Material Liability

At NeoCon earlier this month I saw an increasing trend towards using “greener,” “more natural,” and “less toxic” materials. But did you ever ask yourself “Why do they put all this stuff in materials anyway?” No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I am going to manufacture the most toxic products possible.” And yet there are many materials that the design community is now trying to avoid due to this very issue.

 

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Selling the Dwelling

Home ownership wasn’t always common in the United States. For a nation in which 67.4 percent of its citizens own their own homes this seems unfathomable but Americans had to be coaxed into becoming homeowners. Selling the Dwelling: The Books That Built America’s Houses, 1775-2000 shows the 225 year story of how "the American dream" of home ownership was made accessible.

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1950s Color Palettes

What hues come to mind when you think of 1950s colors? Most people think of carnation pink, light turquoise and butter yellow. What we think was history and what history actually was are often two different things. How do we mediate this circumstance? By referring to period documents. Here we have assembled 1950s color palettes, which represent four different design phenomena: Fashion, Interiors, Architecture and Automobiles.

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Guilloché Redux

In design, sometimes a word takes on a different meaning when we talk about a different material.

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The Comeback of Lamella

Any substance arranged in a thin, open structure could be described as a lamella structure, for example the lace-like marrow found in the center of bones.  In architecture, the term refers to a specific type of timber construction; originally developed by Fritz Zollinger in 1908, it was patented as the Zollinger-Bauweise in 1910 and was most commonly used between the World Wars when metal beams were cost prohibitive. 

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KGB Limited's Maxim Bench is a Lesson in Decadence with its Peacock Feather Upholstery

KGB Limited, known for their use of stunning materials, has designed a new bench that is literally fit for the gods! The Maxim bench has a base of solid walnut and silicon bronze, and the seat can come upholstered in peacock feathers. 

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Plastic Gets a New Feel

The plastics industry has long focused on creating stronger, lighter and more efficient materials, but new innovations are improving how plastics feel and support our bodies when used in furniture. 

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The Art of Wrapping

There is something about a wrapped up thing that delights us. Whether it is the wrapping paper on a present or artwork by that master of large scale wrapping Christo, we enjoy the bound surface and wonder what lies beneath.

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Expanding your Design Vocabulary….with Arborite’s INK Collection

At NeoCon Arborite unveiled three new laminate patterns called the Ink collection. Each design is graphically bold and oh so new, but I could not help but see the connections with time honored decorative arts. Allow me to explain. 

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Broken

In writing about materials I have noticed that one key difference between materials and synthetic materials is in our attitudes about wear. If a wooden object is cracked, gouged or worm eaten it has character and value but a modern material that is scratched, chipped or worn is damaged.

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