Okay so.. I’m really just blogging to vent right now. So as of last Sunday (contrary to the weather) its officially spring! Which means lots and lots and lots of springy flowery colorful prints on things in the fashion/design world. More specifically at Target. Liberty of London has taken over, and I’m trying to be SO good and stay away from this spring-filled mecca, but its SO hard!! I mean look at all of these wonderful treasures!
Okay.. enough girly springtime stuff. Boys you can go put your flannel on and chop stuff now if you want :)
We’re aware that its a week late, but obviously we were too busy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to actually blog about it. Regardless, in honor of said event, what better way to celebrate than to share our love of Kelly Green and our favorite beers. [Okay so Catharine loves Kelly Green, but Derek is learning to accept this, so it counts]
Sorry about the lack of blogging we’ve both been super busy.. just drink one of the aforementioned beverages and you’ll be over it before you know it!
I’m usually a pretty eclectic (although I hate that word) designer. I like to spice up my traditional pieces with things less ordinary. My favorite example of this would be side tables. Why have two side tables that also match your coffee table, and heaven forbid your console table as well. Even if its offered in a set, you don’t have to buy ALL of them. Nobody likes a bunch of clones, so why not be a little more inventive with your space?
Here are some pieces that inspire me:
So as you can see I’m a big fan of anything bright, lucite, or metallic. Oh don’t worry, there is a LOT more where that came from!
Although I say this jokingly, I actually do love me some color. Since Derek is in Cupertino this week hanging out with Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive (jealous), I’ll probably be posting a lot more than him. Weee!! Okay so I’ve always been a firm advocate of the influence of fashion on interior design, so basically the same rules that you create for your personal wardrobe should also be followed in your own personal design. Personally, with fashion I invest in staple pieces, and then find inexpensive accessories and pops of trendiness. For example. denim. I’ll splurge on some good skinny jeans (that I know I’ll wear everyday) or coats, or simple tops, or what have you, and then get a bunch of crazy plastic jewelry, or orange flats, or floral cardigans that will inevitably be “out” next season. These staples are what I invest in because they are the pieces that last, while these plaid 80s and 90s trendy comebacks will flit in and out just as they always have.
The same rules apply for the way I design my interiors, both personally and professionally. I pick some big neutral pieces (sofas, dining tables, headboards, etc.) and then throw in pops of color that can be switched around with the season and your personal taste. Here are some examples that I just adore.
Stay tuned for shots from my own apartment, which will be up mid April! I’ll also be talking more about the correlation of fashion and interior design in some upcoming blogs, which I’m very excited about!
Today boys and girls we are going to discuss furniture, more specifically, molded plywood furniture. Chairs, table, desks, stools, beds; all of these have been developed and built with millions of different materials. Some however, have a certain touch and feel that nothing can compare to. Plywood has been used to for a very long time, but mainly in construction as form work for concrete molds, or as interior wall infill. A few people though, saw it for what it can really do. Plywood, being a layered composite of other wood, mainly scraps and recycled left overs, and once it is smashed together CAN take on a fabric quality. I know it seems odd odd to refer to hard wood as a fabric, considering “fabric” often times is nice and soft, but it’s true. Fabric will conform to your body which is why it feels comfortable. However, if you make the shape of the “hard” surface change to better fit the human form, then you the “sitting party” will still be comfortable and will never know the difference.
Let’s examine plywood for a moment. It is comprised of layers of different types of wood. Sometimes it’s the same species of wood just laid down in opposing directions to create strength once completed. then pressed with heat to form the layered material you all know.
Check out this little video from the discovery channel, start it at about 1:30 if you are interested.
With a better understanding of plywood, there are a few ways to start building. 2 Main ways, the easier, layering several thinner layers around a pre-cut mold with glue and very hard clamps, and let it sit for several hours. The other (which is a bit more complicated but has more options in the long run) is to steam the wood for flexibility, set it between two pre-shaped forms, and lock down.
The heat and moisture allows the wood fibers to flex and expand a little so once they cool and evaporate the wood maintains the shape it’s in. If you’ve ever seen plywood after a flood or heavy rain, the ends curl up and stay that way. We are creating a similar effect, but with rigor and control. This method is where most of the revolutionary Eames furniture took shape. Although they toyed with layering often, and some of the fiberglass experiments were done this very same way, they used heat and heavy pneumatic presses to form their beautiful pieces.
“honest use of materials” – Charles Eames
Charles and Ray (pictured above) found that the layered cross grain support given by the plywood was great easily accessible material in a time where metals were constrained. Through their experiments the government even took notice and worked with them to develop a molded wooden splint to be used in the field for the different skirmishes that the U.S. military found itself in.
Ok so with all of that out of the way you have a better understanding of how we got here. There has been a huge following with plywood and some of it’s similar materials. The Eames’ developed several pieces of furniture that have become social and financial icons in today’s residential and commercial spaces.
The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman
The Eames Plywood Chair with either molded wood or metal legs
These are only a few of the pieces they have worked with, and though others have attempted to re-create or re-invent the system, only the Eames have been able to truly master the comfort that can be achieved by it. You can see that most of these are 7-11 ply furniture grade birch plywood or hardwood layered veneer. Although the Eames duo really set the bar, there are lots of other great examples of plywood furniture.
I hope this has opened or fueled any questions anyone might have about plywood, plywood furniture/ or the Eames for that matter. It’s all really fun to mess with. Building your own furniture can be a great way to customize your home. You can fit any situation in any location. Stay tuned for when I talk more about the plywood bed I designed and built.