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Thursday, January 31, 2008


Do you use StumbleUpon? It's a great way to find interesting things that you otherwise may miss. Like I did with Thomas Baekdal's post about Livingstones.

Livingstones are a creation by French designer Stephanie Marin. Made from virgin wool, they resemble actual stones, but are actually soft, comfortable cushions. Well, cushions may be a stretch, as some of them are the size of sofas.

I think these would look great in a large, open, modern space. Too bad that's not what my apartment is.

Plans for City Hall Plaza on YouTube

Following up on my earlier post about Walt Lockley's view of Boston City Hall, I found a trio of videos that offer ideas of ways to change City Hall Plaza.

In 2007, a group of students, both graduate and undergraduate, were sponsored to create a pilot project called Hub2. They used the game Second Life to re-imagine City Hall Plaza. Their alterations are pretty light weight, primarily aiming to liven up the plaza itself without altering City Hall itself.

Another video, this one, "One citizen's hope for the barren wasteland of Boston City Hall Plaza." He offers a solution that begins with minor alterations to City Hall, but by the end, the building is gone.

Lastly, video of Boston Mayor Tom Menino's plan to build a new city hall on the South Boston waterfront and sell City Hall Plaza to developers. Menino doesn't hold back on his feelings about City Hall.

Which of these plans is the most realistic? Or do you have your own idea?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Moda Cucina is hiring

Paul Hatziiliades, the owner of Moda Cucina (who I wrote about back in August), wrote me to say that the Boston-based manufacturer of high-end green modern kitchens and cabinetry is hiring a senior salesperson and kitchen designer.

This position will be based out of the Boston Design Center showroom, and will entail working with high-end clients, architects, and other design professionals, creating concepts, selling the company's products and services, and managing the client's interaction with the company.

Extensive experience is required, preferably 5-10+ years, but exceptions can be made for special cases. Above all this position requires a people person, with strong luxury sales skills, someone who is a "super networker" and has established industry contacts.

Compensation is excellent and rewarded generously with performance. Full support staff is at your disposal, including CAD/Engineering support, manufacturing, and installation.

Stop selling other people's cabinetry and start designing your own! We are local, green, and build world class designs.

All applicants should email their resume and cover letter to paulh@modacucina.com.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Our Soil Project

Local architect Christine Vargas has started Our Soil Project, a new non-profit organization that helps "empower underprivileged children around the world by helping them develop technical, vocational, and photography skills. We serve disenfranchised children in marginalized areas of the world through high impact workshops aimed at inspiring self-reliance and sustainability." Upcoming workshops will be held throughout Tanzania in the near future.

Our Soil Project's first workshop was with non-native English speaking students at Hudson High School. From the description of the Hudson High School Community Service Learning Project:

Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Our Soil Project worked with students who benefit from ELL (English Language Learner's) instruction. Each student was given a camera, instruction, and the ability to document their lives through a medium that extends beyond a language.

The results of this first project will be exhibited at the Boston Society of Architects this Wednesday, January 30, from 6:00 to 9:00.

Boston Society of Architects

52 Broad Street
5th Floor
Boston, MA

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wardrom by Paula

After reading about me needing hooks for my son’s room, my friend Brad emailed me this post from dezeen.

Paula, a collective of three young Roman designers, has introduced the Wardrom, a modular hook system “born to enhance DISORDER making it graphically catchy.”

“WARDROM is an object that invites throwing clothes as if it were a natural and instinctive act; wordrom is a vertical wardrobe for young and/or disorganised people of the new millennium, a modular flat wall accessory, made of semirigid PU macro-pils made to randomly house any type of clothing.”

My personality is a little too, well, neat to have this in my room. But how natural is it for a nine year old boy to take off his sweatshirt and simply toss it across the room? This could eliminate many potential arguments, no? I would love to know when and if this is going to be available for purchase.

Check out the video of the Wardrom in action:

In the Globe: Wind-proof Addition to the Hancock?

According to today's Globe, the owner of the Hancock Tower, currently the tallest building in Boston (until the Menino Tower is built), has hired Elkus | Manfredi architects to design a "glass-enclosed public square on the windswept and forbidding half-acre plaza at its front doors on Clarendon Street, turning the trophy property's biggest drawback into a public asset."

The new space, a 25,000 square foot area ,currently used as underground storage and a cafeteria, will shield visitors inside the space from winds created largely because of the long, straight streets with many tall buildings and few trees (the wind is worse in New York's financial district). "The new enclosure would shield visitors from winds in the area that are sometimes fierce. The space would be heated in winter and air conditioned in summer."

My question is will this new addition to the Hancock Tower do anything to mitigate the wind for people walking down the street, or will it only help those that are shopping or eating inside?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One More Reason to Shop at Whole Foods

A friend of mine on Twitter tipped me off to this interesting article: By Earth Day, 2008, Whole Foods Market will get rid of plastic bags in all 270 of its locations in the US, Canada, and the UK.

The Portland Business Journal reports that the Austin, TX-based grocer "is the first U.S. supermarket to commit to completely eliminating disposable plastic grocery bags. The company first eliminated disposable plastic grocery bags last year at stores in San Francisco, Toronto and Austin."

I use canvas bags when I go grocery shopping, or, if I forget those, I'll use the paper bags - they're great for putting our recycling in. WFM says that you will get a discount of "at least 5 cents per bag" when you use your own reusable bag. If you don't already have them, WFM sells reusable bags made from recycled plastic bottles for only $.99.

I applaud Whole Foods' decision. There are certain cities (like San Francisco) that are passing laws banning plastic bags, but if businesses start to do away with them voluntarily, that will make other large retailers (hello, Wal-Mart?) take notice.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Linda Merrill on Martha Stewart Living Radio

Linda Merrill on Martha Stewart Living RadioFellow blogger and local interior design consultant Linda Merrill was recently interviewed on the Living Today program on Martha Stewart Living Radio.

There aren't any podcasts available on the MSLR site, but Linda reveals points she discussed in the interview: planning, budgeting, and working with a professional. It's all very straight forward, no-nonsense stuff that can apply to any level of interior design project.

I'm not a huge fan of Martha Stewart, but this has to be great for the public profile of a local designer.

1 Reason to Collect Stamps

Charles and Ray Eames USPS StampsI rarely buy stamps; most of my bills are paid online. When I do buy the occasional stamp, I give no thought to the design of it. Well, if there was ever a reason to start collecting stamps, this is it: 2Modern is reporting that next summer, the U.S. Postal Service is going to be releasing a set of 16 stamps.

From the press release:

In recognition of their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, manufacturing and photographic arts, designers Charles and Ray Eames will be honored next summer with a pane of 16 stamps designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to be buying a set.

via mod*mom

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Yes...Oh Yes

Recently I had a chance to sit down with the Vice President of Sales for Kartell to discuss some of the new designs available this year.

The Dr. Yes chair by Philippe Starck and Eugeni Quitllet immediately stood out.

The story is quite simple. Chair with four legs. But it has a matte finish on the interior and a glossy finish on the outside of the piece. This is done using only one mold. Quite impressive.

For those of you familiar with the Dr. No chair seen around town at a variety of eateries such as the South End favorite Joe V's, the Dr. Yes is the next evolutionary leap.

The piece offers an aesthetic that works very well in high end spaces. And with the matte interior you're less likely to slip out of the chair after your fourth glass of vino.

Manufactured from batch-dyed polypropylene using gas-blowing technology. Like it's predecessor the Dr. No, it can be used in indoor and outdoor installations.

Keep an eye on Kartell, they've been doing big things with plastic since the 40's and if this is any indication, the best is yet to come.

Kartell Red, Black, Grey, White, Brown and Yellow

Spring '08

Friday, January 18, 2008


You may recall that I moved a few months back. Well, my son's room is finally coming together. He doesn't have anything super special, just a bed, dresser, places to store toys... You know, a kids' room.

Tonight, I noticed one thing that his room needs: hooks for hanging jackets or sweatshirts. A short time later, after putting the little man to bed, I'm bouncing around the blogosphere, checking out other design blogs. Over at Blue decor, there it is: The Gumhook.

Japanese industrial designer Gaku Otomo has developed a "soft, silicon hook perfect for people, things and walls." For people, because there are no sharp edges so kids won't hurt themselves on it. For things, because you won't catch your clothes on it. And for walls, because even when you remove the Gumhook from the wall, there are no marks left behind.

The online store that Blue decor linked to is in Europe, where it's listed for 11.00 EUR (roughly $16US). Not bad, but I'm sure shipping from the Netherlands to Boston would be killer. Does anyone know a store in the U.S. that carries the Gumhook?

Eight Architecture Scholarships

After seeing a strong response to last week’s posting of 13 Interior Design Scholarships, I decided to try and find as many architecture scholarships as I could.

This was done over only a few days, so I’m sure there may be other scholarships that I’ve missed. If you know of any scholarships that I didn’t list, please email me and I’ll update the post to include it.

As I did with my list of ID scholarships, I am leaving out school-specific scholarships so that students at every school learning architecture can benefit.

AAF Fellowships and Scholarships

AAF Minority/Disadvantaged Scholarships
Award: between $500 and $2500
Eligibility: Open to high school seniors and college freshmen who plan to study architecture at a NAAB-accredited program.
The nomination form is due in the first week of December and the application, an essay, statement of disadvantaged circumstances, letters of recommendations, transcripts and a drawing are due on January 15 of each year.

The AAF’s Traveling Fellowship at the Sir John Soane’s Museum
Award: $5,000 grant to travel to England to pursue research on any aspect of the work of Sir John Soane or the Sir John Soane’s Museum and collections.
Eligibility: Open to students in graduate degree programs in the history of art, architecture, interior design or related fields.
Applications for the fellowship will be accepted until March 1.

The RTKL Traveling Fellowship
Award: Each year, one $2,500 fellowship is awarded to a student submitting the winning proposal outlining a foreign itinerary which is directly relevant to his or her educational goals. Students must complete travel prior to graduation. Applications are due February 15.

ACSA Competitions

New Visions of Security: Re-Life of a DFW Airport Terminal
Description: “Major changes to airline operations, passenger expectations, and aviation security over the past 30 years, along with the aging terminal buildings, make it necessary for Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to explore designs for a major terminal re-life. This competition will require students to develop design solutions to “re-life” American Airlines’ Terminal A at DFW. The competition is intended to allow for a complete interior and exterior re-design of the current crescent shaped two-story terminal necessary to respond to post 911 security requirements, current airline operational needs, passenger use patterns and expectations, and concession development.” (For full description and dates, click here.)
Award: First place: $20,000; Second Place: $10,000; Third Place: $6,000

ASCA/AISC Assembling Housing
Descripton: “The eighth annual ACSA/AISC competition will challenge architecture students to design ASSEMBLING HOUSING in an urban context of the students and sponsoring faculty selection. The project will allow the student to explore the many varied functional and aesthetic uses for steel as a building material. Steel is an ideal material for multi-story housing because it offers the greatest strength to weight ratio and can be designed systematically as a kit of parts or prefabricated to allow for quicker construction times and less labor, thus reducing the cost of construction. Housing built with steel is potentially more flexible and adaptable to allow for diversity of family structures and changing family needs over time.” (For full description and dates, click here)
Award: First Place: $2,500; Second Place: $1,500; Third Place: $750

ASCA/AISC Open Category
Description: “The ACSA/AISC Competition will offer architecture students the opportunity to compete in an open competition with limited restrictions. This category will allow the students, with the approval of the sponsoring faculty member, to select a site and building program. The Open Category program should be of equal complexity and comparable size and program space as the Category I program. This open submission design option will permit a greatest amount of flexibility with the context.” (For full description and dates, click here)
Award: same as “Assembling Housing”

ASCA/PCA Concrete Thinking for a Sustainable World Competition
Description: “Students are challenged to investigate innovative uses of portland cement-based material to achieve sustainable design objectives. The competition offers two separate entry categories, each without site restrictions, for maximum flexibility.

  • Category I – Recycling Center: Design an environmentally responsible Recycling Center focused on reusing today’s materials to preserve tomorrow’s resources.
  • Category II – Building Element: Design a single element of a building that provides a sustainable solution to real-world environmental challenges.
(For full description and dates, click here.)
Award: A cash prize of $10,000 divided among the top winners in each category, and pcaStructurePoint software (valued at nearly $10,000), which combines PCA’s suite of concrete design software with an array of structural engineering resources, awarded to each winning school.

AIAS Scholarships

AIAS/AIA Trust Scholarship Program for Emerging Professionals
Eligibility: Open to students in the fifth year of an undergraduate professional degree or the first year of graduate professional degree.
Award: Five scholarships of $750 each
The application deadline for the 2007-2008 school year is Friday, December 14, 2007.

AIA Scholarships

AIA Corporate Architects and Facility Management Scholarship
Eligibility: Applicants must be one of the following:
• In the third or fourth year of a five-year program that results in a BArch degree;
• In the fourth or fifth year of a six-year program that results in a MArch degree;
• In the second or third year of a three- to four-year program that results in an MArch degree and with an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than architecture.
Award: Number of awards varies per year; amounts usually range from $1,000 to $2,500.

Again, I don’t expect this is a complete list of every possible scholarship for a student of architecture, but I hope it helps one (or several!) of you to defray the costs of schooling. There area also a variety of scholarships and grants for young practicing architects; I may compile a list of those as well.

Saturn Astra

Earlier today, I logged onto my Facebook account and saw an ad for what looked eerily like the Ford Focus I sold after I moved to the city. I wiped my glasses clean (just to be safe), and looked again. It wasn't a Focus, but in fact the new 2008 Saturn Astra.

The Astra is all new, in America at least (the Opel Astra has been competing with the VW GTI and other hatchbacks in Europe for some time). The specs page wasn't loading all the way when I tried to check it out, but according to Edmunds.com, the Astra is going to have a 140-hp, 1.8L 4-cylinder motor and will be available as a three- and five-door hatchback. Saturn is playing up the driveability of the car, offering up 18" wheels and "sport seats" on the three-door.

What do I think? Well, I love small, "tossable" cars. With 140-hp, it's not the most powerful sport hatch on the market, but I've always appreciated handling over sheer power. Design-wise, I think it looks a lot like my old Focus, but with the signature Saturn bug-eye headlamps.

I don't think it will set any records, but will be a good choice for someone looking for a car with a lot of reliability, good economy, and a little sport. Just like my Focus.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ask DesignBoston

design questionsIn reviewing some of the trends on designboston over 2007, I've noticed a number of readers contacted me with questions. By asking me questions, these readers were directly telling me what they want to hear, read and know.

I would like to build this into a regular feature on designboston. Are you looking for a designer or architect for a project? Wondering about a new shop , gallery, or product? Whatever it is, if it's about design, designboston (along with my great readers) can get an answer.

Depending on how many questions you send in, I may run a new question ever other week, or even every week.

Hopefully this "Ask DesignBoston" column will be well received and helpful for everyone!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cadillac CTS

I know my friend Adam Denison is having fun.

After years of being seen as the official vehicle of the old, out of touch white man, Cadillac has emerged as a force to be reckoned with.

The newly redesigned 2008 Cadillac CTS was recently named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year. Two upcoming versions of the CTS also won the Eyes On Design award at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit: The high performance 550hp 2009 CTS-V won the award for Best Production Car; the CTS Coupe won the Best Concept Car.

GM must be really enjoying themselves, as the Chevy Malibu (which I've talked about before here and here) won the North American Car of the Year. Congratulations to Adam and the rest of GM.

The Madylight

I know a few people that would love this.

Parisian Greg Madison, inspired by such video game icons as Tron, The Legend of Zelda, and Final Fantasy, has created the Madylight: a cube with "luminescent shapes which represent electronic circuits or magic spells."

The Instructable he created shows what goes into making one. As the comments below the article show, there are nearly countless options for what type of lamp you can create.

The lamp is the first of many design Greg is looking forward to making. He makes sure to put the word out that he is "looking for firms which could be interested in producing and launching my creations like the following lamp." Good luck, Greg!

Eli Cedrone

The same night I met Carol Scalzo of Benedetto Imports, I was able to meet local artist Eli Cedrone (the two friends were dining together).

Through the use of varied color and texture, Eli’s “work increasingly bridges abstraction and realism. Abstraction is transformed into suggestions of person, place and human pathos. The figures in my work exist both in representational and tactile, painterly worlds. I’m constantly striving for a way to articulate this unique visual synthesis; from the monolithic to the corporeal.”

Her work is very often of public places such as restaurants, parks, or even on the sidewalk; it’s the energy that you can feel in certain places that she is trying to capture. The night that I met her, Eli kept leaving her table to take photos of the people drinking and socializing at the bar.

Eli’s work is currently on display that the Copley Society of Art on Newbury St.

MacBook Air

About this time last year, all the world (myself included) was buzzing about the iPhone, Apple's revolutionary, 4-million unit-selling "mobile communications device". This year, it's not a phone, but it's still mobile, and it's definitely wireless.

The MacBook Air is thin. Fits in a manila envelope thin. .76 inches thick, thin.

To get the MacBook Air so thin, Apple had to make everything inside smaller - the battery, hard drive, and processor are all thinner - while still providing a 13.3" LED-backlit LCD display (the same size as the standard MacBook) and full, backlit keyboard. The MacBook Air even takes a trick from the iPhone and iPod Touch with its "oversize trackpad with multi-touch technology. You can pinch, swipe, or rotate to zoom in on text, advance through a photo album, or adjust an image."

A few potential drawbacks I can see: The MacBook Air does not have a removable battery; if you are on the go for a while without access to an electrical outlet, you may be in trouble. Also, to maintain it's thinness, the MacBook Air does not have an optical (read: DVD) drive; Apple thinks everything will be wireless soon enough, but still offers a special MacBook Air SuperDrive for an additional $99.

On the environmental end of things, the MacBook Air is Apple's most energy efficient computer ever. It's aluminum casing is recyclable. The display is both mercury and arsenic free. The internal cables are PVC free. The MacBook Air comes in low-volume, "highly recyclable" packaging. And it meets Energy Star guidelines, and was awarded a Silver rating by EPEAT.

All of this up-to-the-minute coolness is going to set you back some: the MacBook Air starts at $1699. Of course, I can't post about Apple without telling you to visit my friends at Tech Superpowers, who are Apple authorized resellers and will surely be stocking the MacBook Air.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Walt Lockley

While recently searching for an aerial view of City Hall Plaza (at this point, I'm not sure why I was), I came across an architectural review of Boston City Hall by Walt Lockley.

Lockley isn't an architect, but he is fascinated with how people relate to buildings. In fact, Lockley thinks not being an architect is a strong point for him: "By process of elimination I found neither architects nor psychologists have good explanations for how this works, although of course they say they do."

Lockley, like many (probably most) non-architects, does not think City Hall is the 6th Greatest Building in America, as the AIA has named it:

Sixth best? That would put it ahead of 25 of the following 30 structures, just at random: the Seagram Building, Monticello, Fallingwater, Johnson Wax Headquarters, Dulles Airport, the Robie House, Unity Temple, Grand Central Terminal, the Hollyhock House, the US Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, Richardson's Trinity Church, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, IIT Crown Hall, 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, the Gamble House, the Tribune Tower, the Auditorium Building, the Wainwright Building, the Bradbury Building, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Lovell House, Independence Hall, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Sullivan's banks taken as one, the LA Public Library, the Jefferson Memorial, the River Rouge plant, and the Guardian Building in Detroit. That's amazing. So amazing, it's dead wrong.

He goes through the history of the building, from the architects thoughts to local politicians' and Boston residents' comments. It is a very entertaining read.

He has reviews of many other buildings, including another city hall: Pasadena City Hall.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Vessel is hiring

It looks to be hiring season for local design stores. Last month it was Hudson; this month it's Vessel.

Vessel is looking for an experienced (2+ years) design-oriented retail sales and customer support person. "This individual will be responsible for performing day to day retail tasks in Vessel’s Boston retail store, including inventory, cash handling, event management, and merchandising to maintain a fresh, dynamic retail experience that communicates Vessel’s core philosophies. This individual will also be an integral part of our Product and Customer Support team and handle customer service cases by phone and email."

The position is part time (20-35 hrs/wk).

Interested? Email hr@vessel.com.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

13 Interior Design Scholarships

Before I decided to leave school, I was compiling a list of available Interior Design scholarships. Just because I can’t take advantage of this list doesn’t mean you can’t, right?

Upcoming Interior Design Scholarships:

IFDA Scholarships
All applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2008. Results will be announced by July 31, 2008.

Charles D. Mayo Student Scholarship
Award: $1,000
Eligibility: Full time student having completed four design courses in a post secondary Interior Design or closely related program.

EF Part Time Student Scholarship
Award: not listed
Eligibility: Part time student having completed four design courses in a post secondary design Interior Design or related program and are currently enrolled in a minimum of two courses at an accredited school, college or university.

IFDA Student Member Scholarship
Award: $2,000
Eligibility: Full-time student having completed four design courses in a post secondary design program at an accredited school of design.

Vercille Voss Scholarship
Award: $1,500
Eligibility: Full time graduate student must have completed four design courses in a post secondary interior design or related program at an accredited school, college or university.

Ruth Clark Scholarship
Award: $1,500
Eligibility: Full-time student having completed four courses in a post secondary design program at an accredited school of design.

Marketing Internship Scholarship
Award: $1,500
Eligibility: An individual who is pursuing the marketing aspect of the design/home furnishings industry, such as a) currently enrolled full-time college student, b) a professional changing career fields or someone entering or reentering the job market.

ASID Scholarships
All applications must be postmarked by April 30, 2008.

Mabelle Wilhelmina Boldt Scholarship
Award: $2,000
Eligibility: Mabelle Wilhelmina Boldt Scholarship is open to students who are enrolled in or have applied for admission to a graduate-level interior design program at a degree-granting institution. Applicants must have been practicing designers for a period of at least five years prior to returning to graduate school level.

Joel Polsky Academic Achievement Award
Award: $1,000

Joel Polsky Prize
Award: $1,000

Yale R. Burge Competition
Award: One Award of $750 and up to Five Certificates of Excellence
Eligibility: Open to all students in their final year of undergraduate study enrolled in at least a three-year program of interior design.

Irene Winifred Eno Grant
Award: $1,000
Eligibility: Open to students, educators, interior design practitioners, institutions or other interior design related group engaged in the creation of an educational program(s) or an interior design research project dedicated to health, safety and welfare.

Dora Brahms Award
Award: $3,000
Eligibility: Open biennially to educational institutions on behalf of their students in historic preservation and/or restoration studies, to encourage and support the advancement of professional activities in historic preservation and/or restoration.

IIDA Scholarships

Lloy Hack Memorial Fund
The program invites an IIDA Student Member to submit an essay about his/her experience in a day-long environment, being mentored by an interior design firm.
Award: $1,000 each for the winning student and the mentoring design firm.
Eligibility: Entrants must participate in IIDA'sStudent Mentoring Week 2008, Februrary 4-8.

Remember, many scholarships get no entries; your odds of winning are infinitely better if you actually enter.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why I don't like ApartmentTherapy's redesign, but still love their articles

I'm not a huge fan of ApartmentTherapy's new site design. It's well organized and visually pleasing; with an all white background and light blue accents, it's certainly not going to offend anyone's sensibilities. But Maxwell has put all four cities - New York, LA, Chicago, and San Francisco - on the front page, making it a terribly busy place.

I understand why he did it. Now, people that would normally only check out the old main (New York) page will see what the rest of his team is doing. But having the content that 18 people create show up on a single page is overkill. There have been seven posts in the last hour alone. By posting so much, so often, I'm sure readers, like myself, are merely skimming the site, and not digging in to some of the great subjects that Maxwell and his crew present.

Like a post earlier today by sarahc, one of AT's Chicago bloggers, titled "Furniture That Survives the Test of Time". In the article, Sarah tells what types of furniture you should invest in - arm chairs, a good mirror, and a low bench, and gives examples of each. She also talks about antiques, but as if they are a type of furniture, instead of a segment of the furniture market.

"Buying furniture with the long view in mind can be difficult...you can't guarantee you'll still love it as much 10 years down the road as you did when you first saw it in the store, but there are a few things we've found that stand the test of time."

Sarah's reasoning for spending more money on a piece of furniture is so that it will last. I believe buying only quality, long lasting furniture is at the heart of sustainability. Buying inexpensive furniture that will only end up being replaced in a few years is great for the companies that manufacture and sell such items, but it's terrible for the environment.

I'm not just talking about IKEA, either. New companies that make more eco-friendly furniture (recycled or recyclable content), but at no better quality than the mass marketed pieces, are just as bad for sustainability. And bad for sustainability = bad for the planet.

Buying only high quality pieces ensures yourself, and the world, that that piece won't end up in a landfill in 5-10 years. Buying antique or vintage furniture does this even more so, by using that which is already made (that's the second part of the three green R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

I think it’s great that AT tries to teach people why they should save up and pay more for quality furniture, but they should explain the environmental benefits that come along with the decision.

This doesn't just apply to furniture, either. For more information, check out Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Artists for Humanity EpiCenter

While searching for interesting design items from around the city, I came across a website featuring the American Institute of Architects' annual Top 10 Green Projects. The first building featured in the 2007 Top 10 is the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter in South Boston.

Conceived in collaboration with the youth that benefit directly from Artists for Humanity's work and designed by Somerville-based Arrowstreet, "The EpiCenter is a simple, functional building that achieves the highest levels of sustainability on a tight budget. The building uses energy and water efficiently, incorporates recycled materials, makes full use of natural daylight, and promotes the health of its occupants. The EpiCenter also offers an opportunity to build public awareness of sustainable, economic, and environmental principles among the immediate community and beyond."

The EpiCenter is rated as LEED Platinum, the highest possible rating by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Congratulations to AFH and Arrowstreet on being named a Top 10 Project for 2007. I look forward to the day when every building is made to be as efficient as the EpiCenter.

Happy New Year

First off, Happy New Year!

Okay, I know it's a little late. As I've mentioned before, my internet connection is spotty at best, but I've also been busy job hunting.

I need to take some time off from school and concentrate on working full time. As you can (hopefully) tell by reading DB, I'm a design fanatic and would love to work in the industry. If you or anyone you know is looking for an articulate, knowledgeable, design-addicted workaholic, please drop me an email.

Think of it this way: It's in your best interest to help me find a job, because I'll spend more time blogging and less time job hunting.

Best wishes to you in 2008, and as always, if I can be of any help to you, please email me.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Shame on you, WGBH

Back in October, I told you about season two of e². I searched and searched the WGBH online schedule, but couldn't find when it will be shown. I finally gave in and emailed WGBH. A few days later, I got this reply:

The series you cited is not currently scheduled to air on WGBH 2 or 44. However, we have forwarded your request for WGBH to air this program to our broadcast manager.

We value viewer and listener opinions, indeed audience feedback is an important part of the process of programming for public television. All comments are carefully reviewed and considered in light of our planning and programming process.

WGBH is one of the biggest and oldest public television stations in the country. They "produce more of the PBS prime-time and Web lineup than any other station." Playing shows they don't produce costs more, so they need to see a demand for that production to be convinced to show it.

Here's where you come in: contact WGBH and tell them you want to see e²: energy and e²: design.

In the meantime, you can watch web- and podcasts on the e² website.