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LBL Batons Satin Nickel Suspension Pendant Light
“When lighting looks like art, you know you have a winner!”
- D. Shultz, Interior Designer
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Can you guess the brands above? In great brand design, form is always led by function, and in that regard, what's most impressive about these iconic logos is not that they are recognizable (and beautiful) but clearly tell you exactly what they're about. They are a call to action, telling you exactly how each can be utilized by the consumer.
Be an all star. Take a bite from the fruit of knowledge. Roll on four wheels. Read the clock hands.
At last month's Dwell on Design event there was a lecture titled "The New Face of Affluence", the Dwell Insights Group discussed how younger luxury consumers weigh design heavily when determining their trust and loyalty in a brand. In short, good design = good brand.
This of course, got me thinking about some of the most popular designer furniture of the last century: Van Der Rohe's Barcelona chair, Saarinen's Tulip table, or even the Eames chairs illustrated above. Great design, it seems, creates something greater than a mere object or image. It creates iconography - a unique reflection of time and place.
Anyone who's read my posts before knows that I lean toward contemporary design and art, and yet I'm always drawn to the allure of classic Mid-century modern lighting and decor. The flower:
Possini Euro Design White Flower Pendant Chandelier
The floor routine:
Chrome Boom Arc Floor Lamp with Linen Shade
And a memorable work of art:
Josef Albers' Homage to a Square
In branding work and in creative work, good design is what stands the test of time. It favors superb over superfluous. And at its very best, it needs no words to describe itself.
On that note, the logos at the top of this post are, from left to right: Converse, Apple, Audi and Movado.
Images: Converse, Apple, Audi, Movado, Dwell, Design Is History
** Did you hear... We're on Twitter now! https://twitter.com/EuroStyleLight
As you know, here at ESL we are modern design enthusiasts, which is usually what we like to talk about. However, today we're going to acknowledge someone who enjoys going back in time to truly understand today's favorite modern elements. JF Chen is a curator of antiques with showroom locations in Los Angeles. Chen is not shy to say, his general collecting parameters include an unrelenting addiction to mid-century modern Danish. His collections are endless and his knowledge of what defines a classic is not to be rivaled.
He greets architects, designers, celebrities and design aficionados daily, helping them find what they're looking for, but making sure to stay out of designing their projects. He explains in an interview " I don't know how to sell, but I sure know how to buy".
Chen has recently published a book, "Collecting Eames" (above) surveying the iconic modern designs of Charles and Ray Eames. Upon debut of the book, he also held an exhibit at his showroom. I am, of course, very sad I did not know about this sooner.
The Eames chair he decided to use on the cover of his book is one of most rare Eames chairs in existence. Recently sold for low six figures, it was a prototype high-back armchair designed by the Eameses and Eero Saarinen in 1940-1941 for the Museum of Modern Art Organic Design Competition.
This business is a family affair, Chen seen here (above) with his wife and two daughters. Like in any industry, the more you love what you do, the better you are at it. However, with Chen the saying might also be the more you love Eames, the more you collect.
It's important to develop your own aesthetic and favorite products, whether they are modern or a combination of different styles. But sometimes it's also fun to know where those designs came from and truly understand their form and function.
To learn about another Eames lover, be sure to check out this video with Ice Cube.
Images: 1stt Dibs, Exl Deal, Architecture Digest
You've probably seen the artwork. Clean, stainless steel boxes, stacked one atop the other, lined across the floor or cantilevered from the museum wall. The first time you saw them you asked what they meant. The second time you asked why? The third time you probably just smiled and accepted it.
That's a common reaction to the work of American artist Donald Judd (1928-1994).
Not everyone gets him. Not everyone loves him. Yet his contribution to international Minimalism is second to none.
Judd aspired to create work devoid of compositional hirearchy. More simply put, he created art in which no one single thing catches your eye. It's strikingly egalitarian, and while his artwork has clearly influenced modern art, the principles of his work can also be felt in buildings, desk lamps and furniture designs. Notice the simply stacked squares of this lamp:
Amarillo Silver Accent Table Lamp
It is this beautiful, understated quality of line that defines Judd's work, and it creeps up time and again, whether in his ink-on-paper prints or his site specific installations.
What Judd's art lacks in color or pizzazz is made up for in elegant simplicity. It's this conceptual basis that informs much of today's most celebrated products, from the iPhone to modern furniture designs like these glass nesting tables.
Silhouette Set of 3 Glass and Chrome Nesting Accent Tables
And this is the true beauty of Minimalism - the ability for an object or image to convey more by saying less. What holds true for artwork also holds true for a piece of modern furniture or contemporary architecture.
Donald Judd didn't just master this concept as an artist. He helped define it through his life's work.
Images: The Gorgeous Daily, June Joon Jaxx, Printed Editions, Waymarking
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."
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
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!
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."
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.
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!
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.
These toys sitting on the floor are just waiting to be gessoed.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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, Houzz, SF Girl by Bay
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