Posts Tagged ‘furniture design’

Fix up an old street for 3000 dollars

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

The Mexico City government gave Omelette, an interior and industrial design group, the equivalent of US $3000 to renew Calle Regina, a rundown old street of little shops and restaurants in the city’s downtown. “The renovation of 23 popular restaurants and stores on Mexico City’s historic Regina Street. A budget of 3000 dollars. With little more than a few concepts and some buckets of paint, this interior design project aims to change new appreciation for the existing downtown. To create spaces attractive to both locals and foreigners. Finally, to add value and history to Regina street.” On only this tiny budget, Omelette managed to successfully together with the shop owners to clean up, refurbish and create new signage. El Knockout de las Tortillas!

See here for Omelette’s other work.

Donald Judd’s loft at 101 Spring Street

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Donald Judd loft, Soho, NYC

This is artist Donald Judd’s loft in Soho, maintained as a museum but only open infrequently during current restorations. It was one of the first artist’s lofts in Soho – not to mention in New York – and is now almost the paradigmatic example of loft living. Judd bought the entire 1870’s industrial building for 70,000 in 1968 and moved in with his family. One of the central figures in minimalist art, Judd lived his own aesthetic in a space he referred to as “permanent installation.” His interest in industrial materials and engineering methods is evident here in the lack of any attempt to domesticate the space as well as in the simple, unadorned furniture he built for it. The NYT ran an article a while ago which included an interview with Judd’s son Flavin, who was 6 months old when he moved into this loft and who nostalgically described the Soho of the 60s and 70s as a small town smelling fragrantly of the cigars manufactured nearby. These days there’s a certain huffiness out there about modernism and minimalism’s supposed kid-unfriendliness, but Flavin Judd remembers this space – ground zero of minimalism – happily and even nostalgically (there’s a small image of the Judds at home, below). “There were “the best Swedish breakfasts on the second floor — 50 people would come over — ham, cheese, weird flatbreads, salmon,” Flavin Judd said. “It was a great place to grow up.” To read the whole story, which includes information on the heritage restoration of the whole building, see the NYT. See also this blog’s previous post on minimalism.vs. maximalism in interiors. There’s a good shot of the a reproduction of Judd’s famous daybed on AT , and lastly, Loft Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change by Sharon Zukin provides an interesting portrait and social history of artist’s lofts, including 101 Spring Street. According to the Judd Foundation website, tours of the Spring St. building and loft are suspended during restoration.

Donald Judd's Loft

Donald Judd Loft, Spring Street, Soho

101 Spring street. Donald Judd's building.

donald judd daybed

Judd kitchen

Donald Judd, table with storage

Judd kitchen

101 Spring street. Donald Judd's building.

Judd loft, bedroom

Donald Judd loft, bed platform detail

Photos from the NYT and from DiscoContinental on Flickr. Take a fun quiz (is it a Judd or a piece of cheap furniture?) here.

Joe Colombo

Friday, April 24th, 2009

60s Italian chair by Colombo DSCN0054.JPG

Joe Colombo, 1930 – 1971, a prolific Italian architect, designer, artist and filmmaker, produced a substantial, instantly recognizable body of work before dying far too young at 41. 60s space age design owes much of its look to Colombo, who seemed to innately understand the capabilities of new injected molded plastics and other contemporary materials and who innovated with them to explore ergonomics and a kind of  space age psychedelia. The Tube Chair above, like many of his pieces, is an art object as well as furniture. The small selection of his work below is from Flickr. Joe of the futur joe colombo Chair Colombo01 ELDA joe colombo, visiona 69 futurist habitat, 1969

Bed in Italy

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Italian Elle Decor, December 2004 - platform bed

When this old Italian farmhouse was renovated, boards salvaged from outbuildings were brought in to make doors, beams and furniture. I’ve had this magazine clipping on my bulletin board for five years and have never grown tired of it. The beautiful bed, which probably works because of the thickness of the slabs and the buttery colour, wouldn’t actually be that hard to make if you had access to long heavy planks like these, but admittedly that’s a big if. Also, it looks as if the boards were either cut a long time ago or cut more recently on older equipment – they have that irregular profile. Still, something approximating this bed could be produced, and for much less than buying something readymade of similar quality. Reclaimed planks can be found if you look hard enough, and the design is simple enough for most woodworkers to pull off. (There are probably slats under the mattress for aeration, which would certainly be recommended.) The dual headboard made from two slanted boards is clever, and the tall wardrobe and the solid slab doors throughout the house are nice too. The stone floors would be hard to improve on. From Italian Elle Decor, December 2004. 

Italian Elle Decor, December 2004

Gabriella Crespi

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Crespi steel coffee table

Crespi steel coffee table

This almost surreal Polished Steel Coffee Table by Italian architect and designer Gabriella Crespi looks like a metal crystal formation of some kind. Ca. 1970s. Very beautiful, and also multifunctional. The staggered leaves are retractable, as you can see, and it’s covered with a mirror-finish steel. It’s unfortunate that Crespi’s work never went into mass production – she did a lot of custom work – and that she eventually pulled away from design altogether. Read her bio by clicking below, via Todd Merrell Antiques. If I could have anything on his website, and I like most of it, it would probably be this.


Furniture makers of Middle Earth

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Todd Merrell Antiques, magazine ad

Every time I see this Todd Merrell Antiques magazine ad, which I find weirdly compelling, I invariably end up at his website and am suddenly transported into some dark Middle Earth underworld, where I feel I might be asked to retrieve an amulet with the help of a talking dog with eyes as big as saucers or something. Normally, dark, blocky, pseudo-primitive  furniture doesn’t appeal to me, but this particular antiques dealer collects pieces that are so well-made, so uniformly amazing, so farfetched, and – despite their number and diversity – so consistent in their level of fantasy, that I find it hard to resist any of them. Of course none of these objects is the slightest bit affordable. But together they point to something really funny about the early 70s – something that perhaps had its roots in the 50s or earlier – that brought together vague tribal fantasies, Middle Ages sci-fi, Beowulf, some sort of odd minimalist baroque, the rustic, the pagan and the just plain weird. Maybe what’s appealing about the dark, fantastical solidity of this stuff is that it’s a welcome relief from the relative spindliness and occasional prissiness of all those Danish teak settee legs and arms, or from the over-hygiene of minimalism, I don’t know. But these objects undoubtedly originate in some sort of rebellion against the disenchantment of a tamed machine-age aesthetic. I think that everyone, especially every midcentury-modern purist and every fussy 60s minimalist, desperately needs one mad, pagan piece of furniture, just to work against whatever it is you’ve got going on, and also, you know, to open an enchanted portal into the underworld. Details and many more pieces on Flickr.

Lounge Chair and Ottoman with street lamp, Jack Rogers Hopkins

The chair above includes lamp, bookshelf, ottoman, heads of deer to rest your hands upon, as well as dominion over a mountain forest kingdom.

Rocking Chair by Jack Rogers Hopkins - lo res

And for your queen, this rocker. (Both wooden chairs above are by Jack Rogers Hopkins, USA, 1970s.)

Paul Evans Paste Console

A bronze wall-mounted chest by Paul Evans, USA, 1969, provides storage for vintage board games, 1970s Playboys, your fur cape, bottles of mead, your sword, whatever.

Sculpture Front Console, signed, Paul Evans. USA 1968

If I had the Paul Evans credenza above, I’d store the anti-Voldemort amulets (the ones my nephew requires to go to sleep) in it.

Serving Cabinet / Bar by Phillip Lloyd Powell

Forget Narnia! This wardrobe opens onto candlelit forest groves full of bacchanalian dancing all night long, and no martyr-y lions. Serving Cabinet, Phillip Lloyd Powell, 1960’s, USA

Pair of Room Dividers by Monteverdi Young 1950's, USA
Pair of Room Dividers by Monteverdi Young, 1950’s, USA


Exeunt all, through the doorway to Valhalla.