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  • Modern Chandelier Meets Art Installation

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    wood chandelier

    Today's modern chandelier often times double as an art installation. Is this good or bad? Well, how can art ever be bad? As long as you understand how to translate these designs to work in your own home, then you're able to enjoy them as the inspiration that they are.

    This innovative creation (above), designed by Elisa Strozyk, is made out of small triangles of wood. Where you would normally see wood used only as a flat surface in product design, this chandelier can be bent and shaped however you like, far from a flat surface.

    sculptureal lighting

    Innovative product design is similar to the fashion runway... Would you necessarily wear that? Similarly, would you ever put that in your home (above)? However, you can use the materials, colors and form as inspiration for selecting a modern chandelier. Also, the way it relates to the space can be a form of inspiration as well.

    wire frame chandelier

    One very simple way to achieve these lighting-meets-art look is to go with an over sized fixtures (above two images), but keep the materials simple. Proportions can definitely be played with to make a statement in any room.

    glass balls chandelier

    Another way to turn your modern lighting into art is to keep the furnishings and decor around it simple (above). Allow your modern chandelier, big or small to stand out.

    Here's a few fun ideas for unconventional chandeliers that will surely make a statement in your home.

    1. Fredrick Ramond Mondo Chandelier, 2. Maxim Chantilly Nickel Jewelry Chain Chandelier, 3. Possini Glass Orbs Pendant Chandelier, 4. Possini Corinthian Bronze Twist Chandelier, 5. Vienna Full Spectrum Chrome and Crystal Chandelier

    Don't limit your sources for inspiration, just because certain products won't fit in your home (or budget), doesn't mean you can't pull ideas from them. Designing is about solving problems so there's always a way to achieve the look you want!

    Images: Elisa Strozyk, Contemporist, Etsy

  • Modern Wall Art: Shantell Martin Draws On Everything

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    black and white decor

    The London based artist Shantell Martin, who is known for her stream-of-consciousness drawings, decided to create some modern wall art in her own Brooklyn bedroom and ended up make a big statement. Although she didn't set out to cover the entire room, she ended up covering the walls, ceilings, and furniture with her oh-so-cool freestyle line drawings. When her friends invited Ms. Martin into their home they knew she was going to be drawing on her walls and there would be nothing they could do. So they made just one request, "Don't touch the hallway."

    black and white illustrations

    You will see the words "Who Are You" and "Who Am I" repeat a lot throughout her modern wall art displays. 

    “When invited to talk at conferences and festivals about digital drawing or creativity, I like to start with showing a photograph of my younger self with my brother and sisters. In the photograph I’m about nine years old with a little Afro, brown skin and Michael Jackson shorts standing next to my very blond and blue-eyed brother and four sisters, this is the beginning my story.” -Shantell Martin

    illustrated walls

    The stories even continue onto the door knob. So far, Ms. Martin has used about 25 pens and I think it's safe to assume she's a pretty good customer over at Blick Art Supplies!

    shadow frame artwork

    One of her own drawings is framed and layered over the rest of her wall art. Martin says this is "to give it space to breathe."

    found objects

    Uncommon objects on common grounds, that's where a layer of gesso can take you. Bottles found on the street or out-and-about are covered in gesso to make them uniform and then used as a canvas for Martin to create her art.

    modern workspace

    Compact spaces with small modern desks are not normally what you would find in an artist's studio, but Martin works hard in her small office. She is in the process of planning a one-woman show later this year. With her work at such places as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the megaclubs of Tokyo and Russia, and on the enormous screens at Shibuya and Harajuku crossings in Tokyo, you can only imagine how incredible this upcoming show will be!

    red shelving

    The furniture in her quaint little bedroom doesn't interfere with the black and white line drawings covering the walls of her room. Like in this space, bright red accents make a perfect splash of color! Simple open shelving displays the painted bottles and found objects while bold, black and white striped bedding creates a the grounding element.  

    vintage toys

    These toys sitting on the floor are just waiting to be gessoed.

    custom denim

    You can see Shantell Martin's work in a variety of places. She collaborated with 3 x 1 to create custom jeans on site in their denim atelier.

     illustrated bottle

    I'm excited to see more innovative work from this amazing artist... I would love to see a line of wallpaper or fabrics from her! Crossing my fingers!

    Images: Shantell Martin

  • Julius Shulman: Modern Photographer

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    Julius Shulman Mirman Residence in Arcadia

    You've seen the style a thousand times...and chances are modern photographer Julius Shulman (1910-2009) had something to do with that.

    Following up on Cori's post Design in Style: Mid-Century Modern Roundup from yesterday, Mid-century Modernism is one of the most popular and recognizable design styles today (and one that we love!). One of the most common subsets of the style is California Modern, a style of residential architecture characterized by glass walls, oversized eaves and severe geometries, most commonly found in horizontal cities like Palm Springs and Los Angeles. These structures represent the quintessential post-war American Dream and for Mid-century Modern fans, the designers and architects of these homes are household names: Eames, Schindler, Neutra, Lautner, even Lloyd Wright.

    John Lautner Chemosphere Shulman photograph

    Shulman has photographed the most iconic Mid-century residences of the last seventy years, and his uncanny ability to give soul to these stark spaces brings up an interesting question: does a great subject make a great photograph, or vice versa?

    His images have immortalized the work of John Lautner (pictured above) and Richard Neutra (pictured below)...

    Neutra Chuey House by Julius Shulman

    ...bringing to light these striking edifices, not to mention the furniture within them. The impact of Mid-century thinking influences home decor design to this day. 

    mid century modern furniture designs

    Zuo Liftoff Black Dining Table, Holtkoetter Satin White and Satin Nickel Tripod Floor Lamp

    Not all of Shulman's photos included human subjects, but when they did, his models exuded the composed cool that came to define the Mid-century aesthetic.

    Shulman photograph of Pierre Koenig

    spencer house photo by julius shulman

    The California Modern lifestyle was, at least on the surface, one of extreme leisure, with cocktails and swimming pools featuring prominently. But it was also one that indicated a tectonic shift in perception, from Modernism as an abstruse European design philosophy to a populist aesthetic that could be mass produced and consumable. To buy modern floor lamps and furniture was suddenly as easy as picking up groceries. And with Mid-century Modern designs now available more than ever today, we are all the beneficiaries.

    We may never credit a single mid-century furniture or building design to Julius Shulman, but we might all want to thank him for turning the camera - and in the process, many of us - on to this revolutionary look.   

    Images: W5RAN, Peterson Live, Midcenturia, Pleasure PhotoTrndWntd

  • Design in Style: Mid Century Modern Round-Up

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    mid century modern architecture

    We talk a lot here about Mid-century Modern, posting  a lot of cool images on our Facebook page too. But what does it take to achieve this look? What are the elements, besides super cool architecture? Let's dive in...

    To give you the simple definition, Mid-Century Modern is just that...mid-century. It describes the period from 1933 to 1965 and the developments in architectural, interior, product and graphic design that took place during that time. Today, we enjoy pieces from that time, some authentic while others are inspired-by pieces.

    1. Arteriors Macay Pendant, 2. Zuo Terracotta Leatherette Sofa, 3. Mesh Dining Chair, 4. Wilco Dining Table, 5. Basque Steel Arc Floor Lamp, 6. Zuo Heywood Bench

    Function was important in mid-century designs, with an emphasis placed specifically on targeting the needs of the average American family. Each of these pieces above function perfectly without being bulky and using unnecessary space. They're currently the most widely used pieces when designing a modern home, demonstrating that classics persevere. You can design an entire home using Mid-Century Modern furniture and accessories or you can just sprinkle them in as modern accents.

    mid century modern

    This living room (above) is furnished in authentic Mid-Century Modern style, right down to the Barcelona chair and wood floors. Architectural materials add character and can go a long way toward creating your design aesthetic.

    mid century modern furniture

    The relative of the Barcelona chair is the bench (above). This space nails Mid-Century Modern style on the head, while also maintaining a good mix of materials.

    mid century modern dining room

    Pairing modern items together, but mixing materials (above) is important and helps your home look collected rather than staged. A cute cat helps too.

    Designing your home or apartment with your own modern style is fun, but knowing a little about the history of modern design is even more fun!

    Image: House Plans, HouzzSF Girl by Bay

  • Audrey Hepburn's Little Black Dress: From Outfit to Room

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     little black dress

    Audrey Hepburn's little black Givenchy dress that was worn in the opening of Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of the most iconic clothing items in history. It has become such an integral part of every woman's wardrobe, such that you probably can't name any woman that doesn't own a little black dress. The perfect choice of accessories can turn this dress into an elegant evening gown, but the design of the dress is all about simple form.

    How do you bring these features into your home? It can be as simple as adding a beautiful chandelier. The chandelier (below) has a very simple form but the sweeping strands of delicate chains drape to create a look that resembles the strands of pearls adorning Audrey Hepburn's neck.

     black chandelier

    Sweeping Chain 6-Light Black Chandelier

    The gentle curves and shiny black marble of the accent table (below) would add elegance to any room. The simplicity of form and polished nickel details combine to create a striking side table that becomes timeless in any setting.

     black marble side table

    Arteriors Home Aries Polished Nickel & Marble Table

    These pearls trace the form of the Hepburn's dress with perfection. A simple silhouette shows off her wonderful shoulders and defines her curves.

     open back dress

    This stylish, bold dining chair (below) is delicate yet sturdy. It does a great job of showing off curves, much like the Givenchy dress. Modern dining chairs fit into any setting from the outdoors to in, upgrading even the side of a bed when used as a nightstand.  

     black dining chair

    Set of 4 Zuo Anime Black Dining

    Adding a decorative wall mirror into your space can add a touch of sophistication, much like a pearl or diamond necklace can add to a classic dress. The perfect finishing touches can transform your space from casual to elegant in an instant.

     silver wall mirror

    Silver Ice 34" High Wall Mirror

    Let's all try to recreate a little bit of Audrey Hepburn's style and that little black dress in our homes! It's a simple elegance that will be loved for years!

    Images: IMDB

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