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This Collection Is Turning Design’s Biggest Trends Into Stuff You Can Actually Afford

We pride ourselves here on generally being able to spot or define trends as they're taking shape, but it's sometimes just as interesting to track what happens to those trends when they begin to be picked up by the masses. That's why retailers like West Elm have always been so fascinating to us: They're essentially the fulcrum, the point at which trends swing from an insider-y secret to something anyone might adopt into their living rooms. Their latest collection might be our favorite example of this yet.
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Top 5: Bookends

A periodic nod to object typologies both obscure and ubiquitous, featuring five of our favorite recent examples. Today, our subject is the bookend — a.k.a. five new ways to make your killer design library look even cooler.
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Week of July 20, 2015

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: Nerding out on the science of chemical reactions, finding new uses for tie dye, and professing our love for iridescence and copper (yes, we’re predictable!). Discoveries We’ve always said that the only bad thing about the incredible roster of products made by Australian duo Daniel Emma is how few of them are available Stateside. Perhaps that will change now that their amazing Cherry on the Bottom light is being produced by the French company Petite Friture. In 2013, Daniel Emma first showed a self-produced edition of the lights in more fanciful colors, like baby blue and red; we much prefer the more sophisticated iterations shown here and at the top of this post, particularly (natch) the black and iridescent. The brand-new Museo del Design 1880-1980 is now open in Milan, tracing the history of Italian design from Art Nouveau to Memphis. As you might imagine, the permanent collection includes lots of chairs but our favorite might be this 1969 Mies seat, which was given by one member of Archizoom to the other as a wedding present. Not shown is the A+ illuminated footstool that typically accompanies the chair. An update from the Greece- and New York–based architecture firm LoT arrived in our inboxes this week, filled with lots of great new built work but also alerting us to their range of small goods, which they create under the name Objects of Common Interest. We’re especially partial to these copper table mirrors, whose bases are CNC milled from blocks of aerated concrete. Speaking of copper, we also got word this week of these beautiful copper bowls by Vancouver designer Ben Barber. Spun from solid copper sheets, the exteriors are powder-coated; “as the powder is baked into the copper, the copper undergoes a blooming process, giving each bowl a pearlescent hue; no two bowls are the same,” explains the designer. These ceramic bowls by Portuguese designer Sara de Campos are also the result of a relatively cool chemical reaction. Their blackened exteriors are formed using a dying Portuguese process called barro negro, in which the pieces are placed with burning firewood into a hole in the soil in the ground and covered with moss, leaves, or straw. East Village gallery Ed. Varie is leaving its 9th Street digs at the end of this month in search of artier surroundings, and before they leave, you should absolutely stop in and see the excellent exhibition on view, which includes one of our favorites, Malin Gabriella Nordin. … Continue reading Week of July 20, 2015
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At the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair, Part I

Another year, another Milan. Every year we attend the behemoth furniture fair known as Salone expecting to come away with something smart to say about the current state of design. But the truth is, you spend the week bombarded with so much stuff that you're often left with just a few fleeting mental images of your favorite things, whether it's a colorful chair sheathed in Flyknit-esque sneaker material or a particularly delicious gnocchi you nearly licked off the plate. Luckily, that's what cameras are for. We shot nearly everything we saw this year, whether it was for an immediate Instagram, a file-away-for-later trend, or to share with you here, in our best of the best round-up from last week.
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These New Copper Vessels Will Make Your Houseplants Unkillable

Ask anyone what kind of houseplant you ought to get if you're cursed with a black thumb, and you're nearly always regaled with tales of the wonderful, unkillable qualities of cacti and succulents. But frankly, we've had bad luck with more than a few of that breed. Été Studios, a new product-design studio based in Seoul, Korea, is here to help. Their first line of products consists of a series of vases and pots specially designed to make growing cacti and succulents easier. Larger vessels are made from copper, a material known for its antimicrobial properties that inhibit bacterial growth, and smaller, hydroponic vases are made from two parts.
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Week of February 23, 2015

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: long-awaited collections from two of our favorite designers, a new exhibition and book from the doyenne of Memphis, and a serious contender for the best watering can we've ever seen.
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The colors themselves also change as the pieces are fired. “I can now manage to calculate the right temperature for each color, but the patterns and the way the paint flows and drips is always different from what I expect,” Lee says. “But that’s what I enjoy about it.”

Kwangho Lee’s Enamel-Skinned Copper Series

Kwangho Lee fancies himself a simple man. The 29-year-old grew up on a farm in South Korea watching his mother knit clothes and his grandfather make tools with his bare hands, which ultimately became the inspirations behind his work. He values nostalgia and rejects greed, and more like a craftsman than a designer, he prefers sculpting and manipulating ordinary materials to engineering the precise outcome of an object. “I dream of producing my works like a farmer patiently waiting to harvest the rice in autumn after planting the seed in spring,” he muses on his website. It all starts to sound a bit trite, but then you see the outcome: hot-pink shelves knitted from slick PVC tubing, lights suspended inside a mess of electrical wire, towering Impressionist thrones carved from blocks of black sponge. Lee may have old-fashioned ideals, but he designs for the modern world, and that’s the kind of transformative alchemy that draws people to an artist.
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