Balance, Design, Products, Technology
November 30, 2010
Trolling through numerous online stores can be a daunting task if you are searching for the perfect gift. To ease the burden, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite picks for the design and music lovers on your gift list.
Groove Merchant, a world renowned record shop based in San Francisco, celebrates it’s 20th anniversary with a stellar collection of soul and funk sounds from the past. The 14 track compilation features choice cuts from Arthur Foy, Soul Liberation, The McCrary as well as others. Also available are a t-shirt and limited edition poster. All items are designed by Freddy Anzures (Apple/Wax Poetics) for Props.
Practice your shooting skills with bitplay’s Bang! lamp. When you fire a shot at the lamp with the included gun, the light turns off and the lampshade falls to the side, showing that it’s been hit. Super cool! (via Hello Bauldoff )
Store your books in a fun and unique way with Finland based Kayiwa’s Aakkoset shelf. The type driven shelf is made of medium-density fiberboard and comes in a variety of colors. (via swiss miss)
Dress your iPhone up in style with a case from Lumadessa’s new collection for uncommon. My favorite is the Night Owl, but you have several other options to choose from. Makes for a perfect stocking stuffer too!
Scotty Reifsnyder recently updated his shop with the Heroes of Folk – a series of letterpress cards featuring illustrations of American Folk legends like Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed. The cards are available for $30 a piece or $150 for the complete collection. Pick them up here.
Her Idea is a delightful new book by Rilla Alexander which takes readers on adventure of elation, struggle and triumph – and of making ideas happen. The illustrations are amazing and it makes for a wonderful gift for all ages.
Balance, Design, Products
August 20, 2010
Here’s a Friday bonus: an extra playlist this week from Grain Edit founder (and Lifework contributor) Dave Cuzner. Start your weekend with the Oakland-based designer’s favorite tunes—a smart mix of jazz, old swing-y country, chill, and R&B/Soul (great with a glass of wine and dinner outside with friends).
What do you listen to while you work? I usually start the day off with an up-tempo bossa or funk cut. I need something with a thick groove to wake me up and get my day going. As I begin to dip into the day’s workload, I slow down the tempo and lower the volume. I’ll usually throw on a jazz album or listen to talk radio. At night, I log into Netflix and stream a movie while I answer emails.
How do you listen? Since I work from home, I can listen to my music out loud. I have a chubby little sub woofer and a speaker set plugged into my Macbook Pro. In the past I listened to records while I worked, but recently I find it too distracting to get up and flip the record each time it reaches the end of a side.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Sure do. Here’s a few of my faves: Props radio, Soul Sides, KALX, and Quimsy’s Mumbo Jumbo.
Camino del Sol, Antena
InnerSpeaker (The whole darn album), Tame Impala
New Life, Sounds of Liberation
Egypt Strut, Salah Ragab & The Cairo Jazz Band
To Brother John, DJ Food
Lost Week-end, Wanda Jackson
Cloudy Shoes, Damien Jurado
Nothing But A Heartache, The Flirtations
Pearlie’s Swine, Monica Zetterlund
Buddah, Jazz Quintet
A Go Go, Dara Puspita
Opiniao, Zelia Barbosa
Nava, Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics
Images: Dave Cuzner
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
July 23, 2010
Where we’ve been this week…
1. Grist An interesting take on environmental news. Where to start: Tips on dealing with the summer heat when you work from home.
2. Color Collective You’ve got to love a simple idea that’s been beautifully executed. Here Portland-based artist Lauren Willhite takes photographs and art as inspiration and breaks each image down into 5 essential colors. Where to start: Go straight to the interiors category for some home office inspiration.
3. Ill Seen, Ill Said Jane Flanagan is an Irish woman living in Toronto with a wonderful eye for design and a very nice turn of phrase. Where to start: The post on following your heart when it comes to designing your home..
4. Mid Century Modernist A recent redesign has improved this site beyond belief. If you have even the faintest interest in mid century design head straight to this site – immediately! Where to start: Our very own Lifework contributor (and editor of Grain Edit) Dave Cuzner’s house tour.
5. Houzz An excellent picture-driven architecture site filled to the brim with interesting houses. Where to start: Type home office into the search box and you’ll find yourself wading through over 4000 images of compelling spaces.
Balance, Design, Products
May 17, 2010
Jason Munn is the name behind the award winning one-man studio known as The Small Stakes. Jason’s work has been featured in many of the top design magazines and is part of the permanent collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Jason’s client list includes Patagonia, Wired and New York Times magazine to name a few. He is also well known in the world of concert posters. Since 2003 he has been designing for indie rock’s hottest bands including The Pixies, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips and many more. Over 150 of these posters are featured in a book titled The Small Stakes-Music Posters which was recently released by Chronicle Books. Jason spoke to us about his home studio and the challenges he faced transitioning from a traditional office setting.
How long have you been working from home? I’ve been working from home full time for about the past seven years, before this I had been working in a couple different design studios. My first home/studio was a studio apartment, which became more and more challenging because there was not any type of separation between anything. Now we live in a two bedroom house, the second bedroom acts as my studio space
What challenges did you face transitioning from working in a design firm to a home based office? The biggest drawback for me about working from home versus in a design firm is the lack of communication or feedback while you are working on project. More and more I miss that aspect of a studio. Dirk Fowler, another designer and friend of mine who also works from home often send images of what we are working on back and forth to get feedback or advice from each other.
Working in a home setting, it’s easy to get distracted. Do you have any tips for staying focused on projects? I try to stick to a routine, but will be the first to admit I can have a hard time doing that. My wife has been back in school the last couple years, so she is often working late, so I’ll often do the same. When I’m stuck or in the thinking process during a project I tend to work in chunks of time and find myself walking around the block to take a break. I think the distractions of working in a firm versus working at home probably balance out, in the long run I feel I have less distractions. I do miss the commute to work a little bit, I used to walk to work and that was perfect for starting the day. Now if I have any errands or anything like that I typically do them first thing in the morning, so that becomes my commute.
Is there anything you would like to change in your workspace? As you can see I keep things pretty sparse and I often have the tendency to want to get rid of things rather than acquire them. I’m happy to have my own room to work out of versus having everything in the studio apartment. We also have a small room below the house that acts as the poster storage and shipping area, our shipping area used to be the kitchen in the studio apartment. I would like to try working from a space outside my house, maybe a shared space with a couple other designers. We’ll see, it hasn’t been a priority yet.
Balance, Design, Products
March 31, 2010
Australian-born, Berlin-based artist Rilla Alexander is one fifth of the design collective known as Rinzen. Her illustrations have graced the walls of the Fox Hotel in Copenhagen, appeared on credit cards for the Swiss Cornér Bank and danced across ceramics for German porcelain maker Rosenthal. She is currently creating a range of children’s products for Madrid’s Museo del Prado based on the Hieronymus Bosch masterpiece “The Garden of Earthly Delights”. She shares her live/work space with her husband and her adorable little Jack Russell Terrier “Mr Tom”.
How long have you been working from home? I’ve been working here for two years now. Over the last fifteen years I’ve worked in a variety of studios as well as home workspaces, and I’ve got to say this is the best situation yet. Berlin apartments are huge and this one used to be three apartments. So the “commute” from home to work is, if not actually long, at least noticeable… but I can still easily start at 5am or have a mid-day nap if the mood takes me. (Below is a billboard illustration Alexander did for Australia’s Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.)
What’s a typical day like for you? Drawing at my lightbox while consuming a steady stream of radio documentaries from NPR, ABC and BBC. I have just spent a week in Italy and am itching to assume my favourite position at the drawing table again. It’s an addiction. Of course once the drawings are done I need to scan them over on the “computer desk”. It doesn’t have the drawing table’s sunny window position – so I make a quick retreat as soon as possible.
What do you like most about your space and is there anything you would change? I love that it’s a space all to myself, but that I can go to the next room for feedback/input/conversation from my husband, who is currently converting his space into a painting/sculpture/music studio. Our dog, Mr Tom shares his time between us – usually switching studios depending on who has the most food. I also love being surrounded by books. The only thing I would love to have is a view to the beach, or a tropical rainforest. Moving from Australia to Berlin does has some downsides.
I notice on your desk you’ve got lots of interesting objects. Can you share some of your favorites with us? Above my desk you can see the edge of a poster for Jacques Tati’s Mon Uncle – which, like so many things from Europe, I actually bought in Japan. Tove Jansson’s Moomins, her books “Who will comfort Toffle” and “The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My” and the box set of stop-motion animations from Film Polski are always within reaching distance. She is one of my greatest inspirations. You can also see a Porcelain Elephant money-box (designed by Luigi Colani for the Dresdner bank) and a ceramic jar from Nymolle – a Danish company that Bjorn Wiinblad designed for before he began to work primarily with Rosenthal. The Nymolle pieces are my favourite examples of Bjorn Wiinblad’s work – I’ve always been drawn to mono-coloured design and illustration – and I love that his work which would probably now be dismissed as “for children” is for everyone.
Do you have any tips for organizing your home office space? Feeling comfortable and cosy is very important to me – and surrounding myself with furniture and objects that inspire and excite me, makes me want to be in my studio more than anywhere else. The more teak and porcelain, the more likely I’ll stay. If only I had teak desks…
January 15, 2010
We’ve had a great response to Dave Cuzner‘s interview with artist Matte Stephens so I’ve decided to share the work Matte did for Herman Miller’s ‘See’ magazine. Unfortunately we no longer publish ‘See’ and the story, which was about the Pacific Northwest, that Matte illustrated never saw the light of day. We’re thrilled now to share the images with you.