The Small Red One

NORM ARCHITECTS

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The Small Red One

(Original article by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen @ bobedre.dk, translation by Nicholas Frickelton)

I’m not thinking of Chairman Mao’s book, but a fine small red book by Peter Zumthor that I bought some time ago, recently rediscovered in the bookcase due to its intense color, and re-read. The book is titled “Thinking Architecture” and is a collection of free imaginings and personal considerations in the context of a life of architecture. The book tells how many pictures of architecture come to him through childhood memories, which immediately brings to my mind Walter Benjamin’s childhood descriptions from Berlin or Gaston Bachelard’s La Poétique de l’Espace.

In common between these books (and many other books that concern  a phenomenological approach to architectural thinking) is that they revolve around how you can create architecture from impressions about how rooms will be experienced purely by the senses, rather than from formalized or abstract rationales. I think most of us, entirely in our mind, can take a walk through our childhood home, able to recall every nook and cranny. We recall the lighting in the home, remember the surfaces, the weight of a door handle, the sound of the floors and the scent of every room. We can even mentally recall the taste of most of the things we sucked on and tasted, and most of us can probably also describe what the dining table looked like from underneath. As children we sense the world very strongly. As is true for many other early experiences, the experience of architecture in childhood creates the frame of reference for how we experience rooms in adulthood. The point here, that I’ve made many times before, is that we should try to think of architecture with the same sensibility as when we were children, for a time forgetting the spectacular  facades and focusing on how rooms will feel.

Here are some pictures of Peter Zumthor’s architecture. Many of the pictures contain a certain emptiness and melancholia that I find appealing in the same way that sad music can contain incredible beauty. It touches something childish in me.

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Scandinavian Design – Søren Petersen, Ph.D.

(Original article by Søren Petersen @ Huffington Post)

Nordic Style InteriorEvery culture reflects its beliefs, values and attitudes in their designs. When asked what adjectives might be assigned to Scandinavian design, over fifty designers from around the world participated in an online study and shared their perceptions. Their comments illustrate how the spirit of a people can shine through the artifacts they choose to live with and how that spirit can help them to create future progress.

The Scandinavian countries differ from the rest of the world in that they all apply a social democratic model to organizing their society. Scandinavia has developed people centric societies, where citizens are considered their most valuable asset. These views were shaped over a thousand years of shared history, harsh weather conditions, limited resources and external threats from large European powers. The Scandinavian government model takes care of people from cradle to grave, providing kindergartens, schools, university education, employment, health care and retirement. Focusing on people and their well-being has resulted in great wealth and some of the highest happiness indexes in the world.

Howdy Owl MediumThrough a nationwide investment in design, these governments promote common national beliefs, values and attitudes. This helps to create the national unity necessary for a mutually supportive, organizationally flat and consensus driven society. Everything, from the children’s LEGO toys, to the public benches, lampposts, post offices, museums, bridges and airports, is carefully designed to reinforce the national spirit.

Investments are made in Masters and Ph.D. programs in design and design strategy. There are national design museums for educating the general public and design centers to assist industry in integrating design into their business model. Nationally sponsored studies on the value of design offer helpful guidelines, such as the “Design Ladder” and the INDEX Design Award to promote a commitment to design. These investments in process driven design result in a cultural cohesiveness expressed in functions and aesthetics that promote democratic values and social equality, justice, honesty, pragmatism, ingenuity and resourcefulness. To the global design community, this mindset is visible in the region’s products that are perceived as being authentic, calm, restrained, uplifting, practical and yet inviting, playful and whimsical.

Winebreather Carafe CollageWhether holding a Scandinavian product in one’s hand or experiencing a private or public space, we found the participating designers perceived the quality and caring for ergonomics, functionality and sustainability. The minimalistic objects balance rational geometric shapes with gentle soft curves, in keeping with the environmentally responsible, safety oriented and longevity focus of the products. As a consequence, natural high quality materials, such as wool, cotton, wood ceramics, glass and steel permeate Scandinavian design.

Colors are dominated by light warm natural materials, supplemented by the use of bold primary colors of red, blue, yellow and green, as well as gradations of white, over gray-tones to black. Decorations are sparse, applying geometric, floral and other organic motifs as well as striped and checkered patterns. Examples of Scandinavian designs and the designers reasoning behind these can also be seen in Scandinavian moviesproducts and graphics.

Noma CopenhagenWith its rich history and traditions, how will Scandinavian design evolve in the future? The New Nordic Design model proposes a little more playfulness in furniture design. NOMA cuisine celebrates locality and seasonality in the culinary experience. The Scandinavians do not pursue glory, like the French, or world influence, as do the Americans, they focus, instead, on carving out an exclusive, unpretentious niche. When it comes to cultural renewal, despite the long light filled summer, nobody immigrates to Scandinavia because of the weather or the low tax rates. For one to feel at home in the North, one would have to value conformity and collaborative action. That being said, if the past is any indication, the regions’ ability to carefully assimilate new trends from the outside world and creatively mold them to fit the spirit of its people has been shown. One designer captured the essence of Scandinavian Design eloquently by stating: “Scandinavian design shows love for the simple things in life and people.”

Follow Soren Petersen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/soreningomar

Homedit.com Interior Designer Profiles – Robert Bailey

(Original article by Loredana Sava @ homedit.com)

People realized some time ago that you cannot be brilliant in all fields of activity , but you can be great in only one and average in the others. So it is better to do what you do best and leave the rest for the specialists. So they soon realized that if you wanted to have a beautifully arranged home, you’d better look for an interior designer because they will know exactly what to do to make your dreams come true. Here are ten of the world’s most famous interior designers who are now successful and their most important works:

10. Robert Bailey

Is the last one in our top but this does not mean that he is less important than the others. I like to say that they are different, but they are all great interior designers. Robert Bailey is a Canadian interior designer  and he mixes functionality with design, comfort with class.

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This is perfectly shown in his work, for example in the way he arranged this beautiful Silversea Residence in Vancouver, Canada. The best thing about designing this apartment was the fact that he had to take everything from the start since the residence was completely demolished and renovated, which is a lot easier than working with what you already have there. So the designer was asked to find a way to cover a toddler’s needs and the adults ‘ ones, too, without visible intrusions in each others’ life styles and areas.

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So we can say it was a challenge from the very beginning. The apartment has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, but they are all located on the same floor, so there had to be a clear distinction made to differentiate them and to keep a common feature, too. And Bailey found the balance and did a great job. His first and main concern was to give the sensation of space so the transition between the rooms is fluid and natural without major disruptions. The rooms are beautifully designed, but kept simple, comfortable and nice.

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The design is rather minimalist, with everything you need, but not too much, with modern furniture painted in white and having interesting shapes. Every now and then a colourful pillow or a picture arrangement on the wall brings a dissonant note which is only for the best. Everything looks so clean and modern, with all the necessary media and appliances, but still safe for the toddler to walk around. It gave me a sensation of peace and quiet, perfect for a family with a child.

Well, this is our Top Ten Interior Designers and they are the ones we love best. Now you tell us your opinion and who is your favourite interior designer, even if they may not be present in this top.

Homedit.com Interior Designer Profiles – Catherine Widawska and Thomas Widawski

(Original article by Loredana Sava @ homedit.com)

People realized some time ago that you cannot be brilliant in all fields of activity , but you can be great in only one and average in the others. So it is better to do what you do best and leave the rest for the specialists. So they soon realized that if you wanted to have a beautifully arranged home, you’d better look for an interior designer because they will know exactly what to do to make your dreams come true. Here are ten of the world’s most famous interior designers who are now successful and their most important works:

9. Catherine Widawska and Thomas Widawski

Are the two members of a Polish family of architects who succeeded having a career and winning a lot of awards, this way proving interior design is spread all over the world and so is good taste.

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Their work and vision is defined by an apartment in Warsaw, Poland that they decorated in style. The interior of this apartment is made to look very modern and even futuristic at some points, being beautiful and airy, comfortable and useful at the same time. It shows open space and a nice combination of colours and it is youthful and fun.The space is carefully divided according to the purpose given for each area so as to make the most of it. The living room for example is supposed to bring people together for a nice time spent in common and this is exactly what it does. Even if the walls are white and the floor is wooden, keeping the wood natural colour, the space is far from boring.

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There are a lot of colourful objects that make the difference and they are carefully placed so as to make each room joyful and nice: the lemon-yellow carpet in the living room, the colourful cube-like shelves and the funny furniture in the kids room, the blue bean bag on the floor and so on. The designers paid a lot of attention to details and so the overall effect is great. There is even a long planter for indoors that is full of real grass sitting next to a big mirror, bringing some nature inside and an apparently misplaced green bag on the floor that is actually a magazine storage bag. And since the details make the difference this time the result is excellent.

Homedit.com Interior Designer Profiles – Michael S. Smith

(Original article by Loredana Sava @ homedit.com)

People realized some time ago that you cannot be brilliant in all fields of activity , but you can be great in only one and average in the others. So it is better to do what you do best and leave the rest for the specialists. So they soon realized that if you wanted to have a beautifully arranged home, you’d better look for an interior designer because they will know exactly what to do to make your dreams come true. Here are ten of the world’s most famous interior designers who are now successful and their most important works:

8. Michael S. Smith

Is an American interior designer and his headquarters are in Los Angeles. As each artist is known for something in particular, this time Smith is known as the one responsible for the interior designing of the White House ever since 2008, which is actually illustrative for the American style. The White House is iconic for the average American citizen, so you can only guess the value of the person chosen to decorate it.Of course, there are a lot of other projects that show his taste in interior design, like thisTower Grove project for example.

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The interior of this house shows tradition, even if American tradition is a lot younger than European one. However, you feel the family and welcome air of the rooms and you feel “at home” immediately. Everything is nice and comfortable and stylish at the same time. The dining room is centered on a long and solid wooden dining table with beautifully sculpted chairs. There is a cabinet nearby displaying the old family porcelain inherited from generation to generation (or at least we are lead to think that), a beautiful chandelier and wallpaper with floral designs.

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The rooms are open and there are very few doors to close and disrupt the beautiful scenery. You just pass from one room to another and do not see a visible difference in style. Big original painting hang over comfy sofas and there are plants everywhere. It is important to show your communion with nature as a true family person and tradition keeper. Of course there is a somptuous bedroom and a nice study or living room where you are surrounded by books and coffee tables. But the entire design of this mansion is out of time. You could never guess if you are inside a museum or a twenty first century home. It is like you have returned to the times when rich landlords were trend setters and the supreme power on the land. It shows family and power, comfort and American culture, the values that we all appreciate.

Homedit.com Interior Designer Profiles – Miles Redd

(Original article by Loredana Sava @ homedit.com)

People realized some time ago that you cannot be brilliant in all fields of activity , but you can be great in only one and average in the others. So it is better to do what you do best and leave the rest for the specialists. So they soon realized that if you wanted to have a beautifully arranged home, you’d better look for an interior designer because they will know exactly what to do to make your dreams come true. Here are ten of the world’s most famous interior designers who are now successful and their most important works:

7. Miles Redd

Originally comes from Atlanta, but you can say he is international. He is a remarkable designer and he turned into an advantage the fact that he used to work as a set designer. This way he can now adjust to all kinds of styles and genres without any preconceptions and stereotypes. He likes decorating and designing the interior of a house in order to reflect the owner’s personality.

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His work has been featured in New York Magazine, Vogue and Elle Décor.

So he mingles modern art and antiques or vintage items bought from thrift stores or fairs in a brilliant way. Even though he started with his friends’ apartments, he is now able to decorate any room, house, museum or any other living space.

This is one of his projects and the best proof that a small apartment in Manhattan can be colourful and really cool. So the designer though to give each room in the apartment personality and gave them each a colour that allows us to easily differentiate them. He chose a different colour for every room and tried to give it personal features in order to make it interesting and unique.

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The living room was decorated in blue and modern equipment was placed near vintage furniture covered in velour, which made the room look at least interesting. The green hallway with olive green doors made the transition to a totally unexpected room: the foyer designed to look like a garden. Brown wallpaper with branch and bird patterns was the background for the geometrical chevron pattern of the floor. In between you can admire the lamps with a column base made of malachite and a Neo-classical console that only adds a plus of personality to the room.

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There is a study with a whole collection of interesting photos and also a flat screen computer desktop next to an old fashioned orange phone. The richness of details make the whole so nice: a red door leading to a marble bathroom for example or a green kitchen next to a dining room that is full of books. But there is something really beautiful in this mixture of apparently mismatching objects, something that is quite appealing and gives away the style of the designer.

Menu’s New Catalogs, Q4 2012

Below you will find the 2012 Late-year Catalogs from Menu. Simply click on the catalog you like to download the .pdf for it.

The new Blade series of Wine Tools is particularly exciting, as is the tranquil yet aesthetic new Norm Bath series.

Menu Catalogs Q4 2012

Menu Wine Accessory Catalog Autumn 2012 Menu Cool Christmas B2B Fall 2012 Menu Designers Cut Catalog Fall 2012 Menu Bath Catalog Fall 2012

Homedit.com Interior Designer Profiles – Thierry W. Despont

(Original article by Loredana Sava @ homedit.com)

People realized some time ago that you cannot be brilliant in all fields of activity , but you can be great in only one and average in the others. So it is better to do what you do best and leave the rest for the specialists. So they soon realized that if you wanted to have a beautifully arranged home, you’d better look for an interior designer because they will know exactly what to do to make your dreams come true. Here are ten of the world’s most famous interior designers who are now successful and their most important works:

6. Thierry W. Despont

Is a designer, but also an artist and an architect and he is known as belonging to the old school. He was born in France but traveled and worked all over the world and he had many exhibits in New York. He was decorated for his work and was also part of the team that reconditioned the Statue of Liberty. Any way, his clients are high society and his demands are the same.

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Mr. Despont and his office have completed several very high end hotel projects.

There are many, many projects that his studio was involved in, but I have chosen a Swiss chalet that I simply loved and that I find relevant for his interior design talent and also for our web site. This is an amazing project and the result is spectacular.

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The chalet is hidden among the fir trees in the Alps and you wouldn’t guess just how beautiful it is inside. Once you step into it the first impression is that it is larger on the inside than the outside shows. All the space is carefully decorated and the airy design makes you feel like walking in a huge building.

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Only the ground floor is made of stone and the upper floor is made of wood, which is typical for mountain chalets. The large rooms offer a spectacular view over the mountains and you can admire it from the comfortable and large sofas in the living room. The walls and the ceiling are all covered with dark wooden panels and this does not make them seem smaller, but more elegant. Luxury carpets cover the huge floors and the rooms are lit by the gentle light of the many lamps spread around.

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The simple architecture of the chalet contrasts in a nice way with the heavy chandeliers and opulent coffee tables, but there is so much good taste in it that it does not seem too much. Of course there is a fire place facing a long indoor pool, but it is modern and stylized so as to offer all the comfort money can buy. There is even a cinema hall and you can easily recognize the expensive materials used for decorating. This is just an example of his brilliance, but I find it reinvigorating.

Put the Chocolate Fondue on the Menu with Jacob Wagner

(Original article by Kim Vallee – athome.kimvallee.com)

Menu Chocolate Fondue SetChocolate Fondue is a favorite dessert of many people. My husband and I often make a chocolate fondue at home to conclude a romantic dinner.

Chocolate fondue is wonderful to serve when you are having guests over. Any fondue makes the ideal mingling dish. Plus, you feel good knowing that you ate lots of fresh fruits for dessert. It just happened that they were dipped in chocolate.

A Cool Chocolate Fondue Set

While I was exploring Design & Inredningsbloggen, the Swedish retailer danskdesign.nu caught my eyes with its modern housewares and furniture.

Chocolate fondue sets are not known for their innovative design. But that was before Jacob Wagner designed in 2007 its Menu Chocolate Fondue Set. The sleek white porcelain set unites wit and style. With its elongated tray / plate, it is designed to be your own Fondue Set or to share on a romantic dinner. Quite elegant for entertaining!

From their Copenhagen, Denmark office, Jakob Wagner Design creates award winning products and furniture for international clients like Moroso, Magis, Bang & Olufsen, Iittala and Georg Jensen.

Kim’s Delightful Chocolate Fondue Recipe

My secret is that I used Toblerone chocolate, the mix of chocolate and almond nougat makes a difference.

Ingredients for 4 persons:

  • 8 or 9 peaks of Toblerone (I buy the large bar widely available at the grocery aisle and I am left with 3 peaks)
  • About 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of 15% cream – adjust to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier
  • Full strawberries, sliced bananas, pears cut in thin quarter- like shapes, pineapple pieces, melon scoops

Add 3/4 of the cream and all the chocolate in a double boiler to melt the chocolate. Stir regularly while its melting; the goal is that the chocolate does not burned. Check the consistency while the chocolate is melting, you may add some cream but do not forget that the Grand Marnier is more liquid. When the chocolate is almost melted, add the Grand Marnier. When the chocolate is fully melted, adjust the cream if necessary to get the right smoothness.

Transfer in the Chocolate Fondue Pot. Light the candle, stir a little, dip the fruit and savor with friends. You can serve tea, coffee or a glass of Port wine.

SOURCING:
Menu Chocolate Fondue Set – price: $59.99
Jacob Wagner Design
Toblerone
Grand Marnier

Menu New Norm Dinnerware

(Original article by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen at bobedre.dk, photos by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Rune Lundø, translation by Nicholas Frickelton)

New Norm Dinnerware

The new set we have designed for Menu carries many secrets within it. Not only did we design a restaurant for the set, we also built a digital world for it.

Our new set for Menu in many ways highlights our aesthetic look, which revolves around simplicity, timelessness, sensuality, functionality and individuality. At first glance, the individual pieces communicate just that. But, under the surface something very different lies hidden, a visual explosion that leads into a world of pictures, film and text, that inspires and informs.

Last week we visited Frederiksberg to create a picture for this platform that explains the source of inspiration for our choice of colored glazes – Wilhelm Hammershøi. The nordic melancholy, poetry, color and feel in his pictures draw you into the art in a big way. His interiors are minimalistic and modern, and the many slightly bowed heads seen from behind with exposed necks have a special kind of beauty. Our mission thus became to create modern photography of the set including elements from the inspiration source. See below for some pictures from the day and judge for yourself if Hammerhøi’s influence is detectable in our photography.