October 30, 2012
Artistic, innovative, and observant, Ray Eames was a saver and collector of things that inspired her — and needed those things to surround her as she worked, as evidenced by her desk at the Eames Office (above, shot in 1976). Get a glimpse at several spaces that take a page out of Ray’s book and showcase the many items that motivate their occupants during the workday. Read more
January 25, 2012
Yesterday I came across Caroline Clifton-Mogg’s new book A Space of My Own on Remodelista’s revamped site (which is certainly an improvement but will take a bit of getting used to!) Clifton-Mogg is a British journalist and has put together a beautiful book that explores the idea of home workspace as sanctuary. “The important thing is that it is known to all as very much your space and feels private; somewhere specifically designed to cater to you and what you are doing,” writes Clifton-Mogg. As I write this at my kitchen table with our home office desk piled with kid’s drawings I wonder if I’ll ever have a work space in this house to call my own! And I also wonder how many of us manage to carve this kind of precious space out for ourselves?
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
January 13, 2012
Where we were this week…
1. Eric Fischer’s amazing Flickr site. Fischer captures people’s photo-taking habits (locals and tourists) on maps and publishes them to Flickr. The images are really beautiful. Below is a snapshot of Chicago – the blue denotes locals taking photographs, the red is tourists.
2. Core 77′s store for their Hand-Eye Supply spiral bound notebooks that are wrapped shut with a strip of elastic that doubles as a pen holder. Clever.
3. PSFK for their piece on Mercedes mobile workplaces…more on this next week!
4. SFMoma’s artist’s series lets you buy prints from young contemporary artists. The latest contributor is Jason Munn and his clean-lined graphic work would make a great addition to your home office.
5. Danish architects MLRP for their amazing mirror house. Part fun house, part sleek contemporary design.
6. Designer Seung Yong Song’s wonderful Object-O. A paper lantern perches on top of a chair – it’s the ultimate tiny home office.
7. Wallpaper for their W* House. Check out the study for some incredible home office accessories (yes, they have included our Airia desk)
8. W magazine wonderfully over the top House Tours series. Love this dark-walled library. I imagine you’d cosy up and get a lot of work done here!
9. Apartment Therapy – which has undergone a major redesign – for their coverage of digital decals for the home office.
10. Designboom for their online store selling original designs. Have a look at the 24k pencil. Nice accompaniment to the gold typewriter I covered yesterday.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
January 7, 2012
Where we’ve been this week…
1. Architizer for their amazing roundup of inspirational architecture from around the globe.
2. Dwell for their home stories – check out this one on a small house that doubles its size but still kept the yard.
3. From the Desk Of...great roundup of creative’s desks.
4. Habitus is an Australian interiors magazine that is also available online here.
5. Design Observer for their lovely piece on architect Andrew Geller who died last month.
6. Architectural Digest talks to designers about setting up a home office.
7. DWR’s blog, Design Notes, for their piece on the late Eva Zeisel.
8. Smashing Magazine for their roundup of stylish free desktop wallpapers.
9. Real Simple for home office organization tips.
10. Cool Hunter for the architecture section – great eye candy here!
November 21, 2011
Cardboard is a versatile material, whether it’s used as mulch, furniture or complex computer-generated columns supported by it (hello Shigeru Ban); meanwhile, Manchester-based design company Lazerian created this nifty structure out of recycled cardboard and pallets, a kind of indoor cocoon that thinks outside of the cardboard box.
November 17, 2011
A few weeks back unplggd’s editor Gregory Han was invited to answer the following questions: What defines a workspace and what technologies do I find impressive today? One of our favourite bloggers, Design Milk, posed these questions to a panel composed of designers, artists, creatives, and yours truly, including Joey Roth of ceramic speakers, the always impeccable design spotter Tina Roth Eisenberg of swissmiss, Gretchen Jones, fashion designer and winner of ModKat, the most stylish litterboxes out there.
• Check out the full post over at DEFINING THE DESIGNER WORKSPACE.
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
November 11, 2011
Where we’ve been this week…
1. New York Times for Pilar Viladas’ piece on these vintage Eames Lounge Chairs covered in Maharam fabric. They are on show at Moss in Soho and are the first in a planned series of one-off furniture pieces on which Moss and Maharam will collaborate.
2. Core 77‘s coverage of Toyko’s Design Tide. Spotted this cool concrete pencil by designers Sean Yu and Yiting Cheng.
3. Design Milk‘s post on designer workspaces (above).
4. Baubauhaus for some great workspace inspiration.
5. Home Designing may have an awkward title but there are some good home office images coupled with helpful links.
6. Urbis Magazine for their coverage of the New Zealand architecture scene. There’s some beautiful work coming out of that country. Including this house by architect Thom Craig (above).
7. Write your next To-Do List in crayon … just for a change. These are stick crayons from Shipley & Halmos will do the trick.
8. Inspiring talk from former New York Times design director, Khoi Vinh. Interesting to hear this well-respected creative talk about his process. Via MediaBistro
Khoi Vinh – on the grid from The Color Machine on Vimeo.
9. Rejuvenate your home office with these new “Wallrounds” from Not A Gallery. They are oversized dots of heavy gauge wallpaper.
10. The Decoist covers some great houses including this A-Frame gem from architects dmvA.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
December 31, 2010
Meet Sandy Corsillo. He and his brother Emil are the masterminds behind Hickorees’s Hard Goods. I realize the interview is long but Sandy is really eloquent and I think this story warrants a bit of breathing space. See what you think. (All the office supplies I’ve used to illustrate this piece are available from Hickoree’s. And the sling shot at the end? Well, honestly who can resist a good sling shot?)
How long have you worked from home…and where is home? I began working on a nameless company in the beginning of 2007. I had taken a job in finance a year earlier and although I loved the company I worked for, the job itself wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So we set up a legal entity and called it Max Corsillo, after my childhood dog Max, and began talking to friends and family about ideas for the company. All I knew was I wanted it to be menswear related and I wanted it to have an online presence.
Fast forward to spring of 2008. After a number of false starts with graphic tees (they always looked like cheap homemade graphic tees), I pulled my whole family together (father, mother, sister, and brother — all artists except me) and made this proposal to them: I want to build a site with the objective of being a great menswear store that sells a small curated selection of the best brands in the world. Then I want to slip into that selection our own brands, products that we create. By doing so we could hopefully give the products we come up with an immediate legitimacy that they might take years to gain otherwise, and at the same time let the site itself feed off the exclusive ownership of the newest brands.
For this to work, I told them, we need two things: a great website (which I would build), and ideas for new brands that were unlike anything else being done at the time. Simple right? I told them all to come up with ideas and then I assigned the design/art direction of the site to my brother Emil. My mother managed the initial conversion to html/css and set up the domain and all that good stuff.
Next I began researching e-commerce design. I talked to a web designer friend who told me how much it would cost to have the site built. The number was too high. I bought a book on PHP and MySQL and spent the next nine months learning how to build the site myself. I was still working at my old job so this was all done before and after work and on the weekends at my apartment in Soho. Over the next 9+ months the site changed and morphed into what it is today. The name Hickoree’s Hard Goods was Emil’s idea. Originally it was the name he came up with for his vintage clothing collection, but it seemed to work even better for the whole store. We also changed our focus a bit and began to think of the site as a sort of modern day general store. Something that every town in America had in the 1950s.
During this time Emil started experimenting with ties made out of dead stock fabric. He made a few prototypes which were really well received by our friends, and before we knew it The Hill-Side was born. In March of 2009 our friend and soon to be partner, Hisashi Oguchi, sold 420 ties to United Arrows in Japan. The next day I put in notice that I was quitting my job and started planning to move into the apartment in Brooklyn next door to my brother. We made my new apartment our office. We launched the site in June. I stayed on at my job until the end of 2009, then in mid January we moved to our new office and apartment in South Williamsburg.
In other words, I have been working from home basically for around 3 1/2 years.
What does an average work day involve? How do you structure the day? We try to spend about half the day working together on all the little things that need to get done immediately. Things like shipping out packages and responding to emails. The other half should be spent on longer term projects. For me that means getting all our finances in order (a daunting task for one person), planning the production of next season’s The Hill-Side line, and working on new, upcoming projects. For Emil this means photographing new Hickoree’s products, researching new products, planning future seasons for The Hill-Side, seeking out new shops to work with for The Hill-Side, and also working on new projects.
This is the plan, but most days seem to begin with a plan and end with us feeling like we didn’t get enough done. We are at a place now where we need to hire people but we also need to invest everything in the growth of the business. This means each of us is overworked, especially Emil. Check back with us in a year and hopefully things will be very different.
What I’m really excited about is the future of Hickoree’s, from a tech perspective, beginning in the hands of a true web developer. I’m working towards this with a good friend from college who is on a totally different level than I am. Talking to him about what’s possible inspires me. It’s also a relief. Running a custom site by yourself, built by you, can be extremely nerve-wracking.
How do you organize your space? I’m thinking here of your physical space but also your virtual space. In terms of the spatial setup online, we want the site to be organized so that you discover something new when you come to the site. This goes back to the site being a modern day general store. We want the user to feel like he/she can comfortably peruse our shop and neither feel overwhelmed nor feel like the shelves are empty.
It’s more difficult to pull that off than it may seem. If you look at a lot of online stores they have like 50 brands all listed in a way that makes you feel like you’re in a generic department store. When I walk into a department store I feel overwhelmed. I want to go in knowing what I want and I want to get it and get out, quick. It’s fine for us if a customer knows what they want on our site and goes right to it; we are organized to make this easy. But we also want them to discover new things in the process. We are constantly striving to present an unexpected assortment of objects, yet when you look at the store as a whole it really makes perfect sense.
If I were a Hickoree’s customer, this is what would keep me coming back. I would be excited about the unexpected things I might discover on my next visit to the shop. It is important to have a diverse range of products and styles in the shop, but it all has to be coherent. We want each product and each brand to make the ones around it look better and in turn to be improved and enlivened by the products that surround it. This is what the front page is all about, and the “EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE” link is our favorite part of the site. I guess our goal is for a customer to feel like they walked into a small, uncluttered shop with a surprising selection of stuff. And we want them to want everything.
What item from your desktop can you not do without? I try to keep my desk stark. Everything on it should be necessary or it should be cleaned off. My cup of iced coffee I guess, although that’s a little bit like a pack of cigarettes, I wish I didn’t need it.
What music do you listen to while you work? Right now I’m listening to The Shepherd’s Dog by Iron & Wine
What inspires you? There are two things that I think of when I think about inspiration: Inspiration like when you see someone eating cake with their hands and think, “Oh my god, why not make palm sized cakes and call them cupcakes!” (I imagine that’s how it went down), or inspiration, which may be closer to admiration, like when you hear about someone quitting their six-figure salary job to move to Honduras and set up a non-profit to teach young adults how to be entrepreneurs.
In terms of the cupcake one, I have no clue what inspires me until it does and I can’t predict what that thing will be before hand. It’s kind of like when someone asks what type of a woman I’m attracted to. I don’t really know until I meet her, but when I do it makes perfect sense. This is all vague, but so is the process of inspiration in my head. I do know that when I am inspired by a new idea or a new way to do something better it is an incredible feeling. And when that inspiration turns into a completed project and is well received… there’s nothing better. I think both Emil and I are driven by that feeling.
In terms of the admiration type, I’m inspired by people who fail repeatedly but refuse to give up. For me, the important thing I now understand is that it is highly unlikely an idea that comes from a moment of inspiration will turn into a success. I think this leads a lot of people who could do really great things to get discouraged and give up. Three years ago I was silkscreening on American Apparel t-shirts in my parents’ basement and was convinced I was going to make a ton of money from it. It was a total failure. The designs were good, but so are a million other t-shirt designs.
I realized that something I had worked really hard on and almost staked my future on wasn’t going to work, and I got really discouraged. But from that I was able to see what could be successful from a much better vantage point. So I came up with another plan and when that didn’t work I came up with another and another. Along the way, bits and pieces of the earlier ideas informed the next ones. In other words, the failures made for the success. I talk to people who say, “I wish I had a really good idea like Hickoree’s or The Hill-Side” as if the idea for either came to us in a dream or out of one conversation. That’s not the way it works. So when I hear of success born out of failure I am inspired, it makes me feel like things are possible without relying on a once in a lifetime idea that comes to you out of the blue.
Balance, Design, Products
December 30, 2010
Ex-Taschen editors Charlotte and Peter Fiell established Fiell’s publishing in July 2008 with the aim of “publishing beautiful, content-rich illustrated books across a range of interesting and pertinent subject areas. Some of the books we author ourselves, and some we commission from other authors whom we respect and trust.” I found them through two of their beautifully designed books: The Little Book of Shocking Eco Facts and The Little Book of Global Facts (which arrived at my house today, thank you Doug! It’s a very inspiring little book that I highly recommend). I hope you enjoy their London-based home office.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? We have worked from our home in West London for the last 15 years and I think it has worked really well because we have always had separate offices – probably we would have driven each other mad otherwise. Working from home has its pros and cons, but definitely one of the greatest advantages is being on hand if you have children…it was great when our daughters were small as we could fit work around them rather than the other way round.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Our look is definitely eclectic – a mix of contemporary office furnishings with “furniture classics” from the 50s, 60s and 70s….Charles Eames, Pierre Paulin, Vico Magistretti, Charles Pollock. We think it is really important to work in a pleasant space so we try to make our workspaces as un-officey as possible by having art on the walls and lots of interesting objects from our personal design study collection.
How do you keep your home office organized? Peter manages to keep a pretty tidy office, but unfortunately my desk is a mess of stacked paper as is my computer desktop….when it gets too bad I have to have a ruthless spring clean….which is very therapeutic.
When you put together your home office what did you keep in mind? It was important for us to create workspaces that had lots of book shelves and filing capacity, but also we made the conscious decision not to use desks or office chairs that looked too corporate.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? An antique plan chest would actually be a really useful piece of furniture for us, but unfortunately we don’t have the room to accommodate one!
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? Our Folle stapler it is just a beautiful yet functional object, Fiskars scissors are pretty great too…
What would you change about your own workspace? More space for more book shelves!
What do you most love about your space? Looking out through the window into the jungle-like garden which is planted with enormous palm trees.
What inspires you? We love the research that lies behind our books, especially when we make historical discoveries and, of course, working with other creative people such as the authors, editors and graphic designers is also highly inspiring.