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Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Flickr Faves on Fridays: Anti-Depressive Vintage

Becky

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I love checking out the home of blogger Kay Loves Vintage,and I was so excited to see that she posted this picture to our OTHER Flickr group that I started, Anti-Depressive Living. To be honest, I had been ignoring that group for awhile because a bunch of people had posted all kinds of stuff they were selling and I didn’t feel like dealing with it (I’m a really bad Flickr administrator). Anyway, it’s totally taken on a life of its own and the variety of images posted in there are totally wackadoodle and I love it. It makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever.

Well, that was NOT to say that Kay’s wackadoodle, she has got it going on, and I’ve learned a lot about vintage pieces from her. I think I spy a PH light, some vintage Eames shell chairs, a Catherine Holm bowl, perhaps some Dansk (?) and that’s the extent of my vintage knowledge.

Also, Kay has a cool blog called KayLovesVintage and it’s a delight.

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Designer Interview: Adam Fitzgerald of Jackson Street Furniture

Becky

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Recently I have the pleasure of sitting down with (O.K., actually  emailing back and forth with; this is the era of the Golden Globe winning The Social Network) Adam Fitzgerald, architect and furniture designer extraordinaire. I hope you will find as much inspiration from his work and his advice as I have!

Please tell us a bit about how your company came to be – your creative background and how you began to build your
business.

I’ve been an architect for over 20 years, but I’ve designed and built furniture since I was in graduate school. Working
with furniture is satisfying for me because it’s such an intimate thing. We interact with furniture on a daily basis, and
almost constantly at that. Plus it’s easier to take chances with furniture. When you’re doing a building that costs
millions of dollars it can be tough to get the client to try something different. So furniture offers me the opportunity to
experiment, and try things that are “on the edge”. I was also motivated to design and build furniture when I first got
out of school because I couldn’t find good contemporary furniture that was affordable, so it’s always been a goal of
mine to sell a line that is creative, but also affordable to most people.

Please take us on a bit of a virtual tour of your studio. What’s the neighborhood like? What were some of your
priorities when finding a space where you need to be creative?

My current studio is fairly ordinary. It’s a “flex” space with an office and a large open area for the shop. The
neighborhood is a gritty area on the north side of Denver. I really like this kind of neighborhood. There’s a real
mix of businesses and artists in the area. I can find sources for all kinds of materials and ideas just by talking with
people in my building. There’s everything here from another contemporary furniture company to companies that mill
complex machine parts. So the “community” I could say, is very important in choosing a space. Before this location
I had a space here in Denver in a building with ten artists that offered a great a chance for feedback and inspiration.
Unfortunately the owner sold the building, and we were booted to the street!

When I step outside I get a great view of the Denver skyline with the mountains in the background which isn’t too
bad! I can even see the last building I did in the skyline—a 41 story condominium that I finished off last year, right
before I started Jackson Street Furniture.

Where do you start when designing something new? A sketch? A wood sample? A dream?
I get inspiration everywhere. I often get ideas from ordinary things I see that have nothing to do with furniture but
that have a geometry, or character that strikes me as beautiful. I’ve consciously tried to stay away from studying the
history of furniture, or specific styles. I try approach furniture design from the “outside”. In school, I had to study a lot
of architectural history and I think when designing you can actually use “style” as a crutch that keeps you from really
trying more innovative things. I sketch all my ideas. Many of them go nowhere, but I keep them all. I revisit them
every so often. I’ve found that often a sketch from years ago will inspire a new idea when I look at it with fresh eyes.

How do you stay inspired? Any advice for those who are suffering from a creative block?
I always keep a sketchbook close by. When inspiration hits, I sketch it out. Sometimes it will be months or even
years before I come back to it, but I also might go into the studio the next day and start building it. The building
process keeps me inspired. I often start with an idea I’ve sketched but by the time I’m done it’s morphed into
something entirely different. That keeps the creative juices flowing—I love being spontaneous with design.

If I’m “blocked’ creatively, I try to get away from what I’m working on and rejuvenate my mind by doing something
else. I think the subconscious takes over if you’re distracted and before long, new ideas work their way to the
surface.

Onto the furniture! There is something a dash Rat Pack about some of your pieces to me (I mean that as a
compliment – am I way off?), in particular the Zoom Table and BOG (O)Val Table. I also feel a sense of nostalgia
when I look at the Open Wide Table. You clearly balance a touch of retro inspiration with your contemporary designs.
How do you balance the old and the new?

I definitely think you’re right about some of my furniture having a mid century quality, and I’ve had others tell me that
as well. (I like the idea of Dean Martin pulling up next to the Zoom table with a scotch and a cigarette!) But it’s not
really something I consciously strive for. I’ve always been drawn to simple geometry and forms that are streamlined,
but also a bit quirky and unusual—not the more rigid, formal shapes of “classical” modernism. I love the designs you
find on fabrics from the 50’s and 60’s.

Do you have any words of wisdom for creatives who are ready to make the leap into a building a business?
First, if it’s something you love to do—definitely go for it. Life’s short, and you’ve got to take chances. Second, I think
it’s important to dive into the deep end, so to speak. Go “all in”, and immerse yourself in it. To me, that’s the only
way to do your best work, and give yourself and your ideas the best shot at being successful.

Adam, thanks so much for sitting down with us today and sharing your inspirations and advice! To see the Jackson Street Furniture line, click here.

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Friday, August 13th, 2010

Mad Men Auction on eBay!

Becky

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Why did I not hear about this until I received my People mag in the mail today? There is a Mad Men auction happening on eBay, that includes lamps, desks, sofas and chairs from the old Sterling Cooper office sets! Proceeds will go to City of Hope. As this goes to post, there are over nine days left in the ten day auctions.

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Monday, July 26th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Mad Men’s New Digs

Becky

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I am so excited to see Sterling Cooper Draper Price’s new digs in the Time Life building. Apparently there is a non-existent second floor, and they have The Emporer’s New Conference Table. The set designers on this episode are so genius. I’ve been all over AMC.com today looking for videos about the new sets but so far I’ve come up with nothing, but they are great about feeding us tidbits about their process so I feel hopeful there will be some good videos about the sets there soon.

There were many nuances in the set design. Betty, who now has a new husband in her bed, has tossed out the peacock blue velvet upholstered headboard for something more traditional (along with all of her fifties nipped-at-the-waist frocks for frumpier roomy suits and a double strand of oversized pearls). Don has moved into a depressing, pre-furnished, divorced dad apartment in the city (above), complete with bunk beds for overnights with the kids. It has absolutely no feeling of home, unlike his old house in the ‘burbs.

The most exciting thing about the episode were the shiny new offices of the new firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Price. Some of the artwork has evolved, their are shell chairs and Saarinen everywhere, and everything looks just a little bit more modern than the old firm. I can’t wait to see Cooper’s office and accompanying artwork, which they did not reveal last night. Doesn’t this area look like something that could exist in some hip start up? I love the detail of the Lanvin shoe on the inspiration board on the right.Oh wait, you can’t see it in this shot, but you can in the one below it:

Roger Sterling’s white office is my favorite. Complete with tulip table, I’m blanking on what that white lamp is called (please help me in the comments section! Thanks CapreeK “Nesso Table Lamp by Giancarlo Mattioli for Artemide”), white mirrored console, graphic black and white curtains and black and white painting. Check out the chrome table lamp and coat rack!


Breaking through more glass ceilings, Joan now has her own office. She’s kept it more traditional:

Still no conference table – it will be funny to see how that works out:

Finally, Don’s office hasn’t changed much. He still likes his mid-century modern dark woods, though it’s lightened up a bit. The spirits are still the most important part of the office:

Did you watch? What was your favorite part of the set design (or the show, I’m always happy to dish about this show!).

all images from amctv.com

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Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Organization Tuesday: A Super-Duper Office / Using Tumblr

Becky

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I was cruising around on tumblr yesterday (it had been awhile) and I found this gorgeous office in my favorites. I am not sure where credit is due, but it seems the first person to blog it was gigimelo. NEW NOTE: Thank you to Victoria, who knew exactly whose office this is! It is where the creative magic of Tif Fussell happens. Check out Tif’s work at dottie angel. Buy it on Etsy!

So, Organization Point #1: A Gorgeous & Neat Work Environment. This is a beautifully organized workspace. I am not quite sure what’s going on in that bottom shelf on the right, but I like that there is one little messy element. That magazine file on the desktop can hide a multitude of sins and serve as an inbox without messing things up. I can’t quite tell what is in the Catherine Holm casserole dish, but it sure looks neat and organized. I would not have thought to use a casserole dish that way. I’m sure it would get a lot more use on my desk than in my kitchen. The drawers in the vintage desk provide plenty of space for everything to be tucked away. Also, check out how organized the art arrangement is. With everything lined up neatly like this in a similar color palette, you could hang pages from a lovely glossy and it would look fantastic!

Organization Point #2: Using tumblr. Does anyone out there use tumblr? What do you use it for? For those of you who don’t know or don’t care to blog, you may find you really enjoy tumblr. It’s kind of like tweeting but with photos, at least for me. It is also a very simple way to dip your toes into blogging, as it certainly isn’t all about photos. That’s just what I use it for. Anyway, you can peruse everyone’s blogs right on the site in one easy feed, and mark your favorite posts. You can also re-post those that you like.

So, how does this help you get organized? The result is that you can create style files of your favorite images. You can also tag them. For example, when I want to look at inspiring black and white designs I’ve been collecting, I can go into my own tumblr blog and search “black and white” and they’ll all come up in a wonderful stream (here is mine if you want to see what I mean). The catch is that you have to be an obsessive compulsive tagger to make this work. Overall, it’s the perfect spot to store all kinds of inspiration and ideas. If you do post to tumblr, please remember to give credit to publications/websites/blogs/photographers if you are using their images.

Here are just a few of my favorite design people to follow on tumblr (tumblr has even informed me that they are among my “tumblr crushes” because I mark their images as favorites the most often!):

The Brick House

Yvestown

Design Evolution (this post Michelle wrote is how I found out just what the heck tumblr was in the first place – seriously, how does everyone keep up with the latest and greatest web tool? It’s ridiculously overwhelming!)

The Beautiful Soup

My Farmhouse

P.S. Doesn’t this office fit the color palette from yesterday? It does a much better job than I did, and it wasn’t even trying!

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