Thursday, January 28, 2010

Design Blogger Profile: Jill Fehrenbacher of Inhabitat!

With the motto “Green design is good design; good design is green design”, the folks behind set out to help save the Earth and empower consumers with their popular weblog “devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.”

Begun by freelance designer, green design consultant and proud New Yorker Jill Fehrenbacher in the spring of 2005, Inhabitat was well ahead of its time: instructing and inspiring homeowners and apartment dwellers to shuck their un-eco-friendly ways and adopt practices that would have a better impact on the earth. Inhabitat offers information on the best of the best when it comes to home design, fashion, beauty, food, transportation—all with a green spin. We think their best trait is their ability to, as they say, “investigate emerging trends in product, interior and architectural design.”

Helmed by a rather large staff and team of contributors, Mike Chino is the Managing Editor and Emily Pilloton, Olivia Chen, Evelyn Lee, Abigail Doan and Jorge Chapa are Senior Editors. Designed by Fehrenbacher, the site is just gorgeous; featuring an expansive and soft color palette of neutrals and soft greens, the site is easy to navigate, with categories like: architecture, interiors, products, technology, energy, transportation, fashion, art, kids and contest. Photos are big and bright, text brief and informative, and links to ideas and products easy to use.

Our favorite thing about Inhabitat is that they really focus on products and ideas that have substance to them. Unlike other companies and products out there that have only been “green washed” (the idea that some companies tout their products as greener to aid in marketing), Inhabitat’s contributors only bring those items that you know you can trust are really the best investments in with your time and money. In fact, we even love Inhabitat’s frustration with green design being a separate category in today's vernacular---as if it is somehow separated from the rest of design. The founder and writers behind Inhabitat believe, as stated in the motto, that all good design should be inherently green and eco-friendly.

We don’t focus enough on helping the environment here on Swank Lighting; maybe it’s because we feel other blogs do it so much better. It’s an important topic, though, and one which we think needs constant study. So put in your blogroll and visit it again and again!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This Week's Top 5 Favorite 1stdibs Items: Visual Texture!

When most people think of texture in an interior space, they envision textiles full of pattern and fun to touch. But texture in interiors doesn't have to just be limited to upholstery and fabrics; texture can also refer to visual texture. Visual texture can bring interest into a space in ways that ordinary furniture and accessories just can't do. By including intricate and complicated items into your rooms, you increase the excitement. While you might not be able to enjoy in a tactile way the visual textured items we found from this week's newest 1stdibs' items, your eyes will surely be in for a treat!

1) Quasi Console by Aranda/Lasch
We have to confess: we are in love with this piece! Just look at all the facets and shadows and angles. This is an incredibly creative way to bring in texture your space, and in such an architectural way. Made out of walnut wood.
Price: contact dealer
Johnson Trading Gallery

2) White Armless Chair by Kwangho Lee
This chair from designer Kwangho Lee is a great example of how even your seating doesn't have to succumb to the boring effects of plain old textured fabric. This chair is made out of knitted rubber tubing. We can't vouch for the comfort of a piece like this, but we can say it becomes more like a piece of art than just a place to sit.
Price: $4,800
Johnson Trading Gallery

3) Pair of Massive Illuminated Pagodas by Tony Duquette
This pair of massive pagodas are by Tony Duquette circa the 1970's and are an interesting way to add texture, to say the least. Though huge, the repeating patterns of the Japanese architectural details act as a fabulous texture.
Price: contact dealer
Todd Merrill Antiques

4) "SP3" lamp by Verner Panton
This is the original "SP3" three-tier Spiral Lampen in silver foil designed by Verner Panton for J. Luber in Switzerland in 1970. You just can't deny the fabulous texture this intricate light fixture would bring to a space, and with the light bouncing off all the curves and angles it would be a spectacular light source.
Price: contact dealer
R Gallery

5) EC Sienne 1/05
This is an art piece by the contemporary French artist Anne Delfieu. Almost industrial due to its material choice and the rusty color of the exterior, we fell in love with the fabulous texture created by the top of the sculpture, and think it would add a lot of a space.
Price: $5,970

Don't forget to check out the rest of this week's listings from 1stdibs, where you can find more fabulous, one-of-a-kind show-stopping pieces, as well as a number of other great pieces!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Perfect Pair: A Starck Sofa and Rock Candy Lamps!

Yesterday we shared with you the stylish décor and designs of French designer-turned-international phenomenon Philippe Starck. His designs are sleek, organic, modern and contemporary, and maybe not the first thing you might think to pair with our vintage glass lamps here at Swank Lighting. We think you’ll like the pair we chose today—we think it’ll make a great pair for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday as well!

Philippe Starck’s Ploof Sofa is certainly unique. An interestingly-shaped piece of furniture, this sofa can be used indoors or outdoors, and in a number of different rooms, from living rooms to even the bedroom. Made of a type of plastic, it isn’t exactly immediately thought of as cozy, but considering how close you’ll be sitting by someone if two people use this sofa, it’s cozier than one would think. We like the soft, natural curves of the piece, and also enjoy the light, almost pastel lavender color of this Ploof Sofa. Though a little odd, we think this piece would make a great addition to someone’s stylish space.

Though we’ve shown you a number of our Rock Candy Contemporary Recycled Glass Lamps from Swank Lighting before, this particular pair comes in a color combination we just can’t resist. Called Black Raspberry, the colors are deep plums, crimson reds, charcoal grays and black. All mixed together and featuring the Rock Candy lines signature rough texture and interesting-look, we just can't hide our love for these great lights.

As you might imagine, the pairing of Starck’s Ploof Sofa and a pair of Swank Lighting Rock Candy lamps makes for a sassy, bold and feminine combination. The colors in the Black Raspberry lamps, while not matchy-matchy, certainly coordinate well with the Ploof’s lighter, but still in the right tone range, color. We love the contrast between the lamps’ rough, uneven texture and the smooth, even texture of the Ploof Sofa. And, we admit, we love how together it makes for a cutting edge, feminine-look.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Sleek and Futuristic Designs of Philippe Starck!

Philippe Starck is a name synonymous with style. A French product, furniture and interior designer, he’s known for a wide range of famous interiors, products, and even houses. There’s a good chance if you haven’t yet come across one of his designs, you will in the future!

It’s hard to choose one product or piece of furniture that he’s most well-known for to start off this paragraph; the truth is he’s known for a number of famous pieces. You might know him for his creation of the Juicy Salif, a fabulously sleek and space-aged juicer that he created for Alessi in 1990. Or, you could be familiar with him for the series of stylized toothbrushes he created in the late 1980s. Recently he’s contributed his talent to designing Ipod speakers in 2008, or you might know him best for his line of Starck watches with Fossil, Inc.

It’s hard to choose one product or piece of furniture that he’s most well-known for to start off this paragraph; the truth is he’s known for a number of famous pieces. You might know him for his creation of the Juicy Salif, a fabulously sleek and space-aged juicer that he created for Alessi in 1990. Or, you could be familiar with him for the series of stylized toothbrushes he created in the late 1980s. Recently he’s contributed his talent to designing Ipod speakers in 2008, or you might know him best for his line of Starck watches with Fossil, Inc.

If you know furniture, then you probably know Starck the best for his designs with the famous furniture manufacturing company Kartell. Through Kartell Starck has designed pieces like the world-wide phenomenon that is the transparent Louis Ghost chair, the EroS chair, the Bubble Club sofa, and the La Bohème stool. He often creates furniture out of polycarbonate plastic, but he’s worked in many materials.

As for interiors, Starck has designed the Felix restaurant-bar at The Peninsula Hong Kong restaurant, Café Costes in Paris, the Royalton Hotel for Ian Schrager, the Delano Hotel (with Schrager), the hotel SLS Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and much, much more. Always featuring his signature sleek, organic style and sometimes featuring his own furniture and furnishing designs, a Starck interior is something to be experienced.

Born in 1949 in Paris, he did his schooling at the École Nissim de Camondo in Paris. His first design firm he founded in 1968, and oddly, his specialty was inflatable objects. He worked steadily for a few years, but really hit the big time around 1982 when he was commissioned to design the interior for the then French President’s private apartments. Though he’s certainly famous for a number of high-end products and interiors, it was in 2002 when he became accessible to the rest of the world’s population—he shared his design products with Target. And that’s what makes Starck a favorite of ours—not just his eponymous designs that have made him famous, but his dedication to the world of design and how it can help improve everyone’s lives—not just the world’s most wealthy people.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Design Blog Profile: MoCo Loco!

We’ve got quite the motherload of modern design stimulation to show you with today’s favorite design blog pick. It’s MoCo Loco, and if you pay any attention to design at all there’s no doubt in our minds you’ve heard of the site before. With good reason—packed full of engaging stories, fresh photos and quirky ideas MoCo Loco is for the design and excitement lover in us all!

There’s just something so cutting edge about MoCo Loco that sets it above the other design blogs out there. Whereas many other blogs we’ve covered have a homey sort of feel to them, stressing organization, fun finds and color, MoCo Loco often seems obsessed with the idea. Stunning architecture ideas, cutting edge interior design ideas, new and unusual interior furnishings ideas—you come to MoCo Loco to be blown away by things you have probably never heard or seen before.

Helmed by ex social media CEO Harry Wakefield, MoCo Loco the name came from his self-described obsession (being “loco”) about MOdern COntemporary design. If you don’t already have an obsession with MoCo too, you will after surfing onto this site. It’s divided into three main sections: architecture, art and fresh; you can hone in directly for what you love the most, or just browse throughout the entire site—there’s plenty to see and you won’t get bored.

Even the graphic design of MoCo Loco is cutting edge: featuring an interesting layout of either vertical or horizontal posts (you get to decide), the pages are filled with squares of all shapes and sizes featuring an array of posts and sprinkled with ads. We admit it—at first glance MoCo Loco can be a bit jarring to the senses, almost too much stimulation for your eyes. But, take a moment to acclimate yourself—it’s worth it, and pretty soon you’ll pick up on their system and love it as much as we do.

So, you might not find a ton of ideas on how to organize your sock drawer or what color to paint your bedroom wall, but you will get a slew of inspiring ideas, hopeful stories and bright photos on MoCo Loco, a design blog favorite of Swank Lighting.

All photos taken from MoCo Loco.