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Stool 60 by Artek Celebrates 80th Anniversary of Alvar Aalto’s Design

2013 May 28

It may be a familiar shape in 2013, but Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 was a revolutionary design when it was introduced (to rave reviews) in 1933. Simple and stackable, this wooden stool represented a new approach to furniture design, using wood instead of bent steel (much more common at the time) and the technical development of the L-shaped leg. The aesthetic carried the appeal of Bauhaus-inspired modernism and represented Artek’s design tenets of technology, art and ethics.

Legend has it that Aalto tested the sturdiness of his three-legged stool by repeatedly throwing the prototype to the floor at the Kohhonen furniture factory, shouting, “We’ll make thousands of these one day!” In fact, Artek has already sold millions of this famous design, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. To commemorate the anniversary, Artek is introducing a series of re-imagined stools, designed by well-known architects and designers.
Stool 60 by Mike Meire for Artek

One of the first introductions comes from designer Mike Meire, who added pops of color to the stool’s round seat and each of the three distinctive legs. Here’s a closer look at the careful hand painting that happens to put these stools together (without a lick of painter’s tape in sight, I might add):

Another version injected color into the stool top only, with color options inspired by those used in the Paimo Sanitorium in Finland, which Aalto designed in 1932. The building is now part of a university hospital, but the original served as a tuberculosis sanatorium:

Reintroduction of Artek's Stool 60

Photos from Little Helsinki

The re-introduction I’m pining over most comes from Commes des Garcons, in which designer Rei Kawakubo dresses up the austere natural birch with a striking black and white pattern—sort of a modern take on polka dots (and I never met a polka dot I didn’t like). The design is reminiscent of fashions seen on Commes des Garcons runways.

Stool 60 by Commes de Garcons for Artek

Which reinterpretation of Aalto’s famous design is your favorite?

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Recap: ‘I Spy’ Edition

2013 May 24

We were proud to be able to sponsor the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour this past weekend. Showcasing 7 Sacramento homes, a swanky vintage car show and several notable points in between, the tour was full of serious eye candy.

Many of the homeowners on the tour are folks after our own hearts—they love good design and lots of famous mid-century styles from names like Eames, Nelson and others. Soooo, naturally we couldn’t help doing a bit of a scavenger hunt among each of the 7 homes, recognizing particular products and seeing how “real” people have worked them into their space. There was lots of love for Herman Miller, of course, plus a few others. Here’s a look at what we found:

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Recap: Lighting Edition

2013 May 23
by Sarah

We were proud to be able to sponsor the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour this past weekend. Showcasing 7 Sacramento homes, a swanky vintage car show and several notable points in between, the tour was full of serious eye candy.

We’ve said it before: We get excited about lights. While we saw a whole lot of modern pieces from Lumens throughout the homes on the tour (more on that tomorrow), we also spotted several awesome vintage fixtures that were the perfect accent to the decor and architecture.

 

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 1

This throw-back piece was the perfect complement to the home’s decor, which retained much of its original design.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 2

A great Sputnik light hung over a home’s game room was a playful touch.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 3

Mid-century chandeliers like this have served as inspirations for many modern designs with updated styling.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 4

Loved these globes over a tall foyer in one of the homes.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 5

A super fun pendant was the perfect retro touch.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 6

Loved these plug-in wall sconces bookending a sofa.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Recap: Patterns

2013 May 22

We were thrilled to be able to sponsor the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour this past weekend. Showcasing 7 Sacramento homes, a swanky vintage car show and several notable points in between, the tour was full of serious eye candy (let’s be real—who doesn’t like peeking into other people’s homes)?

This week we’ll be highlighting different aspects of the tour, but today I wanted to focus on something that caught my eye in some way through each of the homes: patterns. Whether it was old-school upholstery, a unique wallpaper or just a fitting color combo within a space, there was plenty of pattern play happening throughout the tour.

Here’s a closer look at some of my favorites:

(Apologies for my less-than-spectacular photos—Ansel Adams of home tours, I am not.)

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 1

A family of multi-colored polka dots can do no wrong.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 2

Loved this mod print on a classic mid-century chair.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 3

Was sort of enamored with the circle play happening here.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 4

Such a great pattern, paired beautifully with a crisp navy/gray chair.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 5

This cool retro design was hand-painted on a tabletop by one of the homeowners.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 6

A perfect balance of color and a just-right amount of playfulness in these patterned pillows.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 7

This quirky wallpaper was perfect for the girls changing room next to the pool.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 8

Quinessentially retro wallpaper that lined one of the closet/bathroom areas.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 9

A room divider with clean and modern lines that are a signature of the mid-century.

Did that take you back? Stay tuned for more highlights from the tour the rest of this week!

Nafir by Karim Rashid for AXO Light

2013 May 13
Nafir Pendant by Axo Light

Karim Rashid’s Nafir Collection for Axo Light.

 

Karim Rashid is tooting a new horn: introducing the Nafir Pendant, a new contemporary lighting collection for Italian design studio Axo Light.

“Nafir is pure imagination,” says Karim Rashid about his first lighting collection for Axo Light. “I wanted to make a fixture that was part sculpture, one that looked beautiful even with the lights turned off, yet provided perfect functional LED light. I also wanted to create a family of fixtures whose trumpet-likes forms could be organically grouped together to create a fantastic landscape of light and shape.”

Fantastic landscapes pretty much define this unfathomably prolific designer’s penchant for organic shapes and innovative materials. With his global sensibility, the man has designed literally everything from clocks and pens to chairs and sex toys, as well as interiors and corporate identities. There is perhaps nothing he can’t do – and all of it expresses Rashid’s signature interplay of color, form, playfulness and minimal elegance.

His Nafir pendants are no exception. Inspired by a flat surface that has been “pulled and morphed,” it has a form and energy that’s indicative of Rashid’s unmistakable aesthetic. Like much of his work, Nafir evokes movement, even in stillness, and represents a pull toward the future – even while being named for a traditional North African ceremonial trumpet (the nafir). We’re not the only ones who were awed by his innovative design: Rashid’s forward-thinking collection was honored with a 2012 Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum. Available as a single suspension light or grouped in multiples, the Nafir Pendant by Axo Light is available in a choice of chrome, white or gold finishes.

Hear more about the design from Rashid himself in the video below:

Nafir Pendants by Axo Light

Rashid’s design is available in a White/White finish, Chrome/White and White/Gold, shown here.

Nafir Pendants by Axo Light

Rashid’s Nafir Pendants in Chrome

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour

2013 May 11
Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour

The Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour takes place May 18. Photos by Donald Satterlee.

We’re very excited to be sponsoring this year’s Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour–the May 18 event features 7 homes, including Eichler homes from the 1950s, a 1970 Carter Sparks/Streng Home and lots more. Aside from the famous architecture, we love getting a peek into some of the area’s most gorgeous homes, many of them impeccably designed and featuring iconic mid-century modern lighting and furniture.

While this is a home tour, there’s much more to be seen throughout the event. A Vintage Transportation show will also take place, and the tour includes the interiors of several special, not-often-seen mid-century modern buildings in the area. There’s also a free screening of a film about Eichler Homes — “People in Glass Houses” by Monique Lombardelli of Modern Homes Realty in collaboration with Kyle Chesser.

If you aren’t in the area, fear not–we’ll be sharing lots of photos on Instagram (follow us @lumensdotcom), and you can always get your MCM fix with our friends at Sacramento Modern, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and protecting modern art, architecture and design in the Sacramento region.

And if you are in the area, be sure to get your tickets ASAP–advance sales only run through May 15, and attendance is limited, so there’s no guarantee that tour-day tickets will be available.

Hope to see you there!

Looks we love: Gatsby Glam

2013 May 10

Today marks the release of Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and all of the buzz has me anxious to check out the dazzle that’s sure to come with the movie’s costumes and sets. Luhrmann movies are known for elaborate set design (like Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet) and Gatsby is sure to be packed with the same filmic spark.

The Gatsby grandeur has been especially inspiring. I tend to skew pretty casual in my own style, but the opulence that comes with Gatsby glam is nothing short of fascinating.

Of course, this period style could easily feel dated, but we put together a few modern inspirations for bringing the Gatsby look into today—glittering jewels, art deco patterns, Hollywood regency styles and ‘20s glamour. For more inspiration and ideas for going Gatsby, visit our board on Pinterest.

1. Bling Large Chandelier by Robert Abbey 2. The Fitzgerald Suite in the Plaza Hotel 3. Lucia Wall Sconce by Murray Feiss 4. Roxy Mini Pendant by WAC Lighting 5. Etch Candleholder by Tom Dixon

Glitter & Glamour: Pizzazz and all that jazz–this look channels the glitzy look of the Gatsby ballroom.
Above: 1. Bling Large Chandelier by Robert Abbey 2. The Fitzgerald Suite in the Plaza Hotel 3. Lucia Wall Sconce by Murray Feiss 4. Roxy Mini Pendant by WAC Lighting 5. Etch Candleholder by Tom Dixon

 

1. New York’s Chrysler Building 2. Dianelli Drum Pendant by Sonneman 3. Scallop Duvet Set by DwellStudio 4. Millennium Wall Sconce by Quoizel 5. Fitzgerald Fan by Fanimation

Art Deco: This influential style helped earmark 1920s design, representing luxury and exuberance, but today’s iterations keep it modern and fresh.
Above: 1. New York’s Chrysler Building 2. Dianelli Drum Pendant by Sonneman 3. Scallop Duvet Set by DwellStudio 4. Millennium Wall Sconce by Quoizel 5. Fitzgerald Fan by Fanimation

 

1. A Pre-War New York Apartment via DesignShuffle 2. Rittenhouse Drum Pendant by Arteriors 3. Hollywood Beach Long Pendant by LBL Lighting 4. Phoebe Flushmount by Stonegate Designs 5. Annika Table Lamp by Mary McDonald

Nouveau New York: A champagne-toast-worthy style pointing to elegant tones and jazz-age extravagance.
Above: 1. A Pre-War New York Apartment via DesignShuffle 2. Rittenhouse Drum Pendant by Arteriors 3. Hollywood Beach Long Pendant by LBL Lighting 4. Phoebe Flushmount by Stonegate Designs 5. Annika Table Lamp by Mary McDonald

Highlights from Milan: Arik Levy for Vibia

2013 May 2

One of our top picks in Milan at this year’s Euroluce was Arik Levy’s Wireflow work for Vibia. This sculptural work of art was almost like an ultra-modern play on swag lights, creating a whole new silhouette with the wire frame. Check out a few comments from Levy about his design in this video from designboom:

Moooi Lighting—Fit for Kings?

2013 April 30

Here at Lumens HQ, our city’s been awaiting word if our beloved NBA basketball team would be sticking around. Yesterday brought good news, and the city released a few drawings of the proposed new arena in downtown Sacramento.

Now, we know lighting ‘round here, and we’ll be darned if those aren’t Random Lights by Moooi  spotted in one of the drawings:

Drawings of the proposed arena for the Sacramento Kings | Photo from AECOM and city of Sacramento

Drawings of the proposed arena for the Sacramento Kings | Photo from AECOM and city of Sacramento

The drawings are hardly set in stone, of course, but I couldn’t help myself to think this favorite from Moooi certainly wouldn’t be a bad choice. A grand space and lively atmosphere punctuated by a statement-making light like the Random is right up our alley. We might even kick it up a notch, with even bolder designs fitted with LEDs, such as:

Heracleum II Suspension by Moooi: A little more whimsical than the Random, but with an audacious silhouette that would bring on cheers even outside the court:

Heracleum II Suspension by Moooi

Copernico Suspension by Artemide: While each of this fixtures nine aluminum rings rotate independently, we quite like the out-of-this-world when each is turned every which way, and could certainly see them hovering overhead in the city’s new hot spot.

Copernico Suspension by Artemide

 

Nafir Pendants by AXO Light: This new design from Karim Rashid would be a seriously sleek addition to the arena’s lounge. The thin, lengthy shape is modeled after the North African trumpet used in ceremonial music.

Nafir Pendants by AXO Light

Raimond LED Suspension by Moooi: Almost like Random’s blinged-out cousin, the Raimond is a subtle sphere by day, and a sparkly stunner by night, when each pendant is lit by 252 LED lights.

Raimond LED Suspension by Moooi

 

Sacramento, what do you envision the new arena looking like? Check out the rest of the sketches in the Sacramento Bee.

 

 

Highlights from Euroluce and the Milan Furniture Fair

2013 April 29

This month, our team headed to the design capital of the world for Euroluce, the lighting fair that takes place at the Milan Furniture Fair. It was a whirlwind of great design, and we picked up a few highlights that we spotted among new releases and some of our favorite designers:

Copper: This industrial metal emerged as a design favorite last year, and continued its reign in 2013. Brands like Tom Dixon, Verpan, Diesel for Foscarini and Bocci all paid tribute to the shiny metal finish by way of adding it to some of their most well-recognized fixtures or incorporating subtle copper accents on cords and canopies.

Copper finishes were big at this year's Euroluce light show and the Milan Furniture fair, with designers from Tom Dixon, Wastberg and Bocci all paying tribute to this pretty-as-a-penny finish.

Copper finishes were big at this year’s Euroluce light show and the Milan Furniture fair, with designers from Tom Dixon, Wästberg and Bocci all paying tribute to this pretty-as-a-penny finish.

Wood and wood accents: The au natural look also continued to a source of inspiration for many new lighting fixtures, like the new Stick collection by Matali Crasset for Fabbian. From bare, natural wood finishes like this to mixing wood with cold metals and soft fabrics, wood seemed to make its way into many new—and beautiful—lighting designs.

Decorative LEDs: LED lighting isn’t new, but as designers work to integrate this energy-saving light source into their work, we are really starting to see the design edge that LEDs can provide. Plus, many more classic fixtures like those from Flos and Foscarini are reintroducing some of their most famous fixtures (like Patricia Urquiola’s Caboche for Foscarini) in LED.

Muuto

Our team loved the Scandinavian style and unexpected colors from Muuto.

New Nordic: Scandinavian design was at its best, from furniture to lighting. We loved the new pieces from award-winning Swedish lighting company Wästberg, as well as the work exhibited by furniture and lighting studio Muuto and Northern Lights. The color palette from Scandinavian designs wasn’t like any other, including many bright pendants in less predictable hues like mint greens and muted primary colors.

Swag Lights: Designers were getting very creative with swag lighting, turning simple ceiling lights into sculptural works of art. Going far beyond a simple draped/hanging cord, swag lights were creating illusions with colored cords, clustered pendants and textured pieces for a new, unique effect.

Swag lights got a whole new meaning with installations like this one from Vibia.

Swag lights got a whole new meaning with installations like this one from Vibia.

Table Pendants: We weren’t quite sure what to peg these as, but we saw a lot of work-light-inspired “pendants” that were actually designed to sit on a tabletop. These go-anywhere lights are less expected than a table lamp, but offer accent lighting and visual interest into what could be Furniture and lighting from Muuto.a small or hard-to-design space.

For more on our trip to Milan, check out our album on Facebook.




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