Chairs to the New Year!

The annual Design Within Reach Champagne Chair Contest 2010 finalists found inspirat New Music Economy ion in the champagne cork. The seemingly unassuming cork holds typically between 60 to 90 pounds per square inch in pressure (a pressure that can be compared to a double decker bus tire), as well as a healthy competitive pressure that inspires one highly creative design competition. 2010's winner (top left above), was designed by Jesse Menayan. He and the other competitors could use only the raw materials of the foil, label, cage and cork from not more than two Champagne bottles — no glue, tape or paint. When ringing in the New Year with a toast, you too can design your own work of cork chair art by following these how-to steps. Have fun and have a Happy New Year!




Bistro chair found at design sponge online. More information available at and

New Music Economy

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No two are ever the same

It is likely that snowflakes can be the same, but it is not probable that any one person would see those similar snowflakes if they did exist.  Nonetheless, I prefer to stick with the thought that every snowflake is unique, just like the design its natural beauty inspires.

Designer Philippe Bestenheider's "Nanook Chair" was inspired by the molecular structure of the snowflake, though they also remind me of autumn leaves–another natural beauty that falls from the sky.

This snowflake table design by Claesson Koivisto Rune for OFFECT is the world's first furniture to be massed produced and yet, one-of-a-kind.  The tables are cut using a computer program that changes the pattern with set perimeters for each table with the aim to achieve the same variation that is found with real snowflakes.


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Wooly Good

The first fluffy white snow has fallen in Chicago this past week, followed by a North wind that's blowing in temperatures down to the single digits.  It's time to get warm and toasty with a cozy wool blanket.  Cuddly and oh, so welcome when you're still trying to get the feeling back into your toes.  Plus with all the soothing natural blends available and textile interpretations to choose from, wrapping yourself up in a wool blanket is almost becoming performance art– of the very-comfortable-on-the-couch kind.

Like the one above. Could you not imagine melting into the lovely, nubbly thickness of this blanket. It is made by hand using a handspun yarn blend of wool and mohair called Pixie Dust, but since a blanket like this could make one purr with sheer delight, they might consider calling it the Cat's Meow.

Wouldn't you love wrapping this luxuriously soft apalca-cotton blend blanket around your shoulders. Its striking, rich bands of color would also add warmth to the room when draped on the back of the couch or laying over a leather chair.


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A new take on O Tannenbaum

Christmas trees remind me of gifts and gifts remind me of ribbons…wait, that sounds familiar. I must be feeling the season, because now my thoughts turn to the Christmas tree and all its decorated glory and contagious happiness.  But everyone has their own version of happiness beyond the traditional tree and that's just fine.

Take for instance a whimsical tree composed of found objects by artist Jane Schouten. It's a patchwork of delight that'll fill the season with joy, as well as the whole year through.


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And a ribbon runs through it

Now that we're in the holiday season, it had me thinking about gifts, and gifts had me thinking about ribbons and all the magic they bestow on a gift. Seriously, what's a gift without a beautiful ribbon tied around it in a big, festive bow.  It's a half-naked gift, that's what it is. Ribbons' infinite colors, textures and styles inspire design. Take for instance, this multi-layered-vision-of-a-wallpaper from Studio Ditte.  Ribbons wrap around us in beautiful joy.


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