Design Wire June 2020

Designer BLAISE DANIO of BUHLAIXE STUDIO has created a series of scarves inspired by FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’s designs. Digitally designed and printed with bold, modern patterns, each scarf evokes a work by Wright, such as March Balloons, Jewelry Shop Window, and Taliesin West. Danio often explores the “intersection between classic architectural forms and the ethereal desert landscape” in her work, which set the stage for translating Wright’s works into wearable art. The 25- by 25-inch scarves are made from 100 percent poly crepe de chine and are available for purchase at the Frank Lloyd Wright Store at Taliesin West and at

Italian design firm ANTONIOLUPI has debuted its first transparent bathtub, REFLEX. The bathtub is created from a proprietary composite blend of colored resin, called CRISTALMOOD, that’s composed of polyester and pigment. It comes in ten colors and is complete with a drainpipe fitting, pressure plug, siphon, and flexible hose. The see-through oval-shaped tub is a comfortable 66 inches long, 34 inches wide, and 21 inches deep.

British designer TOM DIXON has created the CORK COLLECTION: a series of furniture made of cork that has been charred to give it a deep brown hue. The collection comprises a shelf, a stool, and three tables that are “extremely fat-edged” with a “chubby silhouette,” according to a press release. Dixon uses cork waste from bottle-stop production that has been granulated and compressed into composite blocks. From there, the material is mixed with a small amount of polyurethane resin to bind it. The final furniture pieces are durable, fireproof, water resistant, and sound absorbent. And, because only the outer bark
is removed from the trees, cork is a more environmentally friendly material than harvested wood.

Algae polluting the Venetian Lagoon has been repurposed into paper stamps. Spanish-Italian designer PABLO DORIGO SEMPERE created the stamps to highlight the uses of algae paper. Also known as Shiro Alga Carta, the paper was invented in 1992 by Venetian paper company FAVINI; the company extracts algae from the lagoon and dries it and grinds it before combining it with paper pulp. Dorigo Sempere learned the production process to create his stamp collection, FROM VENICE WITH ALGAE. He chose to work with stamps because “The stamp has the extraordinary power to travel all over the world and tell a story,” an article from Dezeen states. Each stamp is designed with a laser-printed barcode that users can scan for a link to access the full story behind the making of algae paper.

Portland developer DEVELOPERS COLLABORATIVE is partnering with THE JACKSON LABORATORY on a possible 100-unit housing development on Mount Desert Island (MDI). Called THE SCHOONER HEAD HOUSING PROJECT, the development is in response to a major housing shortage for workers on the island. Creating affordable housing on MDI is difficult due to its shoreline, Acadia National Park, and high prices driven by the seasonality of the area. The project will be constructed on a 37-acre lot owned by Jackson Laboratory, and Developers Collaborative will build, own, lease, and manage the rental units, which will be available for Jackson Laboratory employees only. Phase one of the project will create 44 units and is expected to be complete by summer 2021, with two additional phases to follow.

A concrete and chrome-plated chair challenges the idea of fluidity in concrete. Designed by Brooklyn-based BOWER STUDIOS, the CONCRETE MELT CHAIR is completely solid, but its curvilinear shape appears liquid. The reflective metallic base is composed of three pieces and contrasts with the pale, textured concrete “skin.” The Concrete Melt Chair touches on illusion and trickery, which Bower Studios often incorporates into their designs—they recently created a collection of trompe l’oeil mirrors that emulate arcades, porthole windows, and arched doorways. The Concrete Melt Chair was designed as a limited-edition piece for design gallery THE FUTURE PERFECT, with just 20 chairs available in the world.

Brooklyn-based designer REBECCA ATWOOD has collaborated with POTTERY BARN to create a new home decor collection. “This collection was designed with the goal of bringing happiness and calm into peoples’ homes,” Atwood says. Atwood is known for translating watercolor and gouache to textiles, and this blue-hued collection reflects elements of nature. “This collection is really tied to the coastal landscape of my childhood and the textures of nature,” she says. Items available range from wall and floor coverings to bedding and bath decor, and a few accessories such as cosmetics cases.

Auburn- and Portland-based architecture, engineering, and design firm HARRIMAN has named a new CEO and COO. Replacing president and CEO Clif Greim, Mark Lee, who has been with Harriman since 1996, was named as the new CEO, and Jim Fortin, who has been with the firm for 15 years, will serve as the new COO. In their new roles, Lee and Fortin will continue to work in their respective fields—Lee is a structural engineer and architect, and Fortin is a licensed professional engineer—but Lee will head the firm’s business development and strategy vision, and Fortin will oversee internal organization, client services, and project delivery. In creating these areas of focus, Harriman will have a greater capacity to effectively respond to client needs.

Cargo ships produce a significant amount of pollution, emitting more than 200 million metric tons of CO2 in a single year. A new type of underwater robot, the HULLSKATER, was created to help curb their environmental impact. Designed by Sweden-based SEMCON in collaboration with marine coating company JOTUN, the remote-controlled HullSkater removes layers of “biofilm” that form on the ship from algae and other microorganisms that collect as ships move through the ocean. As biofilm builds, it creates drag and reduces energy efficiency. When a ship is docked for loading, the HullSkater moves over the hull and cleans it with a motorized brush. Over the course of five years, one ship using the HullSkater can reduce its carbon emissions by 12.5 percent, or 22,000 metric tons (equivalent to burning 24 million pounds of coal). As an added benefit, the HullSkater can also help reduce the spread of invasive aquatic species from port to port.

Vinyl records are experiencing a revolution as they make a comeback. Japanese designer and sound artist YURI SUZUKI has created the EZ RECORD MAKER, a machine that can make and play records. Created in partnership with Japanese publishing and toy company GAKKEN, the compact record maker engraves five-inch disks. Start by plugging any sound source (iPhone, computer, audio player) into the mini audio jack, put the stylus on the surface, and start recording. Suzuki hopes to reintroduce the unique listening experience that comes with records, emphasizing the value of having a physical music media. The EZ Record Maker will be available in the United States by the end of 2020.

Danish architect HANS OLSEN’s timeless SWING ROCKING CHAIR has been relaunched. Originally created in 1956 and manufactured by Brdr. Juul Kristensen, the handwoven cane back and clean wood frame embody Olsen’s expertise in comfort, functionality, and aesthetics. Scandinavian furniture company WARM NORDIC has reproduced the classic chair with choices of leather or Kvadrat Re-wool fabric and a solid oak or teak-oiled frame.

Share The Inspiration