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 Back in the early 1980s, industrial designer Dieter Rams asked himself the question: is my design good design? As good design cannot be measured in a finite way he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered was good design. May you be inspired.

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1) Good design is innovative

The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

2) Good design makes a product useful

A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

3) Good design is aesthetic

The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

4) Good design makes a product understandable

It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.

5) Good design is unobtrusive

Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

6) Good design is honest

It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.

7) Good design is long-lasting

It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

8) Good design is thorough down to the last detail

Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.

9) Good design is environmentally-friendly 

Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

10) Good design is as little design as possible

Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials.

Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Information sourced from Vitsoe, Photo sourced from Bibliotheque

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Art…whether it lifts us out of a dark mood or plunges us deep into a contemplative moment, art has the power to make us feel…at this year’s Dining by Design, I found myself reeling with divergent emotions…every installation, every collaboration, brought forth a unique and honest message…whether playful or edgy, I felt something extraordinary…and I couldn’t help but think, this art was created for such an incredible cause…countless numbers of volunteers, designers, architects, sponsors, board members, students, mentors, and the list goes on and on, all united in the fight against HIV/AIDS…of the 40 remarkable installations, I selected 17 to feature in today’s post…while some were designed by industry leaders, others were the tireless work, and vision, of student design teams…from Ralph Lauren to NYU, these designers brought thoughtful innovation and boundless energy to their craft…a seamless and fitting reflection of what DIFFA brings to their ongoing mission every day…I couldn’t be more proud and honored to share this post with you.

DIFFA = Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids

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Rachel Laxer Interiors with Robert Kuo

The Marie Antoinette/Alice in Wonderful wall treatment is an enlarged reproduction of an original painting titled “Calamity” by artist Ray Cesar. The copper repousse root table and stools as well as the life size sheep sculptures are all designed by Robert Kuo.

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Interior Design magazine, designed by Ali Tayar

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Parsons The New School for Design, Mentor: 2Michaels

Inspiration Statement: ALL ENCOMPASSING: Creating an environment of transformation and change of topography, of connections, of life, translating an ebb and flow of material and light as memory in a space.

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Arteriors, designed by Barry Dixon

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Elizabeth Bolognino Interiors LLC

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Ralph Lauren Home

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Echo Design

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Marc Blackwell New York

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Fabricut, designed by Vern Yip

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The New York Times, designed by Frette

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Kravet, designed by Aerin Lauder

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Gensler & Herman Miller ~ MANY HANDS (walls of hershey kisses morphed from purple to silver as the public participated in this interactive display)

It takes many hands to shape a life

The perfect hug

Those laughs with a best friend

That first kiss

It takes many hands to transform a community

That cup of sugar for a neighbor

The shoveled driveway for a friend

Those words of encouragement for a child

We invite you to take a kiss, and join the many

hands it takes to spark positive change.

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Profiles, designed by James Magni

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Federico Delrosso hosted by Corinthian Capital Groups, LLC

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New York University, Mentor: David Rockwell & Barry Richards (over 1000 wire hangers were used to create this sculptural masterpiece)

Inspiration Statement: “Deconstructed Closet” draws its inspiration from subversive icons of solidarity and revolution. A closet is no longer a place of shame, but one of beautiful transformation.

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EDG hosted by The Rodger Thomas Collection (LED lights gracefully morphed from purples to pinks and greens to yellows within this portable dining unit)

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Benjamin Moore, designed by David Stark (the last photo is from the Cocktails by Design party on Saturday night!)

photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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Last year, spring arrived with 74 degree temperatures, sunny daffodils and birds in song. Today, on spring’s eve, Mother Nature rocked our world with yet another fierce snowy blast, cold winds and maybe a bird or two in song. What a remarkable contrast to the March of 2012…

But when it comes to art and design, here’s hoping the NYC 2013 Architectural Digest Home Design Show remains true to form, delivering innovation, brilliance, and even a touch of fantasy. Last year’s show opened my eyes to a whole new world of creativity. I met inspiring artists from the MADE galleries, filed away thoughtful insights from the AD design seminars, and was blown away by the gorgeous and sustainable furniture made by companies like BDDW and Tucker Robbins, just to name a few…

To whet our appetites, I thought I’d share a sampling of my favorite installations from the NYC 2012 DIFFA’s Dining by Design event (held in conjunction with the AD Show). It was a magical place, uniting art & design all in an effort to provide direct care for people living with HIV/AIDS and foster preventive education for those at risk.

 I can’t wait to experience this year’s magic! Hope to see you there!

Architectural Digest Home Design Show ~ March 21 – 24, 2013

Pier 94, 55th Street at Twelfth Avenue, New York City

Resource Furniture

New York School of Interior Design

Herman Miller

Benjamin Moore

Neiman Marcus

David Ling

Slade Architecture

Ali Tayar with Jones Falls Furniture Company, Custom Digital Printing by Wolf-Gordon

New York Times

Kravet

photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic,
Of all things physical and metaphysical,
Of all things human and all things super-human,
Of all true manifestations of the head,
Of the heart, of the soul,
That the life is recognizable in its expression,
That form ever follows function. This is the law.

~ Louis Sullivan, 1896

Let us continue our journey through the MADE gallery…a quest for form and function inspires beauty and purpose…a silver teapot is both three-dimensional sculpture and a utilitarian serving piece…a bronze and concrete table effortlessly unites art, sculpture and furniture…each one of these artists balances innovation, craftsmanship and beauty such that the lines are blurred…everyday objects evolve into soulful expressions of art…

Kaminer Haislip ~ designer and silversmith

“The balance between my aesthetic and a successful function defines my creative approach to product design in silver. I am inspired by the concept of enhancing domestic functional rituals through traditional techniques underpinned by a contemporary approach to design and production.

As art and function combine to create design for living, utilizing an object to perform a function contributes to that design. In my view, functional objects display both the visual and conceptual relationship between art and living. Specifically, through the intrinsic ideas of my work’s visual theme, function, and ergonomics this relationship is exhibited and accentuated. For me using a teapot that inspires thought and effectively works enhances the process of making tea. The activities of contemplation, favorable usage, and successful function take place within one domestic ritual. My work strives to demonstrate this theme and is inspired by interaction with functional objects.

Fine craftsmanship is an equally important aspect of my work. My design approach is not steered by fashion or trends, but focuses on timeless quality that is durable and lasts. I am devoted to exceptional craftsmanship and all of my work is exquisitely fabricated by hand. My concepts vary for different series, but all of my work is unified by elegant design.

Additionally, designing and creating custom commission jewelry and objects for clients is another facet to my metalsmithing. A commission piece merges the client’s vision for a specific object with my technical and artistic ability. For me this combination is a unique approach to designing, because it creates an opportunity for my work to take a direction it otherwise may not have gone in.” ~ Kaminer Haislip

Andrea Mihalik ~ Wild Chairy Studio

Andrea Mihalik’s creations infuse the sustainable construction and ornate details of salvaged vintage furniture with the unconventional modernity of imaginative, sometimes “wild” fabrics and textiles. Resident artist and owner of Wild Chairy Studio, Andrea’s hand-crafted pieces combine the nostalgia of old world stateliness with the bold whimsy of contemporary upholsteries, resulting in usable art that’s unexpected and unique.

Wild Chairy creates one-of-a-kind pieces of functional art using old world techniques and only the finest materials that are earth friendly . Each piece is done by hand using coil springs, horse hair, Italian twine and organic cotton to breathe new life into these recycled vintage treasures.

Andrea’s adept use of organic and “green” materials has allowed her creations to be described as “funky and refreshing” and “delightfully workable examples of stylish and wonderfully conscientious, sustainable decor.”

A graduate of Tyler School of Art and former award-winning photojournalist for the Philadelphia Daily News, Andrea’s natural instincts for visual composition, artistic curiosity and world travels inform the details of every piece she creates.

Michael McClatchy ~ Concrete and Steel Furniture

“I use steel for structure and form with polished concrete for color and texture. The combination of these two materials allows me to create architecturally dynamic pieces of furniture with unexpected warmth.” ~ Michael McClatchy

Michael McClatchy began making sculpture and working with metal in his teens in Chicago. After attending the Art Institute of San Francisco he went on to make large scale figurative and abstract sculptures. Drawing on his skills as a sculptor Michael started a line of whimsical steel furniture in 1990. In 1995 he started to use concrete for many of the table surfaces. This new element added an unexpcted warmth and richness to the work.

Michael currently lives and works at his studio in New York’s Hudson valley.

Rafael Avramovich ~ Work and Design

“Simply put, Work and Design are the principal elements, which define my approach to creating a unique form. I begin with a certain concept in mind, but it is through the physical process of doing the work, while letting the piece grow and take its own form.

My intention is not only to create beautiful furniture, but to evoke emotion as well. It is essential to me that the viewer is left with a sense of empathy that goes beyond the visual.

Living in Harmony Collection started in 2009, most of my work is built using a variety of materials – blacken iron, bronze, rust steel and more – representative of different nations and assembled together to create beautiful and harmonious objects that will hopefully inspire.” ~ Rafael Avramovich

Zachary A. Design ~ lightweight outdoor furniture

Zachary A. Design proves that fiberglass with the right treatment is quite convincing as cement. Made of fiberglass and stone, the all-weather Van Dyke chairs have the look of cement at a fraction of the weight yet will not blow into your neighbor’s yard. Their clean lines and iconic design will feel equally at home paired with a matching end table in a garden, or grouped in fours, poolside, for a cool modern look. The Van Dyke chairs seem as though they have been around for decades, showing age and wear, adding interest and story without the required time. In 2009, the first Van Dyke chair was conceived by working with the terrazzo-like technique of mixing coarse aggregate with a malleable substrate. The result is a finish that is unique to each piece, none exactly the same, that looks like a heavy piece of stone or cement.

Alex MacMaster and Limahl Asmall ~ macmaster

Alex MacMaster launched ‘MacMaster’ in 2009 specialising in contemporary lighting and furniture products. The creative studio is run by award winning designers, Alex MacMaster and Limahl Asmall who share a passion for exemplary design and an appreciation of the many time-constraints busy clients are burdened with. MacMaster’s exclusively ‘hand-made to order’ approach offers shorter lead times and a streamlined service from initiation to receipt of delivery.

MacMaster’s contemporary lighting and furniture is designed in-house and is exclusively Hand-Crafted in their production workshop nestled in the rolling countryside of Worcestershire, Great Britain. The environment is ‘traditional meets modern’ with state of the art technology side by side with 1970’s, Wadkins and Sedgewick cast iron machinery which has been lovingly restored to its former glory. A small Showroom is located in the London premises, housed in a design district which overlooks the Thames.

The dictum ‘minimal waste for maximum output’ informs an ecological awareness that permeates the design and production cycles. The challenge, is therefore to create impactful and strikingly beautiful furniture and lighting that adheres to ecological values and principles. The products, whilst technically challenging, are hand-produced using exacting techniques learnt and adapted from the world’s finest traditional craftsmen.

MacMaster uses natural timbers hand-picked from suppliers who source Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timbers. FSC is an international non-government organization set up to promote the responsible management of the World’s forests. Timber is globally regarded as one of the most beautiful, versatile and naturally renewable resources.

“Furniture should be as much an artistic statement as it is functional. I design to make a visual impact, to stimulate the imagination and to have an elegance that realizes timeless appeal.” ~ Alex MacMaster 2009

Daniel Levy ~ fine porcelain dinnerware and accessories

2012 Top Pick ASID Award in the Architectural Digest Home Design Show

Daniel Levy has been creating fine porcelain dinnerware and accessories from his studio in NYC since 1982. With a balance of utility, beauty and craftsmanship, each piece made by Daniel is individually signed and dated, hand decorated with colored porcelain slips, glazed and finished with multiple layers of 22k gold or platinum. Subtle variations in pattern, tone and color are the vitality of the work that separates this studio craftsmanship from factory mass production.

photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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One of the greatest gifts I received at the AD show was talking with artists from the MADE gallery…their passion for creating beauty, in a world where there is too much emphasis on the superficial and a general lack of understanding for the artistic process, lifted me to a higher place…their work fed my soul…with each conversation, my respect and admiration grew…they live and breathe the creative process…forever exploring…forever growing…forever evolving…

Let us begin with a closer look at 6 of the many gifted artists I had the pleasure of getting to know…

Vessel groupings by glassblower Devin Burgess ~ db glassworks

“Devin Burgess intensively works vessels that have been expertly blown with off-center necks and arranged to maximize the interplay and tension of their graceful forms. Surfaces are elaborately wheel-cut, or, cross-hatched with cane to take drawing techniques into three dimensions. This is notable work that defies expectations of symmetry while finding new harmony through refined execution as it blurs the boundaries between design and sculpture.” ~ The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet

Click here to watch a fascinating video of Devin talk about his work and his creative process

Yvette Kaiser Smith ~ crocheted fiberglass sculpture

“I create my own fiberglass cloth by crocheting continuous strands of fiberglass into flat geometric shapes. These are formed and hardened with the application of polyester resin and the use of gravity. Small finished units are sewn together with fiberglass into medium sized blocks which assemble to form a larger unit or grid structure.

Using traditional methods, I create artwork that has been contemporized by the use of industrial materials, mathematics, and the language of art and architecture. This work engages math, an underlying principle in all of life, as a structural foundation by utilizing the grid, prime numbers, the Fibonacci sequence, the numbers Pi and e, and Pascal’s triangle.

The sculptures refer to dialogues dealing with the nature of being human, of individual and collective identity. The “Identity Sequence” Series considers identity codes: internal patterns that code the individual, external codes, and individuals and masses.

Math is inseparable from nature, from us. Numbers represent the human search for knowledge, as the search for numbers went on for thousands of years. The material and process itself speaks to identity. A body of crochet resonates culture, society, history, tradition, labor, time. The work is as much about process as it is about identity. Process of making, process of questioning, process of abstracting. Identity issues are a tool within the process of finding a new form.” ~ Yvette Kaiser Smith

Charles A. Johnson ~ decorative accessory sculpture

website ~ http://www.cajohnson.biz/

2012 Top Pick ASID Award in the Architectural Digest Home Design Show

Texas born Charles A. Johnson has been restoring stone and metal for over 9 years. His specialty is the outdoor garden ornament; repair in stone and fine finishes on metals. During this time, Johnson has had first hand experience of seeing the seasonal effects on outdoor ornament in the Northeast. Most of his clients are in Westchester County, NY and Greenwich, CT; but, there are objects that he has restored all over the US. He has done restoration work for Barbara Israel Garden Antiques, Bunny Williams, Treillage, Steve Abeles of Balsamo Antiques, Marty Shapiro of Finnegan Gallery, and Steve Rose of Rose Garden Antiques.

Other than restoration, Johnson also creates one of a kind decorative accessory indoor/outdoor sculpture. Last year Johnson won Best in Show for his Quince at Gallery 364 in Brooklyn, NY. His training in classical sculpture combined with his experience in restoration, make these mineral based sculptures weather ready and things of timeless and universal beauty. Showcasing simple form in a noticable way is Johnson’s goal. He strives to present organic objects in a heroic manner thus bringing attention to usually unnoticed form. These pieces have archival life, are signed and numbered and the purchaser will receive a certificate of authenticity directly from Johnson.

These sculptures are designed and hand made completely by Johnson, in America. Because he has been working with superb restoration materials, these sculptures are made from only the finest materials around. No polymers, acrylics, resins, fiberglass or GFC is used in Johnson’s all mineral based sculptures. Imperfections in these sculptures are intentional and are sometimes designed to trick the eye; culminating from Johnson’s intense study and work in the profession of antique garden ornament restoration.

 Each piece is unique because of how the material is hand laid into the molds and hand stained. These pieces are not mass produced. Johnson has sculpted prototypes for garden ornament reproduction, worked at Studio EIS in Brooklyn, NY and worked as an assistant on The Leonardo Da Vince Horse at Tallix in Beacon, NY under sculptor Nina Akamu. Johnson trained under sculptor T.J. Dixon of S. California for many years before earning a masters degree in figurative sculpture from The Graduate School of Figurative Art of The New York Academy of Art in 1997. He has private commission sculpture in Hong Kong, Boston, Dallas and San Diego. With over 25 years of related experiences, Johnson also holds a certification for stone restoration from Cathedral Stone in Hanover, MD.

Christine Triebert ~ cameraless photographs

“My current work consists of still life botanical photographs made without the use of a camera. Using locally found organic subject matter I express nature’s forms in clean minimalist lines, muted tones, subtle shadows, and the play of interacting shapes.

Cameraless photography is a historic process in which light-sensitive paper is exposed in direct contact with an object. Combining this early photography method with 21st-century technology is the basis for my work.

My unique still life prints of botanical subjects present a dynamic, contemporary interpretation of a classic theme.” ~ Christine Triebert

Paul Sunday, painter ~ Pamela Sunday, sculpter

Paul Sunday lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. A former actor and performance artist, Paul shifted his emphasis to photography in the late ’80s and began painting in 1995. He describes his work as “fragility, erasure, impermanence. I’m interested in borders where genres and disciplines overlap and function as hybrid practice. I am influenced by cities, water, empty rooms, and silence. My paintings grow out of a lifelong obsession with light.” ~ Paul Sunday

Pamela Sunday makes hand built ceramic sculptures inspired by nature and science. She is known for her meticulous craftsmanship and for testing the limits of her chosen materials both in surface and form. Sunday lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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Where do I begin? The Architectural Digest Home Design Show was all I imagined it would be and so much more…priceless conversations with leaders in the industry such as Margaret Russell, Darryl Carter, Vicente Wolf and Tucker Robbins left me breathless…thoughtful designer seminars about sustainability, art, architecture, photography and travel inspired me to look deeper and explore these subjects from a new perspective…breathtaking original art, design, furniture, objects and lighting from the MADE exhibitors, a gallery featuring more than 160 participants, touched my heart…artful installations by larger companies such as Ligne Roset and BDDW illuminated a variety of new forms, finishes and textiles…

This week, I plan to highlight my favorites from the show…from famed architect Robert A.M. Stern’s new collection of furniture to the organic beauty of handwoven rugs by Orley Shabahang, I hope this post offers you a closer look at some of the beauty I experienced last week…

Robert A.M. Stern, Rams Collection

2012 Top Pick ASID Award in the Architectural Digest Home Design Show

Royal Mail Stamp Rugs

Ligne Roset

Niedermaier

BDDW

Orley Shabahang

Tucker Robbins

photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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In just a few hours, the creme de la creme of the design world will unite at Pier 94 in NYC to experience the wonder and beauty of DIFFA’s Dining by Design…the Gala begins at 6:30 with EFFEN Vodka Cocktails and La Crema wines followed by an elegant seated VIP dinner, dancing and a luxurious silent auction…the seated dinner will take place at these magnificent tables designed by leaders in the industry as well as prominent schools in the NY area…I had the privilege and honor of being invited to the media walk through on Thursday afternoon which allowed me full access to the event before it opened to the public…let me just say I was on cloud nine! Innovation, imagination, art and technology all united in the name of design…I hope my photographs transport you to that world of magic and fantasy…please enjoy!

Resource Furniture

New York School of Interior Design

Pratt Institute

Mark Cunningham hosted by Alfredo Paredes

Fashion Institute of Technology

Merchandise Mart Properties

Herman Miller

RDYC Interior Design & Architectural Development

Neiman Marcus

David Ling

Shawn Henderson Interior Design

Slade Architecture

Marchesa for Lenox

Ali Tayar with Jones Falls Furniture Company, Custom Digital Printing by Wolf-Gordon

New York Times

Design Within Reach

La Crema

Kravet

Benjamin Moore

Ralph Lauren

Architectural Digest

photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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