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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!