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  • Iconic Apple Designer: Jonathan Ive

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    Jonathan Ive Apple iMacs

    Steve Jobs is the name everyone knows, but as Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple, Jonathan Ive is the man most often credited with the actual look of the iMac, iPod and iPhone, iPad…and whatever comes next. And true to principles of good design, no matter the complexity of the products he creates, the outcome is refreshingly simple, fresh and intentional.

    Colorful iPod Nano

    "A product has to be genuinely better…For something to ultimately be better, the consumer has to see, feel and believe that it is in fact better,” explained Ive in interview with Innovation Excellence

    Ive and his team created some of the most iconic industrial designs of the 20th-21st centuries, and in so doing they were clearly treading in uncharted waters: “If something is going to be better, it is new, and if it’s new you are confronting problems and challenges you don’t have references for. 

    It’s easy to see how these lofty principles apply to the rich and famous world of Silicon Valley. But in the contemporary lighting industry, we’re seeing the same innovative and principled thinking develop. In an interview with Koncept last year, we discussed the challenge of educating consumers that LED is in many ways better (and more cost-effective) than traditional incandescent. 

    Colored LED Desk Lamp

    Gen 3 Z-Bar LED Lamps by Koncept

    And Alberto Alessi, who runs Milan-based Alessi (whose designs we recently featured in a blog post), remarked to the Telegraph in the UK: "We do not offer things which people fundamentally need but we deliver something which answers a wish, a dream." 

    Alessi Table Lights

    Table Lights by AlessiLux

    The wish, as Alessi calls it, is for design to offer extraordinary value: energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing, high quality and long lasting. In many cases, that dream has come true.

    Images: Apple

  • Color Crush: Silver

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    Modern Kitchen

    Silver is one of those colors that adds so much to a room, even a little bling, but can easily be over done if you use to much. All you need to amp up your room with some silver tones is a few small accessories for your space.

    This room has a great amount of silver in it. Just enough that you notice but not so much that it is over bearing. And the lamp overhanging the space is amazing. Silver accents help make a room seem simple and put together without going over the top.

    Home Decor

    Mercury Glass 3-Piece Canister and Tray Set, St Croix Mercury Glass with Silver Jamie Young Chandelier, Sunburst Reflections Antique Silver Resin Round Wall Mirror, Retro Silver with Cream Metal Round Wall Clock

    These canisters are perfect. You can fill them with something small or just keep them empty. Either way they would be awesome in any space. This light is so cool. The shape of it has a modern but also antique feel to it, making it work so well in pretty much any room. The clock is simple and clean which I love and the mirror is a definite statement piece. Along with some silver toned chair legs or accent table and your room will be good to go!

    Images: A Piece of Happiness

  • Public Art: Translating Emoji into a Giant Light Show

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    Public Art

    Like all of us, I'm sure you remember the amazing architecture from the Olympics in Beijing, China. Ever wonder about it still? Well, we've learned that designers have transformed the Water Cube into public art. We couldn't help but share this...

    The exterior of the building shifts between beautiful gradients of color, but that's not all... Using custom software millions of Emoji are sifted through, and in combination with the I Ching, they inform the color, tone, and movement of the light.

    Water Cube

    Jennifer Wen Ma is the Visual Artist on the project. She calls it a "symphony of light". We have to agree.

    She explains that this design project is a representation of nature and man and a symbol of society since the color and speed of light is in fact determined by the emotions of the people.

    Modern Art

    Lighting Designer Zheng Jianwei explains how light enters the bubbles then bounces off unpredictably within the structure. He continues to explain how this is similar to the I Ching philosophy... the sense that chaos, grandiosity and interconnectivity.

    We are truly impressed with this project. It's beautiful architecture taken to a new level and turned into public art. Check out this video below to see both Ma and Jianwei eloquently describe this amazing design project.

    Images: The Creators Project

  • Modern Entryway Design: Avoiding the Unused Look

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    Modern Entryway Design

    There’s such a thing as a beautiful modern entryway, as in the picture above, and then there’s the alternative: the creepy foyer. You know the one. Looks like it’s never been touched. A chair here, faux flowers there. Dusty on top and dirty behind the ears. It’s the home’s fly-over space and it’s a total fake…except it doesn’t need to be.

    Because the foyer is perhaps the number one key to keeping a clean home. It’s the guard gate that holds junk mail at bay while personal letters pass through unscathed. It catches your keys so they don’t get lost deeper inside. It traps the rain and the mud before they destroy your flooring.

    So instead of asking your foyer to look beautiful, ask it to perform beautifully.

    A modern bench for lacing up before you go outside? Check.

    Modern Foyer Benches

    Catch basins for odds and ends, newspapers and mail? Check.

    Entryway Closet Organization

    Rack space for coats, hats and keys? Of course.

    Landing and Foyer Design

    Remember that, in modern design, function always precedes fashion, and in so doing becomes fashion in and of itself. Embrace that philosophy. Keep the chaise lounge out. No one is chilling in your entry anyway. Consider some simple wall lighting to throw light on the subject. Get rid of the faux plants, and throw a real fern in to freshen things up instead.

    Add a museum bench: 

    Modern Museum Bench

    Zuo Heywood Triple Natural Wood Bench

    ...a floor lamp (with a tray table for stowage):

    Modern Steel Floor LampBrushed Steel Double Shelf Space Saver Modern Floor Lamp

    ...and drop in a household mission statement for good measure: 

    Family Rules Wall Art

    Family Rules Black on White Motivational Wall Art

    Now you’ve got a modern entryway design that looks clean, functional and distinctively lived-in.

    Images: Chatelaine, Designer Pad, Martha Stewart Home DesignIdeas to Steal

  • Decorating With Area Rugs

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    Modern Dining Room

    A major detail that creates warmth in any space is adding an area rug. Whether you are dealing with a living space or a bedroom space (among others), you will find contentment in your design by simply adding a patterned, colorful rug. It finishes a space perfectly and can make a room feel more cohesive. It also helps with space planning. It’s easier to place furniture pieces around a rug because you are aware of dimensions around you.

    We see in the room above that a simple rug with soft colors and patterns easily transforms a space from drab to pretty. The rug also makes the green dining chairs pop.

    Dining Room

    Create a wow factor by adding a bright, patterned rug to your space. Photographer Jessie Webster chose to use a bright and bold rug in her dining room. It gives her neutral space enough color to add some lovely character.

    Modern Living Room

    This living space didn’t need alot of help being beautiful. That’s why I love how they chose a simple, elegant rug that doesn’t compete with the furniture in the room.

    Modern Bedroom

    For my own bedroom, I chose a colorful rug and layered it on a solid gray rug. It has to be my favorite feature in my room. And because most everything else is neutral in the room, a colorful rug really works.

    Happy rug planning!

    Images: Apartment TherapyDesign SpongeUncovet, Simply Grove

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