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Sunday, August 17, 2008

State of the blog: New Site, New Stuff

You may (or may not) have wondered what's been going on with DesignBoston. Well, I'm here to answer that.

Over the last few months, I've been rather busy: working 60+ hours at two jobs, all while working on a brand new DesignBoston, and organizing a social media fund raiser. I bought a fancy new URL (reset your RSS readers!), moved from Blogger to WordPress for my blogging platform, and bought my own hosting space.

I also brought along Joyce Cadena-Hannon, a local photographer and graphic designer (and one of my oldest friends), to help Christopher and myself bring in more content. While DesignBoston was my brainchild, I love that Christopher and Joyce introduce subjects and ideas I hadn't thought of.

So far, so good, but I'm not done yet.

Over the next several months, I plan on introducing new discussion topics, and new items that aren't quite blogging but are well suited for DesignBoston.

All the while, I want to hear from you. Do you like the new site? Do you think we should do something a little (or a lot) different? Do you want to contribute in some way? I'm open to suggestions of all types, so please, let me know - email me at gradon at designboston dot org!

Friday, July 11, 2008

BoConcept used for Today Show makeover

Today Show co-host Hoda Kotb was the guinea pig for an office makeover by HGTV's "Designed to Sell" designer John Gidding.

It's an interesting view behind what is normally so polished and "done". What Hoda reveals in the beginning is that space design really isn't her thing, and that she moved into her office, but did nothing with it.

Gidding redoes the entire space, using furniture from BoConcept. The 5-minute clip shows what a few key pieces of furniture, some color, and a little thought can do to really awaken a space.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Allsteel Acuity

How much time do you spend in your office, sitting? Think you've got the best looking, most ergonomic, greenest chair around? If you're like me, you sit on what they gave you, which isn't much.

Allsteel's new Acuity chair, recently introduced at NeoCon, is a combination of ergonomics, thoughtful design, and environmental consciousness. I can type about the details, but I'll let you watch the video:

Could I replace my work chair with Acuity? Absolutely. Want to buy me one?

Photo credit: Allsteel via flickr.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dwell asks "How Green Are You?"

Dwell has long been a champion of green design. Now, they're giving you a chance to show them how green you are. And they're going to give away prizes for the best green projects.

The contest is a chance for people to show off their green home projects, and to win prizes for it! Anyone who is working on a green or sustainable project can submit up to four photos of that project, as well as a simple yet descriptive 250 word essay that highlights the most important green elements. The winner will receive a $1000 gift certificate from the AIA to use towards their next big green project, and 2nd and 3rd place winners will each receive $500 gift certificates.

For full details and to enter, go to Dwell.com. You can enter up until June 30, so you'd better hurry! Good luck!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

A designboston public safety message:

During this stretch of late spring heat (it'll be above 90 again over the next two days), make sure to take precautions to stay hydrated. Earlier today, a little T-ball player at my son's little league field passed out from dehydration and had to go to the hospital.

Kidshealth.org has a list of things to do to avoid dehydration. Drink more fluids than you normally would. Wear loose fitting clothing and hats. And if you can help it, stay out of the sun.

Photo by Little Rosy Runabout on Flickr.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Vessel Sample Sale

Like what you see at Vessel, but waiting for a deal? Well, you're in luck. This weekend, Vessel is having it's first-ever Sample Sale.

This Saturday, from 11 to 6, get up to 60% off production samples, prototypes, discontinued pieces, and scratch and dents. The whole thing is going down at their main location on Kingston Street. Remember, the good stuff always goes fast, so get there early!

(If you print out their newsletter, you can get in on the deals on Friday from 6 to 8)

125 Kingston St
Boston, MA 02111

Last minute! The Films of Charles & Ray Eames

Looking for something to do tonight? Head across the river to DWR in Cambridge, where they will be showing the Films of Charles & Ray Eames. I wrote about the films a couple years ago, and here's a bit of what I said then:

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.

There will be a Q&A with Jehane Kuhn, formerly of the Eames Office, to accompany the viewing. The event is from 7-9pm; refreshments will be served.

Unfortunately, I can't make it, but that doesn't mean you should miss it.

Design Within Reach
1030 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New Boston design blog: the function key

You know how you see the "coming soon" signs on new design stores and wonder what kind of treasures it holds? Well, now you'll have an idea of what to expect. Everyone, meet Kimberly. Kimbery, meet everyone.

Kimberly runs the function key, a blog where she writes about all sorts of great and interesting design finds. "She dreams of someday opening a brick-and mortar-design store, but for now, this blog serves as a window into her tastes and aesthetics and what she would offer her public." If she stocks things like this old-school boombox ipod dock, she'll definitely have a hit on her hands.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Kimberly. It's always good to have more bloggers!

Eli Cedrone "Bouchee"

Local artist Eli Cedrone (who I wrote about back in January) let me know about a new painting that is on display.

"Amuse Bouche" show's Eli's view of a certain restaurant on Newbury St. Guess who the waiter serving the Cosmo is? Yep, you got it. This is the coolest way one of my jobs has ever been immortalized!

The 27" x 31", oil on canvas "Amuse Bouche" is available at at Wynne Falconer Gallery in Chatham.

Wynne Falconer Gallery

492 Main Street
Chatham, MA 02633

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mr. Impossible arrives in Boston

This is the kind of headline that should be in the Globe or Herald, but they're too busy worrying about reverends and the election.

Phillipe Starck's Mr. Impossible chair, the star of last year's ICFF, is now available for purchase at Kartell.

The $490 chair is dubbed Mr. Impossible because this construction process has never been done before. It consists of two layers of polycarbonate - a clear bottom and a translucent, colored top. The two layers were to be bonded together by a laser, but laser can't do it's job if it can't "see" what it's hitting (because the two layers are see-through). Kartell developed an element that is invisible to the eye, but not to the laser, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mr. Impossible is available in nine different colors and sells for $490. The two layers only touch at the edges of the chair, so you sit on negative space. The clear legs add to a sense of floating.

I sat on Mr. Impossible at ICFF 2007 have can attest to it being not just super cool looking, but stable and very comfortable as well. It's ultra modern design will fit well in any manner of forward-thinking home.

Kartell Boston
10 Saint James Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dropps: the Guest Review!

Tara, who won a free 20 pack of Dropps laundry detergent in a recent DesignBoston giveaway, has been kind enough to let us know what she thought of them:

I was lucky enough to win an opportunity to try Dropps laundry detergent and I LOVE it! I do at least 10 loads of laundry per week and Dropps were so incredibly convenient and easy to use. I could be holding my daughter, talking to my sons and still do a load of laundry with my one free hand! My children all have very sensitive skin and we had NO problems with the Dropps. In the past when we have tried different detergents my 6 year old son has complained of itchy skin and he didn't even notice the switch to Dropps! Our clothes washed clean and fresh every time. Dropps managed to wash the mud off the knees of my 4 year old son's jeans, the strawberry juice off my daughter's dress and the baby "goop" off of my clothes. Any detergent that can do that makes me very happy. I also really appreciate that Dropps has less packaging and therefore is easier on our planet. Dropps is an excellent product!

Thanks for the opportunity!

Tara, I'm glad you like the Dropps, and thanks for writing such a great review!

Be sure to take a look at Tara's blog, as well!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dwell on Design: Get in for free!

Are you tired of this slow coming, should-be-warm-but-haha-on-you-it's-still-cold, spring? Want to go somewhere with actual heat, and hang out with like-minded design addicts? If this is you, head to LA in two weeks for the 3rd annual Dwell on Design conference, exhibition, and home tour.

For this year's conference, Dwell's editors have lined up over 50 speakers, including urban gardening advocate Fritz Haeg, and prefab queen Michelle Kaufmann, "discussing everything from urban gardening to a mandated LEED program for LA."

The Dwell on Design exhibition will showcase everything you ever wanted to know and find about modern design, all in one place. Over 200 exhibitors - architects, designers and other industry professionals - will line the Los Angeles Convention Center. There will be "an entire neighborhood of full-scale pre-fab structures completely landscaped and furnished by Dwell." This I would love to see.

At some point, you'll want to catch some of the SoCal sunshine, right? There will be tours of unique modern single family and multi-unit residences in and around LA. Forget Hollywood and all that jazz - this is the kind of tour I'd like to go on.

Alas, I won't be making the trip out to LA. But you can, and on the cheap too! Go to the Dwell on Design registration page. Click to register for the exhibitions, put BDODEC in the "Priority Code" field, and you're in for free. Or, click to register for the conference, put in GRP22SP, and save $50 off that price. Pretty. Sweet. Deal.

If you go to Dwell on Design, send me some photos and tell me what you thought of the event!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saab Turbo X - The good guy wears black

You know I love architecture and interior design. Almost as much as I like those, I like cars. For as much as I write about green design, I love driving fast. I'm nothing if not complicated.

Today, instead of sitting behind a desk, I was given the chance to sit behind the wheel of the fastest, most powerful Saab ever: the Saab Turbo X.

Why is it called the Saab Turbo X? Well, Saab starts with the 9-3 and puts in a turbocharged 2.8 V6 that produces 280 hp and and 295 lb-ft of torque. Then they add a unique Cross Wheel Drive system. Cross, because torque can be transferred between the rear wheels - something that doesn't happen in other AWD systems and helps the car keep control through all types of driving situations. All that power is delivered to the pavement through 18" wheels wrapped in high performance tires.

Yeah, yeah. Car talk. Blah. Blah. BLAH. I know, this is a DESIGN blog. What about the car's design?

Visually, the car is stunning. The new for 2008 9-3 is sharper than ever, with it's wrap-around headlamps and integrated center grill. The Turbo X steps it up with a deeper front lip spoiler with an integrated air intake to reduce drag (make the car more aerodynamic - forms follows function, right?). In the back, the rear fascia is lowered and wrap around rhomboid-shaped exhaust pipes. Overall, a subtle hint of I'll-kick-your-butt-ness.

Inside, the Turbo X is all business: well appointed, but not flashy. Sport seats; carbon fiber on the glove box, shifter console and door trim; a fat leather steering wheel; and a retro turbo-boost gauge all give the feel of a purpose-built machine.

Color. What colors can you can get? You won't have a hard time choosing which color to get, because all 600 Turbo X's that are coming to the US are jet black. Get it? Saab - "born from jets", jet black Turbo X. Actually, it's deeper than that. Saab and turbocharging are as old as I am - the first Saab 99 Turbo was introduced in 1977. Throughout the 30+ year history of turbo Saabs, the jet black turbo has become a sort of cult car - the one to have. The Turbo X is a nod to the enthusiast.

OK, it's got a fast engine, good grip, looks good, has a well appointed interior, and is black. What does it drive like?

On the roads and highways from Herb Chambers Saab in Allston to the test track in North Andover, it was powerful yet comfortable. The sport suspension and big wheels gave no hint of a jarring right like other performance setups can. Those leather seats are sooo comfortable, you feel like you could ride in that seat for hours without getting that we've-been-driving-for-hours-and-my-butt-is-sore feeling.

What's it like on the track?


Actually, my post on Twitter after I drove it for the first time was "That. Was. Fun".

I took four or five turns of about three laps each. It wasn't an actual racetrack, but a large parking lot set up with an autocross course. The course had a variety of turns, one of which was covered in sand. Try as hard as all of the journalists did, we could not get this car to spin. Lots of screaming tires, the occasional downed cone (none by me!), but no backwards cars. A group of auto journalists unable to get a car to spin is probably the single greatest compliment to the Turbo X's stability.

Overall, a great day (did I mention the weather? OMG!) to spend in a great new car. About half of the 600 Turbo X's coming to the US have already been spoken for, so if you want one, you'd better act quick!

Want to see more photos? Check out my photos on Flickr!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

You Get What You Pay For

There is one thing you can count on at least 99% of the time. You get what you pay for.

It's true. If you want quality, you usually have to pay more for it. Whether or not it's worth it is up to the end user and their expectations. Regarding materials, design, and construction if you play it cheap you'll most likely regret it in the long run.

With current worries, consumers and designers are starting to rethink old practices. Designers are producing pieces with lasting power, products that will endure the latest trend and stand the test of time. Consumers are taking a closer look at what they purchase, with a discerning eye focused on quality.

So while people are purchasing less, they are purchasing better. Below you will find my tips for making better purchases (take them for what they're worth).

Tip#1: Test Drive.

Jump at every chance to take a closer look at the product, feel it, turn it over in your hands, check out the welds.

Tip #2: Find the best price.
This generally means going online. Online deals are great and a lot of times you find the same product seen in stores, cheaper and with free shipping. Read reviews and always read the return policy.

Tip #3: Say no to knockoffs.
Yes, it may look like the original. Yes, it will be cheaper. But that's just it...it will be cheaper. Wait for that special piece. Save your money and buy quality, versus just buying the look.

No one likes buyer's remorse. And these days, few of us can afford it. Buy smart.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Vessel Dot Spot Party - the Furniture Edition

I was just looking over my writeup of the Vessel Dot Spot Party and realized, for a celebration of a new line of furniture, there aren't any photos of the furniture! Well, let's fix that, shall we?

Blu Dot at Vessel

The Buttercup Chair

Oh man, I love this chair! The Buttercup's bent plywood shape owes a bit more than a nod to the Eames LCW, but sits more upright and swivels, giving it a different feel. This particular one was the raffle prize of the night. I talked to Stefan and Dwayne over the weekend, and alas, I didn't win it. There is a rumor floating around that there might be a monthly furniture giveaway at Vessel. If that happens, you heard it here first!

Couchoid Lounge Chair

The Couchoid line, both chair and sofa, have incredible, low lines and possess a laid back, chill attitude. And they're vegan too, covered in "a cow-friendly, flesh-free leather alternative." I have a few friends that would love that!

The Real Good Chair

Modern American design meets IKEA flat-packability. The Real Good chair is made of powder-coated steel. It arrives at your house flat; simply fold it along the laser-cut lines, attach the legs, and voila! a chair. By flat-packing it, the chair is super inexpensive, too - only $99! You can even by this off of the Vessel website.

Stella Chairs

Talk about a sweet lounge chair! Positioned to lean back just so, the chair is perfect for all those cocktail parties I know you throw. And covered in rich leather, it exudes just the touch of luxury that party needs.

Drift Credenza

If there's one fact in decorating your home, it's that you can never have enough storage. Enter the Drift credenza. With its gently curved grips made of bent plywood, the Drift is one smooth credenza - there are no knobs or handles to get in the way. Very cool.

Do you like what you see? Then go visit the gang at Vessel!

125 Kingston St
Boston, MA 02111

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vessel Dot-Spot Party Report - and a new store!

Okay, this is more than a week late. I apologize. Working 70 hours a week is doing no good for the whole consistent blogging thing. Are you looking for an intelligent, social, design addict for your company/firm/store? Yeah? Let me know! Anyway...

Last Thursday, Christopher and I joined some friends for the Dot Spot Party at Vessel, celebrating the addition of Blu Dot to the Vessel lineup.

Blu Dot, from Minneapolis, makes great furniture with a hip look and very clean, modern lines. Everything they make has a fun vibe to it. After meeting Blu Dot's CEO Maurice Blanks (that's him in the middle of the photo, with Christopher and his coworker Emily), it's no wonder why. A smart, affable guy, Maurice had no shyness about how the idea for Blu Dot came up (a backpacking trip across Europe with all that that entails...), and was more than happy to talk furniture, architecture, food.. you name it.

As with any Vessel party, the Dot Spot party was a fun time. Aside from all the great design items for sale, the store was filled with people enjoying the festivities. There was a raffle during the party to win a free Blu Dot Buttercup chair. I haven't gotten a call to say I've won, so I'm thinking I didn't.

Of course, the crew was in on the fun as well. I got a chance to reintroduce myself to Traci, aka the girl in the green dress, and I got the chance to meet Eric and Omar, who has quite the funny TMZ story - this isn't the first time he's held his hand up to block the camera! Go into Vessel and ask him, he'll tell you.

Speaking of the crew, everyone, meet Milisa. She is the first subscriber I have met in person. I know I'm supposed to act like I have thousands of adoring fans following me everywhere I go, but really, this was cool. Say hi, Milisa!

Oh, I can't forget: Vessel has opened a second location! They have taken over the space formerly occupied by Motley Home and whipped it into a Vessel. The next time you're on Tremont Street, check it out.

125 Kingston St.
Boston, MA 02111

652 Tremont
Boston, MA 02118

Friday Love List: Loungechair Edition

Inspired by blogging goddess and good friend Meg Fowler, I've decided to start a Friday Love List series. Sometimes every week, sometimes every now and again, but always on a Friday, I will show you what I love. Which is what a blog is all about, right? So, without further ado...

The lounge chair. So beautiful. So comfortable. So sophisticated. The kind of chair you can read in. Fall asleep in. Comfort the little ones in. The lounge chair is the king of the living room, and for that, I am giving it the honor of my first Friday Love List.

For the sake of fairness, and that EVERYONE has seen it before, I have decided to leave the king of lounge chairs (that would be the king of the kings of the living room, for those keeping score at home) out of the list.

Ready? Let's let the love flow...

K10 Dodo from Cassina
Oh. my. goodness. In general, I'm more of a fan of Scandinavian and MCM American furniture. But how can you deny this sexy Italian beauty? Wrapped in some of the softest leather (must have been some happy cows), this chair demands attention. The headrest and folds back (good for shorter people) and the footrest folds back under the seat. Sexy and functional. This particular chair was spotted at Montage on Arlington St. Bellisima!

MYO from Ligne Roset
"That chair is so chill," is the comment below my photo of MYO on Flickr. And it is. This chair isn't meant for business meetings. Look how far back that reclines. This is a "relax in the splendor that is your home" chair. Proof the French are more easygoing than us Americans. Available at Adesso on Arlington St.

Corona from Poul Volther
Here we go. Origninally released in 1961, Corona is an icon of Scandinavian modern design. The shape is simple: Four ovals held up by chrome steel supports. But wow, what a shape! This chair was spotted at Just Scandinavian on Hudson St in NYC.

What about you? Are there any lounge chairs that you love? If so, let us know! Let me know what you think of the new series, too!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Question: Sleeper Sofas

Another question came in, this time from Chris:

We're new to the Boston area and are having a really hard time finding a nice, modern, good quality - sleeper sofa. Do you have any ideas on furniture stores that we should visit?

We found one we like at Crate & Barrel but we were hoping to look at a few other options. We like the Axis and the queen-size Nuevo at C&B (comfy, modern, both about $2500).

Thanks in advance!

Chris, I know your frustration. There are a ton of great, modern sofas available, but few high quality modern sofa beds. I looked and looked for a suitable modern sofa bed for months, and ended up moving to a larger space before I actually found the right one.

I like the lines of the C&B Axis sofa, but the mattress in the Nuevo sofa is much more comfortable, and is what I would recommend if you're going to be sleeping on it nightly (disclaimer: I worked at C&B on Boylston St for a while).

Does anyone have a recommendation for other quality sofa beds?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Joine says "Design global, produce local"

Dutch designer Maarten Baptist, co-founder of WATdesign, has teamed up with Daniël Watze to design what may be the most beautiful new coat rack in years.

Visually, the Joine Sofia coat stand is quite elegant. The smooth, upwardly arching coat hooks reminded a friend of mine of the bowler hat in The Son of Man.

Functionally, it is masterful. Those hooks actually double as coat hangers - no more wrinkly sport coats for you and yours!

As useful and beautiful as it is, the Sofia's true beauty lies in the sustainable approach of the manufacturing and delivery process.

"The downside of globalisation is scarcity. In other words: what is the point of shipping materials all over the globe if you can relocate production just as easily? It is better for the environment and a high standard of quality is guaranteed – and who would know more about processing bamboo than a Japanese craftsman? And, an added bonus for the consumer: the cost price is kept as low as possible."

Instead of building the rack one way, in one place, and shipping it all over the world, Joine has opted to produce three models for three markets, using materials that are eponymous with that area. The European market is getting a stainless steel variety; in Russia, an oak version; Japan gets, of course, bamboo. Every model gets identical hangers.

What? Nothing for America, you say? Patience, my friends. A shining, chrome American version is being considered, as well as a Brazilian tropical hardwood.

Joine will be officially introducing the Sofia coat rack at Zona Tortona in Milan this week. I, unfortunately, will not be attending, but am interested to see what other great pieces come out of the show.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Question: Cool telephone

Another question came in to me today, and I'm hoping you can help:

Have been trying to find a telephone that isn't totally goofy, and want an old fashioned ring.....Brrrrrrrrinnnnnnnnng

This may be out of order to ask, but if you have any idea of where one might be found, would you let me know?


Do you have any good ideas for Margo? If so, leave a comment!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Vessel Dot Spot Party this Thursday

Will I ever post something that is NOT an event? Don't worry, I've got some new ideas spinning that should see the light of day pretty soon. Until then, let's party at the Dot Spot!

Vessel is celebrating the addition of Blu Dot to the lineup of their Kingston St. location. They have created the Dot Spot, "a cohesive representation of Blu Dot pieces; a cool store within an even cooler store."

This Thursday, Vessel will host the Blu Dot founders and their staff, and as many Boston-area design fanatics as possible, to introduce the newest and best Blu Dot designs.

On top of a great event in a beautiful store with fantastic people, you will get 10% off all Blu Dot purchases that night, as well as a chance to win a Blu Dot Buttercup chair (similar to what's shown above).

I'll be there, checking out the new space and hoping to have a lucky night. Check out the new haircut and keep an eye out for me!

RSVP: rsvp@vessel.com

When: Thursday, April 10th, 6-9pm

Where: Vessel
125 Kingston Street
Boston, MA 02111

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hot Style Cool Price at BoConcept

If you're looking for a new sofa, April may be the perfect time.

For the month of April, BoConcept is offering 20% off all fabric indivi 2 sofas. The indivi 2, like all BoConcept pieces, has clean modern lines that fit a variety of spaces. Its aluminum legs lift the sofa, both physically and visually, making it appear to float above the ground.

The indivi 2 can be had in a multitude of figurations. That, and the choice of over 60 fabrics, means that BoConcept is sure to have just the right indivi 2 for you.

999 Mass. Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138

Friday, April 04, 2008

Help Wanted at Kartell

Brooke Griswold, Principal of Kartell Boston, is looking for a full time sales person for the St James Street store.

Kartell, the leading manufacturer of design furnishings, is searching for an enthusiastic and skilled sales person for its beautiful store and showroom in the Back Bay. Qualified candidates will have knowledge and experience relevant to our industry, i.e. design and fashion, retail and sales. This position is responsible for inside and outside sales including targeting, follow-up and trouble-shooting; client building; and participation in display and day-to-day maintenance. This highly visible position offers excellent earnings and growth potential.

Kindly forward resume and cover letter to boston@kartellflag.com


Today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

AD 20/21

Fusco & Four, producers of the Boston International Fine Arts Show, have put together a n all-new show for us design addicts.

Starting today and running through Sunday, AD 20/21, short for "Art and Design of the 20th and 21st Centuries", brings together "40 select fine art galleries and design exhibitors from the United States and Europe showcasing 108 years of furniture, glass, ceramics, decorative arts, jewelry, paintings, sculpture, prints and photography." The various periods of that length of time - among them Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Mid Century Modern - will be on display.

Tonight from 5:30 to 9:00 there will be a Gala Preview, where you can "enjoy a catered event, festive music, and of course, the first choice of a dazzling array of fine art and design. Tickets for this are $100 to $250, withe proceeds going to benefit the Boston Architectural College.

Tickets for Friday through Sunday are $15, with children under 12 getting in for free. As my work schedule is a bit crazy as of late, I won't be able to attend until Sunday, but I'll be sure to let you know what I think.

AD 20/21
The Cyclorama
At The Boston Center for The Arts
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA

Friday, March 28, 2008

This weekend: down:2:earth

Starting today and running through the weekend, all segments of the area's sustainable community are coming together for down:2:earth, "an exploration into sustainable living."

D2E is an exploration into the movement that seeks answers on how to tread more lightly on the earth. It is an exposition of companies who are responding to consumer wishes for products that combine sustainability with style and innovation as well as an education forum for learning about a greener lifestyle.

An education forum, highlighted by keynote speakers Bill McKibben and Frances Moore Lappé, will feature a symposium on green design, a green jobs youth forum, an eco-chic fashion show, cooking demonstrations, community video forum, book signings, panel discussions, and workshops on gardening, food, energy, eco-weddings, and home remodeling. The event "will give New England designers, chefs, authors, businesses, educators and artists an opportunity to share their knowledge and talents."

An extensive list of exhibitors (here is a PARTIAL LIST - wow!) representing every facet of the green movement will be on hand, including etcetera media (who I've written about before).

down:2:earth is being held today through Sunday at the Hines Convention Center.

Hours: Friday, March 28 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday, March 29 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sunday, March 30 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.d2eboston.com
Prices: Adults: $10.00 ($12.00 at the door)
Students & Seniors: $8.00 ($10 at the door);
Weekend Passes: $20.00
Zipcar members receive an extra $2 off.
Children 12 and under are free.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Dropps Giveaway: We Have a Winner!

First off, I want to thank everyone that commented with interest in trying Dropps.

Congratulations to Tara, the winner of the giveaway for a 20-pack of Dropps! Tara is the mom to three children under 5; I'm sure she knows a thing or two about laundry. After she's had a chance to try them out, Tara will let us all know what she thinks of Dropps.

This is only my second contest. The first was for a bigger prize and held over a longer time, but this got nearly as many replies! I think this shows how excited people are about trying eco-friendly things in their homes. Am I wrong?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Drawing Pod at Pecha Kucha TONIGHT!

Some last minute news on a great event: From Concentrate's David Oliver will be presenting his Drawing Pod (which I've written about previously) tonight at Pecha Kucha.

What is Pecha Kucha?
Pecha Kucha is a worldwide series of events for architects, designers and technologists. "Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each - giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show."

Pecha Kucha Boston is hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The event is free and open to the public.

Unfortunately, I'm a bit under the weather, so I won't be making it.

Harvard GSD
Gund Hall
48 Quincy St
Cambridge, MA 02138

Paper Cloud Sale

Just in time for spring (despite the dreary weather, spring is just around the corner), Paper Cloud is offering 20% off all flowers designs.

Choose from pillows, lighting, journals and cards that are hand-made using all natural materials, including linen, water-based inks and recycled paper.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

designboston giveaway: dropps

After writing about how good dropps are, I'm giving you a turn to tell me what you think.

The kind folks at dropps have offered to send one lucky winner a complimentary 20-pack of dropps detergent. In return, I would ask the winner to write a brief review of their opinions of dropps. Good, bad, or indifferent, we want the truth. Your review will appear as a guest post on designboston.

Interested? To enter, between now and midnight on Sunday, simply leave a comment below. Be sure to include your name, email address, and website (if you have one) so I can contact the winner.

Good luck!

BTW - Check out their newly redone website!

Review: Suburban Transformations

60 years ago, eastern Massachusetts primarily consisted of an industrial city surrounded by sleepy farming towns. Fast forward to today: eastern Massachusetts is one of the nation’s epicenters for technology and defense. That change is largely due to the growth of the suburbs.

I grew up in those suburbs. Burlington, MA is two towns away from where I grew up. To this day, if you ask me about Burlington, I can tell you about the mall, the movie theater, and the Barnes & Noble. That’s it. Why would I want to know more?

During his seven years at MIT as an assistant professor of architectural design, Somerville-based architect Paul Lukez looked at historical mapping of Burlington, MA, to develop the Adaptive Design Process, “a method that allows for the organic transformation of communities with their own distinct identity and unique character,” which he explores in his new book, Suburban Transformations, published by Princeton Architectural Press. Using the Adaptive Design Process, Lukez delves into how our suburbs came to be, what their current state is, and how they can be changed from here.

The information he presents is startling. I’m not going to reprint all of them, but here’s a good one: The Burlington Mall sits on top of Burlington’s largest watershed. Because of this, the massive parking lot is continually sinking, and needs to be repaved every few years. Sand, salt, and other pollutants fall from the cars of up to 140,000 visitors per day. It’s examples like this that Lukez uses to show how town planners have been willing to allow developers everything for the increase in town revenue.

After showing us the good and bad of current suburban development, Lukez presents six scenarios of different ways Burlington’s infrastructure (including the interchange of routes 128 and 3), buildings, and processes can be changed to make it healthier, more sustainable, and a better place to live, not just shop.

Lukez also offers case studies on the Dedham Mall area, the Revere Beach area, Amsterdam, and Shenzhen, China.

The thing I like about Lukez’s proposals is that they aren’t anti-growth or anti-development. Rather, Lukez expresses that it is through developing these areas that they will become truly unique destinations.

Suburban Transformations, packed with technical information, will surely become required reading in architecture and urban planning programs. That said, it is light enough that any layperson with an interest in architecture, design, or (sub)urban planning will enjoy it, and get something out of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

mod*mom Valentine's Giveaways

mod*mom emailed me to let me know that I won her one of her Valentine's Day giveaways! I am the lucky winner of a Roxio Toast 8, a suite of CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray burning software.

I'm not just writing this to boast, but also to let you know that you can win one of 30 prizes, including a $100 gift card to Whole Foods and a 12-pack of green cleaners in her St. Patrick's giveaways.

HZL by Henzel

Reader Beata tipped me off to HZL, a new line of rugs from Swedish firm Calle Henzel Studio.

HZL by Henzel is built upon a foundation of creativity and a desire to make rugs a key element of interior design. Today HZL work closely with the world’s leading architects and interior designers on special projects. Our rugs are handmade, in high quality and not in high volume. Nothing that we do is mass produced.

With their bold colors and designs, the rugs are truly more artistic than utilitarian. I could see these in one of the high rise condos downtown, or a loft in the South End, Cambridge, or JP.

What do you think? Would these rugs fit in your space?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Biology based Valentine's Day cards by Nasty Papercut. (via girl in the green dress)

Monday, February 11, 2008


dropps designbostonFor all my talk about sustainability, I think it's about time I mentioned at least one household cleaning item.

Fact: "Most traditional laundry detergents are 75% water; even the new '2X concentrates' are 50% water". So when we add laundry detergent, we're adding mostly water to... water.

Enter Dropps, a new type of laundry detergent. Well, new to the retail market. Dropps was developed in the late 80's by a cotton mill outside of Philadelphia as a way to clean the cotton without yellowing it.

Fast forward to 2008: "Dropps are biodegradable and NPE- and phosphate-free, and dropps is packaged in a stand-up pouch to reduce its environmental footprint. dropps offers a convenient way to protect the planet -- the highly concentrated formula is made without the water that traditional laundry detergents needlessly waste." Without the water, the detergent is able to come in a pre-dosed water soluble packet, eliminating the labor and drips of measuring out of a jug.

Dropps is currently a finalist in the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards (does Boston have anything similar? If not, we should). You can pick up Dropps at Target and Whole Foods, or order online at Amazon.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Vote for DB in the Blogger's Choice Awards!

How much would I love to see my blog win an award?

Earlier today, I got word of the Blogger's Choice Awards, an event where you can nominate a random blog for a "Best of" award in one or more categories. Feeling hopeful and a little adventurous, I nominated designboston for Best Blog About Stuff and the Best Hobby Blog (that is, if you consider architecture and interior design "hobbies").

Here's the part where you come in: Go to either category and click "vote". (To keep things honest, you need to register.) The contest is going on throughout late 2008, so you have plenty of time.