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Showing posts with label DESIGN | HOME | LIFESTYLE | FURNITURE | CULTURE | LIVING. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DESIGN | HOME | LIFESTYLE | FURNITURE | CULTURE | LIVING. Show all posts

An estimated 200,000 South Africans will be starting their studies at one of our 26 public universities in January 2020. Most will remain based at home but many will be in university residences or rented digs and will need to furnish their accommodation. Estelle Nagel of Gumtree SA offers key advice on how to go about this.

Furnishing student accommodation can be a very expensive and time-consuming process but it doesn’t need to be.  If you plan properly and buy good quality, previously-owned goods online, you can set yourself up cheaply and quickly. Buying new items is completely unnecessary for a student lifestyle and often a waste of money (as much as R10,000 per student can be saved).

Varsity res spaces are usually small and often come with some furnishings. Make sure you have checked the room dimensions, and what’s already in place, before you buy anything.  Also check out the communal areas where you may find things like a microwave available for your use. Once you know what you need, and the size it can be, then get online and look for good local deals.

Rented digs usually are communal spaces so you need to co-ordinate with your digs’ mates. Check the lease carefully for what is already provided (or maybe left behind unwanted by the previous tenants) and then see what anyone can contribute from home. Draw up separate lists for your own requirements (your bedroom) and for the communal needs (kitchen/eating area/lounge). For the latter, you will need an agreed budget among you all – check the Gumtree prices for a good guide to ensure you have a realistic amount of money set aside. Don’t over-commit in the first buying phase – get what’s essential and then add later if you need.

Collection and/or delivery can be a hassle. If possible, arrange for collection of all your purchases on the same day and do one run to save petrol money and time. If there are larger furniture items involved, rent a cheap bakkie or a trailer (both can be found on Gumtree services) and do it all in one go.

Give it a lift. It’s amazing what splash of colour or a lick of fresh paint can do. Set aside some time to paint your purchases or clean them up with sandpaper or metal polish.

Registered article 

Nicholas Dipley | Ogivy 

Long before I had ever heard of Charles and Ray Eames, much less flopped into one of their supremely comfortable and perennially stylish plywood and leather Lounge Chairs – feet up on the ottoman – I nurtured splintered memories of a curious film about toy trains. It was shown at school when I must have been eight or nine.
I have no idea how Toccata for Toy Trains, made in 1957, had got into the mix of stalwart British Transport Commission films showing our nationalised railways cheerfully at work. Yet there it was, a celebration of colourful and wobbly vintage American toy trains seen from a toy’s-eye view and set to a magical score that echoed long and uncertainly in my mind’s ear.

Years later, I was hoping to interview Ray Eames. I never did; she died, in August 1988, shortly before I was meant to meet her in California. But, while researching the Eames, I stumbled across a copy of Toccata, one of more than a hundred films that, it turned out, had been made by the golden couple of Mid-Century Modern American design. Theirs is a style many people will know today from Mad Men and Pan Am. Remarkably, a wealth of Eames designs dating from 1945 are still in production, as desirable and as influential as ever.
A new documentary film, Eames: the Architect and the Painter, by Jason Cohen and Bill Jersey, is a happy reminder of what a joyous talent this formidable husband and wife designer team possessed, and how, from the launch of their first moulded plywood chair in 1946 for the American furniture company Herman Miller, Charles and Ray Eames brought playfulness and colour to Modern Movement design.

Ray, the daughter of a theatre manager and insurance salesman, was born in Sacramento, California, in 1912; she was a painter, colourist and gannet-like collector who wanted everything around her to be bright and beautiful. Charles was an architect by training, born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1907. His father was a railway security guard, who turned to journalism after being wounded in a robbery. Charles had an eye for form and a natural ability (and unstoppable propensity) to communicate new ideas with an originality and chutzpah that remains thrilling, in a Marshall McLuhan-like way, 44 years after his death.

Genius is a word bandied about all too loosely, yet genius informed and underpinned the alluring world created by this gifted American couple. Jason Cohen and Bill Jersey’s intense, visually compelling homage to this special genius is a handsome and engaging reminder of just why Charles and Ray remain so highly esteemed by architects, designers, film-makers and those in the business of advertising and communications today.

If you know nothing, or not enough, about the Eames and their work, this fast-moving film – more Amtrak express than toy train – will set you right. Be careful, though: Eames designs are not cheap. Charles and Ray believed they had a mission to create “the best for the most for the least”, yet as others who have tried to make beautifully crafted objects, whether by hand or with machines, have found, quality does indeed come at a price. (For all his good intentions, every time William Morris crafted some fine new piece of furniture, he felt himself “ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich”.)

In the Fifties, however, the Eames seduced a young, well-educated and well-off American middle class keen to break away from the pre-war world. The Eames’ designs meant the jet age, Audrey Hepburn, dry martinis, Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Pierre Koenig’s steel-and-glass Hollywood houses, James Dean, IBM, the space age and… Toccata for Toy Trains.
As Cohen and Jersey’s documentary shows, in a dizzying galaxy of images, the Eames had a special trick up their sleeves. Where Charles had spent a honeymoon in Europe, with his first wife Catherine Woermann, a fellow architectural student, looking at buildings by Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, the young Ray Kaiser collected vintage Americana, and when she and Charles married in 1941 and drove to California, their joint sensibility gave birth to a body of work owing as much to the very latest in materials technology and production know-how as it did to patchwork quilts, Indian masks, vintage blue-and-white china, and wobbly tin toys.

The very same designers who installed a home-made moulding machine for modern furniture production in the spare bedroom of their first home in Los Angeles were to make whimsical films like Toccata for Toy Trains. When they built their exquisite house at Pacific Palisades in LA, in 1949, this low-cost, prefab steel-and-glass structure was soon filled with the latest in furniture design and Ray’s growing collection of vernacular art. From the ceiling of the double-height living room, they hung a tumbleweed picked up on their honeymoon while heading west, along with a pair of Abstract Expressionist paintings by Hans Hoffman, Ray’s teacher at the Art Students League, New York. To Ray, ceilings, floors and walls were canvases to colour in. Described at the time as “a delicious dumpling in a doll’s dress”, she saw everything as a painting, serving flowers in pretty bowls as pudding to guests at what must have been painfully artistic meals.

Likened to Henry Fonda – “a compliment” said the handsome Hollywood actor – Charles began to believe that “everything connects”, that the worlds of their sleek aluminium office chairs were inextricably linked to Ray’s collections, while those of communications and media were as real as a prefabricated house. It was all getting a little heavy.
Meanwhile, the success of their early designs for Herman Miller had generated large and regular royalty cheques. The income paid for an office and the forensic way of life that went with it. Speaking through Cohen’s and Jersey’s film, former members of the Eames’ design team talk – repetitively, and as if still overwhelmed by the experience – of “coming to work in Disneyland” or of “walking into a circus”.
The LA office was a fast-paced workshop where furniture prototypes were made, as well as a film studio, an art gallery and a place of prodigious productivity. Charles and Ray worked most days from 9am to 10pm, with a resident cook on hand to feed them. The “parents” of Toccata for Toy Trains would have no children – there was no time.

Dedicated to freedom of the imagination, Charles and Ray refused to hold regular meetings – the kiss of death to creative people everywhere – yet were able, through a blend of charm, energy and talent, to design what they really wanted even for the formidable corporations they worked with from the late Fifties, including Boeing, IBM, Westinghouse and the US government.

These dominant organisations, at the height of their power during the Cold War, took Eames designs onto a global stage. For the National Exhibition, staged in Moscow in 1959 and held inside a geodesic dome designed by the maverick American inventor Buckminster Fuller, Charles showed Glimpses of the United States through the medium of seven screens to enrapt Soviet audiences; images of starry night skies gave way to fast-moving snapshots of everyday life in America, ending with close-ups of forget-me-nots. Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, cried: he found it all so very moving. Astonishingly, American government officials had been unable to see the finished show until it opened in Moscow; Charles feared that, if they had, they would have forced changes that would have weakened its impact.

By the early Seventies, the Eames’ work was becoming too intense. Joy, as Cohen and Jersey’s film suggests, had been superseded by egotism, eccentricity even. Charles fell in love with Judith Wechsler, an art historian – one of his many extramarital affairs – and wanted to close the design office and concentrate on photography instead; yet, even now, Ray – or perhaps the idea of the Eames as a design duo – came first. After Charles’s death, Ray spent much of the following decade documenting and archiving their work. The office died with them, bringing to a close an extraordinary roll for a hugely talented couple for whom, perhaps, their single greatest creation had been neither furniture, nor photography, nor films, but their own enduring self-portrait, through design.

Regigistered article
Jonathan Glancey | The Telegraph | Design

Fashion brand G-Star RAW has collaborated with furniture company Vitra to update a range of original designs by Jean Prouvé for use in modern offices. Set to launch at the Milan furniture fair next month, the Prouvé RAW: Office Edition collection is the second produced by Dutch denim brand G-Star RAW and Swiss firm Vitra using original designs by the French Modernist architect and designer.

The 10 pieces in the range, including chairs, desks, tables, cabinets, desk lamps and wall-mounted reading lights, were initially developed for G-Star RAW's new OMA-designed headquarters in Amsterdam, which opened last year.

"We primarily went into the Prouvé stuff because we were fans," explained Shubhankar Ray, global brand director for the fashion brand, who spoke to Dezeen at the Design Indaba conference in South Africa last month. "We wanted the furniture for our offices, so that is how it started."

"We developed an office system out of the Prouvé office furniture, but tuning it a bit for our spec and for that building," he added. "Then they asked us to make the whole collection. They gave us all the drawings from the Pompidou Centre, from the Met, from Jean Prouvé's granddaughter Catherine."

G-Star RAW and Vitra worked with Prouvé's family to update the designs, developing a new palette of materials and coloured finishes. All the pieces are made from either steel, solid timber or a combination of the two.

A swivel desk chair on wheels has been given a new base to make it more stable, with five struts at the bottom.

Desks with wooden tops and steel legs have been given a modular adaptation with the addition of small drawers underneath the work surface. They also feature gutters for computer cables and concealed power plugs, as well as adjustable legs.

"We ergonomically changed it so that it is set up for 21st-century modern interiors – we're all a bit taller, so we had to extend things and make it for modern human beings rather than the size of people in the 1940s," explained Ray. "It's made by Vitra so the spec is great. We will retail it for $2,000 ( R 24819,00 ). So suddenly it makes the world of Prouvé more accessible."

"[Prouvé] wanted his design to be democratic so it's quite on point and quite honest. You're not veering too far away from Prouvé's original ideation," he added.

The steel elements within the collection are coated in a trio of muted greens with a glossy finish, intended to reference the colours of old industrial machinery. Upholstery is finished in a dark leather or dark grey fabric.

"When we first collaborated with Vitra to redesign Jean Prouvé's furniture, it was brand-DNA crossover," said Ray. "What was interesting was that you could democratise high design, which was for the lucky few."

"There is a real Modernist heritage there and younger jeans consumers who know nothing about Prouvé suddenly got exposed to the idea of Prouvé," he said.

Prouvé, who was born in 1901 and died in 1984, pioneered the use of lightweight folded steel in both furniture and architecture. In an interview with Dezeen in 2013, French gallerist and leading Prouvé dealer Patrick Seguin described the architect as "the most important architect-engineer of the mid-twentieth century.”

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Dezeen | Furniture and design
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