Balance, Design, Products, Technology
June 11, 2010
Around the web…
1. Tiny Ass Apartment As her title suggests Simone Chavoor tackles small interiors with a cheeky gusto that makes reading her blog as much fun as looking at it. Where to start: With the weather warming up check out Simone’s garden post and get a few ideas on how to bring some green into your home office.
2. Modish Portland, Oregon-based Jena Coray, has been blogging about cool vintage finds at Modish since April 2006. She’s also the owner of the Miss Modish Vintage shop. Where to start: A nice post on vintage office accessories.
3. My House Party A design blog from a husband and wife team who make little wooden houses. Sounds quirky? Trust me it is worth checking out. Where to start: Their Up houses – I want one for my office.
4. Black Eiffel An interesting mix of fashion, interiors and accessories for the home and body. Written by graphic designer Rachel Jones who has a nice eye for design Where to start: The peonies on her desk are lovely.
5. Seesaw Angela Hardison, Raquel Raney and Lindsay Tingstrom of creative agency Seesaw Designs blog about their work and design that catches their eye. The studio turned 3 last month. Where to start: The cool bookshelf post.
June 11, 2010
Here are a few more…
Who? Katy Cutshall, and I am a student at Hope College. My majors are in Spanish and Design. I work as a Conference
Coordinator on campus during the school year and in the summers it is an internship for me.
Where? Holland, Michigan.
How do you take your coffee? What brand is it? When I’m at work I drink a Medium Roast, called Mind, Body, Soul from Lemonjello’s, but at home I prefer to drink Celebes Dark Roast from JP’s.
Tell me about your coffee cup. First off, my coffee cup had best be warm before I start to drink from it. Besides that the physical appreance of my mug changes daily because I own so many of them. I collect vintage and homemade mugs so I try and rotate them every day. Today I drank from my favorite mug, a thrift store find that is big enough to fill both of my hands (pictured above).
What happens if you skip your morning coffee? If I skip coffee in the morning, I’m sure to be grumpy and have a headache. Beyond that, I am not 100% mentally awake, so it’s necessary that I start off each morning with 1-3 cups.
Who? Ken Williamson – CAD Resource Designer, Herman Miller Inc.
Where? Holland, Michigan.
How do you take your coffee? What brand is it? Half-caf, with just enough cream not to cool it off, cane sugar.
Tell me about your coffee cup. Arizona mug with a landscape that reminds of vacation.
What happens if you skip your morning coffee? If I skip my morning coffee, I am not my happy normal self, and the headache reminds me around 9:30 how much I depend on the caffeine.
Who? Rush J. Carlton, architect.
Where? New Orleans, Louisiana.
How do you take your coffee? What brand is it? Community Coffee New Orleans Blend Coffee and Chicory. What can I say? Lifelong New Orleanian here.
Tell me about your coffee cup. I take it in the biggest travel mug that can safely fit in the cup holder. I typically travel with a container of coffee and a travel coffee pot, just in case. This is a pic of my travel mug and thermos on my desk this morning. That’s a 24 inch screen they’re sitting next to for scale comparison!
What happens if you skip your morning coffee? And I DO NOT skip my morning coffee!
Balance, Design, Products
June 11, 2010
Designer and collaborator Patty Johnson will make you rethink your office or the way you define the idea of a workspace. While technology allows us to be more and more mobile, working from the kitchen table or our beds, Patty takes that a step further and is working all over the globe in remote communities. Her home office moves with her from the Jamaica to Guyana (pictured above) and back to her house in Toronto (pictured below). Read on to find out more about her mobile studio.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? Home is Toronto, Canada and I’ve worked from home since my son was born 15 years ago. I am a designer who is interested in the interchange between research and design and commerce and culture. I operate worldwide with partners, enterprises, manufacturers, communities, governments, and designers creating new kinds of design programs and product collections. My mobile studio network looks to combine the strengths of complimentary groups to build new linkages, new cultures and new ideas. Below is a shot of my studio in Guadeloupe.
“ Love, Freedom, Flow” at ICFF this year was the international debut of the
New Caribbean Design initiative (her Jamaica workspace is below). The developing world is one of the next design frontiers, producing goods that fuse quality with creativity beyond just low cost. For a long time, design in these places has been relegated to handicrafts and regional products. There is no point in artisans and craft production factories in the Caribbean competing with mass-produced goods. They can instead compete on the strengths of the product, by focusing on the upper end of the market through high quality materials, detailing, production and design.
A focus on producing unique regional hybrids that combine craft tradition and contemporary design process is the aim of New Caribbean Design. Through the push and pull of cross-cultural collaboration the group has balanced traditional cultural practice in the Caribbean and forward-looking design solutions. In contrast with the familiar presentations of Caribbean culture – souvenirs and resort experience – this collection presents something much more dynamic: a living breathing culture with a critical role in the global design marketplace. The pots below are part of the collection we launched at ICFF. They are designed by Stella Hackett for Hamilton’s Pottery in St Thomas, Barbados.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Well, I would say that when I was a young designer I was inspired by and had a distinctly modernist aesthetic. Over time though, the real, messy world pushed its way into my pure and untouchable world. And I’m happier for it. I work collaboratively and inclusively with other designers, manufacturers both craft and otherwise, and, sometimes even with government agencies and development banks. Trying to answer all these diverse needs while creating products with integrity is sometimes a messy and uncertain business but I’ve found that this process produces very rich results. And, my austere and reduced aesthetic still manages to sneak in there too!
As a designer and curator of a mobile design studio how do you keep your office organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? Hmm. Good question. Frankly, I rely heavily on the search function on both my computers. It does seem that computers are not equipped to organize files in the traditional office sense and I have long given up trying to rationally organize things. And like most people now my computer files are a mash of the personal, the creative and the commercial.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? Well I am already very happy with my Eames Aluminum Group Chair. I do covet the Aeron Chair though!
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? Konstanin Grcic’s May Day Lamp and Sharpie Fine Line Pens.
What would you change about your own workspace? I’m quite happy with the current set up both at home and away. I like the flexibility of it – I’m available for both work and family – which is a juggling act at the best of times. If I could change anything I think it would be to build permanent design spaces in the places I work as a resource for the people that I work with.
What do you most love about your space? I love the mobility of my studio and I love that I can work in many spaces with many different people. Although difficult at times it has enriched my work and had a profound impact on how I think about design. I learned that people-centred design has a middle component, living between ethnography and interface. Hand manufacturing is the reality in much of the world, and designers, sitting at their desks sending off PDFs to unknown destinations, may be a modern paradigm, but ultimately a hollow one. I encourage designers to go and visit where their products are made, and, especially, with the people who make them!
What inspires you? Oh, just about everything. I love that the collisions of culture that are the basis of my work can strike a new balance between redundancy and relevance and explore the friction between the “preservationist” view of the handmade as intangible heritage and its real status as living tradition, and therefore, inherently and constantly innovating and adapting. And, I love the resourcefulness that you find in the most difficult and poorest of places and circumstances, and, that creativity still flourishes there.
June 10, 2010
We’ve had such a good response I’m going to post these a bit more often…
Who? Greg Parker, design engineer at Moview, who hearts Herman Miller.
Where? Nunica, Michigan.
How do you take your coffee? What brand is it? Magnum “Paint it Black”, ground by me.
Tell me about your coffee cup. Starbucks mug, because I’m a free radical like that.
What happens if you skip your morning coffee? If I skip my joe? Don’t make him angry. You would not like him when he’s angry.
June 10, 2010
“My mom recently purchased an iMac — her first and only Apple product. She had a Dell laptop and was a little worried about a keyboard and mouse (they weren’t included in the purchase). She called to ask how much a keyboard and mouse would cost and I offered to send her our Apple white USB keyboard and mouse. There was only one problem..
We’ve had that white keyboard for over five years and it had been sitting in a box for quite some time (see my post about How Do You Discard Your Tech?). There was no way I was going to send my mother a dirty keyboard. Believe it or not, I’ve never cleaned a keyboard before so this was going to be my first time.
I turned to the internet and found some great suggestions. If I hadn’t promised to send it to her as soon as possible, I would have ordered the Cyber Clean Keyboard Cleaner. Instead, I turned to a video I found on YouTube and painstakingly removed each and every key, used a combination of Q-tips and mascara brushes to get that sucker back to its glory days.
If you’re in my position, instead of searching all over the internet — just reference these previous Unplggd posts:
• Cyber Clean Keyboard Cleaner
• How To: Clean Your Keyboard
• What Do You Do When Coffee Meets Computer Keyboard?
• Use a Mascara Brush to Clean Keyboards
• No More Crumbs with the Keyboard Napkin
Image from Leanda’s Flickr stream.
By Kristen Lubbe”
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
Balance, Design, Technology
June 9, 2010
We discovered the smart work of fashion-lifestyle photographer Anna Wolf after interviewing Design*Sponge’s Grace Bonney (Anna shot Grace’s portrait—see it here). Soon after, we happened upon her blog and thought, “Hey, bet she’d create a pretty cool playlist.” And she did. Take a look and a listen.
Do you listen to music while you work? When I work in studio, it’s a lot of really mellow music. I’m on the phone and writing emails a lot, so it needs to be something that can kind of blend into the background. When I’m on set, it tends to be more upbeat and more poppy.
How do you listen? In studio (which I share with my boyfriend), we’re all on a network. So our computers feed into a receiver and through really good speakers. On set, I’ll rent a portable iPod dock or a lot of times I bring this little red speaker that you plug your iPod/iPhone into. It’s small but super loud and is so easy to just throw in a bag and go.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Well, I’m probably pretty late in the game, but I am really loving Pandora right now.
Does music influence your work? I think music most influences me when I’m working on personal stuff. Not so much on set or when I’m in studio doing all the back-end business stuff. There was a time in college when I was staying up super late, listening to Red House Painters on repeat, and making collages and little books.
Where do you find music recommendations? Most of my music comes from friends, people who know what I like and tell me to download a certain artist or album. I really do love Morning Becomes Eclectic on NPR, but don’t listen to it as much now that I live in NYC.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? Wow, that’s a really serious question! I’ve been totally in love with the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack lately—songs by Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The music is so hopeful, sincere, and beautiful. Some songs are really mellow and some move faster with more energy. When I first heard the album, I thought it was all different artists since the songs are so varied. I think I could get behind that album as representative of the range of my work!
Live to Tell the Tale, Passion Pit
Hideaway, Karen O and the Kids
Sorrow Tears and Blood, Fela Kuti
Into the Sun, Diplo
The Only Living Boy in New York, Simon and Garfunkel
Fun Powder Plot, Wild Beasts
No One Does It Like You, Department of Eagles
I Get Low, Timber Timbre
Re: Stacks, Bon Iver
Ash Wednesday, Elvis Perkins
Nickel Bags, Digable Planets
Send It On, D’Angelo
By Your Side, Sade
Hometown Glory, Santigold
Peace Train, Cat Stevens
Two Weeks, Grizzly Bear
Knife, Grizzly Bear
Turn Me On (Kevin Lyttle cover), CocoRosie
Everyman…Everywoman, Yoko Ono
Images: Anna Wolf; Studio Photos: Monica Pendergrass
June 8, 2010
And you thought that packing tape hiding in your desk drawer was for taping up boxes. Oh, no – check out what happens when you give artists a lot of tape and a cool space to work in. Via Fast Company.
June 8, 2010
With Father’s Day and Graduation season here, I thought it would be fun to talk about a long-lasting gift. Having been the recipient (and admittedly the giver) of some bad gifts, I can tell you that a nice fountain pen will last someone a lifetime and become a prized possession that they either look forward to using every day, or that they cherish and use for special occasions. Here are a few fountain pen suggestions to help you pick just the right one:
First up is the Lamy Safari, which is a very simple and understated fountain pen, but one that is durable and well constructed. It has an all plastic body and stainless steel nib (the nib is the fancy term for the pointy part that you write with) that makes for a pen that is comfortable to write with and that also puts down a nice smooth and consistent line. The Lamy brand is known for its quality German engineering, and the Safari is a hugely popular pen. Great for everyday use, especially in an environment where it might take a bit of abuse. $25 via Amazon.
The Aurora Ipsilon Satin line of fountain pens represent a more stylish choice. Being that this fountain pen is made in Italy, the comparison to a fancy sports car is a hard temptation to resist, but no worries, this fountain pen won’t set you back six figures. Much like a nice Italian sports car, this pen comes in a limited range of colors. You can go with the classic blue or black, or the “hey look at me” bright orange. Regardless of the color, you will find yourself with a well made light-weight fountain pen that will be sure to make other people jealous while they toil away with their .99 cent ballpoint pens. $88 via Amazon.
Next up is the Pelikan M215 Tradition Series. This is a another pen from a highly respected German manufacturer. With its twist off cap, shiny black lacquer finish, and silver accents this fountain pen has a very clean, neat, and professional look. There are a few different bodies to choose from, with slightly different stylings on the silver accents, and even one with a hint of blue. They always say you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have, so consider this pen an extension of that wardrobe that will take your Dad or Grad to the next level. $120 via Goldspot Luxury Gifts.
Then there is the Visconti Homo Sapiens (pictured top). This fountain pen is forged from the volcanic lava of Mt. Etna in Sicily, Italy and is probably one of the most unique fountain pens you can buy right now. Using the lava as a base for the body of the pen makes it virtually unbreakable, able to withstand extreme temperatures, and also helps to absorb sweat from the hand while writing. I had the chance to write with one of these pens at the recent National Stationery Show at the Javitz Center in NYC, and that experience had me drooling over the thought of actually purchasing one for myself one day. The palladium nib gives it a bit of flexibility that lets the user drastically change the width of the line with slight amounts of pressure. Bottom line though is that this pen combines the cool factor with incredible writing performance. $595 via Goldspot Luxury Gifts.
Illustrations by Jordan Awan
June 8, 2010
“When it comes down to spyware, viruses, and phishing scams, any personal computer can become a target to take your information, sell it, and make your digital life a living nightmare. To make sure you’re in the know, we’ve adapted Giz’s excellent roundup of computer myths and emphasized a few more of our own.
TOP 5 COMPUTER SECURITY, DEBUNKED:
1. Macs can’t get viruses. Oh yes, they can. Buffer exploits, trojans, and other malicious codes can put your computer on lock down. While the PC share is still running high at 90%, the more popular Mac computers get, the more likely they’ll become a target in the future. So proceed with caution, don’t click random links, and avoid software piracy.
2. My e-mail inbox is spam-free. If you think you’ve never received a single spam address, you’ve either never publicly used it for e-mail or have your spam filter turned off. Make sure it’s on. Otherwise, you’re just asking for a flurry of phishing e-mails to come into your mailbox.
3. We’re getting better at virus protection. One would think that with more complex software systems that we’d be improving on all fronts, especially security. Wrong. The more the complex the system, the easier it is to poke holes it in, or – in McAfee‘s case, mistakenly identify a critical system process as a virus and screw everything up. Antivirus software is good, but one must be educated catch it when it trips up.
4. Phishing only happens to other people. Someone trying to steal my social security number and Facebook password? In a million years! This kind of mentality is fresh meat for identity thieves and will get you into a lot of trouble. Ever get a random Facebook App invite from friends you rarely ever hear from? Chances are they’ve fallen victim to malware and are now virtual zombies in your Facebook friends pool. Again, don’t click any links that even hint at something fishy.
5. My hard drive is safe. Again and again, we’ve spoken to people, even CEOs of companies, who fail do to the simple act of backing up their data. Back up your data. Not only will this make your life much less of a nightmare when any of the above were to occur, but the average hard drive life is barely ten years – though many of us here have seen them as short as two. Always make sure you’ve got your important stuff on in at least two places.
Got a computer security tip to share? Let us know in the comments!
[Adapted from Gizmodo]
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
June 7, 2010
Australian interior designer and blogger Dana Hughes shares her beautiful Sydney home office with us.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I’ve been working from home since November 2009. My husband and I share an apartment in an old style building in Elizabeth Bay in Sydney with high ornate ceilings and beautiful bay windows – I feel very lucky to be able to spend a few days here during the week. At the moment, I divide my time between working as a lead designer on high profile projects with an esteemed architecture & design practice, and crafting boutique interiors as a principal of my design business.
I also write a design blog called yellowtrace, where I share my love for great design and clever people in the areas of interiors, architecture, art, fashion, photography and anything else worth knowing about. I am on a mission to inspire others using design as a tool, so that they can become the best they can be.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? I approach my designs with passion, emotion and honesty, and I always strive to separate who am I as a designer from the essence of my client, which isn’t always easy to do. I feel it is absolutely critical to create spaces that tell a story about the end user, rather than about me and my own aesthetic.
My design philosophy is based on a holistic approach which translates brands, ideas and my clients’ personalities into places. Each project begins with a strong concept which becomes an anchor for all ideas during the design process. I am drawn to inspiring, meaningful and enduring environments and experiences, frequently stepping off the beaten path to discover the unexpected for my clients.
How do you keep your work space organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? I have a large drawer cabinet where I store all of my sketches, drawings, samples and work in progress. I have also created little zones in my work space which are dedicated to different tasks – desk for computer based tasks, sketching, admin, blogging; floor for laying out samples and finishes (very glamorous!), seat by the window for thinking etc.
In terms of the technology, I simply couldn’t live without my large iMac screen which is absolutely ideal for creating visual presentations which require having multiple applications open and visible at the same time. Apart from the computer programs essential to my work like AutoCAD, Photoshop and Illustrator, I also rely heavily on Adobe Bridge for sorting and managing all my files. I also really love Apreture and Picasa which help me organise and upload photos and images, particularly for my blog.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you love? Neither of these are furniture, but the things I love in my home office are my computer and my reference books. Sad but true! Having said that, I adore the ceramic table lamp called “Cut Series” by Szilvia Gyorgy – when it’s off, it looks like a beautiful sculpture; when it’s on, it gives off the most beautiful light and casts stunning patterns on surrounding walls. I also really love large typography tea towels purchased at a market in Melbourne and a photo of oars taken by my husband.
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? Magazine holder which I use to keep an absolutely endless supply of loose pages in order. Also, although not a desk accessory, I absolutely cannot live without my rolls of yellow trace sketch paper (which is where the name for my business and blog comes from – you can read about it more in this post).
What would you change about your own workspace? I would definitely like more layout space – a bench under the window would be nice.
What do you most love about your space? Abundance of natural light, textured brick walls painted white and high ceilings – a perfect canvas for a creative work space.
What inspires you? Ah, this is such a difficult question to answer. I am inspired by so many things, from big and small, obvious and hidden, special and everyday. I recently wrote an entire post on this topic – you can read it right here.