Sunday, 1 May 2022

7x7

chairportrait: thirty iconic designer styles of seating depicted minimally by Federico Babina  

der pate technos: a celebration of the career and legacy of Klaus Schulze (RIP)  

recursive: vending machine gachapon—see previously  

the wretched, bloody and usurping boar: architecture and monumental authoritarianism in places like the Battersea Power Station—via Things Magazine with more on the property 

reverspective: the illusory paintings of Patrick Hughes   

eye-chart: JWST is now fully-focussed and calibrated and primed for new discoveries (previously)  

lookbook: a collection of sculptural furnishings that match their residence

Friday, 11 February 2022

7x7

heiti and songti: the typefaces that helped China transition to the digital age 

no soup for you: the Fay-Cutler malapropism (see previously) of the week 

memphis milano: iconic design studio of Ettore Sottsass (previously) acquired by Italian furniture company  

earn it act: controversial bill restricting encryption—presented as an anti-trafficking and child safety initiative (see also) passes committee in the US Senate  

quantitative easing: lampooning practises that exacerbate inflation and speculation, an artist in Kuala Lumpur opens Memebank  

all hail hypnotoad: Futurama (previously) returns for an eighth season—with most of the original talent  

dingbats: a typographic homage to pre-emoji Webdings—see also for one carry-over

Saturday, 11 September 2021

kuba komet

Only associating Wolfenbรผttel with the digestif Jรคgermeister, we were grateful for friend of the blog Nag on the Lake for letting us also know about the town’s console furniture (Tonmรถbel) factory that specialised in housing and cabinets for radio, record players and televisions. In operation from 1948 to 1972, the pieces often integrated into one luxury home entertainment unit, founded by inventor and entrepreneur Gerhard Kubetschek (*1909 - †1976), like the pictured model, a true status-symbol and epitome of Mid-Century Modern. More to explore at the links above.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

billiard balls & bowling green bowles, turnt correctly

We quite enjoyed perusing these antique furniture trade cards (see previously) from the shops and emporia of old London—reportedly discovered in a secret drawer of a hypothetical cabinet. There are carpenters and casket-makers, upholsters as well as looking-glass and chair manufacturies. 


Saturday, 28 November 2020

the great bed of ware

Via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump, we are directed to one unusual artefact of the Victoria & Albert Museum collection in the monumental and for the time of its acquisition in 1931 for a princely sum of four thousand pounds budget-breaking piece of furniture.

Originally housed in the White Hart Inn in the town as sort of a tourists’ draw for the stopping off point a day’s journey outside of London to points north, the massive four-poster bed—at three metres wide big enough to accommodate four couples—and was built by carpenter Jonas Fosbrooke in the last decade of the sixteenth century with Renaissance style marquetry and ornament inspired by Hans Vredeman de Vries—and to add to its history and provenance, couples have carved their names or initials in the headboard to mark their stay and is mentioned by name in Twelfth Night (circa 1601) and works by Ben Jonson and Charles Dickens.

Monday, 26 October 2020

7x7

letterpress: an appreciation for Peter Pauper publishing  

no retiring wall flower: a fascinating look at the hydraulics of star fish  

geologic record: a gallery of some of the stranger amber fossils found  

truly toastmasters: learn effective communication techniques from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology lecture honed over four decades  

jindล™ich halabala: rediscovering the classic furniture and signature style of a Czechoslovakia designer  

via di propaganda: the history of the street in Rome speaks to design and dogma  

hot off the presses: Distributed Proofreaders celebrates the uploading of its forty-thousandth volume

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

happy home designer

Via Boing Boing, we discover delightfully that IKEA’s latest catalogue has been faithfully reproduced in part in the Animal Crossing (previously) game, platform, plane of existence. It would have been a monumental undertaking to recreate every page but the furniture and rooms selected are pretty impressive, especially considering the limited set of objects and artefacts there are in play. Before you get sticker shock, the items are priced in Taiwanese dollars.  The title refers to a 2015 spin-off game that focused on architecture and interior decorating.  See more highlights from Kotaku at the link above.

Friday, 14 August 2020

bier and bookcase

As seen advertised (right) in Harper’s classifieds in 1991 for custom-built models and then as a similar DYI concept with send-away instructions tailored for one’s measurements about two decades later after the London Design Festival in 2009—recently featured on Weird Universe and Pasa Bon! respectively—I wonder if the next iteration of furniture, shelving unit that transforms into a casket to convey one to the here-after might not be done for its reintroduction soon. What do you make of these morbid but practical design suggestions? The handles and decorative, devotional ornaments are themselves called fittings or “coffin furniture”—not to be confused with other movable furnishings that are coffin-shaped, whereas preparing the inside is called “trimming.” Having the foresight to display one’s future funerary box is certainly a conversation-piece.

Friday, 15 May 2020

6x6

fรถrtress: IKEA issues instructions for building furniture forts

blooper reel: outtakes from classic Hollywood
when a problem comes along, you must whip it: DEVO face shields

college of grievance studies: a satirical illustration of a liberal arts campus is received as triggering by some as it circulates

subscribe to our newsletter: indoors zines for the home-stuck

haute couture: make Zhijun Wang’s iconic IKEA shopping bag mask from 2014 as a statement on air-quality in Beijing

Sunday, 12 April 2020

pachyderm

The incredibly prolific design duo of Ray and Charles Eames (see previously here and here) had great affection for elephants and prototyped a moulded plywood multipurpose piece of furniture for children in 1945—which never went into production until 2007. Our friends over at Pasa Bon! (don’t be intimidated by the language difference) give a bit more background and history on the design and present several scalable tutorials to create one yourself out of paper or sturdier media as a fun and engaging project for any one.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

the art of knolling

Coined in 1987 by a janitor named Andrew Kromelow who was working at Frank Gehry’s furniture workshop and at the end of the day, neatly arrange the tools whilst the studio was designing chairs for the artist Florence Knoll, one can find such precision presentations recreated everywhere, including emergency services around the world challenge one another to put their kit on display, like these first responders from Switzerland. The initialism and mantra ABK, “Always be Knolling” is in deference to Glengarry Glen Ross’ “Always be Closing.” Much more to explore at Things magazine at the link above.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

off the shelf

As part of an advertising campaign that encourages people to make their own living spaces just as iconic and reflective of their signature style, IKEA in the United Arab Emirates is running a “Real Life” series showcasing famous living rooms recreated using only store furniture and accessories. Much more to explore at the links above.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

bekende deense meubelontwerper

I’ve always thought that this fabric wall hanging that came with my furnished workweek apartment was pretty keen and hoped that I might be able to arrange to have it move out with me, when that day comes, but didn’t realise until just recently that it is a piece of Danish graphic designer and interior decorator Verner Panton’s Mira-X Collection.
A student of the psychology and working in the studio of architect Arne Jacobsen, Panton (*1928 – †1998) is probably best known for his line of furniture, including his signature moon lamps and chair still licensed and in production by the company Vitra and for incredibly psychedelic office spaces like the cantina for Spiegel magazine headquarters in Hamburg, executed in the same style as this indoor swimming pool shown at the link.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

hex key

We learn via Slashdot that robotic engineering is on the brink of surpassing an important milestone in terms of dexterity, coordination, versatility and patience in assembling a piece of IKEA furniture, a complicated, hands-on experience that would have until just recently been too much to ask of even the most sophisticated robots.
Spending half its time modeling a plan (and a little guidance from its handlers what the end product was to be without the ability yet to just consult the manual) and the rest on putting the chair together, both novice teams finished the job in about twenty minutes. See a video demonstration of the competition and feat at the link above.

Monday, 12 February 2018

flat-pack

Though probably better remembered for his later career as an industrial designer and architect for his contributions to the Walt Disney Studios compound in Burbank, California and a few neighbourhoods of surrounding Hollywoodland, Kem Weber helped to inform the stylistic sleek and iconic “Streamline” look. Moreover, though not a commercial success despite inclusion in the 1928 International Exposition of Art in Industry due to the Great Depression and outbreak of war, Weber introduced the idea of furniture to be assembled by the consumer, rather than transporting a finished piece from the showroom floor a decade before IKEA grew from a workshop into a single outlet and then going on to become a global brand. Weber’s Airline Chair of 1934 was shipped in a cardboard box that was easily toted away, to be put together (with confidence) at home.
Years ahead of the mid-century whose style he defined, Weber was a pioneer but with the infusion of the talent of fellow creative individuals fleeing totalitarian regimes in Europe (of Berlin-extraction, his adopted first name was composed of the initial letters of Karl Emmanuel Martin, wanting to make a less Germanic new persona for himself) and materials and designs derivative of the war-effort, he was not considered on the cutting edge for very long, supplanted by subsequent generations, indebted to his vision.

Monday, 29 January 2018

vila i frid

Visionary entrepreneur and entrepreneur who opened his first furniture store six decades ago this year, Ingvar Kamprad (whose outlet and brand are his initials plus his family farm, Elmtaryd, and the nearby village of Agunnaryd, passed away over the weekend at the age of 91 at his home in Smรฅland. The ability of the corporate culture that Kamprad fostered through the years is impressive not only for the ability to deliver on the vision that the artists and creators behind the Bauhaus movement envisioned—that style should be affordable and accessible—but also in their capacity to reconcile and incorporate the fact that we’ve reached peak curtains and that endless consumption is not the only business model.

Friday, 29 September 2017

tรฅskkrรฅbรซt

In a move that heralds the beginning of a vertical monopoly of sorts, Swedish furniture and lifestyle purveyor IKEA has acquired the San Francisco-based online platform TaskRabbit that allows people to contract freelance labour for a wide-range of services—including presumably assembling IKEA furniture.
The handyman services company has another sixty-thousand independent workers signed on and has already struck similar deals with other major on-line retailers to supplement installation and delivery. What do you think of the gig-economy—or rather the “sharing-economy” as the newly-minted partners characterise it? I can’t speak to the reputation of either company separately but something in the combined enterprise strikes me as exploitative and symptomatic of our rather precarious profit-models.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

salone del mobile

Thanks to Fast Company, we learn that the late David Bowie was a grand patron of the Memphis-Milano movement having amassed a sizable collection with signature pieces from artists like Peter Shire and Ettore Sottsass.
The collection is so extensive and representative of the group’s work, Bowie’s furniture will be given its own auction and one can preview the lots at the link. Comprised chiefly Italian designers, they took the name Memphis, incidentally, after hearing the Bob Dylan song “Stuck inside of Mobile (furnishing as well as a city in Alabama) with the Memphis Blues Again.”

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

peacock throne

Dangerous Minds has a very nice tribute to the the flaired back wicker peacock chair—known as the Philippine or Manila but originating in China, that was reserved for the select and makes an appreciable seat of authority and smartly frames the subject. Popular from the mid-twentieth century onwards, the exotic chair was part of the furniture for the parlours and studios of American celebrities and public-figures—perpetuated by iconic photographs of the owners sitting—as if commissioning for a portrait. Though not a wicker peacock chair—relatives and neighbours had them, I do remember growing up with a papasan in the living room—which was just as brilliant, classic and more comfortable, I imagine.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

duktig or arts and crafts

Daily Beast features a nice chart and timeline of the Bauhaus movement.

The design school that sought to create the harmonious and practical—durable and affordable too—which rose out of the rubble and ruin of Germany after the Great War, was dismissed as degenerate and subversive but those principles of design and economy certainly did win out in the end. It’s easy to take for granted how those founding visions of simplicity and democratisation have endured and sustained our sense of style and environment, sometimes reflected imperfectly but still without distortion, but the movement is very vibrant in terms of typography and elements of presentation—and of course in the Swedish furniture giant that dominates domiciles the world around.