Tag Archives: interior design

One Shot

It always brings a wonderful feeling to come across a product that’s functional and still materialistically lean. It inspires something inside to heighten the push to create bolder, cleaner, and simpler design solutions.

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Jasheng Wong, one of our Unbranded Designers, is the craftsman of the recently popular piece, One Shot. It’s sudden increase in likes from our community from jumping to one of the top three submissions is a testament to its wonderful design. The part that makes this piece incredible is the fact that the product is built with one piece of sheet iron. And on top of that, it only requires three simple manufacturing processes to complete it – laser cutting, metal stamping, and bending. It’s hard to get any better than that. From a manufacturing and production point of view, One Shot is golden. The design also holds a limitless number of smooth and clean lines and geometric shapes that are amplified or hidden depending on your point of view.

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From reviewing the comments, however, there are some worries that Wong’s design is more unstable than it should be. Our Unbranded Designer, Seizmic Design wrote, “Materials are certainly your biggest concern. In a close second is going to be the strength of that break at the bottom trying to support all the physics going on above. One solution might be to have two or three feet instead of just one. One way this could perhaps be done is by breaking the center foot only out of the back and breaking two feet out of the front. I think you will also wind up having to go from having a perfect radius at the bottom (which looks awesome) to having at least a little bit of a flat area (which wouldn’t look as hot, but would be more stable),” which numerous people agreed with.

Tell us what you think to help One Shot become the greatest version of itself!

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Functional Art

As an industrial designer, there’s a fine line that cannot be crossed between creating something catered for a user and something that is simply art. Amazingly, designer Axel Yberg has found a gray area, which he calls ‘functional art.’

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By taking a look at Yberg’s portfolio, it’s definitely hard to stop looking at his work and to stop wondering how in the world does he think of these detailed, intricate, and ultimately beautiful pieces. The main elements he utilizes are metal and wood or ‘industrial and organic’ as he labels them. Yberg views these two juxtaposing materials representing something more harmonious and poetic. The use of metal symbolizes control and deliberation. He decides how to cut it, how to shape it, and what type of surface finish it should have. On the other hand, his use of wood represents the more spontaneous, natural, and hidden dimension of his craft. A slab of wood has already lived a lifetime – it brings its experiences to the surface and Yberg has to work with what is there.

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I really encourage anyone who’s reading this to take five minutes to peruse through Yberg’s work and see its intricacy and uniqueness. Tell us what you think!

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A Lamp that Makes You Clean the Floor

It’s always a fun experience when a piece of furniture or lighting allows (or perhaps ‘forces’ is a better word) the user to perform an action for it to properly operate. Designer Arthur Xin created a clever way for users of his lean and modern lamp to clean their floors.

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At first sight, you can’t tell that there is something different about this piece. But after a couple of days (or however long the power lasts) you’ll notice that the light will begin to dim as time goes on. There is no cord or charging mechanism. So what are you supposed to do? To make the lamp brighter again the user has to actually mop his floor with the lamp. The bending motion of lamp, the handle of the mop, is a source of kinetic energy which is then stored to as power. Clever, right? To mess with your mind even more, Xin wanted to portray a larger meaning to this product – wash away the bad to create positive energy.

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NOTE: There is a possibility that your lamp will smell….

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New Partnership with IIDA for RED Awards

We are very excited to announce that Unbranded Designs will be partnering with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Illinois Chapter for their second annual RED Awards, Recognizing Exemplary Design! IIDA is an international organization for Interior Designers that has chapter in 58 countries, offering numerous benefits to its members, including but surely not limited to networking events, portfolio workshops, and exclusive opportunities for professional development. More details and information about IIDA as a whole can be found on their infographic.

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The RED Awards is open only to Illinois professionals and students and is organized into 15 categories, including the new Furniture Design category in partnership with Unbranded Designs.

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“The submitted designs will be voted upon by our peers, colleagues, friends, and the general public during the month of March, 2014. Unbranded Designs will promote the top three finalists. The first place winner will be recognized at the RED Awards ceremony and Unbranded Designs will explore the opportunity of manufacturing and selling the winning design through their company.”  – IIDA Illinois

For more information about the RED Awards, visit their website here!

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The Guerrilla Truck Show in pictures

2 weeks ago Morlen Sinoway Atelier held his annual Guerrilla Truck Show in Chicago’s West Loop. The Truck Show is the local  maker showcase that goes on in the shadow of Neocon that we compared to New York’s Wanted Design earlier this month. This year’s event was bigger and badder than ever, attracting more Neocon visitors and Chicagoans than before. Check out some of our pictures from the night:

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The line of trucks started forming around 3:30

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We filled the truck with the R2 Coffee Table, ISA Chair, and something coming soon 🙂

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The traffic was consistently heavy from 5:30-9:30. Great attendance and interest and no time to rest

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We asked the visitors to give us their feedback on products we’re considering developing. Thanks to all who participated!

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Designer Adele Cuartelon stopped by to hang out and get some shots with her ISA Chair 

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The end of the night came really fast. We didn’t even have a chance to see the other 60 incredible trucks

The Guerrilla Truck Show exceeded our expectations once again. It is by far the best design event in Chicago and it’s unfortunate that we have to wait an entire year for the next one. If you missed it, don’t make the same mistake in 2014.

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Even Virgil recommends it

Special thank you to Global A+D for supporting DIFFA and sponsoring our truck.

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NY Design Week in Review (Part 4), An encouraging design trend

Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of our review of NY Design Week.

When someone hears “flat-packed furniture”, why are people immediately turned off? Consumers can point to the big box retailers that have utilized it to great success for decades. They could also think to the poor quality and self-assembly that comes with it.

It’s not difficult to understand why designers are as turned off by flat-packing. If you’re a designer, why would you want to spend a significant amount of time creating a design that ultimately lacks the quality to last? And why would you put your name on a low-quality piece? It would only hurt your personal brand.

When we started out, we met a number of people who were adamant about this position and understandably so, but that hasn’t consistently been the case recently, especially at ICFF. More and more, designers are embracing the flat-packing and for a number of great reasons:

  1. Production efficiency: Designers are beginning to understand the production benefits that come with flat-packed products and are beginning to embrace those processes. This includes building good processes, managing inventory, and leveraging advanced technologies. Just having a better understanding improves how designers can interface with manufacturers or utilize their own facilities to maximize output and efficiency.
  2. National and global customers: Logistics is a problem that has not yet been solved for furniture. Even the big boys won’t deliver to every ZIP code in the country. How many customers can afford to pay hundreds of dollars in shipping in addition to the cost of your products? Flat-packing allows you to go from a white-glove service to UPS or Fedex. How many more customers could you reach if you could easily ship your products?
  3. More interesting design challenge: Designing a high-quality product to be flat-packed is an even greater challenge than just designing a great piece of furniture. Not only does it have to be well-designed when put together, it has to be broken down and easy to assemble.  Hitting all these goals in one design is a major achievement that many designers are beginning to strive for.

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Even this is sent in a flat pack!

We’re very encouraged by this trend given that Unbranded Designs is a web-based company and we hope to reach customers in different regions. In no way are we proclaiming that we are a flat-pack company but we fully understand the complexities in trying to reach customers everywhere. In fact none of our current designs could even be packed in the ways we discussed with designers at ICFF. We’re just glad to see that there’s a large contingent of talented designers that are embracing this mentality to create amazing products and you should too!

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NY Design Week in Review (Part 2): Wanted Design: ICFF:: Guerrilla Truck Show: NEOCON

Part 1 of our review of NY Design Week

In our last post we discussed our inaugural trip to New York City’s Design Week and how amazed we were by the designs and designers throughout the city. The Cliffnotes version: mark your calendar and visit New York a year from now for Design Week.

Since you’ve just agreed to go – and I’m sure you booked your flight – you need to know where to go. The major draw is the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. You could easily spend a few days walking around the gigantic facility, admiring the work and meeting designers, but if you go just to visit ICFF you’ll miss the rest of work sprinkled throughout the city. Luckily there are a few hubs that you can check out in Brooklyn, NOHO, SOHO, and at Wanted Design.

We didn’t get a chance to visit the different neighborhoods but we did spend an afternoon at Wanted Design. Looking back, if we were forced to choose between spending a few hours at ICFF or Wanted Design, it would be a tough decision. Wanted Design is much smaller, but it’s a curated show of talented designers from all over the world and held in a great space. Designers came from Sweden, Chicago, Puerto Rico, Brooklyn, and dozens of other places.

The Wanted Design show, now in its third year has built as much excitement as ICFF. Its opening night party brought a line outside a thousand people long – which seems big, even for New York. People that live and breathe design in NY, who have grown “meh” towards ICFF make sure to walk the Wanted Design halls.

This show reminded me of the Guerrilla Truck Show in Chicago. 8 years ago Morlen Sinoway founded the Guerrilla Truck Show as an alternative to NEOCON for local designers. It has since grown to be a block party, attracting designers from all over the Midwest and visitors from NEOCON and throughout Chicago. The Guerrilla Truck Show now owns Tuesday night during NEOCON and draws more and more interest each year.

There are a few key differences, obviously. Wanted Design is a curated event and brings designers from all over the world. The Guerrilla Truck Show is a one-night event/party. Wanted Design is as much an educational event as a show, with contributors providing classes spanning a number of topics.

Ok, so they’re not the same. What they share though is that they’re incredible, must-see events that have sprouted out of the shadows of major shows in their respective cities. Each is gaining more and more steam with every year and becoming a more important part of the destination for visitors. So when you visit New York next year or Chicago in the coming weeks, make sure to visit these events. They may soon become your priority.

Unbranded Designs will be at the Guerrilla Truck Show on June, 11th. Make sure to stop by and say hello!

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NY Design Week in Review (Part 1): As awesome as advertised

Earlier this month New York City played host to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair as well as a number of other shows, including Wanted Design. In addition to the shows and displays are the parties that all together comprise NYC’s Design Week (though it can last up to 2 weeks depending on who you ask). Design Week attracts visitors from all over the world to revel in the great works produced by designers from Brooklyn, Chicago, Europe, Asia, and pretty much everywhere else. For those of you who haven’t been, it’s a must do.

A few members of our team made the trip from Chicago to take part in the festivities and see what’s happening in the NYC international design scene. We’d received a dozen recommendations to check it out over the last year since 1) the designs would be of great interest to us and 2) there is no larger gathering of talented independent designers. If you were one of the people that recommended ICFF to us, thank you. You were absolutely right. ICFF was incredible and so was the rest of Design Week. We met hundreds of incredible people and took in really cool and innovative designs from all over the world. We’ll definitely be making the trip back each year but from now we’ll be staying at least an entire week.

If you couldn’t make the trip this year, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check back for the remaining 3 parts from our first New York City Design Week.

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My obsession with Gensler’s Los Angeles office

If you’ve followed our tweets recently, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve developed quite the infatuation with Gensler’s beautiful Los Angeles office. To recap, Gensler converted the old City National Plaza banking pavilion into this beauty:

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I couldn’t decide which I loved more, the openness, the natural lighting, or the use of colors. On the surface this simply appears to be a warm and welcoming office. But since this is Gensler, I should’ve expected much, much more. And so they delivered:

Their application of innovative workplace design and practices left me in awe for two reasons. First, I’ve seen countless companies struggle change their own internal, practices, habits, and cultures, even when they advise clients how to do it on a daily basis. It’s rare for a company to effectively drive change like this internally.

Second, what I take from this video is that Gensler innovates with design and designs for innovation. The same approach that Apple has taken to the peak of the tech market, Gensler seems to master for the architecture and interior design industry. So let’s take a cue from these two giants and commit to always driving innovation with design.

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Say it loud, say it proud

A few days ago I stumbled onto the website for an interior design company called Better Than Necessary Design. Its homepage contains a nice description of the company’s mission as well as an “About Us” section written by the founder, Jessica Price. To me, the first section read the same way that most company missions read: broad terms and statements that don’t really tell you much or differentiate from any other company. The vagueness though stopped at the end of the mission section as I started to learn exactly who Jessica Price and Better Than Necessary Design were. They believe “design services are not often available to the masses” and “design should be enjoyed by all”, which is why they offer interior design services to a “range of budgets” to make “your home beautiful and practical”.

There are 2 reasons that this really hits home. First, we share Jessica’s core belief that design is not presently available to the masses. She aims to solve the problem by providing interior design services at different levels of budget and involvement while our approach is to help consumers find the truly unique, great designs not currently available in the market. And we make the designs more accessible by producing them in limited runs, driving down the costs from a custom/commissioned piece. We’re providing people with more opportunities to fill their lives and homes with great design.

The second reason this hits home is because of how Jessica presents this on her website. Over a lunch with Jason Fried last week, we discussed the importance of letting the market know exactly what you are about and what you stand for. That means declaring loudly what you do, don’t do, and what you believe. Clearly communicating your stance to the world will result in finding true followers and detracting haters. But that’s a good thing! You now have carved out your place in the market that you can go win. It’s better to be known for something specific, even if potentially controversial or offensive, than to be unknown because you never had strong beliefs or communicated them.

Take a lesson from Jessica and Jason and make sure you clearly state what you believe. We’ll continue to do a better job of it as well.

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