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  • Brent's Event Recap: Thinking Big at Dwell on Design 2012

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    Installation art at Dwell on Design

    My experience at the 2012 Dwell on Design show at the Los Angeles Convention Center last weekend can be best summed up by a well-worn cliche: what a difference a year makes. Whereas last year's Dwell on Design Show seemed retrenched under the specter of the euro zone crisis (and completely out of step with its tagline "Go Big. Find Design."), the 2012 incarnation was 100% about thinking big.

    Summarizing this year's event, Dwell Media President Michela O’Connor Abrams said, “Without exploration, there would be no innovation. This year at Dwell on Design, we’re exploring beyond the boundaries of expectation to get a first look at the people, products, and ideas that will redefine the very notion of modern.” 

    So what four things did I discover at Dwell on Design 2012?

    1. Modernism is Alive and Well

    If the exhibiting non-profits at the show are any indication, classic Modernism is very much the guiding light of Dwell.

    West Hollywood Library photo by Joyce Fickett

    I was delighted to discover Modcom, the Modern Committee of the Los Angeles Conservancy. Through research, outreach, and action, this group works to preserve L.A.'s post-war architectural treasures.

    Also in attendance were representatives of Palm Springs Modernism Week, the annual symposium of lectures, tours and exhibitions dedicated to Modernism's rich legacy in the Palm Springs area.  

    2. Outdoor Is In

    The outdoor "deck" of the show was larger this year. Plants, prefabs, pods, pots and more graced every corner of the space.

    Modern outdoor designs at Dwell on Design

    The show boasted two retrofitted Airstream campers, further underscoring Modernism's firm hold on the Dwell aesthetic.

    Retrofitted Airstream trailer

    Even the very notion of "outdoor" was expanded. As part of the show's onstage series, Artillery magazine's review editor Carrie Paterson presented "The Road Less Traveled: How Miniature Forests Will Humanize Long-Term Space Missions," in which she detailed the history of agriculture in space exploration, and offered the bonzai tree as a possible human companion in long-term human missions to space. 

    3. Big Design Fits in Small Spaces

    As expected, the latest in modular home design was on display at the event. All three participating designers utilized diminutive floorplans to the fullest, and I caught more than one attendee peering into cabinets, checking under beds, and above appliances in an attempt to visualize how they might downsize their lives into a small, elegant space. 

    The ecofabulous LivingHome was the event darling - it seemed like there was someone pouring juice, wine or champagne at almost every hour outside the space. At their $172 per square foot claim, the LivingHome is budget-fabulous.  

    ecofabulous LivingHome prefab home

    Connect Homes and Sustain Design didn't rival the ecofabulous LivingHome fanfare, but their designs equally inspired. Sustain Design's caliMini prefab packs a high aesthetic into the footprint of a flatbed truck:

    modern prefab design

    All in all, these homes felt a bit, well, mobile. I found it hard to resist the urge to knock on the walls to see how they held up, but seen in a broader context, these structures are quite a feat. Given only a few days of set up time, each of these designers erected and staged a livable home. Who am I to complain?

    4. We Live in a Material World

    My favorite part of the show was that which was perhaps least practical in the most direct sense: a number of sculptural installations were on view that explored the limits of material. As Cori mentioned in her recap of the show earlier this week, Oyler Wu's Screenplay installation utilized 45,000 feet of rope to create a textured wall. 

    Rope installation art at Dwell on Design 2012

    Student Bruce Guan from the Interior Architecture Department at Woodbury University constructed a fabulous curtain from paper airplanes (pictured below and in detail at the top of this post).

    Paper art installation

    Los Angeles based Timeline Wood showcased a line of distressed wood planks. These FSC certified, low VOC treated planks had the appearance of reclaimed wood. The owners, Shelby Keyser and Matt Stroud, perfected the "aging" techniques during stints as furniture restorers and artists.

    distressed wood for construction use

    As evidenced by the event as a whole, design's role in the building of a better future is more important than ever. Nowhere was this more obvious than at the motor court in front of the Convention Center, where Green Car Journal hosted a test drive program showcasing the latest in electric, hybrid and clean diesel cars. A year ago, the electric vehicles on display were concept cars. This time around however, I was able to test drive two production cars: the Coda and Ford Focus (available starting January 2013). 

    When it was time to head home however, I did the green cars one better: I jumped on my bicycle and rode home. Sure, nobody walks in L.A...but they do ride.

    Images: Modcom, Sustain Design

  • Design Trends: Las Vegas World Market Event

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    design trend

    Last week we attended the Las Vegas World Market event. It's a week long event that revolves around design trends, new products, creative collaborations, and much more! Not only did we have fun, but we came away with a clear understanding of what the hot design trends are right now.

    Undoubtedly, a major trend right now is bold color (above). Colorful design is seen all over different design industries, especially fashion and interiors. If you don't want an entire room filled with color, then just accent with color. But go ahead and move away from the safety of the neutral color palette.

    whimsical designs

    Keeping with the color trend alert, we also noticed a lot of quirky designs (above). Whether it's due to our difficult economy or its just a trend wave, people want whimsy in their life and the design world is responding. This space not only pairs daring colors but fun designs, like the chair and mirror. Colorful S-Chairs are a great way to add color and personality to your space!

    industrial kitchen

    If you're adamant about not adding color and prefer the neutral palette, don't worry because there's always room for modern, industrial design on the trend list (above). This kitchen is a perfect balance of modern and industrial, pairing sleek metals with textured woods and glass. Mason jar pendants are always a fun accessory when you want to achieve the industrial look.

    natural design

    Taking the industrial step a little farther, rustic designs are also on trend (above). Textured floors, walls and accessories create a natural vibe to any space. But adding some modern furniture and accessories, like the sofa and beautiful area rug creates balance, adding a softer element to the rough space.

    tribal pattern

    Finally, a great way to wrap up all the design trends we've been discussing, tribal designs (above) incorporate all of them. By using tribal accessories, such as area rugs, pillows, vases, etc you can add a colorful, rustic, and modern look to your home.

    We sure had fun at the event last week, we hope all the information we brought back was helpful. But the main design idea to come away with... you can make any style work by incorporating subtle or large design trend elements!

    To see some of our images from the event, you can head over to our Pinterest page and check out our "Design Trends" board...

    Images: April & May Studio, House to Home, What Wilson WantsInteriores MinimalistasDesire to Inspire 

  • Organic Light Fixtures: Designer David Trubridge

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    organic light fixture

    DAVID TRUBRIDGE, Tipu II (Grass) (2012)

    Woven is an exhibition of organic light fixtures using textures and light. The exhibition features three new abstract forms by the internationally acclaimed furniture designer David Trubridge.  Each piece in this collection is a sculptural scale abstract form as well as a delicate and mesmerizing organic light fixture. This collection is called "Tipu", which means swelling or lump and each piece within the collection is then named according to the natural material that creates the design in each piece - bush, grass, spiral.  Each piece is made using a sustainable process from plant material and New Zealand flax fibre.  

    organic texture

    Each piece expresses the organic flow of these natural elements and really magnifies the beauty of the overlays and lattice character of these elements. The role played by the light and shadow as the elements intertwine and spin together creates a depth and so much visual interest that you can get lost in the work for hours!

    Woven and organic lighting, whether it be in the shade of a pendant light or the base of a table lamp,  will always add a sculptural element to your space.  

    modern pendant light

    Alita Collection Mini Pendant Chandelier

    modern table lamp

    Ennis Antique Brass Web Sphere Table Lamp

    Bush fixture

    DAVID TRUBRIDGE, Tipu I (Bush) (2012)

    The natural elements in the Bush fixture are flowing softly, almost as if they are blowing in the wind.

    organic elements

    As the fibres overlap they continue to create a play with light and shadow. The translucent effect creates layer upon layer of visual stimulation.

    Natural woven elements in your fixtures can cast incredible shadows and light patterns.

    modern sconce

    Corbett Shoji Collection 18-3/4" High Wall Sconce

    modern floor lamp

    RATTAN LINE VASE 40" HIGH FLOOR LAMP

    David Trubridge's entire collection of furniture and lighting are works of art! It is thoughtful and innovative design that will continue to inspire.

    Images: David Trubridge

  • Modern Kids Room: Stylish Room Decor for the Mini Modernist

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    modern kids room

    If you haven't seen our Las Vegas Market event recap, make sure to check it out. We just want to chat about one more trend we saw there... Stylish room decor for the modern kids room. Why limit your modern decor to every room except the kid's room?

    Modern kids rooms are featuring either lots of color or the more authenticly modern route of clean and all-white. Either way you decide to go, use fun lighting, interesting furniture, and pops of color. Organization is also key for a kid's room too, so bookshelves are a great idea.

    kids seating

    Multiple types of fun kids chairs are always great for kids, especially when they have friends over.

    giraff sconce

    For the older kids, just providing fun lighting, like these giraffe sconces can help keep their modern space young. Clean lines and modern furniture looks good in any room.

     

    modern kids lighting

    1. Swag Style Alphasoup Primary Shade Plug-In Chandelier 2. http://www.eurostylelighting.com/eu02475.htm 3. Possini Euro Design Infinity Pendant Chandelier 4. Jonathan Adler Giraffe Wall Sconce 5. Yellow Zigzag Outdoor Accent Pillows 6. Zuo Baby Spire Transparent Blue Kids Chair 7. Zuo Baby S White Kids Chairs 8. Zuo Pick Pocket Ball White Accent Cube 9. Zuo Drop Stool Collection Red Contemporary Chair

    So, remember to spread your love for modern throughout the house, including your kids rooms! How else will we all raise mini modernists?!

    Images: The Boo & The Boy, Design SpongeHouzz, Home & House Design

  • Paper Art: From Sheet to Sculpture

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    Paper Art

    Paper art. It can be so much more than ink or graphite drawings on flat white sheets. Folded, constructed or crumpled (or even lacquered as in David Jang's paper towel floor installation pictured above), paper becomes a sculptural goldmine. 

    Eva Black's "Folded" installation is a sculpture consisting of approximately 3,500 folded paper pyramids that, when combined, looks like an origami quilt.

    Paper Art Installation

    The entire piece is constructed from found, gifted and collected paper Black culled from old art projects, paper bags, bookstores and more. 

    Origami Paper Art

    A scaled down, terrarium sized piece, reminiscent of Black's work, is this fun sculpture by Mark from the London based Present and Correct. 

    Contemporary Paper Art

    For a less geometric and more organic paper art, check out this installation of more than 100 paper sculptures by artist Peter Gentenaar. Floating throughout the church of Saint Riquier, close to Abbeyville, Somme, Northern France, the sculptures are floral in form and jelly-like in their weightlessness.

    Modern Paper Art Installation

    My favorite paper artist ever (and a personal friend) is Olga Lah, who I first discovered while sitting on a jury for the Los Angeles Art Association. She installed this amazing and adaptable piece in the entryway of the 2012 Palm Springs Art Fair which took place last February during the city's vaunted Modernism Week.

    Contempoary Paper Sculptures

    Most fine art is archival, it will stand the test of time. Paper often contains acid, which breaks the material and its colors down over time. While some of the art above is archival, not all of it (especially in the case of Eva Black's found paper) will hold up over time. Lighting plays a big role in the display and preservation of art. Halogen track lighting is preferred by many galleries, as it provides a full spectrum of white light, is low in harmful UV rays, and is adjustable so you can fine tune the lighting of your art work. For sculptural pieces, you may want to try recessed lighting overhead.

    Last are some sculptural works nearly impervious to fading. Check out these complex, monochromatic origami-ish paper pieces by artist Matt Shlian. 

    Origami Art

    Folded Paper Art

    Paper as sculptural fine art is only the beginning. Origami is increasingly being explored, in everything from space flight to nano-technologies, as a means to pack more stuff into less space. And for most design junkies, packing cool, beautiful forms into small spaces is what we're all about.

    Images: David JangEva Black Design, Design for Mankind, Gentenaar-Torley, Olga Lah, Matt Shlian 

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