30 March 2012

Trash turned birds

Your grandmother's discarded old chair has never looked so beautiful! Norwegian designer Lars Beller Fjetland rescues table legs and armrest from local dumpsters and turns the discarded furniture into the best looking wooden birds! After spending a day stripping them of paint and nails, it takes about another half a day to create each unique bird. The result is 'Re-turned', a 100% recycled old-furniture-item-turned-collectable.

The best part is Lars doesn't have to climb into dumpsters anymore. Italy-based Discipline is going to produce his Re-turned birds with packaging by Grandpeople. And he'll oversee that the manufacturer stays true to the core philosophy of the project and continue using rejected or leftover wood.

Lars says everyone should be able to enjoy a piece of feel-good woodcraft. As the daughter of a masterful woodworker, I completely agree!

Photos: FastCoDesign by Grandpeople.

28 March 2012

Shades of bamboo

Here's some sustainable sunglasses for spring from Verde Styles.

via Verde website: Handmade from bamboo, one of the fastest growing plants in the world, Maboo Shades are eco-friendly, durable and lightweight. A distinct bamboo texture and detailed carvings speak for the originality and quality of every pair of Maboo Shades. As a premium product, all shades come complete with 1.1 polarized lenses, an awesome bamboo case, and personal microfiber pouch.

Go cool and get 'em here!

Thanks to Looks Like Good Design for the sharp eyes.

Photo: Verde Styles website.

Information is beautiful

I first noticed Germany-based Martin Oberhäuser's self promotion infographic calendar for 2012. Then I took a gander at his website and saw even more incredible infographics. Martin is award-winning information and interface designer working and living in Hamburg, and he's certainly the German version of Nicholas Felton. But back to that amazing infographic calendar...

via Oberhäuser website: Each color/ring represents one month of the year. Federal holidays (United States) are highlighted with an icon and pink color. The tabular view at the bottom offers some space to fill in appointments or birthdays.

You can purchase the calendar for your wall here or download a desktop wallpaper here.

Before you go off and purchase one of those beauties, you really must take a look at his stunning portfolio work. See it all here. In the words of Martin, information is beautiful!

Photos: Martin Oberhäuser website.

27 March 2012

Mod dogs

These are the cutest prints for animal lovers! Nate Berkus featured these on his show and they perfectly add a modern punch to any wall in your home, even if you don't have a furry companion! These adorable dog and cat silhouette prints are made by Mod Dog Shop of Minneapolis and sold on Etsy. They come in three different sizes; 17 x 20, 11 x 14 and 8 x 10. The 11 x 14 fine art prints are hand-drawn, printed on acid-free 100% Cotton Rag Paper with non-toxic inks and are signed and dated by the artist. I think I'll have to get the Dachshund print... make that two, one for each of my furry kids!

Photo: Mod Dog Shop website.

Metal works

Brian Linn is a metal designer with Vincent Designs in San Diego. I came across Brian's work during my numerous posts for Cucina Enoteca. Brian created a few of their long steel-and-glass community tables for their family of restaurants. Vincent Designs is an award-winning group of architects, designers, and friends and they create the most memorable pieces I have ever seen! Like the egg-shaped Puzio sculpture at the top. As far as I can tell they do it all... indoors, outdoors, commercial spaces, residential, even unique planters! Check out their vast array of talent here.

Photos: Vincent Designs website.

26 March 2012

Photo of the week

Irvine, CA. Last Sunday I finally made it... to Cucina Enoteca that is. And in one word, fabulous! Everything from the staff, the food, the decor, to the ambiance was perfect. My girlfriend and I spent a great Sunday afternoon leisurely enjoying plate after plate of food, sharing in every delicious bite. It didn't feel like we were seated in a restaurant, it felt like we were sitting at one of our kitchen tables, letting the afternoon slowly slip by, sipping wine and talking. And that's exactly what the staff want you to do, feel at home and stay at long as you want. That my friends is how to spend a Sunday afternoon!

If you haven't been to Cucina Enoteca, I highly recommend you go and have a taste for yourself. I've posted about it a few times before and it far exceeded my expectations. Learn more about it here and here. And not to worry, if you live in San Diego county, you can head to the sister restaurant Cucina Urbana! Is LA next for Cucina? I say yes, they could easily take on the food scene and rise above the many over-rated LA restaurants!

All the photos were, of course, taken with Instagram, my favorite app of all time!

25 March 2012

Heavy on design, light on weight

Concrete furniture kind of reminds me of The Flintstone's. Modern and stone age work well for Fred, but not for us 21st century creatures. However, a new group of designers are making it much easier for concrete to find its place in our homes and on our patios, and without any hernias! They've been experimenting with lightweight composites (course sand, fiberglass and/or stone), which needs no sealant and makes the pieces easier to move and more resistant to cracking than concrete. One of the designers leading the way is Zachary A. Bitner, who's Van Dyke line of furniture (pictured at top), is as clean, comfortable and beautiful as concrete can get!

via Zachary A. Design website; 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.

Other furniture heavyweights are creating concrete furniture too. Green-form of Santa Monica do wonderful planters and lounge chairs.

And West Elm, who's pebble side table is zen perfection!

See more over at the LA Times Home blog.

Photos: West Elm, Zachary A. Design, and Green Form websites.

24 March 2012

Illustrator extraordinaire: Edward McGowan

I know, you've been waiting very patiently my friends. I'm listening, I really am, so here you go! Another illustrator extraordinaire post. Today I introduce you to Edward McGowan, an Edinburgh-based illustrator with a keen eye for bright colors and rough textures. By night, he lives as his alter-ego Parko Polo. As Parko Polo, Edward pairs cheerful colors with clean, bold geometric lines to create images of wonder and exploration. When these men sleep, I have no idea. But I can tell you I'm a fan of both. Check out their wonderful collection of portfolio pieces and you'll be wondering when do they sleep too. Rumor has it Parko drinks far too much coffee!

Photos: Edward McGowan and Parko Polo websites.

Spring nesting

I don't normally blog a lot on crafts, although I really do enjoy them. Problem is, I never seem to find enough time to actually go and buy the materials and sit down to create the craft. It's a vicious cycle. But since it is National Craft Month, why not post a little something! This lovely birch bird's nest craft from Martha Stewart, will surely end up on my list of craft to-do's. I think it's just the perfect center piece for the Springtime table. Learn more about how to create it right here on Martha Stewart.

Photo: Martha Stewart website.

22 March 2012

You might as well have a cookie

Who knew! According to researchers from the University of Sydney, bananas give you the same sugar crash as cookies! Researchers set out to determine which foods fill you up and keep you full. The result was the satiety index, a measure of how full you feel after eating something. So, after reviewing the infographic created by Column Five and Massive Health, you should probably grab an apple or orange. Guess that's bad news for the Morning Banana Diet!

See the full infographic here.

Photo: Column Five

21 March 2012

Wise words

Today's inspiring words!

Photo; Serif and Sans website.

What would you give up?

Seems smelling fresh and clean is still pretty valued to most Americans, over the internet that is. But who are those 7% that don't? Ick. According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, which weighed the internet’s importance on everything from the global economy to individual lives. The polls found that 21% of Americans would give up sex for internet access, but only 10% would give up their cars. Surprising? Not really.

What is surprising is when you start asking people what they would give up to keep the internet in their lives. 73% of Americans say they’d give up alcohol. 43% would give up exercise. And 21% would give up sex. Do we really value the internet that much? Apparently so, but it's a 'perceived value.' While the US Perceived Value is $3,000, France is $4,788, and India... a mere $494. That should tell us something. Read more more over at Fast Co. Design.

Download a PDF here of the entire study. It contains some very nicely done infographics, as well as comparisons on consumer benefits from the internet and the internet's impact on various countries around the world.

Photo: Fast Co Design website.

18 March 2012

Bringing back sign painting

Graphic designers, artists, letterers, and fans of San Francisco's oldest established sign painting shop New Bohemia Signs, recently gathered for their first-ever sign painting workshop with the studio’s proprietor, Damon Styer. Oh how I wish I could have taken part! Sign painting is pretty much a lost art, but so very vital for today's small business owners and communities.

Damon started out with some tips on how to hold the brush and how to approach letter construction and lots of practice. The workshop was a huge success and every open space was filled with students anxious to learn this wonderful trade. Such a success even, you too can get your brush on with Damon very soon... the brush lettering workshop will be available to conference attendees at TYPO San Francisco on Friday, 06 April at 11am. Check out the details on the conference website here.

I have a feeling Damon and New Bohemia Signs just might revitalize this incredible art!

Photos: Fontshop blog.

17 March 2012

Tangerine Tango

It's already close to a third into the year and I forgot to post the 2012 Pantone Color of the Year! My apologies.

Tangerine Tango takes the stage this year, a spirited reddish orange provides an energy boost we need to recharge and move forward. Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute says. "Reminscent of the radiant shading of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy." Okay, I'll agree with that.

Tangerine Tango is a multi-purpose color and is well used in industries like fashion, cosmetics and interiors for its bold hue.

Photo: Google

The warming hanger

Homelessness has always bothered me. I really wish it didn't exist... every person deserves a place to call home. Samusocial, a Romania organization that provides care and medical aid to homeless people and people in distress, is doing their part. They came up with a low-budget, low-tech, yet high-impact campaign to help those in need. And it's fabulous!

There are too few shelters to help all homeless in Bucharest, therefore warm clothes are very much needed. When the organization wanted to provide warm clothing to the homeless for the coming winter months, it looked no further than the local dry cleaner. This winter they partnered up with two dry cleaning chains to collect clothes for homeless people. They did it low-cost with clothes donation pledges on hangers. A tag attached to each hanger asked customers to donate old clothing. Customers simply had to hang unwanted clothing on the hangers, return them to the cleaners with their next load of dry cleaning, and the nonprofit would take it from there. The highly effective campaign has already received 1 ton of clothing donations that will clothe nearly 5,000 homeless people with a total campaign cost of only 645 Euros. Bravo to Samusocial! Spread the word and spread the warmth!

Photos: Osocio website.

Type matters!

As a type freak, I'm thinking this book is a definite for my library! Type Matters! was originally conceived by University graphics lecturer Jim Williams as a small booklet to hand out to his students. It's now been expanded and is set to be published in April as a notebook-style 160 page, faux leather covered book from Merrill. Can't wait!

Photo: Creative Review website.

The visual beauty of HTML

Let's face it, technical and collegiate books are boring. Boring to read and boring to look at, even when it comes to website coding books. Well, that has all changed. Authors Jon Duckett and designer Emme Stone redesigned the coding tech book to make it accessible, relevant and attractive, not just for programmers, but to a whole new group of readers... like designers, bloggers, content and e-commerce managers and marketers. HTML&CSS is full-color and packed with fantastic infographics, attractive code samples and plenty of white space, with all of the examples photographed in a studio setting.

They say it's a 'book about code that doesn't read like a 1980's VCR manual.' And I agree! Never has there been a more beautiful tech book! Get your copy here.

Photos: HTML&CSS website.

Manly modern

Design Bureau said it best... 'This high-powered Portland agency mixes vintage details and manly modern in a rad space for creatives.' They are speaking of the incredible super cool workspace of creative agency Parliament, housed in a historic cereal mill in downtown Portland. I really don't know what's cooler, their dynamite portfolio or their killer workspace. Either way, you really need to see it! And it's a must you view the original building photos (click on Original Condition), before they put their interior twists on it, which were designed by Chris Erickson, the agency's principle and creative director.

via Design Bureau wesbsite: Parliament's digs were built with reclaimed lumber from century-old barns and churches, and outfitted with old-fashioned crates and signage. All the interior wood is finished with beeswax. Carpenter Kyle Sharp spent six months making Erickson's vision a reality.

I love the collaboration table (and the vintage typewriter on top), the rustic wood walls and blend of modern Eames chairs and furniture. The good news is business is great and the men have already outgrown the space. The bad news is they'll be vacating the space over the summer and moving into a new studio. Rental property anyone?

Photos: Lincoln Barbour/Courtesy of Parliament.
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