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  • 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

  • IwamotoScott Art Installations: Large Scale Design Inspiration

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    Voussoir Cloud installation

    Voussoir Cloud

    After writing my post on Tuesday, Modern Chandelier Meets Art Installation, I decided to post about actual art installations because well, it's fun and they're an amazing source of design inspiration. So, prepare to be inspired....

    Since large-scale installations are very architectural, it makes perfect sense that the ones I'm featuring today are done by IwamotoScott Architects. Their range of projects include residential, commercial, institutional, competitions.... and art.

    wedge shaped masonry blocks

    Voussoir Cloud

    The Voussoir Cloud was designed for the Southern California Institue of Architecture gallery in Los Angeles. It consists of fourteen segmented pieces made out of paper thin petals shapes "designed to explore the structural paradigm of pure compression".

    The project was inspired by such icons as Frei Otto and Antonio Gaudi who also studied efficient form. Each new form of design inspiration is developed out of another and that is inspiring.

    UVA ISAR Exibit

    UVA ISAR Exibit

    IwamotoScott was selected to be an exhibitor for the Michael Owen Jones Lecture and Exhibition at University of Virginia's School of Architecture. The UVA ISAR Exhibit was made of graduated pleated paper with two different projects printed on alternating sides of the pleats to form this fascinating art installation.

    The effect is giant postcard that flickers between the two images upon movement. The pleats allowed for efficient shipping as it was flat-packed all the way to Virginia from California.

    pleated art installation

    UVA ISAR Exibit (above)

    In-Out Curtain

    In-Out Curtain

    Unlike the first two installations, the In-Out Curtain is actually a prototype for an operable screen that combines modular origami and digital production with light. It's sort of a hybrid drape/venetian blind/screen.

    two dimensional material

    The curtain uses simple material resistance to generate its 2-dimensional movement quality. It's never in a permanent state, either in shape, or when against a window.

    Although these are certainly not weekend DIY projects and also not something you would put in your home, the use of materials, form, and function are inspiring at so many levels. They serve as inspiration for designing our home and selecting modern furniture or lighting.

    Images: IwamotoScott Architects

  • Las Vegas Architecture: Circa Now

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    modern hotel architecture

    We're in Vegas today for the Las Vegas Market and we hope to bring back lots of inspiration for you. In honor of our trip, we thought we would profile some modern Las Vegas architecture.

    We've all seen Vegas architecture develop from the days when The Flamengo was the new hot spot (at least in photos) to today's design eye candy. Case in point, the pool deck and cafe at the new City Center's Aria!

    modern outdoor patio

    We'll make sure to at least stop by and see this architecture up close. If it looks this cool in photographs, imagine...

    modern pool cabana

    The interiors of the cabanas are extremely private and appear to have full service attendance. Plenty of modern outdoor furniture is the key for comfortable Summertime lounging and ceiling fans never hurt.

    modern pool bar

    Hope you're all having a great Monday, even if you're not lounging by a super cool pool bar on stylish bar stools.

    Images: Moonward

  • 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

  • Happy [Modern] 4th of July!

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     white pendant light

    Wishing you all a Happy 4th of July! Whatever it is you choose to do just remember to have fun, relax, and be safe!  

    Spending time with family and friends in the backyard is always one of my favorite ways to spend Independence Day and this outdoor cabana seems perfect for it!  

     geometric architecture

    Za Bor Architects developed this project for a popular TV show called, Dachniy Otvet, meaning The Village Talks. Unfortunately the TV show was not filmed at my home... I will have to find an equally cool backyard to celebrate Independence Day.   

     modern white dining table

    The concept behind this reality show intrigues me and this architecture definitely brings new meaning to outdoor cabana. The show invites designers and architects to re-design parts of a home for selected home-owners that agreed to participate in the show. These home-owners wanted somewhere to spend more quality time outdoors. The white tinted wood creates fourteen planes that are attached together, forming this nautical shape. The result is an outdoor structure, perfect for BBQ'ing.

    Red lighting fixtures, or any color for that matter, bring so much dynamic energy into any dining area while modern white dining chairs keep the space very clean, allowing nature and colorful accents to stand out.  

     outdoor kitchen

    The second part to the structure houses the outdoor kitchen. The char-grill is made of brick and steel and is sure to cook up a killer BBQ!  

     modern outdoor kitchen

    BBQ until the sun goes down, then turn on the modern outdoor lighting. This sculpture is sure to turn into a artistic light installation after sundown...

     architectural volumes

    The architect’s concept for the construction is "transparency and openness which inspires a contact between man and nature".

    Hope you get to spend some time outside today... Happy Independence Day from the ESL team!

    Images: Do You Love Where You Live

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