Tag Archives: furniture

Going to the Dogs: Architecture for Animals

As a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, I’m always looking for new products for my fur babies. Even so, I’m always shocked at the lengths that some people will go for their pets in terms of creature comforts.

Image: If It’s Hip It’s Here

I could totally see myself settling into this mod, minimalist home. It’s a shame it was made for slightly smaller occupants.

Image: If It’s Hip It’s Here

Yep, this tricked-out pad, complete with a spa pool, 52-inch flat screen television, and a retina-scan security system was custom built for a surgeon’s dogs on her property at the lavish Lower Mills Estates in England. The price tag? A mere $382,000 (!!!).

Image: Design Milk

Thankfully, if you are looking for a doghouse that is a little less fido and a little more Frank Lloyd Wright, there are options out there. The custom-made Architectura Modern Dog House by Pre-Fab Pets certainly won’t be an eyesore in the backyard!

Image: Design Applause

The idea of architecture going to the dogs really came to a head this past December, with the Architecture for Dogs Exhibition at Design Miami. The innovative installation provided over a dozen architects and designers with the opportunity to develop the ultimate dog house, each created with a certain breed in mind.

Image: Architecture for Dogs

Some participants, like Kazuyo Sejima, chose to mimic the characteristics of the animal, so that “dog and architecture would become one.”

Image: Architecture for Dogs

Other’s projects resemble conceptual art projects. I’m not sure that many pups would be happy going for a walk in Reiser + Unemoto’s Christo-like Chihuahua Cloud but it sure is cute.

Image: Architecture for Dogs

Torafu Architects really thought about what a terrier might like, creating a simple frame upon which its owner’s old clothes could be stretched, creating a cozy hammock that would have a comforting scent but could be easily washed or changed as needed.

My personal favourite is the interactive beagle playhouse designed by MVRDV. You have to see it in action to truly appreciate it.

Image: The Coolist

I love this project for its creativity and how it challenges already innovative designers to think outside the box of conventional (human) architecture. And I applaud their decision to make all the blueprints available for free, allowing DIY types to build something special for their pets (or even a petless art project). It allows the exhibition to continue on another level, as the curators encourage people to upload pictures of their own versions to the website. Now that’s something to bark about!

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Four-Poster Flair

Via Doerr Furniture

The practice of  placing a post on a bed’s four corners  were initially intended to provide a frame for canopies to hang on, back when people generally needed additional fortification against the elements, or an extra layer of privacy. Posts were just posts — they had a utilitarian purpose to fulfill.

Then the bedposts became more like design statements, marks status and taste, as they became a decorative feature. Upon them the excess and grandiosity of the Baroque and Victorian eras were unleashed with impunity. The posts were carved, painted, and embellished with all kinds of ornate details and hung with heavy brocades and other rich fabrics.

The idea of four poster beds may seem so old-fashioned, but one wouldn’t think it with these ones here. The design aesthetics of the past century have evolved the look and feel of four-poster beds. In some instances, they have been whittled down to become bedroom bastions of geometric simplicity. And some takes on it integrate elements from different cultures in different corners of the world.

But no matter how modern four-poster beds get, they’ll always retain the air of decadence and luxury that their predecessors were steeped in.

Kenneth Cobonpue's Hagia Bed. Image via Kezu.

Louis Four-Poster Bed by John Reeves. Via Heal's.

Four Poster Bed by David Trubridge

By Indigo Furniture

By Swedish architecture and design firm Claesson Koivesto Rune

Via Dwellers Without Decorators

IKEA's Hemnes Bed, via Apartment Therapy

Via Mix and Chic

By Agnieszka

Via Cultural China

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Steampunk Design: Past, Present, Future Reimagined

Metropolis Interiors in Toronto's Junction neighbourhoodImage via Metropolis Interiors in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood

Steampunk, originally a literary subgenre of science fiction that reinvents the Victorian era, has recently gained traction as an aesthetic in interior design.  The interesting reimagining of 19th century machinery – and its components – into modern interiors makes a bold statement in the home, both as striking design but also from the commentary it offers about technology, history and the way forward.

Philippe Starck designs a restaurant in Madrid SpainInterior design by Philippe Starck for Ramses Restaurant in Madrid, Spain. Image via Eat Me Daily

For me the beauty of steampunk is its marriage of elements that seem oppositional: industrial elegance, the refinement of what’s raw. Steampunk design is influenced by the industrial era in Europe, and the beginning of the boom of automation and mass production, yet designs that fit within this category are handmade, one of a kind, avant garde.

wire hot air balloon planter by BHLDNImage via BHLDN

a kitchen inspired by steampunkImage via Visualize Us

Often characterized by baroque flamboyance and geometric motifs, steampunk looks range from gothic to quite playful.  If you’re looking to incorporate some steampunk in your interiors, here are some tips on what accents to look for:

  • Look for pieces from a bygone era, especially those made of metal, glass, leather, chain and raw woods.
  • Don’t be afraid to combine elements together, such as a raw hardwood tabletop with chunky metal legs and castors.
  • Bring new life to plants and your prized collection by displaying these in apothecary and specimen jars.
  • Create instant drama on your walls by displaying typographic signs, old maps, medical and scientific charts.
  • Re-imagine and repurpose items like gears, old camera and film equipment in new and exciting ways.

The Heart Machine by LaikinglandDesigned by Martin Smith, purchase through Laikingland

Or look for inspired pieces like this stunning little automaton called The Heart Machine by Martin Smith. What a wonderful gift this would make for the person who makes your heart go pitter-pat.

Images via Steampunk Home Decor

If DIY is more your style, here’s an interesting tutorial on creating steampunk inspired light switch plates.

From the shop Metropolis Interiors in TorontoImages via Metropolis Interiors

And if you’re in Toronto, the best place to go is Metropolis Interiors in the Junction.  There you’ll get lost in a dark other-wordly shop of beautiful oddities.  The owner-designer’s creations and relics are truly a sight to behold.

There’s something so damn cool about steampunk as a design aesthetic.  This is one design trend I am really looking forward to seeing more of.

Happy Monday everyone!

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Cardboard Dreams

The Bold Chair by SanSerif

Image via Treehugger. The Bold Chair can withstand 1 tonne of weight, can you believe!

It’s true that to a certain age, the box will provide more play value than the gift it stores. And that loveable kid Caine and his cardboard arcade both exalted this building material and brought us back the the carefree creativity of childhood (it really feels like genius emerges when we play, so why don’t we play more? But I digress…).

Even adults have been known to do  surprising and inspiring things with this durable, recyclable material.  Take a look:

Speech Bubble Coffee TableImage via Crooked Brains

Designers are having lots of fun constructing usable, interesting furniture from cardboard. This one is Leo Kemf’s Speech Bubble Coffee Table. Kemf’s designs are inspired by Frank Gehry’s conceptual furniture, but made sustainably, and accessible to the average consumer.

Toby Horrocks Image via Art Boom

Australian Architect Toby Horrocks designed this furniture set – a bench and storage – when he asked himself to conceptualize how urban and rural environments can converge in a piece of furniture.  I love the mix of strong and soft lines in this piece.  Certainly a conversation starter.

Karton Art Design

Image via Inhabitat

Karton Art Design, a husband and wife duo from Hungary, invented a technique for constructing cardboard furniture using only cardboard and paperclips.  She’s an artist, he’s a carpenter and together they’ve come up with some breathtaking designs that mimic techniques that include intricately carved wood.  The designers say their furniture is as strong as wood and as light as paper.  It’s pretty cool stuff!

Jason Schneider DrawersAnother Schneider creation

Image via CalFinder

I think these drawers by Jason Schneider might be my favourite pieces.  Such whimsy! And function!  While these aren’t entirely cardboard – he does integrate some wood that is finished with an all natural milk paint.

Cardboard furniture is an interesting concept for sure.  If you’re living somewhere temporarily or just don’t have the funds to invest in serious furniture yet, this is a unique alternative to the IKEA phenomenon.  Once you are done with this, if you don’t have friends clamouring for the hand-me-down, you can just put this stuff out with your other boxes come recycling day!

Lounge Like Cleo

A sculpture of Cleopatra

A Cleopatra sculpture. Image via Ali Baba.

I think the chaise longue is sexy furniture. I’ve always associated it with old-world opulence, decadence, and a subtle kind of power. Every time I encounter one, I picture Cleopatra, and how she’d recline in one just like it and hold everyone around in her thrall, and I always get the urge to take the said piece of furniture for a test run and drape myself all over it. (If I give in to the impulse within a friend’s line of sight, I’d even ask him or her to take a picture!)

Shameless confession aside, chaises longues (literally, “long chairs” in French) have been around for a centuries now, and will continue to be a staple in the boudoirs of sexy sirens for a long long time. Originally the term was limited to upholstered pieces but now can broadly refer to any kind of long chair. And what contemporary designers have done with it — wow, it’s heart-stopping!

Hedy Lamarr as Delilah

Delilah, played by Hedy Lamarr, in the 1950 film "Samson and Delilah"

Here are prime specimens of modern-day “long chairs” that Cleopatra, Delilah, or any of the femmes fatales that came after them would be glad to get horizontal on.

Cortiça chaise longue

Image via Haute Living

Mandy talked about this curvaceous lounge chair designed by Daniel Michalik in a previous post, but I love it so much that I just have to feature it in this one. The fact that it’s made completely out of reclaimed cork makes it even more amazing.

Alexandria bench

By Lee Weitzman via International Design Awards

This one is called the Alexandria Bench and it looks like a sleek and streamlined version of what old Cleo would have had in her quarters.

Stylish chaise by Michal Bonikowski

By Michal Bonikowski via Behance

Kenneth Cobonpue's Mermaid lounge chairMermaid chair by Kenneth Cobonpue

By Kenneth Cobonpue

I love Cobonpue’s designs! I waxed poetic about him in an earlier post. His pieces are cool and clean and at the same time warm and earthy. His Mermaid Lounger is no different.

Odyssey Lounge Chair by Alvin Huang

Image via Materialicious

How cool is this chair?! It’s like a sculpture that you can touch all you want! Singaporean designer Alvin Huang creates such a fluid shape that with the milky purity of all that white, takes the light and plays gorgeous games with it.

Glacier Chaise by Brodie Neill

Image via Design Milk

Called the Glacier chaise, it really is a sculpture that looks like it’s been carved from a huge block of ice. It is a remarkable piece of glass.

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