Friday, March 30, 2012

Anna Karin Karlsson sunglasses

I love sunglasses, but finding the perfect pair is quite a challenge for me. Or they're too big, or they have a huge logo (I hate that!), or the color is not right... That's why I'm wearing the same pair since 2002 (seriously...). I want them to have a classic shape, but with a little something extra. Could Anna Karin Karlsson be the one who's gonna put an end to my quest?

The Swedish eyewear designer (also artist-musician-actress) created fantastic sunglasses designs with a retro vibe and the glamour of old Hollywood mixed with the 80's. It's playful, original, girly but not tacky, the quality looks great, and if you don't like people staring at you in the street, these might not be for you. But if you like to stand out from the crowd, go for it!

Images from Anna Karin Karlsson

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring thrift-store finds and vintage wallpaper

Image from Nordiska Style

Green! Every Spring, I want that color everywhere, on the walls, on my clothes, I want green accessories, greens in my plate... Of course, I don't change my interior every season, but it's fun just thinking about it! Last weekend at my parents house, I found this vintage wallpaper in my closet, made in Norway in the 70's. I bought it in a thrift-store in Montreal years ago for less that 2$ (the roll was still wrapped). I fixed it temporarily on the wall to see how it would look like, and I'm quite pleased with the result! But as I only have one roll, I'm still not sure how I'm going to use it... The brass candle holders are also thrift-store finds (from Sweden), and the cased glass vase is from the 60's and was designed by Per-Olof Ström for Alsterfors Sweden. Amazing shape and color!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Svenskt Tenn and Josef Frank bags

Image from Nordiska Style

Whenever I'm in Stockholm, I have to make a trip to Svenskt Tenn, a fantastic interior design shop filled with Swedish classics. And if you love bold, colourful and exotic textiles, you probably already know Josef Frank (1885-1967), an Austrian architect and designer who emigrated to Sweden in 1933. Estrid Ericson, a pewter designer and entrepreneur founded Svenskt Tenn in 1924, and she recruited Josef Frank in 1934. "Together, they created the elegant and boldly patterned personal interior design style that continues to pervade the collection to this day".
 Svenskt Tenn created gorgeous bags using the fabrics designed by Josef Frank and Estrid Ericson and as you can tell by looking at the picture above, I used mine quite a lot! The colors have faded and there's a hole or two, but I don't care, I always come back to it! The only downside is that you can't really wash it, but I don't leave it on the floor anyway so it's not that bad. Here's more of their iconic designs: "Manhattan" (Frank), "Elefant" (Ericson), "Brazil" (Ericson) and "Tulpan" (Frank). Aren't they perfect for Spring?

Images from Svensk Tenn

Monday, March 19, 2012

Verner Panton: Der Spiegel HQ and iconic canteen, Hamburg

Photo: Dennis Conrad via Stylepark

This picture is quite a sad one, as it was taken in October 2011 during the break down of the Spiegel Canteen. I can't believe I never took the time to go to Hamburg to have lunch (and a psychedelic experience) there...
Verner Panton designed what is probably his most famous interior in 1969 for the new buildings of the Spiegel Publishing Group in Hamburg. How could people work when they had access to the coolest swimming pool (destroyed early by a fire, unfortunately), a canteen that makes you feel like you're tripping on LSD, and a snack-bar featuring the best of Verner Panton's designs? I understand why the employees liked to keep their office doors open!

"Panton designed the entrance area with courtyard and lobby, the canteen and the bar areas, the swimming pool for the employees in the basement of the building, the rooms for the editorial conferences and the lounges, as well as the colour schemes for the hallways of the administration or editorial highrise buildings. All designs were his own - lamps, textiles and wall claddings, only the furniture had to be ordered from Knoll International according to his contracts." (Verner Panton)

In 42 years of existence, only the canteen and the snack-bar remained in the original version. When the German news magazine moved house last fall, some of Panton's work moved as well in the new canteen. But most of it has been donated to the Museum of Arts and Crafts Hamburg, so from Summer 2012, it will be possible to visit the canteen as a room installation. It's not like seeing Panton's designs in the original context, but I'm sure it's worth a visit if you like the work of this master of modern design!

Via Domus

photo: Noshe/Der Spiegel via Stylepark

Via Smow

Via Smow

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Land of Giants: Powerful & Aesthetically Pleasing Pylons

To turn ugly looking pylons into majestic 150 foot sculptures. I know it's not new, in fact, it's from 2008, but I don't care, it's a brilliant idea and I want to share! This project, 'The Land of Giants', by Choi + Shine won honorable mention at the Icelandic High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition. It is, for designers, an original way to rethink electrical pylons.

From the architect firm: "Making only minor alterations to well established steel-framed tower design, we have created a series of towers that are powerful, solemn and variable. These iconic pylon-figures will become monuments in the landscape. Seeing the pylon-figures will become an unforgettable experience, elevating the towers to something more than merely a functional design of necessity."

"The pylon-figures can be configured to respond to their environment with appropriate gestures. As the carried electrical lines acend a hill, the pylon-figures change posture, imitating a climbing person. Over long spans, the pylon-figure stretches to gain increased height, crouches for increased strenght or strains under the weight of the wires."  

"Like the statues of Easter Island, it is envisioned that these one hundred and fifty foot tall, modern caryatids will take on a quiet authority, belonging to their landscape yet serving the people, silently transporting electricity across all terrain, day and night, sunshine or snow."

Images from Choi + Shine

The Giants are not a part of the Icelandic landscape yet, but I really hope to see them in the future! While waiting, have a look at the 'The Power Collection' by norwegian brand Funkle. They created lovely cushions and plaids to stay warm and stylish!

Image from Funkle via Norway Designs

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fjällräven Kanken backpack, a swedish classic

Image from Nordiska Style

Normally, I'm not crazy about backpacks, but my Kanken is awesome and perfect when I run errands with my bicycle! In Sweden, you don't buy a Kanken to look unique or original, as you can't walk 2 meters without seeing one.  They're just a part of the everyday life since 1978, when the Fjällräven's founder, Ake Nordin created them to save the kid's backs. Shoulders bags were more fashionable back then, but they were not that great to carry heavy books. Nordin sold 400 backpacks during the first year, and 30 000 the following year. Now, about 200 000 are sold every year. The Kanken backpack has the same look it had 30 years ago, it's light, it's water repellent, it comes in many colors (23!) and 4 different sizes (the mini is super cute!). Mine is grey, which I like as it goes with everything, but the yellow one is tempting me!

Image from Idiotbox

Elle Fanning in Somewhere with her yellow Kanken!

Image from Coolspotters

Image from Ripped Knees

And the cutest picture from Kidlark!

Image from Kidlark

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Antique Swedish Wedding Trunks

I love Swedish folk art. I love the simplicity, the colors, the fact that it was made for a very special occasion. These old "allmoge" wedding trunks always make me go ahhh...! I like the idea to own something that a young bride received as a gift in 1850! It's beautiful and maybe even a little intimidating to think about all the private things that were "hidden" in those trunks like clothes, hand woven and embroidered textiles, love letters! Quite often, you can see on a trunk the painted initials of the young woman who used it to store her trousseau. Very romantic! Some of them are very big and not very practical in a small apartment, but if you can find a smaller one, they look fabulous in a room. Not only that, they're also great for storage, and if the top is flat and solid enough, it can be used as a seat as well (or a coffee table). Here's some more of those gems:

Images from Bukowskismarket

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Troll Family by Lund & Paarmann

Quick, before Spring, I still have time to dream about this Troll chair! Could a chair look more comfortable? I'm afraid I would stay curled up on it forever if I had one. This fantastic collection, created by Danish designers Oluf Lund and Eva Paarmann, "was inspired by the Nordic troll tales and cold winter days". The seats are made of Icelandic sheepskin, full grain saddle leather and legs are in massive oak.
Unfortunately, I don't think it's a good idea for me to buy one of these. My cat would probably think that an evil beast is trying to intrude into her territory. That poor chair would be ruined in 3 minutes. I'll just keep dreaming about it, I guess!

Images from Lund & Paarman

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Four seasons, one chair: Pastil by Eero Aarnio

Finnish designer Eero Aarnio (born in 1932 in Helsinki) doesn't need much presentation. With his iconic furniture pieces and his innovative use of plastic, even if you're not a design lover, you're probably familiar with his chairs, as they have been featured in (almost) every sci-fi movies and TV shows from the 60's! Designed in 1967, the Pastil Chair, with its beautiful organic form received the American Industrial Award in 1968. 
It's obvious that the chair looks totally cool, but it's also very comfortable. The New York Times wrote about it: "the most comfortable forms to hold up the human body". And it gets better! It's a rocking chair, it can be used indoors and outdoors... and it floats! Here's my plan (when I'll have a Pastil Chair): Spring- Put the chair on the balcony and enjoy the first rays of sun. Summer- Make friends with summer houses owners and go fishing in my chair, like Eero Aarnio did! Fall- Bring the chair back in the living room and read some good books. Winter: See photo above! Beautiful, practical and fun!

Info and pictures here and here.

All images from Eero Aarnio