floor: Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves Items on display:
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves On her collection Floor adds, “The idea for this collection started with a research about old Dutch cooking tradition. With my products I give authentic uses a new place in the kitchen with the goal that people decide there own taste. You can call them almost forgotten products, in my opinion they are very useful in this time to answer the request of good food.” More shots sent to me by Floor (thanks, Floor!):

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves I also visited Kim Geerts’ collection of soft toys (could these be the next generation of Ugly Dolls?), displayed in a space meant to imitate a park complete with swings and grass. The display was very cute in person, but I had a tough time shooting these spaces because these offices were so tiny, so I can’t really show you in photos exactly how cute it was. Priced between 35,- and 55,- Euro depending on size. Email kimgeerts[at]yahoo[dot]com for more information.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves Most resemble little aliens, don’t you agree?

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesNext up Bureau de Bank from designers Floortje Donia and Hans Van Veen. They displayed an all weather chair with a foot stool meant for use outdoors. A modular piece, you can remove the foam cushion and the stool becomes a table. You can leave the cushion on and push it against the chair for a chaise. Move two chairs together for a two sofa. Currently available in black tile with a white foam cushion. Currently in production, expected roll out is next year. At that time, they plan to incorporate various other cushion colors.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesReading lamps from Bureau de Bank were also on display, but I forgot to snap a photo, so here’s an image from their website. I really loved these… Materials: Perspex and stainless steel. Available in clear or white. Lamp and magazine/book holder in one.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesNext up, Tof Design made up of Jet Vlietstra and Niels Blok. I met whom Niels, who is pictured below, and he was just great. Another friendly Dutch designer. Was this a trend? Everyone was SO nice – no snotty designers here. It was refreshing! Niels told me all about their pressed wood designs, my favorite being the fans – I would have purchased one on the spot had they been available. But, sadly they aren’t in production yet. I guess they’re still waiting to be picked up by someone. Their briefcases are in production though and soon to be sold for around $250,- Euros each at Studio Hergebruik (also a must-see website), Rotterdam and Design Daily, Eindhoven. I loved the pattern on the fan, and that you could roll it around, hang it on the wall, flip it on it’s back, it was the fan of many positions. I’m a big fan of the fans!

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesHere’s Niels Blok -Great guy!

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesSome lights from Tof Design – very tactile!

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves The briefcases mentioned above… What do you think?

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Some vases from Tof Design, too.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesMoving along from pressed woods to the Asylum Collection from Bo Reudler aned Seroj de Graaf proving that bad boy style is still very much alive, only I didn’t spot one skull, gun vase, or handcuffs in sight. The aesthetic was more grown up, polished, and designed to stimulate the imagination. They believe that with so many rising problems (violence, terrorism, etc.) that your home is your cave where you should go to escape from the cruel world, to dream, imagine, play. You can learn more about their design philosophy on their website, which is completely in English (they have some very bold takes on minimalism!). Asylum is definitely own to watch. Their entire line is in production in case you’re interested. (psst: I see Jeffrey from Project Runway diggin’ this table, don’t you?)

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves Same shot with more flash so you’re able to see the details of this laser cut pattern on the table.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesJohannes Gille introduced Lovable Characters, a collection with an almost Alice in Wonderland appeal that ventures away from his usual design aesthetic. (I like that, I can tell her challenged himself with this project.) I couldn’t help but wonder though how you’d place even a simple glass on the top of the bureau, but I guess the point is that it does what it’s intended to do, store clothes. If you’re not into clutter, this would encourage you to keep things out of sight simply because you have no place to rest your mess! There was also a bookcase in the room, but with so many people around by this time, I had to snap quickly and run. The excellent craftsmanship was there, the wood was beautiful, I’m just not so sure if I’d own these things. The bookcase was pretty neat, but I’m still debating on this dresser, which was priced at around 1,850- Euro. What are your thoughts?

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves Eindhoven design team Maurice Blok and Anke van Gestel of BLOK meubel introduced their prototype ‘Cut Chair’ in oak, glass, steel and concrete. I loved seeing concrete transformed into something with such clean lines.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesOntwerpers of Rotterdam showed their Classroom Chair. Designers Christiaan N.J. Oppewal and Silvijn van der Velden created it for reading or working on a laptop, with a detachable table and a weather resistant finish for outdoor use. Green and white on display, but light blue, deep blue, red or black are also available and you can request any other color you prefer, too. Prices will run around 1490,- Euros.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
And finally…

Danielle Smits brought her dolls, some missing heads, others without limbs, to life in Welcome to my Dollhouse. I was a bit creeped out by these porcelin creations at first, but they grew on me as inspected them more carefully, noticing all the details and how each was trying to tell a story (I just wasn’t sure what it was and the designer wasn’t available to ask). You can shop online for these dolls here.

Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off Loves
Dutch Design Week: Lift-Off LovesThat wraps up my coverage of Lift-Off Loves. I really hope you enjoyed it.

Although I’ve mentioned nearly all of the designers who displayed, there are some that I didn’t photograph simply because they didn’t have much to do with the theme of this blog. Here are the four not mentioned above, in case you want to learn more about them: Tinkebell, Buro Vormkrijgers, Emily Hermans and Sandwich Bikes (these were COOL – they had one that glowed in the dark.).

In the next few days, I’ll post highlights from the Dutch Living Room and then onto the Graduation Galleries early next week (you’re going to LOVE that, for sure!). Stay tuned.

I’d like to know what you think so far. Inspired? Uninspired? Favorites? Spot any future classics?

(images from Holly Becker for decor8 unless otherwise indicated.)


Places + Spaces

November 1, 2006

Places + SpacesLove love love this website: Places + Spaces. Some hot products featured include the Proud floor lamp from Flo that allows you to display a precious object inside for all to see illuminated in the flick of switch. I really like this idea – clever! The top section is glass, and it has a sleek contemporary look to it with the walnut veneer. I also love this great rack (!) from Belgium designer Casimir atVlaemsc. The moose and the deer are very pc (no atler anxiety, guys) and if you’re a wood lover, these are perfect!

Places + Spaces is loaded with fresh and fabulous products by top designers, so spend time looking around their website.

What do you think about these finds, anyway?

(images from places + spaces)


Smoy Thoughts…

November 1, 2006

Smoy Thoughts...Random thought number 101 (he he): Today while surfin’ the web, I stumbled upon Smoy again (I featured them in March if you recall) and discovered their new Soho leather photocuffs and thought “Hmmm…. These would be another great use for those new Flickr MOO cards.” Take your favorite MOO cards, trim to size, and box them along with a Smoy photocuff to gift your pal. I like the idea of taking a few snapshots of your favorite fabric and insert it to coordinate with your outfit, too.

(images from smoy)


Binth – Prints and Cards and More!

November 1, 2006

Binth - Prints and Cards and More!
I was so pleased that Suzanna from Binth in Chicago took the time to write in on Monday about their recent additions. I love Binth already for their baby books, greeting cards and note pads… But now there’s even more of a reason to love them. Binth has rolled out affordable limited edition (only 250 produced, shown below) and one-of-a-kind (shown above) screen prints that I know you’ll love. Screen-printed on heavy white archival paper using water-based inks that are mixed by hand, my favorites are Uprooted and The Wheedling.

Here’s a glimpse of their limited edition prints…

Binth - Prints and Cards and More!
And their greeting cards… (Doesn’t the girl below remind you of the adorable Lisa Loeb?)

Binth - Prints and Cards and More!
Thanks Suzanna for the tip, we love Binth!

(images from binth)


coffee + cre8tive {nov 1 ’06}

November 1, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {nov 1 '06}
November is here, where has the time gone!? With snow predicted to fall in Germany this week (not good), I’m thinking of how I need to rearrange things once I’m back home in the states. My nest is in need of some major padding – I still have sheers on the windows, pillows that scream summer, a single cotton blanket on the bed, and my bedroom is in need of an upgrade because chocolate, cream and robin’s egg blue isn’t working for me anymore. Too safe. I need to take my own advice and live on the edge a little – have some fun with color.

Living in New England calls for wool (felted – yum!), flannel, thick cozy throws, and a few new pillows for the sofa to give a feeling of warmth to the space. I found these super cute little hand crocheted dolls over on Lena Corwin’s shop (she added the works of Sian Keegan recently) and thought that placing one on the bed, or two (one leaning up against each standard pillow) would lend charm to a bedroom, especially in climates such as New England where we tend to bring out our quilts and wool blankets this time of year. The doll on the left resembles my husband a little bit (don’t tell him that though he he), so I think I’d choose this one for his pillow. I imagine these on a solid bed, perhaps in deep blue or mustard, with a colorful modern quilt neatly folded in fours across the bottom 1/3 of the bed. I like infusing little hints of charm and whimsy in my home, and having cute little reminders that we’re all still very young at heart isn’t such a bad thing… These crocheted dolls are the perfect tap on the back to remind us.

Now that winter is coming, what will you do to update your interiors to reflect the season? I’m curious, for those in warm climates, do you make any changes when winter comes (i.e. those from southern CA)?

(images from lena corwin)

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