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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Pre-DesignBoston design posts.

If you're wondering what I did before I started this blog a week and a half ago, take a look at my design posts from LiveJournal.

design: e²

: The Economies of Being Environmentally Consious is a multipart series from PBS that explores the many aspects of environmentally responsible design. The first topic is Design: e², hosted by Brad Pitt, and produced by Kontentreal. It was developed as a six part series, with topics ranging from green skyscraper design, to recycling Big Dig parts for an amazing residential project, to plans that could make China not only an economical powerhouse, but an environmentally conscious one at that.

Future e² topics will include Water, Energy, Food, Transortation, Botanicals, Textiles, and Health.

WGBH Boston (Channel 2) is going to be showing all six parts of Design: e² "stacked" back-to-back starting at noon tomorrow. The weather report isn't promising, so you might not have anything better to do. Watch Design: e²

Friday, September 29, 2006

Vessel Boston reopens

My friend Chris from DWR on Tremont St told me about the reopening of Vessel's flagship Boston location. Vessel is a product design firm with some brilliant pieces for your home. From dinnerware, to lighting, to furniture and more, they've got an intriguing take on what you're looking for, with nearly the perfect blend of form and function - after all, what good is it if it doesn't do something?

The reason Vessel is reopening is because, after being open less than a year, they outgrew their space and had to expand. Pretty impressive! Aside from more room for their products, they have also included exhibit space to "feature rotating exhibits curated by Vessel founders, Duane Smith and Stefane Barbeau. The first exhibit will introduce new work by local furniture designer, Ben Durrell."

Vessel Boston reopened as of yesterday (a day late, a dollar short, right?), and they're having a reopening celebration and exhibit launch party on October 19. They are located at 125 Kingston St, in the Financial District. If you can't make it there, you can also get Vessel products from various retailers, like Koo de Kir in Beacon Hill, the Institute of Contemporary Art (once it opens) on the Waterfront, or Whole Food Markets throughout New England.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Urban Gnomes

You live in the city. You've got a little garden, a patch of green against the urban grey landscape. What do you add to your garden to spice it up, make it yours? One of those little gnomes? Uh uh. A flamingo? Heck no! No, you're going to add an Urban Gnome!

Found via electro^plankton, they're called Gno, they are one of a few new products from Vitamin Living that do very well following the company's motto: "A Life Less Ordinary". The come in an assortment of styles. Personally, I would go with either the goofy, toothy love gno, or these mean looking gno's. Nothing keeps the rodents out like an army of Gno's with the punisher face!

And baby makes three

Congratulations to Maxwell and Mary Kate Gillingham-Ryan. Not only do they run the astonishingly popular blog ApartmentTherapy, but, after more than 50 hours of labor, they are the proud parents of a brand new baby girl! Surely, this little one has an inborn knack for spacial relationships and how color wakes up a room!

How they're going to live, work, and raise baby in their 250 sq. ft. apartment, I have no idea. Good luck you guys!

Edit: Here's a link to the original post on AT.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


For all the "fun" kids can have on your walls, this is probably one of the most fun and least destructive. MagScapes, a product from the British company Pepper-mint, is a combination of magnet receptive wallpaper and precision-cut magnetic decorative motifs. You can pick and choose from a variety of each to make a completely personal, customizable wall design. If you get bored with it, you can simply rearrange the motifs, and - voila! - a new wall.

While not exactly inexpensive (the wallpaper is £50-£95 per roll, and the motifs are £50 per set), this could be a slick way to dress up a wall in the kids' room or the living room. As much as I think kids would love this, I'm sure I would have a blast too.

New BoConcept catalog is out


With that headline, BoConcept announces their new 2006-07 collection. Featuring new products like the incredible Solo Chaise chair and the Limo bed (both from $849), there is plenty of drool-worthy furniture in the catalog.

You can pick up the new catalog at the Boston-area BoConcept on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, or you can download it from their website.

De Maria's lampshades

Reluct, a design news & blog site from the Netherlands, posted a link today to De Maria's, a Dutch design firm with some surprisingly chic lamp shades with high res pictures of attractive girls. Not so much for a residence, but I think these might look cool in a salon or chic clothing store. Check out the sight, but be warned: It's in Dutch, and the free translation site I tried didn't do so well.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Metropolis Magazine contest

There's another magazine with a money-winning contest, but you'll have to do more that hit "enter" to win $10,000 in Metropolis Magazine's 2007 Next Generation Competition. They wrote it just about best, so here's their take:

Win $10,000 for your design idea! The 2007 Next Generation® prize will finance the development of a bright idea that focuses on ENERGY, its uses, reduction, consumption, efficiencies, and alternatives. Now in its fourth year, the Next Generation® design competition recognizes design innovation on all scales--from the efficient desk lamp to the innovative city neighborhood plan, and everything in between. The competition is open to young designers in practice 10 years or less; including CAD monkeys in large offices, design students, independent firms or individuals. On your own or in teams we invite you to submit work on urban plans, buildings, interiors, products, landscapes or communications design. The winner will receive $10,000 seed money to realize his or her idea, and will be featured in Metropolis magazine. Runners up will also receive full coverage to empower the next generation of design.

Another happy IKEA customer

IKEA Customer Complaint LetterIf you've ever bought something - particularly something large - from IKEA, you may enjoy this.

Hybrid taxi in Boston

There's an article on the CBS4Boston website (that I found via about) about a first in Boston: a hybrid taxi. Alright, so this isn't so much about design (although the new Camry is an astonishingly attractive sedan) as it is about being green. So what? If we can get more of those dilapidated V8 Ford Crown Vic's out of service and more green machines in, Boston will be a much nice place to breath. And all the traffic congestion downtown would look nicer, too.

Fall sale at West Elm

Starting today, West Elm is offering up to 50% off selected merchandise during their online fall sale. This is a chance to save some serious bank on furniture, lighting, and accessories.

If you're in the Boston area, check out the two new West Elm locations at Trilogy near Kenmore Square and at Wayside Commons in Burlington. The wording of the promotion says "online sale", so I'm not sure if you can get the price breaks in store. In any rate, check out the products in person before ordering online!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Domino $1000 Home Depot Shopping Spree contest

Domino magazine is giving you a chance to win a $1000 Home Depot shopping spree. While you're entering, you can also get a year's subscription for $1 per issue.

Aside from being a great magazine, Domino has a great website, with blogs (including my homegirl Scrappy), product guides, how-to's, and more.


FLOR announced the addition of 84 choices to their selection of their ingenious modular carpet tiles. No matter what style decor you have, or what room you need a rug for (and you do need a rug or carpet in most of the rooms in your home), FLOR can be a good choice. Alicia (my girlfriend) and I are considering FLOR for our living room - still in desperate need of a rug!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

MKD's mkSolaire™ house

Boston is filled with row houses. I live in one. They have a great, classic design about them, whether they're clad in brick, wood shingles, or siding. The biggest problems they have are light- and airflow. The middle rooms of the house are often quite dark, even in the middle of the day.

Well, Michelle Kaufmann Designs may have the row house's replacement. LiveModern reported on MKD's mkSolaire™ house. It is designed to fit into the narrow lots that most inner city row houses reside, and is built using factory built, pre-fabricated and earth-friendly materials.

The open, modern, loft-like design of the mkSolaire™ house allows for increased air- and lighlight flow. Increased airflow helps create a healthier environment (with no stale air) and lessens the need for extra heating and A/C. More light flow means less elecricity use. Other environmentally friendly aspects of the house are "Icynene insulation, high-performance mini-duct/hi-velocity mechanical system, bamboo or reclaimed wood flooring, countertops containing recycled paper, recycled glass tile, on-demand water heaters and water-saving dual-flush toilets." Also, being factory built means there is less waste product in the construction process.

There are various options, from the materials used, to whether you want a garden, roof deck, or garage. You can also combine houses to share walls and make MKD's version of row houses.

Prices for the mkSolaire™ range from $150 to $175 per square foot. That equals about $302,000 for MKD's 1,830 sq. ft. S1 Standard house. Add whatever the cost of buying a lot and clearing the land. The three family row house in which we rent is valued at over $1M, and I doubt there's any open lots left in the city, so this surely wouldn't be an inexpensive venture.

Michelle Kaufmann Designs is in the forefront of modern green residential design. Besides the mkSolaire™, MKD also offers the Glidehouse™ and the Sunset Breezehouse™. MKD currently has a lifesize replica of its Glidehouse at the National Building Museum for a yearlong exhibit, "The Green Home: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design".

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

MTA's Geothermal House

I use Firefox. If you don't, you should. It gives you the ability to install different extensions that give the browser more and better functionality. One extension that I use all the time is StumbleUpon! StumbleUpon! lets you select from a broad series of "tags", and brings up random website that are related to that tag.

Today, I stumbled across Dexigner, an all-things-design news site, with catergories on Product, Graphic, Fashion, Architecture, Digital, and Art. Going with my first love, I of course jumped into the Architecture catergory, and wouldn't you know that the first thing on the list of news items is a story about a new house just outside of Boston!

Architectural Record, an architecture and construction industry magazine, named the Geothermal House, designed by Maryann Thompson, its House of the Month for August. The 8,000 sq. ft (that's 10x my apartment!), $3.2 million house is truly beautiful. Geothermal heating and cooling (hence the name) and handicap accessible bath tubs show what can happen when you include sustainability and accessibility into home design. Click here for a slideshow.

Eames DVDs available at DWR

A few weeks ago, some friends and I saw a series of films created by Charles and Ray Eames, the not quite unfamous mid-century modern designers, at the DWR on Tremont St. With topics ranging from the intricacies of a box of nails, to the depths of space, they gave insight into how one of the most creative couples in the last century thought about the world.

Thanks to Apartmenttherapy, I found out you can buy the entire 6 DVD set of Eames films through DWR. Retailing for $80, this would make an excellent gift for one of your design-savvy friends - or yourself, of course!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hello everyone, and welcome to Design Boston! Stay tuned for news and links to the newest, coolest, and best designers and stores in Boston and beyond.