what better place to start than with designs that hold a special place in my heart? the following represent principles, aesthetics and ideas that mean something to me- for this reason i’ve chosen to list my favorite designs, in no particular order, to give an idea of what i think is good design.
IN THE BEGINNING [dcw*charles and ray eames] this is where it all starts. post-modernism’s obsession with bent plywood began here; charles and ray eames were masters of simplicity and form. most, if not all, contemporary designers owe quite a bit to the designs of the eameses. this husband and wife duo managed to make simple materials and simple forms popular, not to mention iconic. their designs continue to be reflected in works by contemporary design teams like blu dot and offi.
FRENCH MADE [square vase*ronan and erwan bouroullec] simplicity and elegance in one modern shape. perfection. period. if you don’t already know the brothers from paris yet just wait- you will. ronan and erwan bouroullec already have their own book, from phaidon no less, and a slew of manufacturers (from vitra and cappellini to magis and issey miyake) lining up to commission their work. you can see their projects in detail at www.bouroullec.com
TUNE IN TOKION [south cover issue*tokion] anything by tokion makes my list. their commitment to creativity, best seen in each issue’s incredible layout, the editors’ unbelievable design radar and their annual ‘creativity now conference’ are unsurpassed. pick up an issue now. you’ll be glad you did.
LOOKS GREAT SOUNDS…? [radio*tivoli] tivoli’s retro/modern look almost makes me forget about how bad the sound is. while tivoli claims to be in the same class as other little radios that could (see: Bose), it’s ability to knock your socks off with its superior sound quality remains to be seen. but so far it’s doing a good job of being seen, period. this little guy is hip enough to have sponsored some of the swankiest parties for this year’s icff. let’s hope tivoli finds a way to master sound the way they’ve mastered slick throw back design.
GOOD READ [magazine sofa*twentytwentyone] i can’t stress enough my love of compartmentalization. anything with enclosed storage space has a special place in my heart. twentyonetwentyone’s magazine sofa might fall short in the comfort department but scores bigtime for its design principles.
ROCK OUT [rar*charles and ray eames] this is quite possibly my favorite chair of all time. it doesn’t get any cuter than this. there is a reason why the eames’ designs live on in every hip thai restaurant in the city- they are chic, cheap and add instant design credibility to any establishment. now if only you didn’t feel like you were going to tip over when you sit in them…
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT [lit close*ronan and erwan bouroullec] i like to think of myself as the president of the bouroullec’s fanclub. or at the very least, their number one groupie- the parisian duo speaks to my love of compartmentalization in a way no one else does. in all likelihood one would feel quite claustrophic in an enclosed bed, but when it looks this cool, isn’t it worth the risk?
THE WALL [brick*bouroullecs] the boroullecs always know how to make boring shelving not so, well, boring. i was lucky enough to see the foam prototypes and even at their earliest conception the brick shelves managed to contain the most important design fundamentals. these guys just don’t mess up.
GONE GINGKO [montague:glam*twenty2] twenty2 just couldn’t go wrong at this year’s icff-along with 2×4 and flavorpaper, the new design team lead the way in the graphic wallcovering craze. their montague wall coverings may have jumped on the gingko leaf band wagon, but who cares? they’re cool enough to make you forget
BERGDORF DARLINGS [maxwell:terrain*twenty2] metropolis picked up on twenty2′s hip line of wall coverings in may- ever since then they’ve expanded the line and made the front windows of bergdorf’s. mission accomplished.
REAL CHAIRS HAVE CURVES [panton chair*verner panton] it doesn’t get any more iconic than this chair. verner panton’s designs have become part of the modernist canon- and rightfully so. his dedication to the marriage of form and function sealed his place in the design hall of fame. you can see this chair everywhere from hollywood to the gap. there isn’t a single market that hasn’t discovered panton’s skill in creating objects that are both functional products and stunning works of art.
THE SWEDES ARE COMING [garland*tord boontje] while boontje may be one of the many designers to come from the land of ikea, he is rightfully a step above the rest. murray moss was quick to snatch these lightbulb accessories up- and with good reason. boontje’s ability to add elegance to everyday objects is unsurpassed. his commitment to intricacy and delicate design deserves to be mentioned in a class of its own.
TOUGH LOVE [tvac*ron arad] i can’t get enough of this chair. i’d fill my home with them if they weren’t so damn uncomfortable. i love ron arad’s contribution to vitra’s standards collection, but please ron, please design a version with cushions.
NEWCOMER [georgie*todd seidman (pratt grad student- icff debut)] georgie stood out among a crowd of cardboard benches and stools in the pratt booth at this year’s icff. seidman’s table echoes classic nelson designs but adds a seductive twist to an old standard that makes the most beautiful shadows. well done for a first timer.
BEST OF THE RETRO [ball chair*eero aarnio] i love anything womb-like and eero aarnio’s ball chair is the epitome of maternal seating. even more so than knoll’s womb chair, aarnio’s classic design remains both the grooviest and most soothing way to kick back in style.
AL-GEES [algues*bouroullec brothers] while no one seems to know how to pronounce them, everyone knows that they want them. i’m predicting it’s going to be one of vitra’s most successful products in years- if not in retail sales, in commercial use. it’s got ‘hip restaurant design’ written all over it. are you listening, karim rashid?