How to Live Your Most Comfortable Life According to a Design Expert

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Design expert Bob Williams, half of the creative minds behind the home furnishing brand Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, didn’t always plan on designing furniture. In fact, he originally studied to be a graphic designer. It wasn’t until he met Mitchell Gold, now his business partner, that he learned the intricacies of the furniture industry, and the rest is history. Post Studios had the pleasure of speaking with Bob to hear about where he draws inspiration from, what makes him tick, and how to make the family pet feel right at home.

 

 

What was it about interior design that led you to home furnishing?

I actually got into the furniture business because of Mitchell and just being at the right place at the right time. He worked for a big furniture company, and after a couple of years, he wanted to start his own. I was the only one willing to pick up the paintbrush and carry all the boxes and all that kind of stuff.

Where do you draw inspiration from? Is there a particular piece you can tie back to a specific inspiration?

I get inspiration from all kinds of places. Whether it’s watching movies, television or what I’m reading in books. Magazines are also a huge influence and just kind of getting inspired during my day-to-day. I’m a huge antique, flea-market type person, and it’s so interesting to go back and find something from a previous period and think, “How can I take that and make it more relevant for today’s consumer?” Sometimes it’s making a piece a little deeper, making the back a little fluffier, or putting a new or different cover on it. One of our best-selling pieces is the Hunter sofa, and I found something similar to that in a flea market and it turned into being one of our best-selling sofa collections.

 

Every day, there is a new opportunity that comes to you and you just need to be brave enough or smart enough to run with that opportunity and see where it takes you.

Where are you most creative? Where do you do most of your designing?

I live about 25 miles from the factory [where Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture is built] and it’s all through the country to get here. So every morning and every evening, I’ve got about a 25-, 30-minute ride and I’m seeing cows, farmhouses and barns and your mind just starts to think: What if we did this to this chair or what if we took this table and put this finish on it and make the knobs a little bigger? I just let it kind of stew there until I get it all figured out. And that’s kind of my litmus test for ideas: If I remember it or I’m real excited about it by the time I get to the office, then I know this is something really good. I write it down, pin it on the wall with all the other ideas and then when it comes time to come up with the ideas for the next season, I’ve already got a wall full of ideas and thoughts.

 

 

When you’re not designing, what are you doing?

Besides going to antique stores and flea markets, I love to garden. It’s interesting because it lets me design but in a completely different medium than furniture and interiors. It’s fun because it lets me use different kinds of thoughts and ideas and it’s also challenging to try and create a garden that’s beautiful and colorful 12 months out of the year.

 

One thing that I learned a long time ago: If it’s a really good thought or a really good idea, it’ll come back to you.

Do you have any tips for someone furnishing their first home?

I always tell people, think about how you want to use the space. Is this a space where I’m going to have friends and family over and we’re going to be able to talk? Or is this the place where I want to relax, lay back, take a nap, or watch TV? You need to find furniture that will allow you to do those activities in that space. If you want to be able to have a conversation and talk, you want a seat that is very shallow and lets you sit up straight. Now, if it’s a place where you want to relax or watch TV, then something that sits a little deeper or a little lower is perfect. I don’t really tell people you need to think about the color or you need to think about the style; I always stress to people to think about the function. Once you figure out the function, then finding those pieces that allow you to do that makes it so much easier.

How would you describe the look and feel of the fall collection?

One of the things that we try to do every season is to have things that are clean and classic. We try to put together a collection that will have great, incredible, classic, basic items that you can add to season after season. It’s one thing if you buy a shirt that’s a little crazy or a pair of shoes that’s a little “off the rack” because you’re not going to wear that or see it every day. But a piece of furniture — as soon as you walk in the room, it’s the first thing that you see. The last thing I want is somebody to regret what they bought; I want them to be able to build onto the pieces that they have.

 

A media sofa is great because it’s extra deep. It lets you lay back and put your feet up without having to have an ottoman.

Your company is very much focused on eco-friendly and sustainable designs. Can you give us some background on why that’s important to you?

In the manufacturing, or pouring, of foam, there’s a lot of fluorocarbons that get released into the atmosphere which is destroying the ozone layer. So we started calling the foam companies to find out what other kind of foams they had, and it just lucked out that this one company just created this new type of foam that didn’t release these particular fluorocarbons. We were really fortunate that immediately we were able to buy foam that was more environmentally responsible than other foams out there. Growing up in Texas during the ‘70s also introduced me to Lady Bird Johnson’s big campaign about “Keep America Beautiful.” The notion that it’s up to us to make sure that we keep the world clean and safe is just a part of my whole DNA. It’s amazing now to have a company that part of our whole ethos is making sure that we protect the environment.

 

 

We know you have two dogs. What advice can you give your fellow pet owners about choosing upholstery?

I always recommend you limit the furniture the pet can be on to one or two pieces and we suggest using performance fabrics. Sunbrella is a great fabric because it’s an acrylic yarn so it’s easy to clean and it’s practically indestructible. That’s what I have on my sectional in my house and I’ve got two dirty little French bulldogs on there every night. About a year ago, I came home from overseas, dead tired and decide I’m going to get a glass of red wine and sit on the sofa and just relax. My two dogs come running in, and next thing you know, they jump on the sofa and run across me. Of course I’m jiggling my glass of wine and think, “Thank goodness I didn’t spill any!” and before I even had a chance to move, one of them jumps on top of me. The glass of red wine goes right up in the air and I’m soaked, with seven of the cushions covered in red wine. I took them off the sofa, threw them in the washing machine, and they came out clean.

 

Just remember: Pets are dirty, so be sure to vacuum your upholstery because dog hair and dirt is just going to be part of it.

 

Click here to find out more about Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and shop their new Fall collection now.

6 Ways Tetra is the Future of the Smoking Experience

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Photography by:  Charlie Shuck

Tetra is a new online retail project and lifestyle brand dedicated to elevating the aesthetics of the smoking experience. Founded by three prestigious design journalists and curators (Monica Khemsurov, Su Wu, and Eviana Hartman) Tetra sets out to offer a collection of commissioned smoking accessories created by some of the design and fashion world’s most influential artists. This includes a brand new collaboration with Opening Ceremony, a fashion set favorite Bellocq, Miwak Junior, Otaat, Leah Ball and Brooklyn darling Helen Levi.

The concept of Tetra was born from the desire to tap into the ritual of pause that smoking provides from our constantly connected lives and look at this moment as an opportunity to infuse great design. According to Tetra’s founders, in the mid-century period, before smoking was considered taboo, design luminaries of the era like Dieter Rams, Marianne Brandt, and Enzo Mari, created iconic home accessories for smokers to enjoy while engaging in company and conversation. Tetra brings this thought to the present day with their curated collection of contemporary pipes, ashtrays, snuff boxes, lighters, storage pouches, and hand selected vintage accouterments.

Here are six pieces from Tetra’s shop that will elevate both your ritual and home aesthetics.

 

1.) Marbled Pipe Pink by Leah Ball. $90.

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2.) The Balance Pipe designed for Tetra by Jamie Wolfond in collaboration with Opening Ceremony. $65.

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3.) Copper Rolling Tray by Matthias Kaiser. $330.

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4.) Andu Box Moss Agate by Anna NY. $310.

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5.) Octahedron Table Lighter and Ashtray Set by Andrew O. Hughes. $1,250.

 

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6.) Voltaire Pipe by The Pursuits of Happiness. $75.00

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Make Time Last Longer with Scott Thrift’s 24-Hour Gradient Clock

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Scott Thrift “wants to make time last longer”—a daunting task he’s distilled into the more simpler project of designing a 24-hour clock without numbers. Aptly titled, Today, Thrift’s kickstarted pursuit was designed with a stunning color gradient to reflect the changing sky outside during a 24-hour period.

The result “simplifies the day into a perfect balance of dawn, noon, dusk and midnight,” which Thrift promises will take the edge off time. So rather than sitting at your office desk every day, anxiously watching the seconds, minutes and hours pass by, Today highlights the “spectrum of time,” recreating the limitless feeling of watching clouds pass by.

More time is certainly the solution to Monday stress, even if it’s all in your head.


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Chicago Students Bring 1866 into the Future at Milan’s Annual Furniture Fair

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A global leader in art and design education, Chicago’s School of the Art Institute is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a range of student-made designs inspired by 1866. After analyzing the people, their beliefs, available technology and fleeting fads, SAIC’s students dove deeper into the distant culture, researching everything from Victorian mourning rituals to hypnosis and prostitution, imperialism to solar-powered engines and the mandate of an eight-hour work day.

These ideas were then processed and reimagined in a contemporary context, making their official debut this week at Spazio Rossana during the Milan Furniture Fair.

“For nine years, students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have had the unique opportunity to design, produce and show their objects next to some of the world’s most renowned designers during the Milan Furniture Fair,” said SAIC Professor Helen Maria Nugent. “Going through the process of concept to creation and having this type of exposure to design professionals and buyers allows our students to gain significant, invaluable real-world experience over the course of just two semesters.”

Of the 15 exhibited student designs, standouts include a “Crylus” pen that writes with tears (or water), a paper-made clock with movements that reference the migration of global refugees and a double-lensed condiment container that magnifies its contents and ultimately becomes functional, countertop art. Scroll through more of our favorites from SAIC’s 2016 whatnot collection, below:


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“Yi-Rack” by Ying Cui (MDes 2016)

“Inspired by the coexistence of the Chinese and British in Hong Kong in 1866, as exemplified by the double-sided 1866 coin, this clothes rack integrates the different approaches each culture takes to hanging clothes.” (Materials: Patinated steel)

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“Solar Sonnet” by Alice Gong (BFA 2016)

“A curiosity-inspiring set of nesting glass objects which change color via solar-to-thermal conversion. Inspired by Augustin Mouchot’s solar experiments.” (Materials: Borosilicate lab glass and thermochromic netting)

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“Allele” by Shau Heng Li (MDes 2017)

“A stapled plywood table, inspired by Mendel’s Law, in which functional elements mutate into decorative abnormalities. Staples and plywood were commercialized in 1866.” (Materials: Plywood and metal staples)

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“Passage” by Jackie Jeong (BFA 2016)

“A large paper clock that captures the constant migration of refugees through the slow movements of its minute hand.” (Materials: Washi pulp, plywood and clock mechanisms)

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“Jacks-Up” by Sung Jun Kim (MDes 2017)

“An array of turned wooden architectural legs form a small stool, embodying the collective efforts taken to raise the Briggs Hotel in downtown Chicago in 1866.” (Materials: Poplar wood)

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“A Dash” by Charmaine Da Costa (BFA 2016)

“Inspired by the act of gift giving in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, The Porter’s Son, ‘A Dash’ is a lensed condiment container which reflects the taste of the receiver.” (Materials: Brass, two convex glass lenses and stained walnut)

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“Crylus” by Chang Liu (MDes 2016)

“A glass stylus that catches tears to moisten ink when writing letters to lost loved ones. It is inspired by the elaborate mourning ceremonies of the Victorian era.” (Materials: Hand-blown glass, wax, dye, walnut and white oak)

Belgian Designer Walter Van Beirendonck Launches Colorful Home Collection

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Walter Van Beirendonck

A pioneering designer in Belgium’s fashion community, Royal Academy of Fine Arts alumnus Walter Van Beirendonck is a venerated member of the Antwerp Six—that avant-garde brat pack of sorts, which redefined the local look and carved out a promising fashion capital during the early ’80s. Revered for his colorful palettes and playful use of patterns, Van Beirendonck’s aesthetic has attracted Swedish home stalwarts Ikea, who’ve since collaborated on an exclusive collection, GLÖDANDE, launching June 1.

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Fall ’16 Menswear

The designer developed this range like he develops fashion, first collecting inspirational images and words, and reflecting on his own home’s eclectic paintings and collectibles. GLÖDANDE, or “glowing,” will feature everything from paper stationery to shopping bags, rugs to porcelain and pillows—all products, of course, imbued with Van Beirendonck’s signature whimsy.

Designs are built around a gang of otherworldly characters, whom appear through the collection like protagonists in a fairytale. Van Beirendonck calls these creatures “WONDERMOOI,” a community faced with holes forming in their beloved cloud home, as they watch earthly wars rage on, below—a relevant conflict, touching on peace and environmental issues, which they help solve by spreading cloud dust.

GLÖDANDE’s thematic undertones align with Van Beirendonck’s fashion collections, most of which have centered on world issues throughout his career. The designer’s fall ’16 lineup, called “WOEST” or “furious” in flemish, reflected his anti-establishment perspective—one that’s inspired ranges about everything from safe sex to warfare. “I’m a pacifist,” he told Vogue. “But really, I want to punch someone in the face,” that “someone,” likely referring to a political leader.

Despite such serious (and admirable) intentions, Van Beirendonck’s work is always marked by a cartoonish look, as shown through GLÖDANDE’s wondrous, childlike appeal. See a preview, below: 

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Japanese Design Legend Issey Miyake Unveils Harmonious Home Collection

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Pause for Harmony

Issey Miyake, the fashion legend famous for his angular silhouettes and innovative pleats, has teamed up with Finnish design house Iittala for a 30-piece collection of home goods, all of which are now available in the MoMA Design Store. “Design is not for philosophy, it’s for life,” Miyake once profoundly stated, and what better way to implement this notion than with a beautiful body of work accessible to the everyday consumer? Luxury is arguably worthless if it’s untouchable to the majority.

The collaboration is a marriage of Miyake’s graphic aesthetic with Iittala’s signature Scandinavian simplicity, manifesting into everything from subtle ceramic tea light holders to bold pentagonal table mats. There’s a clear sense of serenity throughout the collection, something echoed by the website’s fixation with harmony. If you’re a self-proclaimed minimalist on a budget, the days of salivating over Miyake’s work, but never pulling the trigger are over. Learn more about the timeless project, below:

 


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(h/t DesignMilk)

 

A Rare Tour of Donald Judd’s Home, the Judd Foundation in Soho

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An exclusive photo tour of the Judd Foundation in Soho, just above ‘Make art, not pipelines, Get in on the Ground Floor’ open now for limited public viewing.

Studio space featuring two works by Dan Flavin (and a few permanent Donald Judd installations) opened to the public on Friday and Saturday last weekend, available for free viewing for the first time. Make art, not pipelines, Get in on the Ground Floor is on view as the first part of the series of temporary installations at 101 Spring Street, the Judd Foundation in Soho. Just upstairs from the ground floor is the rest of the Judd Foundation, the site of the late artist Donald Judd’s New York home. Everything there is exactly as Judd lived and left it, from kitchen utensils to early Dan Flavin works (the artists were friends) to a personal library to bedding. Get an inside look at Donald Judd’s Soho home below, and get some minimal home design inspiration while you’re at it.

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101 Spring Street, New York, 1st Floor, 1974, courtesy Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Barbara Quinn, Licensed by VAGA
(Note: Whitney Independent Study Program Seminar with artist Donald Judd at his studio in 1974. On Judd’s left is Ron Clark, and on his right is artist Julian Schnabel.)

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101 Spring Street, New York, 2nd Floor. Photo credit: Mauricio Alejo-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA

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101 Spring Street, New York, 2nd Floor. Photo credit: Mauricio Alejo-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA.

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101 Spring Street, New York, 3nd Floor, Library. Photo credit: Joshua White-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA.

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101 Spring Street, New York, 3nd Floor, Library. Photo credit: Mauricio Alejo-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA.

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101 Spring Street, New York, 4th Floor. Photo credit: Joshua White-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA.

 

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101 Spring Street, New York, 5th Floor. Photo credit: Joshua White-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd FoundationFlavin artwork © 2012 Stephen Flavin/(ARS), © Chamberlain artwork/(ARS), © Claes Oldenburg. Licensed by VAGA.

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Second Floor, 101 Spring Street, New York, NY. Photo: Joshua White.

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Second Floor, 101 Spring Street, New York, NY. Photo: Joshua White.

 

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101 Spring Street, New York, Exterior. Photo credit: Joshua White-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Courtesy Judd Foundation Archives. Licensed by VAGA.

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Donald Judd Portrait, 1991. Image © Judd Foundation. Courtesy Judd Foundation Archives. Licensed by VAGA.

Chicago Athletic Association Reemerges as Luxury Hotel

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Restored ballroom

Travelers heading to the windy city (and local Chicagoans looking for a a place to throw a knockout event) will have a new place to stay starting May 27, when the storied Chicago Athletic Association reopens its doors as a 241-room luxury hotel.

Travelers heading to the windy city (and Chicagoans looking for a a place to throw a knockout event) will have a new place to play starting May 27 when the storied Chicago Athletic Association reopens its doors as a 241-room luxury hotel. The restoration, which involved a collaboration among design firm Roman and WilliamsHartshorne Plunkard Architecture, Geolo Capital, and Agman partners, took two years to complete.

The historic building and its gorgeous architectural details were brought to life in 1890 as a place for the storied families of Chicago — think names like Wrigley and Spalding — to socialize and enjoy sport. Roman and Williams preserved the details, which included bas-relief woodcarving fireplaces, 19th-century stained glass windows, and marble staircases, as part of their restorative process.

Beyond the guest rooms and suites, the luxury hotel will boast 17,000 square feet of event space, a rooftop bar, retail space in Madison Hall, and multiple restaurants, including a Shake Shack.

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Chicago Athletic Association

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A room at the restored hotel

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A suite at the restored hotel

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Chicago Athletic Association exterior

Images courtesy of Commune Hotels and Resorts

Celebrating Downtown’s Brand New Max Mara Whitney Bag

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View of the new Whitney Museum. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

Downtown’s got a brand new bag. Along with a new museum (hello, Whitney, opening in May), a new skyline (what’s up 1WTC), and a plethora of restaurants and attractions that are bound to pop up around them, we’ve got a new accessory with which to carry our essentials below 14th Street. Renzo Piano, the starchitect for the Whitney Museum, also had a hand in the Max Mara Whitney bag, an homage to the building itself.

On Wednesday evening, the chic  (Pari Ehsan, DJ Harley Viera-NewtonLauren Remington Platt, Claire Distenfeld, Genevieve Jones, Natalie JoosJohn Buffalo Mailer, Nicolas Niarchos) gathered at the Boom Boom Room atop the Standard hotel to fete the new bag — the purse and the view of the new museum both on view for revelers to enjoy.

The limited edition bag (carried by Milly Piano) comes in a light blue to reflect the color of the new Whitney building, and only 250 are available. The bag, proceeds of which go to the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, will also come in three sizes and three colors: black, tan, and bordeaux. The bag is a tribute to the Whitney building, also designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

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Rachelle Hruska and Pari Ehsan. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

 

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Maria Giulia Maramotti and Harley Viera-Newton (wearing Max Mara) next to the “Whitney” bag designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop for Max Mara. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

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Renzo Piano, Milly Piano (with the “Whitney” bag), and Luigi Maramotti. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com