The New Stone Age

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Stone and ceramic surfaces are growing in popularity, reaching beyond their typical utility on the kitchen or bathroom floor with increased presence in products ranging from modern dining tables, contemporary wall units as well as bedroom furniture.  Paralleling the craze for rustic drift woods, stone finishes that feature rough, almost primal textures offer enhanced tactility and a rugged contrast to the sleek minimalism of modern design.

Balancing interiors with character and aesthetic dimension, marble surfaces like White Carrara and Black Marquina are often seen on tables like Penta coffee table by Cattelan Italia or Hoola Hoop dining table by Bonaldo as well as on wall units like I-modulART collection by Presotto Italia.  Sophisticated pieces like these create an unexpected edge and a counterpoint in the interior while helping balance softer materials with hard surfaces, complementing glass, wood or metals.

Penta coffee table by Cattelan Italia

Penta coffee table by Cattelan Italia

Hoola Hoop dining table by Bonaldo

Hoola Hoop dining table by Bonaldo

Till sleep do us apart, why the modern bedroom is split in two

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Back in 2010, the National Association of Home Builders predicted that one of the strongest 5-year trends in custom-building will be a dual-master bedroom.  This prediction most like ensued from the survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation which revealed a double digit growth in married couples who chose to sleep in separate bedrooms.  While this development in residential interiors is not entirely new, even the cyclical nature of furniture design could not have predicted this surprising revival.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had separate houses with a bridge connecting them, which could be attributed to their political spotlight.  Many of our grandparents did not share a bedroom in the 50’s, while our parents may have shared a room but slept in side-by-side beds.   But our generation is certainly on point with the king size bed and the idea of a “master” bedroom or a bedroom “suite, denoting a matrimonial oasis with symbolic equivalence to the diamond ring and honeymoon.

So what exactly invaded this sacred institution, converting the occasional “I’ll sleep on the couch” solution to an embedded feature of many newly constructed or recently renovated homes?  For starters, various physical conditions like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are to blame.  Other obstacles are either kids, who sleep in between their parents or pets that are often welcome to share their owner’s bed.  Other intruders are disguised as various technologies and social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, emails and texts, or as one-sided entertainment choices like SportsCenter or Dancing with the Stars that are less than desirable to the other partner.

The dual master-bedroom trend is catching fire fast with many buyers opting to make sleep a priority and using their more rested state-of-mind and body as a stimuli to healthy marriage amidst a pragmatic lifestyle.  Nonetheless, the critical task of today’s architects, builders and interior designers is to get creative and settle sleep deprivation issues with less emphasis on the separateness, stressing the importance of invigorating yet intimate bedroom spaces where couples can spend most of their time together and still choose to sleep apart, almost like trying to preserve the pillow-talk while having the pillows at different beds.

Is marriage between modern and country styles possible?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

One of the most unexpected interior style hybrids combines the wild side of country decor with modern minimalism, delineating an eclectic melange called country-modern.  The stark contrast between these polar styles creates lasting sophistication, warmth and welcoming charm that’s entirely innate to the rustic finishes like wooden beams, distressed surfaces and natural hides.  But this style is also full of contemporary flair like straight lines, floating effects, and shiny materials.

The transformation is particularly astonishing when a typically ultra-modern floating bed like Dylan platform bed by Cattelan Italia, gets a rustic makeover in the form of pony leather.  The result is a country-modern bedroom space that would otherwise be pure and minimal.  And this is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to completing this stylistic phenomenon.  The modern twist to this rustic style continues with a matching pony-leather upholstered Taxedo floor mirror and Casanova chaise lounge, offset by the unexpected crisp blue accents on the wall and through softer accessories.

Incorporating modern and country styles together

Is IKEA furniture cheap in quality?

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Let’s start by saying that IKEA is truly revolutionary!  The ode to IKEA should always include the fact that this company is the real reason the world widely adopted modern furniture as a style of choice.  The items look unabashedly cool and the prices are approachable, resulting in high-home-fashion for lower-budget.  IKEA regularly offers latest modern design inclinations, translating Milan’s sophisticated yearly introductions to approachable modern furniture, kitchen accessories and contemporary lighting.  Shopping at IKEA is almost like shopping at H&M and other retailers of hip fashion that embody each trend but lack the durability to outlast its expected popularity.

Remember that IKEA furniture require assembly (as they are mostly packaged in flat boxes), and most options vary in materials and thus pricing.  Managing expectations when it comes to quality versus design essential, also as a reality check, look at the pictures of IKEA “year-old” couches for sale on Craigslist.  Nonetheless, IKEA is still one of the most inspiration modern furniture retailers in the world and perhaps a great source for modern interiors with target market that includes college students, new professionals and young families.

Some examples of IKEA interiors include:

Scandinavian inspired Renovation

Scandinavian inspired Renovation

Small apartment solution

Small apartment solution

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Designer Profile: Marcel Wanders

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Marcel Wanders is a Dutch designer and architect considered to be one of the most talented, forward thinking innovators of our generation.  With a truly unique style that is easily recognizable, Marcel Wanders has made his mark on the design world setting out to “create an environment of love, live with passion and make…exciting dreams come true.” Known to seamlessly combine styles and materials with historical influences, Marcel Wanders conceives each of his projects, be it an interior or a product, with exhaustive attention to detail, intertwining opulence and exclusivity to instill an utterly unique sensory experience onto the space or the object.

Marcel Wanders is the co-founder of Moooi, a Dutch manufacturer of innovative, modern furniture, lighting and accessories as well as the interior mastermind behind notable architectural wonders like the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, Kameha Grand hotel in Bonn, the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Miami, Quasar Istanbul Residences, and the Villa Moda flagship store in Bahrain.  Among his unforgettable collaborations are products for Mac Cosmetics, Alessi, Cappelini, Bisazza, Moroso, Kartell and Flos.  Marcel Wanders is the winner of numerous design awards, curator of extraordinary art exhibits and creator of provocative advertising campaigns that shattered boundaries between perception and reality.

With decades of artistic footprint on the global design community, Marcel Wanders continues to surprise with his ingenuity and imagination like this year’s tribute to the notorious French monarch Louis XIV with Le Roi Soleil Chandelier for Baccarat.  Infamous furniture designs like the Dream platform bed for Poliform or the Flare table for Magis as well as his more recent work for Louis Vuitton in the form of the highly voluptuous lounge chair reaffirm Wanders’ philosophy that “Luxury starts where functionality ends and where the true value is personal and so has no price or reason”.

Famous designs by Marcel Wanders