Design for Kids
Today we have the pleasure of introducing Mr. Edgar Blazona of TrueModern, and learning about his new playhouse design, which may just nudge your toddler into becoming a budding Modernist.
We know you’ve had a background in prefab architecture. Tell us a bit about how your experience with prefabs lead to the creation of the playhouse.
When I started building modern prefab architecture, I was trying to create a space that I could fill with my furniture designs. I felt that I needed a place that was truly modern from the moment you walked in the door. Modern architecture is sometimes unapproachable in cost. Living in the Bay Area, there really isn’t a way to be able to build a modern home. I started in the backyard, thinking I could create a small building that could house my modernist books, mid-century furniture and my own designs. Basically, the playhouse is the same sort of situation. I wanted to create an environment for kids so that they too could grow up in a modernist setting. I have noticed that kids enjoy a little simplicity when they are taken away from the primary colors of plastic play structures.
What influenced the playhouse design?
As you can see in my buildings, there is typically a glass corner or the appearance of one. You can see that within this playhouse as well…
It’s really easy to see the similarities between my prefab work and my playhouse. Frankly, the playhouse is a no-brainer given my extensive exploration into kids’ furniture, which we’ve been doing for years now.
How often have you played in your playhouse?
That’s funny you should ask. I recently had a tea party with a neighbor’s kid. We got inside it, I squeezed through the little door and sat down with her. Funny thing was, we didn’t have any furniture. It kind of make me think we should do some furniture to go with these. What’s a modern playhouse without modern furnishings? Truth be told, we just sat for a bit, giggled and played, and ended up having a really great time.
If you could find the playhouse in the home of any one person who might it be?
Brad Pitt, no doubt. A long time ago, Brad Pitt’s assistant gave me a call. I’ll never forget the day. I was working for Pottery Barn at the time ( yep- the modernist used to work for Pottery Barn! ) and this women called very interested in my Modular Dwellings structures. After I questioned her for a bit, she finally fessed up that she was Brad’s assistant. I was shocked that Brad Pitt was interested in my work. I certainly could imagine him with a whole group of these structures for all of the kids that he seems to have nowadays.
I love the Danish modern aesthetic of the 11 Ply collection. Tell us how you came about the design on these pieces.
With 11 Ply, I was trying to create a new kids’ furniture collection that could not only sit with our existing kids collection, but still look fresh and new. The name 11 Ply actually refers to the 11 layers of veneer, making up the thickness of the plywood. We started with selecting a material and then worked backwards. I chose birch plywood to be used as the main material to create a better quality item (it’s stronger and actually made up of these layers of birch veneer, creating basically a solid birch panel). I then chose a manufacturing technique that would accentuate this type of material. We’re actually using the material as it was intended. We are not putting a veneered edge; we are exposing the natural edge with sanding and clear-finishing. All of the parts and panels are cut on a CNC machine. If you notice, most of the shapes have a rounded top or the drawers have a shape that overhangs the top. The fact that we are not veneering the edges allows us to do this type of design. We even use a simple cutout to work as the drawers’ handle, allowing the user to easily grab on and open the drawer.
We noticed that TrueModern is expanding out of kids bedrooms and into the rest of the home. Tell us more about your “grown up” pieces.
We launched our first sofas a few years ago. We started with two – Luna & Lift. Although Lift hasn’t been a great success, Luna has done really well. People have really responded to the Danish looking, somewhat Haywood Wakefield-inspired legs. Just recently, we launched a few new sofa collections called Dane, which is even more Danish-inspired. The legs are solid walnut and tapered with some interesting stitching technique across the back of the pillows. These pieces in particular are a little more comfy and let you get a little cozy. Marfa is more of a lounge-type sofa, inspired by my favorite artist and modernist, Donald Judd. This block-style sofa is very low and great to kick back, while still looking super cool. Each of these collections are available in several different configurations. It’s been quite a struggle getting all these configuration options perfect and available for purchase. It’s been a long road, but we’ve finally got it and we’re super excited to show these to our customers.
And lastly, what is this Modernism For Life t-shirt brand you have launched?
Yeah- I’m really excited about these new shirts. We are having so much fun making fun of ourselves yet exposing so many to a new way of life. The idea here is that we are modernists, we are proud of our ways, and we want to wear it on our sleeves. Literally. In a way, we are somewhat poking fun at our need for clean lines, simplicity, and good design to fills our lives. Frankly I am using this humor to push back on the status quo. I guess I am bored with the big box stores, Pottery Barn and brands alike. Who decided that the design standard in the US needs to be a “freshened up” version of an antique? And what about clutter? We don’t need clutter. As modernists we are sick of clutter in fact. Frankly clutter makes me have anxiety you just can’t imagine. I think it all starts in the home; being comfortable at home does not need to come in the form of “stuff.” Quite the opposite in fact. Being comfortable in life is so important and I believe modernism can help us all get there. You know, it really cracks me up when you go to someone’s home and it’s a huge mess, yet they go to yoga four times a week to keep their sanity and life in check. Hello? Try getting rid of that clutter and start seeing the light. Modernism For Life- Live it!, as I say.
Thanks so much to Edgar for sitting down with us today!