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Friday, May 17th, 2013

5 Ways With the Saarinen Dining Table

Becky

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We are so proud that we offer Saarinen Dining Tables from Knoll. They are a mid-century modern classic designed by Eero Saarinen to help “clear up the slum of legs,” both table and chair. Pedestal bases reduce the number of legs from four to one, and both the tables and chairs have come to be known more commonly as tulip tables and tulip chairs.

Available with marble, laminate, granite, wood veneers and more, the tables come in several sizes. The greatest thing about these tables is that they fit in everywhere, from serving as the main dining table in the center of an elegant dining room to a small kitchen table in a colorful eat-in kitchen. The table is a classic mid-century modern piece that does not go out of style.

A nod to Sputnik. This retro-inspired room by Kristen Grove is definitely mid-century modern inspired, but has a fresh look with its lovely floors and updated takes on .

Clean organic contemporary. Croma Design mixes pedestal and legs, marble and wood with a backdrop of grasscloth in this harmonious contemporary dining space.
A mix of old and new. A wide age-range of furnishings within traditional architecture creates quite the combination. The table fits nicely into a modest-sized corner, and in this case, plays off the curves of the classic Cherner chairs and Patricia Urquoila Caboche light. (via Remodelista, photograph by Photography Lisa Duncan and Wayne Miller)

Paired with its old friends, the Eames and Mr. Nelson. This room has a warm yet somewhat minimal vibe, combining several mid-century classics in including Eames chairs and a Nelson Ball Pendant Light. The sideboard, pewter pieces and artwork warm it up and infuse it with the owners’ personalities, thus keeping it from looking like a catalog shot. (via Plastolux, photograph by Chris Nguyen)

Partying it up with bentwood chairs. A Saarinen table paried with fanciful bentwood chairs makes for an yummy eat-in kitchen table, slum of legs be damned!

Shop all Saarinen tables

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Thursday, September 13th, 2012

A Brief History of Emeco’s 1006 Chair

Becky

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When I received my Design Public newsletter titled “Get the Look: Industrial Chic” this a.m., it got me thinking about one my very favorite chairs. If you know me at all, you know I have a major chair fetish, so giving a certain chair my attention is a major compliment. Anyway, the chair of which I speak is the Emeco 1006  Chair (a.k.a. Navy Chair). Here’s a little more information on its rise to popularity.I am cribbing this verbatim from emeco.com:

In 1944, Wilton Carlyle Dinges founded the Electrical Machine and Equipment Company (Emeco) in Hanover Pennsylvania utilizing the skills of local craftsman. During WWII the U.S government gave him a big assignment, make chairs that could withstand water, salt air and sailors. Make chairs lightweight and make them strong, build them for a lifetime. Aluminum was the obvious choice, engineered for practical purposes, designed by real people. Emeco named the chair with a number: 1006, some people call it the Navy chair. We still call it the Ten-o-six. Forming, welding, grinding, heat-treating, finishing, anodizing- just a few of the 77 step it takes to build an Emeco chair. No one else makes chairs this way. No one can. It takes a human eye to know when the process is done right, and it takes human hands to get it that way. Our goal. Make recycling obsolete and keep making things that last.

They have this super cool set of drawings for the original chair posted on their site too:

What I didn’t realize was that until Ian Schrager hired Philippe Starck to re-design the Paramount Hotel in 1990, you could only find the chair at police stations, hospitals, prisons and other government sties. Because the chairs last for several lifetimes, sales were in a real slump; no one ever needed a replacement chair! However, while Schrager was making hotels cool, Starck was making the 1006 Chair cool:

When the CEO of Emeco and Starck met in the hub-bub of ICFF, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship; Starck designed the Hudson Chair for Emeco:

as well as the Kong Chair:

Emeco has added using recycled material to their list of sustainable moves, the original move being that you never have to throw the 1006 Navy chair away, as its function and form never falter. Be on the lookout for the latest chair, the Broom Chair, designed by Starck, which is made of waste plastic and comes in an array of bodacious colors:

I will be adding the Broom Chair to my Wish List!

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Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

A Mid-Century Modern Gem in Spokane

Becky

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I recently had the pleasure of talking with Sam Ferris (whom I connected with via iittala products) about the incredible home where he grew up in Spokane, Washington. Ferris’s parents, Mary Jean and Joel Ferris, owned a home accessories, art and furniture store in Spokane back in the 1950s, and it was a hub of mid-century design right at the height of the movement.

After having a little trouble getting neighbor approval for the type of modern house they wanted to build and live in, a family member hooked them up with some property that had been in the family since the early 1900s, and they hired on-the-rise, local modern architect Bruce Walker to build them their dream house.

The Ferrises were passionate about nurturing designers and promoting modern architecture and design, and they lived and worked to spread the word. “There were very few modern houses in Spokane back then, and sometimes my friends would tease me that my house looked like a post office!” says Sam Ferris. “The privilege of growing up in this house impacted the way I see the world.”

Since the passing of their parents, the Ferris children have preserved their legacy by fixing the house up, preserving it and documenting the story of the house on a website called Spokane MidCentury. They attained historic landmark status in Spokane, which will preserve the integrity of the architecture. It is one of only two modern houses locally to achieve this status. They are also applying for National Landmark Status for the home.

“The house and yard are too big for any of us, so we are ready to pass it on,” says Ferris. “It was such a gift to have this house in the family for so long; we want to leave it in great condition for an active family to enjoy.”

The Ferrises were the first store to carry work by artist Harold Balazs who created the bronze sculptural piece on the left. Balazs went on to do many large public art projects and is just one example of the couples’ passion for nurturing designers. “Balazs was kind enough to come by the house late last year and re-attach 2 pieces of the screen.  My parents enjoyed having parties and well . . . these things happen,” says Ferris. “HB is in his eighties now but still has very happy memories of the people who believed in him as a gifted artist in his early twenties.”

Ferris’s parents were pioneers whose tastes were influential all over the Northwest, and their children have done an exquisite job of paying tribute to them via their care for this home. “The house is timeless, and so is the positive energy my parents sent out to the world in their life’s work,” he says. Thanks so much to Sam Ferris for sharing all this positive energy with us!

Photography by J. Craig Sweat Photography Inc.

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Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Hans Wegner and His Wishbone Chairs

Becky

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When I noticed our sister store, Danish Design store, was having a sale (buy five and get a sixth for free) on Hans Wegner’s Wishbone Chairs, my mind started to spin, as I have been coveting them for years. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to pick a style or color as they are so much fun in the bright colors yet so mid-century modern cool in the original finishes, but I dream of having these in my dining room.

Hans J. Wegner was born in 1914 in Denmark. As he matured, it turned out he was the right person in the right place at the right time. He cut his teeth in design and furniture making as a teenager, apprenticing for a master cabinetmaker. He then went on to study furniture making as well as architecture in Copenhagen, where he was inspired by the Carpenters’ Guild Furniture Exhibits.

Wegner continued his education by working under Arne Jacobsen. who is probably best known for designing the Swan Chair and the Egg Chair, which both remain modern icons (personally, my favorite is a vintage Grand Prix chair, but that’s a story for another day):

After developing his style of organic and functional designs, Wegner designed the Wishbone Chair in 1949, during the height of mid-century modern design. The chair has had a major influence on design ever since and is a Danish Modern icon. It works in so many rooms, from a Japanese tea house vibe to very contemporary spaces.

Feast your eyes on the Wishbone in a variety of colors and room styles:

image from Kristen Rivoli Interior Design

Tempted yet? If you are, add 6 to your shopping cart over at Danish Design Store and enter 6FOR5 at checkout.

Most images via The Wishbone Chair Blog; a few at the bottom I ripped from Pinterest and have no idea where they originally came from, which I hate to do, but I had to share them. Please let me know if you know the sources.

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Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

It’s Modern Playhouse Time!

Becky

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This Lichtenstein house in The High Museum of Art’s front yard got me thinking about modern playhouses the other day:

Doesn’t it look fantastic with the building’s gridded white facade behind it? Depending on where you’re standing, its lines and perspective change.

A lot of my all-time favorite playhouses have been posted over at the fabulous blog created by vintage mavens Alix and Dottie, Modern Kiddo. They brought back many of their readers’ happy memories of The Nut Tree destination rest stop in Vacaville, California in this delightful post. Here’s a peek at just two of the amazing, kid-friendly and colorful designs that were part of The Nut Tree back in the day  (according to their post, it closed in 1996 and some of it was demolished, but re-opened in 2009). How awesome is the graphic design on this funhouse?

I love the modern spirit behind these three modern playhouses. All are made with certified sustainable wood and are pretty easy to assemble. This is the Circle House with Furniture Set from Modern Playhouse:

I love its simple lines and whimsical circle cut-outs. The house is made of plywood and was inspired by Scandinavian fishing shacks. It’s the perfect spot for a tea party.

Next, we have the MD-20 from TrueModern:

This house was designed by Edgar Blazona, is made of eco-friendly sustainable birch plywood and coated in non-toxic finishes. It also has wall-mounted paper tablets that turn it into a little one’s own private art studio.

Finally, we have the Puzzle Playhouse and Furniture Set from Modern Playhouse. It can be stored flat and easily assembled and disassembled on a daily basis, but honestly, it’s so cute, you’ll want to find a special spot to keep it on display all the time.

Do you have happy memories of your playhouse, or have you built one for your kiddos? Please tell us about it in the comments section!

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