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  • Modern Design at NYC's Wanted Design

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    Contemporary commercial LED lighting

    Designers, architects, interior designers, craftsmen, editors, manufacturers and more converged in New York last weekend (May 18-21) for Wanted Design at the historic Terminal Store in Chelsea. Focused on the exchange of ideas rather than products, the event found people engaged in lively practice and discussion throughout the weekend: students designed modern lighting fixtures, editors and designers engaged in a robust conversation series, and workshops and exhibitions focused on the creative and clever usage of materials new and old.

    A highlight was Lightfalls (pictured above), a lighting installation between collaborators 3M Architectural Markets and designer Todd Bracher. The exhibition describes itself as a "high-end lighting installation that capitalizes on the laws of physics to distribute light from a single LED source over a dramatically, large space." 

    The complex symmetry of the Lightfalls installation is indicative of a trend in lighting fixtures toward eye-catching geometries, as in this pendant light (below) from the Possini Euro Collection.

    modern pendant chandelier

    Possini Euro Planet Chrome and Black Pendant Chandelier

    Lighting was clearly high on the agenda at this year's event. The Design Students Challenge found students from six design schools (three from France and three from the United States) creating designer lighting fixtures under the constraints of using one material per design, one conceptual tool (computer software), and one fabrication tool (a laser cutting machine). Core 77 magazine, the media sponsor for the contest, posted photos of the contest on their website. 

    Contemporary Design Student Lighting

    While most of the completed student designs landed squarely within established contemporary idioms, they were cleverly constructed and aesthetically refined. It was also clear as one looked over the results: contemporary chandeliers always make an excellent focal point for the room.

    Manhattan Neon, who maintains a studio in the same building as Wanted Design, continued the trend toward lighting by providing three neon workshops during the event. It was great to see a throwback medium like neon used in a contemporary environment.  

    modern neon lighting

    There were furniture design studios, vendors, technology providers, even a boutique bicycle designer on hand. All told, the event brought in approximately 50 exhibitors and sponsors and, while there was a commercial focus to some of the exhibition booths, this was very much a place to meet, exchange and create. This playful, collaborative environment bodes well for the event's future success, and I look forward to seeing even better things to come next year.

    Images: WantedDesign 

  • Modern Infinity Pools Take You Over the Edge

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    desert infinity pool

    Summer is finally here and I hope you are all having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! If you're not lucky enough to spend your time lounging in a fabulous modern infinity pool, let us help you imagine that you are. Whether you are spending your time in the desert (above)...

    In the city...

    Infinity Pool with city views

    In the mountains...

    modern infinity edge pool in mountains

    In the suburbs...

    backyard infinity pool

    Or in the Hollywood Hills...let your imagination take you there.

    Infinity Pool with baja

    And remember modern outdoor furniture and outdoor lighting can help you turn your exterior into a modern outdoor oasis even without the pool!

    Images: The Construction Zone, Wanken 1, Wanken 2,  Fubiz,  The Bowery Group

  • The Photographer Behind The Art

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    Photograph of girl with green eyes

    As your resource for modern design, including modern lighting, furniture and home decor we can't help but appreciate great photography as artwork. You should no doubt be able to recognize all of these photographs because they represent historic moments in time, some happy and some solemn. They have all graced the walls of many homes, but the artist behind them is often never seen. 

    Photograph of The Beatles in hotel room

    These portraits of photographers holding their groundbreaking photographs were shot by Tim Mantoani as part of a new book Behind Photographs: Archiving Photographic Legends. The book was created in an effort to prove that although photography is arguably a dying medium, when you see the best of the best, there is something really special to be acknowledged and respected.

    Photograph of Marilyn Monroe in white sheets

    In addition to seeing the face behind the photograph, what is also intriguing are the messages below each portrait. The photographers gave their notes on the photograph and how it impacted them. For example, in the image below the photographer behind that heart wrenching moment gives his thoughts on the day and his photograph that will live forever.

    Photograph of World Trade Center

    As these photographs continue to adorn the walls of all our homes, now this book is sure to land on many coffee tables as art in and of itself.

    Images: Juxtapoz Magazine

  • Poteet Architects: Collector's Loft

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    industrial loft

    Poteet Archtects, an award winning firm based in San Antonio, turned the top of this industrial building into a modern oasis. Jim Poteet opened the office with the hope that the firm could further the sustainable revitalization of downtown San Antonio. As you can see, they are best known for the sensitive adaptive reuse of existing buildings and rigorous approach to modern interior design.

    modern white living room

    The combination of smooth surfaces with the old, industrial materials left behind from the pre-existing structure give this interior depth and character. While the sleek contemporary furniture adds modern elegance. This floor lamp would be the perfect selection to get this look.

    Basque Steel and Brushed Nickel Arc Floor Lamp

    colorful modern furniture

    Among all the clean white surfaces, you will also find lots of fun color. Adding colorful furniture or home decor is a great way to add personality to a minimalist modern space.

    modern kitchen

    Check out this perfect pendant chandelier (below) for achieving the clean and elegant look of this modern kitchen. Between the artwork, lighting and playful accents, this kitchen design is perfectly balanced.

    Dolce Capiz Shell Pendant Chandelier

    modern dining furniture

    There's no arguing that this team of architects designed this space which sits atop an industrial building, into a stylish modern loft.

    Images: Poteet Archtects

  • Modern Cabins - Small Space Summer Homes

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    Miniature Modern Cabins

    Vacation homes were once only for the rich, but modern cabins are packing big design into small footprints...and small price tags.

    As originally reported in the Los Angeles Times, students at the Woodbury University School of Architecture have proven that - with a simple storage shed, a $1,500 build-out budget, and some creative thinking - mini-cabins can achieve high design that's actually within reach. Land not included, of course.

    Under the guidance of professors Sonny Ward and Jeanine Centuori, the students were tasked with transforming 10' x 10' "over-the-counter" tool sheds into hospitable mini-cabins, affordable summer homes with light, insulation and sleeping space for two. For kicks (and added educational benefit), the professors added a wrinkle to the project: each of the three design teams were charged with incorporating a material - either wood, paper or plastic - throughout the design.

    Mini cabin interior designs

    Cabin interiors were kept understandably rustic, and with a 100 square foot footprint, space was utilized to the fullest.

    While these cabins were clearly more case study than residential solution, the project raised an interesting point. There are tons of ideas circulating for prefab vacation homes that are affordable, design savvy, and can handily withstand the rigor of part-time use.

    Check out this shipping container solution by Texas-based Poteet Architects, utilizing a durable steel shipping container as it's structure: 

    Shipping container architecture

    Clean and unobtrusive, use modern close to ceiling lights to open up the constrained feeling of a small space. 

    Affordable shipping container home

    Modern prefab homes have been a boom industry for a few years now, because they're relatively easy to deploy. This Sommerhaus Piu Prefab Vacation Home by German industrial designers Patrick Frey and Björn Götte is billed simply as "affordable." We might add stunning to that description.

    modern prefab homes

    The use of wall lights and small contemporary sconces keep limited airspace clean and clutter-free while stowing away neatly in the kitchen.

    Modern prefab vacation homes

    And for those who are looking for the turn-key approach, there's this contemporary loft design by Zenkaya:

    Prefab modern cabin

    Summer is just around the corner. When your wanderlust kicks in, consider surveying the landscape for a location that's amenable to housing modern cabins. Look for level ground and affordable property prices in areas within a days drive or train ride from home. Drop a design-savvy structure on top and you're ready to vacation in style. And should you ever need a house sitter, you know where to find us.

     Images: Los Angeles Times, Home Dsgn, the Coolist, Zenkaya

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