Sunday, November 30, 2008

Place building

The Campana brothers are the "fathers" of the found material in high design. What I find really important about their work is how they evoke a sense of place in each object. Don't these chairs all says Brazil!!!!! Their web site is very dense and

Building knowledge

This week we will have the final projects from the furniture class. The projects are being "mocked up" at full scale in cardboard for a final exhibition.
The text that we used for the class is the very lovely
Chairs; a History by Florence de Dampierre. In it we have found many different words for the the form of a Love seat:
bergere, canape a jous, canape a confident, recaimier, settee.
See if you can find some more...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Word building

I am just getting the lay of the land here as far as the design community but I had heard and seen a lot of beautiful print work designed by Mark Wise from the architecture department that was a collaboration with printmaker Amos Kennedy. It turns out that all the Rural Studio work is done in his studio and the CAAD lecture series poster this year. So straight from Gordo, Alabama-some very beautiful clear graphic arts. Take that Calarts. Also see the up coming documentary about Kennedy by Laura Zinger.

We must go...

Okay, I am going to clear the decks with work this next week in order to arrange a trip down to New Orleans and see the New Orleans Biennial-Prospect.1. Read this very clear review of the event by New Yorker writer Peter Schjeldahl. Made me want to make the trip even more....
This image is from a piece by Nari Ward

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bathroom building

Long before they were blogs people kept image books, I have sketch book after sketch book filled with images that I used to use to talk to clients about their upcoming design. Well, here I am with a completely demoed bathroom and no ideas....I am nervous that after designing close to 175 bathrooms in New York I might be tapped out. So here are some of my favorite images from my old friend the image books. I can not credit them because the clipping process was long ago. But I think this might help me to articulate what I want in a bathroom...maybe its "undesigned".

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Well, I am shining silver ware and about to get napkins out to iron all in preparation for the big dinner tomorrow. LB (here is a sample of the great Kristen Young graphics package that we have) had a great day and next week we will preview its web site so all news of our exploits will be re-routed to there. I wanted to share this video of of trend forecaster Li Edelkoort speaking about our time and I think we are doing some things right, going slower, taking our home life very seriously, and eating very good food even if its a little bad for you.....(sausage biscuits?) And I am pretty darn sure she said the Farmers were the next international lobbying body?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Building ideas

The holiday season, political change in the air, a horrific economic crisis and I keep asking myself what does a design industry look like if there is no commerce? So I put up images of curtains- ? But maybe these curtains, giant knitted rugs, and chairs from nature are a signal. Maybe there is a reinvention of design- these curtains are pieces you can manipulate yourself, rugs could be knitted if your life slowed down, nature is free. See Florian Krautli's work for some soft architecture.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Building Chairs-for real......

If I were in New York this week I would run not walk to see Alejandra Laviada's photographs at Danziger Projects. She calls these "photo sculptures". Check out the Typology section of her web site and you will see why she is my visual friend.

Building Community

This is a really nice interview done by Tim Pratt at the Columbus Commercial Dispatch. Little Building Cafe is getting a lot of play. Thanks so much.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Building Floors

Wow, when I finally like something in the immediate market place, I sure know how to pick em'. I had spy ed this knitted rug in a photo of a shop in Rotterdam last year and it provoked all kinds of creative activity. If rugs could be knitted how about curtains(long story short-I got tired)?
So low and behold DWR picks up this wonderful design idea and its available through them. The designer is Rotterdam based Christien Meindertsma. I have the "Iwants" for this would be my birthday present for life! Visit her really cool web site

Building Nature

The very brilliant Bouroullec brothers have just unveiled this new chair. They have called it the vegetal chair and the inspiration is the natural patterns of algae and plants. The best part of this piece is that they succeeded in mimicking the "plantness" in an attractive way but they also made the "plantness" a structural idea. Those guys got it goin'on....

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Cre8tive Warehouse is a artist studio collaborative in the old RCA building here in Starkville. Its half way between my house and the Little Building Cafe so I feel like I have seen it grow up this past year as I peaked in the windows. Since I am an old timer I can think back to a time when Athens Ga was not happening and when it DID start, the first sign -visually of course- was a high level of the graphic design coming out of the young artist community. Here is one example from the Cre8tive Warehouse studio... I think something good is cooking over there. Check it out.

Building Blocks

This is an image of a kitchen that I actually like and are thinking about while working on 21st Street. I like the hvac, cabinets and lighting all being treated the same way architecturally. Its makes the space more about the space and less about whether you have Sub-zero refrigrator. This is from Naruse Narukuma Architects.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Real Buildings

Its time to revisit the kitchen and baths for 272 21st Street in Brooklyn. We did these really groovy renderings a year ago and now I must translate groovy images into real kitchen. Hum.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Love Seat 1

I was trying to take a break but I came across this work and I had to share with my students who are working on a Love Seat for their final furniture project. This is the work of Baton Rouge artist Loren Schwerd. Beautiful work, very inspirational. This via designboom-check out her web site.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dancing Chairs

I am taking a break this week getting a Little Building Cafe Blog going, hosting a great photo shoot with the very talented Rinne Allen and general "the school term is almost over!"
I can not believe it.
These chairs fit the mood-Ante Vojnovic's dancing chairs-
from Yatzer.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Rebirth of a Building

Last Thursday I took students to Florence Alabama to see the Frank Lloyd Wright house. In 1939 Wright designed the Rosenbaum house. It is one of the Usonian houses Wright worked on during the depression in an effort to provide the middle class with a properly designed house. The house is now a museum after the original owner sold it to the City in the 90's. The result is an emaculate restoration and a real treat to see world class architecture in the deep south. Its my second time seeing the house and I was struck by the order of the spaces, how much storage and the "rightness" of the building to the landscape. Go visit if you can.

Building Beauty

I bought something but its because it had design/historical significance.... Charlotte Perriand worn a large silver bead necklace that she says was the height of modernity. I bought one to wear at the Christmas party..I kind of want her shoes too???

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I found this very good article in The History section of designboom. It has a great collection of images that that discuss the meaning of Chairs in modern artist's work. He discusses-visually- Joseph Bueys, Duchamp, Raushenburg and the great Doris Salcedo image that I have discussed before. This is a Christo's Wrapped Chair.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The very powerful Decorative Arts

I am about to curl up with a book I happened upon at the very wonderful
E. Shavers, bookseller in Savannah. It is Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard story of the powerful place quilts had in the infastructure of the underground railroad movement. It is called Hidden in Plain View, A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad. I love the idea of something handmade having the power to lead a people to safety.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Imagery Building

Ah foiled again. I have had eighteen century gowns pinned all over my pin up space and have not gotten to a really good way to transform the appeal of a ladies gown into furniture. BUT super star designer Patricia Urquiola got it right. This new chair called Frilly was introduced in Switzerland last week. See for more info. For more info on Urquiola its best to Google her and see her work through the many manufactures that she works with.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Building Images

One morning last week in Savannah I got to view the Carrie Mae Weems exhibition at SCAD. The show is the product of a special topics class that Weems taught at SCAD in Atlanta. The result is a series of large scale photographs done by Weems that depict "instances" of the civil rights movement - enacted and staged by the students. The best part is the studenty quality of the situations, the same room reconfigured for Medger Evans death and Kennedy's assassination; all made with the super high quality photograph that only an artist of Weems' caliber can maintain. It great to see important artist working with students.

Monday, November 10, 2008


As many of you know I love a docent lead historical house tour but Savannah's houses are very well known to me so I did not indulge this past week. I went to one house that I had never been to and is very close to my heart. Having read almost all of her work I got to go into the childhood home of Flannery O'Conner. Its recently been restored to a perfect example of 1930's middle class splendor. The restoration is very clean, thoughtful and not "nostalgic" which I really liked. There is a nice link between O'Conner's work and the clarity of the place-whether intentional or not. You just got the O'Conner vibe walking through the space. A nice surprise was that Bill Dawers, president of the non-profit who runs the house was there. He is a favorite journalist of mine. I like to put him in the journalist/urbanist column. He writes very smart pieces about how to make Savannah better (did not think that was possible-well read his work) at Savannah Morning News-find the City Talk column.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Building Faith

I am back from Savannah and will post some things I saw at SCAD and around town. But in the mean time I am looking for "hopeful design". How about this; simple public furniture by Belgium designer Xavier Lust.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Building Clarity

I am really pleased to share one of our dearest friends new work. Mark Naden is one of the principals behind the studio TODA and his furniture work is really happening. These two chairs have been commissioned by Frighetto and are available through Domus Design These are interesting in light of our conversations about the new direction of design. Mark's forms come from very clean direct ideas about the structure of materials. The Bean Chair is the manifestation of new transparency in the world. And the Pouf Pot is a stool/chair that is ready for any situation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Building Hope-perspective

I just saw these images of what our old neighborhood in Brooklyn(via The Brownstoner) looked like last night at the report of Obama's victory. BUT my friend Chris sent me this map of our county here in Mississippi. Wow!

Building Hope-A Competition

I am walking around airports today saying-"I am in a completely different America." So Exciting. So what does THAT look like in the design world???? I clipped this image from designboom this morning -its a flat lightbulb by Korean designer Joonhuyn Kim. He made it to reduce the packaging required for transport.

Now I would like to propose a challenge; please send me an image that you think is the "designed" manifestation of Hope.... please send me a low res. image and the author of the image or piece and I will post a gallery of this work. Could be a nice road map for the future.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Building Hope

Sorry I can not do it. I have to get through tonight and the election outcome before I can continue any fragment of "Design Can Save the World" Dogma........See ya on the back side of this.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Building the Mood....

They say its because of Halloween but there are a whole lot of "dark and moody" interiors on the web and in the mags..... Even "happy girl mag" Domino has a charcoal bedroom on the cover! Where some of the work is predictable this work by a collaborative out of Philadelphia M.O.N.A. its very smart. Look at it on emmas blogg and then get directed to the flicker site. I could not find much info on them but this work is too timely not to get noticed. Let's call it "Local Goth"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The un-beautiful furniture

I stumbled upon the work of Martino Gamper this morning and I am very intrigued by his overall body of work. Seemingly unconcerned with the harmony of mashing objects together, the work as a whole has a complete sensibility. His web site is also really absorbing-spend some time with it, figure out what he's up to...

A Thank You Note

This beautiful image of Roy Mcmakin's work can serve as my thank you note today. You can look at more of his work a Matthew Marks' gallery site as well.
We got some nice press and shout outs this week about The Little Building Cafe. Commentary from as close as Starkville Daily News and as far away as Greece and Irene from Bloesem wonderful encouragement. Thank you so much for the lovely words of encouragement. And meet me for coffee when you are in town.....