modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas
Regina-Andrew Arc21" Metal Wall Sconce
“Love the polished finish on this light. The swing-arm style is perfect for the bedside.”
- T. Jackson, Interior Designer
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Dwell on Design
My Modern Met
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For design lovers, presentation is nearly everything. So when looking at Restaurant magazine's 2012 list of the world's best restaurant design, it only makes sense to compare the plates with the restaurant in which they're served.
For three years in a row, Copenhagen's Noma tops the list (above). Who would expect anything other than restaurant design perfection from this Danish icon? Noma's cuisine (below) is a colorfully chic take on Nordic cuisine utilizing foraged flowers, fungi and sea vegetables, but the design is fundamentally Scandinavian in it's functionalism. In a fun nod to the past, faux pelts drape over the modern chairs of the dining room (above).
At the number two spot for the best restaurant design is El Celler de Can Roca, Barcelona, where the wine list reigns supreme as evidenced by the modern cellar design (below).
At El Celler de Can Roca, landscape design and plate design have a funny way of mimicking one another (below).
Ranked third in the world is another Spanish restaurant, Mugaritz. Housed in a rustic farmhouse. It flaunts some adventurous cuisine and design details, such as this towel station outside the restrooms (below).
With a dark wooded ceiling, contemporary wall lamps cantilevered from the beams, and modern sculptures on the table, the dining room (below) is elegant yet restrained. Try one of these contemporary wall lamps to ge the look.
Dishes at Mugaritz show similar sculptural restraint, as with this plate of violet ice cream (below).
Put the world's top three restaurants together and you've got some unforgettable flavors set amid some great design.
Set of 2 Laine Wood and Faux Leather Dining Chairs, Sonneman Contra Perno Satin Nickel Boom Arm Floor Lamp, Silver Ribbon Twist Sculpture On Stand
Now we might not all be Michelin star chefs, but at least it's possible with the help of a few simple modern designs to re-create the look of the world's best restaurants at home.
Images: Unravel Travel, Fine Dining Lovers, Fifth Floor Cooking, Travel Takeaway, Barcelona.com, Pursuitist, el Pais, Wallpaper*
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.
The entire piece is constructed from found, gifted and collected paper Black culled from old art projects, paper bags, bookstores and more.
A scaled down, terrarium sized piece, reminiscent of Black's work, is this fun sculpture by Mark from the London based Present and Correct.
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.
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.
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.
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 Jang, Eva Black Design, Design for Mankind, Gentenaar-Torley, Olga Lah, Matt Shlian
Make Creative does modern office design and they do it well! When Make Creative was called to create a generous and innovative workspace for a collaborative team, they hit the nail on the head through the transformation of this industrial warehouse. The design of Unit B4 office spaces in Sydney, Australia was named Best Workplace under 1000sqm at the Interior Design Excellence Awards.
The design was based on the the idea of interconnected elements within the open space. This allows the interior to become a series sculptural features woven together which fill the open space with multiple blocks and voids.
The unique use of modern lighting in this space makes a huge statement. The larger pendant lights over the communal table are encased in a sculptural wood frame which not only defines the space but does an amazing job of filling the void. While the black wall sconces look as if they are crawling off the wall in the little red niche. Modern wall sconces are always a great way to add a sculptural element to your space.
Holtkoetter Bernie Turbo Bronze LED Swing Arm Wall Lamp
A good client truly is a blessing and when Made Creative was asked what the best part was about this project they replied, "We were lucky enough to have been given a lot of trust and freedom with this project… good clients ready to take a risk on an unexpected solution." When a client is open to taking risks talent shines through! Even if it's something as simple as using pops of red on the modern barstools or hanging lights in an unusual way these small details really help make a space special.
The simple pendant lighting floats through the space to create glistening bursts of lights. Clusters of modern mini pendant lights hanging at different levels creates an organic feel and is a bit unexpected.
Clear Glass with Chrome Mini Halogen Pendant
Such a functional and practical solution for a creative office environment that I'm sure many of you would love to work in! I know we would!
LEGO building blocks have inspired generations of young builders. In recent years, they've also become an object of affection for grown adults looking to indulge their childhood dreams of becoming an architect.
In 2008, LEGO introduced the LEGO Architecture Series, a series of building block sets that replicate some of the world's most iconic structures. Included are a number of modern residences that would be of particular interest to fans of modern design.
There's Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House:
There's Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater:
And there's even Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye:
The LEGO design fad has definitely taken hold. Earlier this year in fact, Dwell Magazine and LEGO joined forces to stage a contest in which participants were asked to create a Mid-century Modern home using the blocks (pictured at the top of this post and below).
Put any of these sets together, literally, and you've got the best in mid-century houses. Unfortunately these models aren't large enough to fit our favorite lighting fixtures and furniture. For a real home, we recommend modern black leather chairs, Danish wood tables or credenzas, and any of our favorite arc designer floor lamps.
For a fraction of the cost of real construction, it's fun to fantasize for a moment about building one of the world's most recognizable modernist residences.
Images: Dwell, LEGO, Local Planet
When staying at a hotel, sometimes it's the little things that count. Let's take a look at some worldly examples of great hotel design that doesn't overlook the details.
Ever since it's opening, I've been drawn to the windows in the public spaces of the Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona (above). There's a playful voyeuristic quality to these ultra chic peep-spots.
The fun facade at the Inntel Hotel in Amsterdam (above) is postmodern meets traditional Dutch meets Rubik's cube.
The pencils at the Andaz Hotel in London are made from recycled CD jewel cases (above). I'm guessing they now offer iPod docks in the rooms. The key to great hotel design is not just in the architectural details, but also the accessories that would normally seem unimportant, like a pencil.
The Waterhouse along Shanghai's Sound Bund (above) keeps the crumbling concrete walls of this former Japanese military bunker intact. It's a very real respite from the otherwise hyperreal development in the city that surrounds it. Raw materials and designer desk lamps can give an organic feel to any space.
Artcraft Baby Swan White Chandelier
The Treehouse Hotel (below) sits just 35 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. Suspended from trees and featuring mirrored sides, it's virtually invisible from the ground.
Not all the rooms feature a mirror facade though, and inside there's a feast of minimalist decor (below). Loungy, white seating is a fun way to keep a place minimal and modern.
Sonneman Tetra Gloss White Floor Lamp
Designers and graphic designers have to love the Pantone Hotel in Brussels (below), an homage to the color specialists in seven distinct hues.
And sometimes it's the smallest thing that counts: a drink on the top floor at the end of the day. For fans of the Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation, the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo (below) is the perfect place to re-create your own Bill Murray Suntory whiskey moment.
With a view looking across Tokyo and some of the best cocktails in the world, it's worth every yen. And trust me, you'll spend quite a few.
With so many options, hopefully you're booking a trip and heading to see one of these extremely cool hotel designs.
Images: Contemporist, Design You Trust, Concierge, Open Buildings, CN Traveler, That's Like Whoa!, Ozon3, Nansiepants
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