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Who I am not

Thinking back to New York... and who I am not.

The first clue was when we strode into one bar and the bartender announced,
"Aaaaaaand here comes Sex In The City!" which I thought was a clever reference to the fact that we were several girls walking in together.

And people looked at me funny. I attributed it to the fact that I have pastel, cotton candy pink hair.

But when, as we walked in to a design party, the stranger grasped my hand, flustered, and told me he loved my work, V. turned to me: "He thinks you're CYNTHIA NIXON!"

I didn't know who Cynthia Nixon is, but immediately understood: One of those Sex In The City girls, and not even the one I would want to be!

Ok this is bad: I just inserted the Cynthia Nixon image into this post and Amy, who works next to me, burst: "OHHHHH MY GOSH YOU DO LOOK LIKE HER!"


But for some reason, every decade I somehow become compared to a mass pop culture person, and never ones I admire!

When I was ten everyone compared me to Marcia Brady.

In the Nineties I was Brenda from 90210.
And now I'm some Sex In The City chick for the next ten years?

Dag it!

Can't people just look at me and think,
"Oh there goes some random weird girl who looks like... herself."

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At the Bay... Reminiscing on Mumbly Peg.

We are at the Bay.
I consider, and voice, "I think L. is about old enough to have his first Swiss Army knife!"

My husband launches into his European childhood memories of being not allowed to own or play with knives.

"Yeah, but you didn't grow up in the south.
When I was his age I was an ace at playing mumbly peg at camp!"

Which neccessitated an explanation on how to play mumbly peg.
And that at camp we not only played mumbly peg, but our activities were:

"M-a-n-a-k-i-n, that's the way ya spell Man-a-kin!
That's the place where we have our fun:
Rowin' our boats and shootin' our guns!

Now the meals are fine
and they taste just right.
Keepin' us strong and feelin' sprite;
We're so sad when the bell does ring: we must leave Camp Manakin.

But that's not all there's something more:
The next day comes and spirits soar-
Archery, crafts, and then there's more:
Camping, swimming 'till about four!

Ohhhhhh M-a-n-a-k-i-n, that's the way ya spell Manakin! That's the place where we have our fun, rowin' our boats and shootin' our guns!"

Not only was I a champ at knife games, we all were! Every kid had their knife, and we played mumbly peg to pass the time during those long, lazy afternoons where we sought shelter from the heat under old trees and poison ivy-infested woods.
Because... well, we had time to pass.
What children have lazy days now?

Now I could use my Beretta knife I always have by my side, but that's just not the same.
So tomorrow off to the hardware store I go, searching for knives.

And a nice long summer teaching and playing mumbly peg.

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ICFF: Modern Outdoor

Environmentally conscious outdoor furniture that is sleek and modern. I really liked the etra chaise lounge in white, the talt lounge, talt barstool with bar height table, and LOVED the talt low sofa and low lounger chair in white with lime fabric!

I also really liked the talt bench and table together as dining...




ICFF: Jussara Lee

It wasn't just ICFF with green building materials and products. In the Meatpacking District, fashion designers took the opportunity to make their own green statement.

Jussara Lee is a Brazilian fashion designer who created gorgeous organic couture without dyes- Oh I wish I had pictures!

What touched me is that she hand wrote a four page letter explaining what deforestation, monoculture, and the fever over ethanol production were doing to her beloved country.



ICFF: Animavi's Artisan Screen

My pictures nor the pictures on their website do not do justice to the subtle gorgeous translucency of this wall screen. Imagine resin panels that give the touchable urge of softly ground glass / candy, grounded in a safe, solid base to define your living space. I've asked the designer to email me some better pics, but in the meantime see it here:

"The Animavi Artisan Screen is one-of-a-kind metal artistry. Inspired by hand-crafted jewelry, its true function, to redefine space, is complimented by its flexibility to take on
both linear or serpentine form. Set of seven bases. See its eco-profile here.

  • Freestanding screen comprised of 7 hand-crafted steel bases
  • “No tools” installation
  • Welded construction, threaded connecting points
  • Each base unique with patina in three optional finishes
  • Vertical post/finial connection point supports a 7’ plank
Versatile configuration options:
  • LINEAR: Two solid steel rods connect base pieces
  • SERPENTINE: braided steel cable connects base pieces
  • Steel is clear-coated - indoor or outdoor applications
  • Multiple planking options available, colors per manufacturer choice."




ICFF: Quick note on parties

Hands down, Hard Core Design ( was the best.
Do you think I'm biased towards the Finns? ; )

I couldn't understand why Design Within Reach was packed to the gills with tumultuous crowds yelling over each other... when they could have been contemplating art.

I walked into Hard Core Design... and saw
Pentagon Design: Touching, Tactile Surfaces (Tikkurila), The Animal Farm...
Touching, Tactile Surfaces (2006) is composed of live sized animals. Painted with new, innovative paint products, the installation intends to emphasize the touch and feel of the painted object. The “animal farm” invites the visitors to pet the animals and experience the different structures and surfaces of the paints. The aim is to show that today’s paints are much more than just colors, they can be functional and interactive: they may be magnetic, they may be used as blackboards, or the paints may resemble a rough concrete surface.

And the Palm Chandelier, Latva Coatrack...

For some reason I suddenly can't upload images so I might just post directly on building green tv...



ICFF: Part Two of Off Topic Rambling On What I Did When No One Was Looking

Part One Is Here.

But now it's a new day, another afternoon at ICFF (er, I awoke a little later than I had planned), and an evening ahead with my dear friend V.

It was raining; V. was running late, so I ducked into a store with gorgeous clothes in the window.
I mean, I was soaked.

No seasoned shopkeeper could NOT look me up and down and surmise: "There is no way this girl is a client of OURS!" I was wearing jeans and a black tank top. Oh no, this shop was filled with feminine, incredibly cut, celebratory clothes.

Instead of shooing me out, the manager and I struck up a conversation. I mentioned the dresses in the window had caught my eye- they were certainly costumes!

She explained the designer had created them for a ballet based on Marie Antoinette. They were incredible, and I was truly grateful for her kindness and enthusiasm to show a rumpled stranger the designer's beautiful clothes.

With that, I left to meet V., and we had a delicious late lunch at Macelleria. I went to get my bag, and when I returned I found V. chatting with a nice man eating at the bar. She introduced us; and for some reason his name sounded oddly familiar, as if I had just seen it... ?

We spoke about the ICFF, green building... he liked my hair... as we turned to leave I noticed the book on Marie Antoinette by his side... and I realized where I had seen his name- it was on the shop I had just left! "Ha, I just left your store! I was wondering why the name Charles Nolan sounded so familiar!"

It was late afternoon, but the Meatpacking Design Week Parties weren't to start for at least another hour so we headed over to Soho House for a nice Bloody Mary.

Their Bloody Mary's are really nice & tasty. Really, really good.

We lounged around awhile, and then it was time to head out for another evening of fun.

But that tale will have to wait- until later tonight!

Part 3 arrives... soon.



ICFF: Material ConneXion

The Be-All, End-All of Green Material Sourcing.

"Material ConneXion is the world's leading knowledge base for information about new and innovative materials. Through our comprehensive innovative materials libraries located on three continents and our project-specific custom materials research group - the Advanced Material Solutions Team - Material ConneXion provides all disciplines of design development: product, packaging, architectural, interior, apparel and more, with both a creative and competitive edge."



ICFF: Design Glut

Design Glut's cigarette holders, shaped like guns, when used visually convey that when smoking you are killing yourself! I have several people in mind to whom I'd love to send these!

The Slow Food Tray reclaims a fast food tray and encourages healthy, high-quality, sustainable meals.

For the die-hard smoker, this accessory will underscore just how bad-ass you are. For those who would like to quit, perhaps this metaphor will help supress your cravings."



ICFF: InModern's surfin collection /

What I like about the surfin collection is that I could picture a child loving the pieces and recalling them fondly years later; yet there was something extremely stylish and not cutesy or overly-bright about the design and in the colors they chose.

I loved meeting Jay Slifer, vice president of design. We hung out awhile and instead of talking shop we caught up on our kids. : )

P.s. For some reason I'm having trouble uploading photos- this will have to do until that issue is fixed...



ICFF: Amoeba light

I'm going to be honest.
I love the form, it's beautiful.


Would the design really work with a florescent or LED light?
I was really I was really surprised more lighting people hadn't made the jump to green light bulbs...



ICFF: Fold chair by Terhi Tuominen

Simple, elegant, organic... and it stacks.

"The characteristic feature of the wood comes in its geometrical folds. With precision to the fine detailing acute angles are used to create the 3-dimensional surfaces given to the seat and backrest. Ultimately this results in an ultra smart, lightweight stackable dining chair."




ICFF: Ango World: Chrysalis lamps

Grrrrr. I get so frustrated when my practical mom-sense collides with... beauty.
Fine, just tell me how to dust it.
I love it.
It glows.

It's a lamp that evokes cocoons.
Pictures don't do it justice.
It made me glow.



ICFF: Mater Design

"Class? Who likes Mater Design?"

"I doooo!"

For their code of conduct alone, and simple, great design!



ICFF: Orange22 and inspiration

Sweet John Huang emailed me about their project.

Beautiful products! I love how they nest together, how they maintain a continuity of form while embracing different personalities.

But note:
"When we began thinking about the Botanist™ Blank Canvas project back in 2006, we knew we wanted to produce more than beautiful furniture. Botanist is about entrusting our colleagues – each of whom we admire, to do what they love and give back in the process. Botanist is simply a unique business model that serves as a catalyst to empower design for positive change,”

Dario Antonioni, founder of Orange22.

Botanist Blank Canvas matches each designer’s royalty to a charity or foundation
of their choice. Collaborate, create, and give back... responsible design."

I deeply appreciated learning about what causes these designers care for, and thank them for all that they do to help others.

From their web site:

"Designer: Kahi Lee

What was your inspiration?

I call my design "Unlock the Cure". Cancer has affected far too many people in my life and I'm committed to doing something about it. The cure is out there, we just need to find the key. The light-reflective and luminous quality of the metallic finish symbolizes hope and optimism.

Why is it important for you to give back?

I want to give back to the Cancer Research Institute because they are leaders in supporting the development of strategies to treat and prevent cancer. Giving back is important to me because I think we all have a duty to try to leave this world a little bit better than the way we found it.

Name of line: Albero

Designer: Joe Ricchio with Kara Larsen

What was your inspiration?

The concept is my expression of the beauty of life. I chose a delicate and elegant branch with dew dropping off of it to represent earth, water and life.

Why is it important for you to give back?

DIFFA: Design Industry Fighting Aids. I have been donating to them for many years for a variety of reasons: 1 ) Larry Pond was the Director of Design at Stendig and introduced my first chair, he began DIFFA and has since died of AIDS, 2 ) I have a family member that is HIV positive and 3 ) I believe it is simply a good choice.




ICFF: Black Valley Design Collective
"Black Valley Design Collective is a group of former industrial design students and their professor, that has a common goal, create something amazing. Although we borrow our name and image from Black Mountain College, we do so with reverence. Starting in the fall of 2007 at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, we came together to do some unique designs. Even now we work as individuals, but come together to gain insight and understanding from each other. We approach projects with an innovative thinking and insight that comes from seven different personalities and backgrounds, allowing for amazing results."
I might horrify them when I say this, but when I looked at their recycled fork and knives lamps they really reminded me of chandeliers with antlers... except, dude, they were made with repurposed utencils.

Strangely, there is something earthy about their plastic pieces... beautiful.



ICFF: rECOlector's CH07 by Eugenio Menjivar

I enjoyed meeting Eugenio Menjivar and his wife, who were very kind to walk me through the details of their lamps.

rECOlector's CH07 takes typical egg cartons of 100% recycled paper, the metal stands are reused from objects found in junkyards, and uses water based colors to create soft lamp shades inspired by dancers.



ICFF: Molo Design's Softlight & Softwall & Softblocks & Softseating

Molo Design's Softlight & Softwall & Softblocks & Softseating...
I love it.
Of course it's dramatic.

My only hesitation is... cloth or paper... how do you clean it?
Sorry, I'm a mom, I have to wipe everything.

But I love it.

Here are my pictures:



ICFF: The wonderful world of Artecnica: Part 1

First I saw these stunning women running around in black, slinky, witchy apron dresses.
I coveted one; and I wanted to be them.

I saw their Witches' Kitchen, by Studio Tord Boontje.
But was it modern?
Regardless, I walked by, admiring.
(It really is beautiful, and yes, I would love it in my own home.)

Then I backtracked, and discovered their Design With A Conscience project.
"Artecnica’s Design With Conscience campaign infuses social and environmental responsibility into design. Artecnica promotes, directs, and sponsors collaborative exchanges between leading designers and artisan communities to create meaningful design that challenges people to adopt a deeper, more sensitive way of thinking about objects."
(This has actually been blogged about on another blog well, so visit this link to see pictures.)

The Anemone lamp is great, I liked the way it could be configured in many ways and rolled around...

In honor of my friend Justin who I'm sure knows allllllllllllllllll about this already, I am still going to upload my pictures of the sylphs showing off their fantastic WirePod by Joris Laarman!

(Note: They really seem to have a wonderful company culture and having a great time.
It was a discernable difference from dwe-ACHOO - excuse me!- um, another place I had just left that wouldn't even hand me a post card when I admired their curtain designs: "Are you a retailer?" No, I just sell affordable modern house kits and furniture. Does that make me a retailer? They looked at me like I was an idiot. I guess I am... )

The WirePod is "art" that uncoils to stretch into a power pod- with four "arms" available to plug into electrical products as needed.

Geez my office seriously needs this...



ICFF: Mod West Furniture System by Holly Everett

I spoke to Holly about her system, and was impressed by how her product can turn into so many things, without tools, that really could benefit people with a fast, mass need for furniture.

I also loved her enthusiasm for allowing the consumer to choose whether they would finish in high-end, or as lo- as having people make their own (inflatable) cushion covers.

"The components can be made out a variety of materials, ideally molded out of lightweight, inexpensive, renewable, and recyclable materials. These components could be easily flat-packed with all needed materials to configure beds and/or tables. The lightweight, durable materials, combined with economical packaging, save enormous energy and resources.

The sizes of readily available materials played a key part in the design. For example, the sizes of all hard and soft surface materials (cushion foam, plywood, recycled plastics, and composite resins) are generally available in 24-48" widths. The interior of the design's standard triangle was scaled to conform to those standard sizes in order to conserve materials and reduce waste. The system contains hard-surface triangles (i.e., a table) and soft-surface triangles (i.e., a cushion). An inflatable cushion, now in development, will provide multi-functionality with even fewer components.

The Mod West Furniture System can be produced as a high-end product or a low-end product, an indoor or outdoor product; think chrome/leather vs. plastic/inflatable. The design is aesthetically pleasing and its functionality can transform indefinitely in both residential and commercial settings.

The system can grow and evolve with its users as demand grows. There are dozens of additional modules which seamlessly add on to these base components."



ICFF: Maruja Fuentes's Leaning-Molds

Wall systems made for public spaces, Maruja Fuentes's Leaning-molds are made of recycled plastic.

They were quite comfortable and I thought the green was particularly nice.

The pieces fit together, but it's not really practical to stack them in height rather than length.



ICFF: Brion Experimental's Placentero lounge chair

Of course everyone is going to be talking about this.
I mean, seriously, what a gimmick!

But I can tell you: it looks stylish, and even though it is quite tipsy (or was it I?) it IS comfortable. I could imagine having one to curl up in, one foot on the floor with my dogs splayed about, rocking gently as I read...



ICFF: Akemi Tanaka

It was great to see Akemi!!!!!
Honestly, her craftsmanship just stands out and she deserves all of her success.

Looks like she doesn't have her new products on her web site yet (get on it, girl!) so I'll post the pictures I took here:
Is this the cutest mod cat bed you ever saw??? It's called, appropriately, "Curve."

She also had two new pieces:

Sachi, below, and Ori.

Both pieces spring open easily to reveal adjustable height shelves and various spaces to accommodate your "need to hide this away but keep easily in reach" stuff!

...And just sent a cute pic of her own cat enjoying Curve!



ICFF: Norwegian Forest Pendant Lamps by Cathrine Rulberg

Norwegian Forest Pendant Lamps by Cathrine Kullberg

I really loved these lamps- the warmth of the wood, the softness of the light that emanated from them, yet also allowing full light below.

"Norwegian Forest Large Pendant

Norwegian Forest lights draw on a classic Scandinavian tradition of using thin birch strips for lighting. Norwegian Forest lights show a deep pine forest with animals in light and shade. An eagle registers movement on the ground. When lit, the blonde birch veneer shines with a warm glow, and the delicately cut forest motif lets white light to filter out between the highlights of the trees."



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