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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Designer Interview: Domenic Fiorello Studio

Becky

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I recently had the pleasure of bombarding furniture designer Domenic Fiorello with questions. Thanks so much to Domenic for joining us today!
Please tell us a little about your background and how you landed where you are today.

A bit over a year ago, I graduated from the Furniture Design program at the Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate NY. This program had a huge influence on the way I approach my business. It focuses very heavily on design, prototypes, finished objects and craftsmanship. All of my work starts out with my hands physically making the first product … even if it eventually gets subbed out a larger manufacturer.

Your background includes furniture making as well as exhibition design and displays. How did  that experience lead you to the design of your plant pod? The product shots look like mini-exhibitions to me!

Hahaha, yes, yes that is very intentional. While in school I worked with a local art gallery. After seeing how perfect (and white) the walls had to be to display the work, I realized that I wanted my work to be clearly represented in its purest form. I respect seeing products in their environments – it allows people to see the product’s potential in their own homes. But I also have faith in the beauty of an object standing alone.

As for making my way to this design, In school I designed a lot of objects that were very laborious; objects that would have to be sold to a certain class of citizens. Switching the approach to designing a product that could reach other classes, I wanted to come up with something that was small for the ease of shipment and used cheap materials. Something that could take advantage of new, efficiency-driven technologies. Also, to design something that would fit into homes of various styles. These factors just led me to create the Plant Pods … and I think I satisfied all of the above-mentioned factors.

Domenic Fiorello Plant Pod, made from White Oak; has keyhole hangers with screws and template for ease of installation

Where do you look for inspiration?

I look to fine art a lot. I am a huge fan of Sol LeWitt and Mark Rothko. I’m not going to try to define mid-century fine art, but these guys, in my mind, draw from using simple forms and compositions, but through subtlety, there is always a surreal “wow” effect.

Sol LeWitt image from Mass MOCA catalog

Subtlety is very important in my work. I also look to mid-century Scandinavian design as well. I’m in awe every time I see a collection of Hans Wegner chairs.

Wegner dining chairs; image from Vintage & Modern

Do you get creative blocks? How do you un-block?

My creative blocks always tend to happen while in the drawing phase of a design. I will start making models, anything to get my hands involved. It becomes a different way of thinking. Seeing an idea in 3 dimensions really opens the doors as well. Another thing I do is call up a few other designer/maker friends. We’ll get together drink a beer and just start talking about ideas. 3 heads are always better than one.

What else are you working on?

This is a new piece I recently finished, the KF table. The KF Table is a result of my studies in the visual texture of fabric. In recent years my work has been influenced by layering two-dimensional patterns over three-dimensional forms. To further push this idea I was curious to see if I could achieve a fabric-like look. Ultimately, the goal was not to mimic herringbone fabric, but to play off the qualities of the fabric.

photo from Domenic Fiorello Studio

This piece is more of an experimentation of pattern study than a product that will hit the market. I soon hope to push the textural idea into something more producible though.

Top of KF table; photo by Domenic Fiorello Studio

We can’t wait to see what else Domenic comes up with; for now, we’ll enjoy the beautiful Plant Pod perches he’s created for our succulents. Order one for yourself here.

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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Sharing the Second Home After the Breakup…

Becky

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In this economy, a lot of couples who have broken up are still stuck living together, and the movie The Break-Up certainly showed us how disasterous a situation that can be (I may have held out for that apartment too; it was gorgeous). However, it seems things can work out a little better when it comes to a second home.

Last week I was fascinated by this article about a couple who restored a lake house together and planned on getting married there, but broke up before the special day. They divvied up their weekends and decided to have the wedding party without the wedding. Although they plan to sell the house eventually, I thought it was really nice that they decided to share it. It also seemed to me that they must have started decorating the day after reading Jonathan Adler’s My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living – mid-century bottles, Rex Ray artwork, shag rugs, silhouettes, retro ceramic lamps, and even an Adler Liza pillow.

To see a short video about it, click here – the decor is really fun to look at, and the story is sweet and bittersweet. For the full article, click here.

Do you think you could handle sharing a second home with an ex in order to save your access to the real estate?


lake house photos by Fred R. Conrad for The New York Times

The Break-Up image from here.

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Q&A with Kiersten Hathcock of Mod Mom Furniture

Ali

Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali
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Mod Mom FurnitureThe newest addition to the DP family: Mod Mom Furniture. Mod Mom, aka Kiersten Hathcock, personally designs and builds all of her modern, mid-century inspired children’s furniture from her home garage.

Personally, I think it is hard to beat beautiful handmade furniture built by a mom with a power saw.

Enjoy the Q&A!

We know a little bit about your story…ex-TV network marketing executive turned stay-at-home mom turned self-taught furniture designer/builder. I absolutely love that you went for the power tools rather than the sewing machine or knitting needles. Now we want the full scoop. How did Mod Mom Furniture really get off the ground?

Mod Mom Furniture really came out of me needing two things: 1.) Another source of income (since we lost my salary) and 2.) An outlet to channel all the drive and creativity that surprisingly didn’t go away when I decided to stay home with the kids (then 6-months and 4-years). After leaving the corporate world, I took freelance marketing jobs and even nannied to help make ends meet but also be home with the kids. During that time, in 2005, I rekindled my love for woodworking while building a tiki bar and luau tables with a friend for my husband’s birthday party. I had forgotten how much fun it was to build and started to really think about how I could turn it into a business.

I started very slowly building toy bins and selling them to friends (who were kind enough not to point out the flaws because they wanted to be Read the rest of this entry »

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