Monday, June 26, 2017

History of Furniture: Hans Wegner

Hans Wegner was one of a few select designers who ushered in the era of Danish Modern interiors, now generally referred to as Mid-Century Modern. Starting as a cabinet maker's apprentice, he eventually worked for Arne Jacobsen, another legend in Danish Modern design. But he started his own company and created over 500 chairs in his lifetime with 100 of them seeing actual production.

Arguably his most famous design is the "The Chair" (or The Round One as Wegner himself referred to it), summing up the idea of Danish Modern design in one elegant silhouette.

Available today from PP Møbler, The Chair comes with either an upholstered or cane seat.

The Chair was even the chosen seating for the candidates to sit in at the first-ever televised 1961 Kennedy/Nixon debate.

His Wishbone chair is a study in restraint.

The three-legged CH07 Shell chair is so light, made of bent plywood, that it even has is also sometimes called The Smiling Chair for obvious reasons. Today it is available from Design Within Reach in different wood finishes and fabrics and leathers...even hair on hide!

The Wegner Papa Bear Chair looks like a teddy bear with paws up, waiting to embrace anyone who sits in his lap. Again, Danish furniture manufacturer PP Møbler still has this in production.

Perhaps his most unique creation is another anthropomorphic object, the Ox Chair. Based upon drawings of oxen and bulls by Picasso, it sports a set of large horns!

Happy designing!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Napoleon's Luxuria Line

Fireplace manufacturer Napoleon has announced a breakthrough product: their new Luxuria Linear line features a gar insert fireplace that does not need a heat screen! This is great news for us here in California where state law prohibits the sale or installation of a gas fireplace without a heat screen in front of the glass window. Too many unsuspecting children and pets had been burned by touching the glass window of gas fireplaces. But Napoleon has created something they call the Dynamic Heat Control and Glass Guard Systems which redirects hot air away from the window, making it cool to the touch and safe for little ones and furry members of the family. I can't wait to learn more about this brand new product and specify it for a client. The line even took first place in the Gas Fireplace division at the Vesta Awards, an award created by Hearth & Home Magazine in order to honor industry leaders in design and technology.

Thinking of adding a fireplace to a chilly living room or dining room--or bathroom (go ahead, live luxuriously!)? Give me a call.
Happy designing!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Element Reflections Recessed LED Lighting by Tech Lighting

Over the years, I've heard a smattering of clients express their dislike for the common recessed ceiling light, claiming that it makes a ceiling look like Swiss cheese. But what if the recessed light was more than just a housing for the bulb? What if it was an actual decorative element in and of itself?

To this end, the modern lighting company Tech Lighting has created a new kind of recessed light. Called Element Reflections, the concept is an LED ring light which bounces light up into a decorative reflector dome to cast diffused illumination down onto a space.

The inner reflective dome comes in five different styles.

Bloom reflector dome
Dune reflector dome
Fleur reflector dome
Skye reflector dome
Torus reflector dome

The apertures are available in three different sizes, 5", 8" and 12". And each light can be further customized by coming with a flange (or trim kit as it sometimes called) or without a flange to be plastered into the ceiling plane.

Here are some images of the Bloom reflector in situ...

...and here is the more modern Dune dome.

The Fleur dome is possibly the most decorative of all and could enhance traditional decors...

This seems to be an elegant solution to the "Swiss cheese ceiling" effect!

Happy designing!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Coming Soon: FID On Film!

I've recently been working on something very exciting for the Fiorito Interior Design brand! Here's a little sneak peek of what is in store.

Stay tuned for more details coming soon.
In the meantime, happy designing!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Know Your Chairs: The Thonet No. 14

In this installment of "Know Your Chairs," we are looking at a chair some of us may have overlooked since it is a staple of public seating: the classic Thonet No. 14 chair, also known as a "bistro chair" since it occupies a prominent place in many a Parisian café.

Its creator Michael Thonet (pronounced "toe-net" and not the French pronunciation "tho-NAY") was a German-Austrian carpenter and cabinet maker who, in the 1840s and 1850s, invented and pioneered the process of making bentwood furniture.

In 1859, he gave the world an exquisitely designed, simple, lightweight chair, the No. 14. Made of six pieces of steam-bent wood, ten screws, and two nuts, the chair was a miracle of engineering. The wooden parts were made by heating beechwood slats to 100 °C, pressing them into curved cast-iron molds, and then drying them at around 70 °C for 20 hours. The chair could be sold ans shipped in an early version of what we now know as a "flat pack." Later, the six-piece chair turned into eight as two extra braces were included for the join of the seat and the back.

The chair may have been created in the 19th century, but it looks fresh and clean even today. These next two photos pair the No. 14 with Saarinen tables and the look is perfect.

The chair takes on a slightly stately, classic, retro look when presented in a café or restaurant setting.

Here is the No. 14 with its side braces...they only serve to add a bit more curve-y elegance to the already elegant design.

The Thonet arm chair No. 09 has a more inviting sensibility with a curved side and a place to rest one's arm (seen here with a Saarinen table, again). This was a favorite of Le Corbusier (previously here) and he used it extensively in his modernist interiors throughout the 1920s.

Of course a Thonet rocking chair, known as Thonet No. 10, was invented as well.

Even Picasso had one in his studio!

Naturally there have been many variations on the chair with lovely iterations featuring different Arabesque shapes on the back. I love this display of original Thonet chairs in the Wien Musueum Karlsplatz, in Vienna.

The Thonet No. 14 is still available from the original Thonet company in Germany. There is another Austrian Thonet company that has nothing to do with the original as well as a splinter company here in the United States that seems to sell only modern modular pieces. But luckily, Design Within Reach is one of the official license holders and the No. 14 chair is available through them.

Happy designing!