The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, one of the oldest libraries in Europe, is very particular about its chairs. Only three different designs have been offered a place at the Bodleian’s tables: the 1756 Curator’s Chair, Giles Gilbert Scott’s 1936 design, and a new work from designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. The duo competed for the coveted spot and won with their contemporary design that gives a nod to tradition. Never one to resist an opportunity to fantasize about making our home libraries more beautiful, we searched for innovative, stylish, and cozy library chairs that we’d love to lounge in with a great book. See if you can envision any of these pieces earning a spot in your literary abode. … Read More
The dog days of summer have arrived. A scorching heat wave melted the faces off Northeasterners this week, and record temperatures are being set around the world. When it’s this hot, moving an inch is taxing. This is the time of year when it’s OK to kick back and relax, which is why we’ve been eyeing up comfy, fun, and stylish hammocks to lounge in. Nothing makes a lazy summer day better than a leisurely swing (or nap) in a hammock, so click through to check out some great… Read More
The Internet offers a space to share our innermost thoughts in real time — every amusing, shocking, and dreadfully boring detail streaming on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram for all to see. While some people want to retreat from the spotlight, there’s no avoiding the fact that this transparency has become part of our everyday lives. Designers are feeding this need to display ourselves by creating exhibitionist-worthy furniture, objects, and more that reveals all to the public eye.
We now know that hackers can spy on us through our web cams, and the NSA is reading our texts, emails, and listening to our personal phone calls. It’s enough to make anyone paranoid, pushing the most private people to retreat further into their bubble. Designers have tapped into our desire for seclusion, sometimes with extreme results, as our list of design objects and furniture for the intensely private person reveals. As the traditional work space model shifts and our need for security and solitude changes, these designs offer a bit of quiet and peace of mind. … Read More
Brad Pitt, our favorite celebrity design enthusiast, has explained, “I’m drawn to furniture design as complete architecture on a minor scale.” Nothing illustrates his point more than the marvelous multifunctional designs that are quickly becoming mainstays on in today’s economically aware, space-saving obsessed design circuit. From an all-in-one bicycle ironing board ladder clothes rack shelf to a table cum bookshelf made out of books, click through to check out some of the most innovative, versatile furniture on the planet. … Read More
Whether you have a few secrets to hide, limited space, or you simply appreciate the element of surprise, designers have been responding to your needs by incorporating hidden compartments in everyday objects that conceal your prized possessions. Rather than stashing stuff under a mattress, or locking it up far from home in a safe-deposit box, why not try one of these stylish and fun ways to keep your valuables and unmentionables under wraps? After spotting a shelf that doubles as a drawer on DesignBoom — which we feature past the break — we felt inspired to investigate the double lives of other design objects. Click through for more. … Read More
Jean Cocteau, author of Beauty and the Beast, among other things, and friend to Chanel, Picasso, Édith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich, said that “art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.” What about design? Thinking about what makes something ugly inevitably raises the question, what makes something beautiful?
The Oops Awards was founded in 2009 by three design professionals wanting to call out the ugliest, silliest, and most useless products on the design circuit. Tired of the cult of bad design dominating the fairs and magazines, they felt that honest, independent criticism would propel the industry away from ugly. Continuing to carry the torch, we’ve rounded up the very best of the bad and the ugly. Click through to check out what we think are the ugliest designs of the last decade, and then let us know in the comments if you agree. PS: If you want some judging criteria for the subjective topic, Metropolis published an entire issue devoted to answering the enigmatic question, “What is Good Design?” … Read More
Being some-time couch potatoes and lovers of photography, we were fascinated to see Melbourne-based photographer and PhD candidate Paul Batt‘s ongoing “Untitled Abandon Series” over at FeatureShoot. Batt writes, “My primary interest in the ‘Abandon Series’ is the apparent state of flux and contrast the subjects exist in. These once intimate, comfort giving, interior objects have become surreally out of place in the exterior world. Although their utilization is over, clues remaining of human habitation in the cushions and armrests formed to unknown bodies, over countless hours. It is this play between the interior and the exterior environments and the traces of human presence to absence that has informed the series as a whole.” Indeed, there is something very sad and nostalgic about a piece of furniture abandoned to the wild — unless, of course, it manages to find itself a new home. Click through to see some of Batt’s project, and then make sure to head over to his website to check out more of his work. … Read More
Yesterday we explored the phenomenon of objects that look like people, so it makes sense to today examine objects that are actually alive! Never mind all of the crazy arbor-sculpting and tree-bending that’s going on, today’s designers are finding mind blowing, innovative ways to harness the power of technology’s convergence with living things. From a moss-powered table to waste-digesting kitchens to a DNA hard drive, click through to see some of the coolest uses of living materials in design. … Read More
The recently-opened Crafting Modernism exhibition at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design is the perfect antidote to the geometric-steel-and-plastic concept of modern style. With works ranging from the late ’40s through 1969, the show focuses on a range of objects made from humanizing “craft media” like clay, wood, and fiber. In spite of the “do not touch” signs and roped-off exhibits, the impression left by these works was distinctly tactile. And seriously, who doesn’t LOVE anything by Isamu Noguchi?
If you can’t make it to MAD before January 15, then check out more images after the jump. … Read More