30 June 2010

Rock On

In the right hands, technology can be a fabulous thing. Case in point: the achievement of the team at Stroehmann Steinkult. Rather than contribute to mainstream masonry offerings, they seek the improbable in the material, and make it a reality. Woven stone, 'Coimbra' garners more than admiration from me—it's art, a truly wondrous creation. stroehmann.de

28 June 2010

Small, Dark & Handsome

When I first saw this photo, I noticed how the hand-formed tiles bring a welcome texture into this mostly-monochrome kitchen. But then, an incidental observation took precedence: I'm really impressed with how effectively this design disproves any notion that the range must be a statement-making behemoth in order to make an impact in the room. Small is beautiful, indeed.

25 June 2010

His and Hers

This vision of a separate and very unequal—not to mention bizarre—bathroom was visited upon us in 1957 by Formica. While the strange contours of the 'vanitory' are meant to convey the versatile forming properties of the material, the design seems to play favorites. He gets to stand and face a mirror that's threatened by a jungle of encroaching houseplants. She, comfortably seated, is surrounded—insulated, even—by all the conveniences of a personal boudoir.

It's hardly the picture of today's egalitarian master baths, that's for sure. Have we really come a long way, baby?

24 June 2010

Surface Effective

Generally, binding wood and resin together results in a surface that is a grim dilution of one of those materials; the worst of all possible worlds, if you will. So I am thrilled to come upon Lamellux, a French manufacturer of exquisite and inventive architectural surfaces which unite the two substances in sculptural ways. An example of their Quertec line is shown above, featuring bubinga wood. Too new for photos, but I promise you it's magnifique: the Nida series, in which a delicate honeycomb of aluminum is embedded in a contoured matrix. lamellux.com

23 June 2010

Light Showers

Opalescent Strass Swarovski crystals supply the 'suds' below a cascade of polished nickel rings and clear crystal droplets in the Lather Up chandelier, a witty, cheerful design that's part of a collection of similarly exuberant light fixtures. Its three LED lamps cast a cool brightness on the bathroom—or any space it's installed. waterpressurelighting.com

22 June 2010

Equal Time

Since in yesterday's post I admitted a predilection for showers, it's only fitting [I swear these puns are purely accidental!] to follow up with one installation I'm fond of. The walk-through plan is great, and taking an artistic approach to the glass panel's structural support is good designing. porcelanosa.com

21 June 2010

Transcendent Tub

Making a clean break from tepid retro styles and soulless contemporary designs, this handsome tub seems poised to bridge the divide between traditional and modern tastes. [As a shower person, I can rightfully claim editorial impartiality on the matter.] All it would take to sway the look to one camp or the other is a decisive choice of tub filler. albionbathco.com

18 June 2010

Working Class Hero

The early 20th century was no picnic, to put it mildly. In the aftermath of World War I, outbreaks of influenza and polio killed thousands of people in America. As the relationship between health and sanitation became clear, the plumbing industry took steps to assure a worried populace it was in good hands. This image was produced in the 1930s by the then-fledgling American Standard company. I appreciate how it projects confidence, decency and optimism—especially as it appeared in the visual wake of the fierce I-Want-You visage of Uncle Sam.

17 June 2010

Happy Birthday, Charles

Charles Eames was born on this day in 1907 in St. Louis. His justly fabled Eames House, designed in partnership with wife Ray, is open to visitors just once a year—on 20 June, their anniversary. eamesfoundation.org

16 June 2010

Water Table

I imagine that the ridges at the front of the Blue Line sink induce one to touch the stone and possibly even spend a moment contemplating the beads of water that splash onto its surface. It's a restful—even ritualistic—alternative to the usual torrent rushing down the drain. balance-nl.com

15 June 2010

The Great Outdoors, Part 3

Our unplugged version of the outdoor fridge may be missing a few features of the electrical appliance—chlorofluorocarbons, for instance—but will still chill copious amounts of refreshing beverages. Melt water can be drained off by a spigot at the bottom of the recycled oak wine-barrel. Flip the lid closed, and you have a neat little table. napastyle.com

14 June 2010

Cabinet Compromise

For those who just can't commit to trading cupboards for drawers, here's a happy middle ground—and a fresh look, as well. Pantries perched on elongated legs boost cabinet contents within reach. The powder blue and scalloped trim too feminine, you say? Imagine this treatment done in a Stickley style using quarter-sawn oak. banksdesignassociates.com

11 June 2010

Custom Cooking

Even from today's perspective, with appliances loaded with all manner of features, it's hard not to be impressed with the inventive offerings of this 1948 Presteline range. Imagine choosing between four burner configurations—that's some crazy fun. The on-board storage compartment would be handy, but I'm not sure I'd trade a second oven for its convenience. And the burner that converts from a flat, flush coil to a recessed well that holds a pressure-cooker is quite the curiosity.

10 June 2010

A Clean Slate

A compelling mix of the atmospheric and the austere, this space reverses the traditional relationship between kitchen and cook. Instead of the room catering to the needs of its users, its design—centering on some unconventional integral storage and a less-than-trophy range—challenges them. I'm an advocate for architecture and interiors that engage on this level; my kudos to Dutch designers Studio Ina-Matt. ina-matt.com

09 June 2010

Visible Difference

Rather than skirt the issue [forgive me—I couldn't resist] and either abstract or embellish the humble commode, the designer of the Outline chose to expose its inner structure. Acid green glazing helps avoid the trap [sorry again] of the bland bowl. altheaceramica.it

08 June 2010

Personal Best

With an abundance of good-looking bathroom suites to be had, a chic, coordinated room isn't too hard to procure. But venture off that well-worn path and it's a different story; culturing an individual style isn't one-stop shopping. Missteps will be made and lessons—about history, art, even mathematics—learned. This interesting bath isn't perfect [I question the shower], but that's a key to its substantial attraction.

07 June 2010

The Great Outdoors, Part 2

Summertime: When we most like to keep things simple. This barbecue bucket lacks a rotisserie, can't feed a crowd [i.e., more than two people], and in all likelihood won't hold up for more than a single season. All of which make it terribly gauche, but joyously carefree. johnlewis.com

04 June 2010

Reefer Madness

The cooling drawer has had any number of incarnations, both inside the refrigerator and as a stand-alone unit, but there's something about this version that touches me. It's not [quite] a beautiful appliance, but it's so very much a product of its era—1960—that I can't help but smile when I look at it. Caught in the transition between modernism and Mod, it seems both ahead and behind the times.

03 June 2010

Sharp Storage

No, this isn't a Brobdingnagian Swiss Army knife for campers with a gourmet bent. It is a witty storage bin for kitchen utensils that plays [in every sense of the word] with scale. Don't you think it would be the perfect foil for the soulless, spotless kitchens of those now-infamous tragic hipsters? Of course you do. artlebedev.com

02 June 2010

Brainy Drain

The latest dispatch from the Why-Didn't-I-Think-of-That Department: Installing a linear drain near an entertainment sink could put an end to soggy bar towels or incongruous drying racks. I think I'd reserve this trick for a solid-color counter, though—the grate's geometry clashes with the patterned surface shown in this photo. platinumstainlesssteel.com

01 June 2010

Iconoclast Style

The low-slung profile of the stone Alea sink is eye-catching on its own, but when garnished with fittings of different sizes and finishes, it really turns heads. I like! volevatch.fr