Monday, November 19, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

I wish all of my readers and followers in the United States a very happy Thanksgiving Day!

"I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual."
--Henry David Thoreau

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Sleek "Marble" Bathroom by Fiorito Interior Design

Originally built in the 1980s with terra cotta tile and cheap, polished brass, this bathroom (previously seen in this sneak peek) is now a sleek, modern marvel. The juxtaposition of simplicity and luxury is evidenced by the walls clad in a large-format porcelain tile that looks like marble but requires no sealing or maintenance and is easy to clean. Gleaming modern plumbing fixtures also present restraint but with a touch of glamour. The eleven-foot wide vanity with integrated toe kick light is capped by a single-piece framed mirror that coordinates with the furniture below it. A dynamic, graphic light fixture presides over this improved space and mirrors the diagonal herringbone floor.
All photos: Bernardo Grijalva

And for contrast, here are some BEFORE images...

If you have been thinking about a bathroom remodel but haven't yet, give me a call.
Happy designing!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Know Your Sofas: Pierre Paulin's Élysée Sofa

French furniture and industrial designer Pierre Paulin did not get off to an auspicious start: after failing his Baccalauréat (the end of high school exams that determine whether or not a student goes on to university studies), he trained as a ceramist in Vallaurius and then as a stone-carver in Burgundy. But when he got into a fight that injured his right arm, his dreams of being a sculptor came to an end. Yet he found himself later working at Gascoin, then Thonet (previously here) and then Artifort where he gained international fame for the creation of his Mushroom chair in 1960 and his Ribbon chair in 1966 (this will be featured later in an installation of Know Your Chairs).

Then in 1969, he was commissioned by Jean Coural, head of the Mobilier National, an agency of the French Ministry of Culture, to redesign four rooms in President Georges Pompidou’s private apartment in the Élysée Palace. Paulin proceeded to cover the Napoléon III giltwood-paneled walls entirely in beige fabric and bring in newly designed pouf-style sofas and chairs, which became known as the Élysée collection. The sofas and chairs were molded from strips of wood wrapped in foam and upholstered in leather.

The sofa, alternatively called the Pumpkin (look at the shape) or the Alpha (after the Alpha manufacturing company that made the originals), was in brief production until 1973 but did not really gain a cult following until the early 2000s. The rarity of the originals makes them highly sought after for high price tags, but fear not, Ralph Pucci has brought the Alpha sofa back into production!

Happy designing!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Amberg Studio Creates Digitally Printed Leather

English leather craftsman Bill Amberg of The Bill Amberg Studio commissioned artists and designers to create patterns to be digitally printed onto leather hides. This new technology offers exciting possibilities in the world of leather upholstery but also other applications as well: leather floor tiles, wallcoverings, and fashion items like bags and shoes!

Avant garde furniture designer Faye Toogood opted for an abstract pattern reminiscent of cave drawings...

...while L.A.-based interior and product designer Natasha Baradaran went a different route with a traditional floral lace pattern.

Design icon Tom Dixon created a pattern that mimics crinkled aluminum foil! This trompe-l'œil effect will surely delight anyone who first sees the pattern and then feels the soft smoothness of the leather!

And interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud imagined a set of hand drawn concentric circles in soft, comforting colors. They recall growth rings of trees.

Happy designing!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Vote For Me And Get A Pony!

Well, okay, not really a pony, but I am up for an industry award and if you vote for me, you'll have the pleasure of helping me win.

Riggs Showroom Distributing of Northern California, distributors of Sub Zero and Wolf kitchen appliances, are sponsoring a People's Choice Award for kitchen designs utilizing their products. And a lovely bright and airy kitchen by Fiorito Interior Design (last seen here) is up for Best Kitchen.

This kitchen with a French-door Sub Zero refrigerator and a Wolf oven with coordinating microwave also features white cabinetry and light neutrals, hand-forged iron light fixtures, and a luxurious Crema Marfil marble counter and mosaic backsplash.

Voting is being conducted through the Riggs Facebook page. A Like is worth a point and a Share is worth two. To vote, visit their page and click to view the photo album of entries...and give me a Like and a Share!

Thanks for your help. And as they say, it is an honor just to be nominated!

Happy designing!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Engaging Entries, Part 6

These Engaging Entries are a continuation of previous posts in which I remarked that every house should have an entryway that announces the personality of the homeowner... an entryway that is playful, engaging, welcoming, or dazzling.

Happy designing!

Monday, October 8, 2018

60 Years of The Artichoke Pendant

This year marks the 60th anniversary of one of Mid-Century Modern's most enduring products, the iconic Artichoke Light. But to celebrate it, we need to back up seventy years to before the light was made.

On the Langelinie waterfront in Copenhagen, Denmark, a grand pavilion designed by Vilhelm Dahlerup was erected and housed a restaurant and café as well as the facilities for the Royal Danish Yacht Club. But after a few years, it became evident that a new, larger building was required and the original was demolished to make way for a new structure designed by Fritz Koch. It had a domed, central banqueting hall that now had room for 300 guests. But unfortunately, the Germans occupying Denmark blew it up in 1944 in retaliation for the Dutch Resistance movement. After the war, Copenhagen Municipality launched a competition for architects to submit plans for a new Langleinie Pavilion. Niels and Eva Koppel won for their sleek, modernist take on the new Langelinie Pavilion... a grouping of three squares with the central volume featuring a glass curtain wall. Construction began in 1956...

...and here is where our story really starts. The Koppels commissioned architect and designer Poul Henningsen to create a light fixture for the new pavilion that would provide good light coverage but that would look like a piece of sculpture when not illuminated. Henningsen had created a light in 1925 that featured concentric metal circles that directed light downward onto a dining table or desk, and he took this idea and riffed on it, adding many more baffles to direct light. Based on the organic, Golden Mean Fibonacci sequence, Henningsen created the PH Artichoke Pendant (sometimes called the Pine Cone Light) for the 1958 inauguration of the pavilion where the fixtures remain to this day.

This classic can be seen around the world in residential and commercial settings. It retains its sculptural sense even when lit.

The Artichoke Pendant is still manufactured by Louis Poulsen as it has been since 1958:
"The fixture has 72 leaves, positioned so as to provide totally glare-free light from any angle. To ensure a high level of quality, much of the production process is still carried out by hand. The renowned light fixture has kept its original copper finish, which to this date illuminates spaces with its warm and ambient lighting. With the brushed and polished steel as well as white painted metal models, further members have been added to the PH Artichoke family, highlighting its versatility and timeless sillouhette. In 2018, Louis Poulsen celebrates the design's 60th anniversary with a beautiful new brushed brass edition. This special edition, available exclusively through 2018, will be engraved with PH's signature - PH Artichoke - 1958-2018 - Anniversary Edition, and a unique number. From 2019, the PH Artichoke will be delivered without the anniversary engraving."

If you'd like to own this historic light fixture, contact me--I'd love to design a space for it.
Happy designing!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Nine New Colors From Farrow & Ball

Unveiled at last week's London Design Week: nine new Farrow & Ball colors. Yes, they are expensive, but the depth of color and pigments is stunning.

Here they are (and please do watch the 30 second clips for explanations of the inspiration for each color and name):


De Nimes


Paean Black

Preference Red


School House White

Sulking Room Pink


And in case you couldn't get to London Design Week, here is a fast look at their immersive installation!

Happy designing!