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  • Bread, Espresso &...Design

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    contemporary cafe designs

    When the idea struck to cover my favorite cafe designs across the globe, Tokyo's uber-chic bread and coffee hot spot Bread, Espresso & was a shoe-in to lead the story. This design savvy cafe typifies today's resurgence in artisanal bread and coffee and the increasing focus on design that seems to accompany the resurgence.

    Located just blocks away from Bread, Espresso & is Omotesando Koffee (pictured below). Housed in a traditional Japanese residence in Tokyo's Omotesando district, it originally opened as a pop-up space to showcase barista Eichii Kunitomo's skill (although the cafe recently announced a two year lease extension). The box-like kiosk design and a charming paper note chandelier nonetheless point to the cafe's temporary nature.

    mid-century modern chandeliers

    If paper notes and binder clips aren't your thing, the Possini Euro White Flower (pictured above right) offers a more permanent chandelier solution.

    In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista, Earl's Gourmet Grub leaves no detail unturned, with a gently torqued ceiling design. Drop sky lights provide natural light, while recessed lighting illuminates the plywood fans down the length of the cafe.

    Contemporary Restaurant Designs

    Earl's architects, LA/NY based Freeland Buck, applied computational methods usually reserved for skyscraper construction to the restaurant's interior details, as in this alpine inspired design that runs along the wall of the space. 

    Computational Architecture Rendering

    Similar to Earl's Gourmet Grub, a torque motif defines the direction at a Starbucks back in Tokyo, yet again in the Omotesando neighborhood. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, this design arranges timber into a cornucopia shape across the ceiling, resulting in contemporary yet naturally comfortable interior.

    A similar organic flow of materials could rightly be used to describe the cafe by designers B3 which debuted at the 2008 London Design Festival. Constructed entirely from carboard boxes, this truly is a pop-up cafe. Folded, it can be transported in a single car. As with Kengo Kuma's Starbucks, directional and track lighting help to expose the textured design without overpowering it.

    Pop up cafe designs

    At Munich's Das Neue Kubitscheck (by Designliga) rectangular motifs dominate as well, offset by charming pastels in this comfortable neighborhood cafe. 

    modern european cafes

    The above examples are my favorites. When it comes to good coffee and good design however, they're just the tip of the iceberg. I invite you to discover your own, and by all means, share them with us.

    Images: Cafe Snap, Spoon & Tamago, Tokyoblog, Freeland Buck, JapanOnline, designboom, Design Made in Germany

  • Add Big Summer Style to Your Home with Small Changes

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    Summer Style

    Summer is here! We are firm believers that your home is just as important as your closet when it comes to appropriate styling for the seasons. It's easy to add Summer style to your home, indoors and out, with just a few small changes.

    Add a fun pop of color to your outdoor furniture. Outdoor seating can be really fun with all the different selections nowadays.

    Outdoor Seating

    Zuo Repulse Steel Outdoor Lime Green Bay Chair

    There's no brighter way to add a little Summer style to your décor than with the color yellow! The kitchen is a perfect place to start with this fun hue.

    Modern Kitchen

    Pendant Lighting

    Access Sydney Amber Yellow Art Glass Cylinder Mini Pendant

    One of the smallest changes you can make is with accessories. Decorative pillows are a perfect way to add color and patterns to any space. For the summer, try some pillows with reds and pinks, the color of sunset!

    Modern Bedroom

    Decorative Pillows

    Aviva Stanoff Boho Peacock Red Down Throw Pillow, Kite White and Red Ikat Fabric Decorative Throw Pillow, Infinity Fire Red Modern Square Down Throw Pillow

    Nothing says Summer like the clean, crisp color white. It's fresh and welcoming. The best part is, it's year-round too. Whether you go big and paint the walls white or just switch out some chairs, you'll be able to enjoy it all the way through next Summer.

    Modern Dining Room

    Modern Dining Chair

    Zuo Modern White 33-Inch-H Set of 2 S-Chairs

    Just like your wardrobe, small changes can mean big rewards when it comes to home décor. Have fun this Summer and give your home a mini-makeover!

    Images:

  • From Outfit to Interior: Cool + Pulled Together

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    Outfit to Interior

    Modern Living Room

    When in the doldrums of summer Ms. Cool & Pulled Together doesn't want to worry about mussy fabrics and fussy accessories. Nonononono. She wants cool, calm, and collected pieces that don't require a lot of muss and fuss but that give the illusion of being pristine.

    Modern Ceiling Fixture

    When metal and glass meet they can feel cool in summer and warm in winter, especially when surrounding textiles are swapped out. Our Ms. loves this Floating Bubble Possini Euro Round Ceiling Fixture for just that reason, and it makes a bold statement without feeling weighed down.

    The slim profile of this Modern Dark Bronze Tenda Pharmacy Sonneman Floor Lamp is both classic and contemporary with an adjustable height feature. A pretty piece for rainy summer afternoon or chilly winter nights.

    Modern Wall Mirror

    Ms. Cool & Pulled Together prefers the clean lines of modern pieces, like this Candelaria Robert Abbey Modern Chandelier. It gives her dining table the perfect halo of light for dinner parties!

    When it comes to making her space feel airier it's time to pull out some visual tricks. Number one on the list is a great mirror, like the Sunrays Antique Silver Metal Round Wall Mirror with its openwork sunray spokes and silver antique finish.

    Modern Table Lamp

    Ms. Cool & Pulled together loves the softness of the Satin Brass with Transparent Shade Sconce. The metal's finish paired with the shade make a light that's just right for the vanity.

    The industrial feel of the Edison Bronze with Glass 3-Light Console Lamp takes the feminine edge off of any space, and definitely adds an element of interest.

    Images: Topshop, Patric Johansson

  • Get the Look: Stylish Outdoor Seating for Summer

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    Outdoor Seating

    Summer is now in full swing - can you believe it's already mid-July? A few weeks ago I shared outdoor lighting I loved and I have to tell you, I still have the outdoors on my mind. Maybe it's due to the blue skies and warm weather we've been having here in the Bay Area.

    With that being said, I've been lounging outdoors more than ever - enjoying time with friends over cocktails, getting a little vitamin D or taking a little time out to read a book. It has been a real treat doing all of these lovely things outdoors. But it wouldn't be the same without fabulous seating.

    Outdoor Rattan Chair

    Gazelle Indoor/Outdoor Taupe Rattan Lounge Chair

    I've gathered my favorite chairs for your outdoor space - these can fit on a deck, porch or beautiful garden.

    Outdoor Stacking Chairs

    White 32 1/2-Inch-H Indoor/Outdoor Set of 4 Stacking Chairs

    Outdoor Arm Chair

    Riviera Stone Cushion 34 1/2-Inch-H Outdoor Arm Chair

    I hope one of these looks has inspired you to design your outdoor space and get outside.

    Images: Lark & Linen, Elle Decoration UK, Apartment Therapy, Dust Jacket

  • 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

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