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Early American craftsmanship on display at Winterthur

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Winterthur, a decorative arts museum in Delaware, will feature the furniture shown in Early American Life magazine’s “Directory of Traditional American Crafts”, a collection of traditional American crafts that celebrates American heritage.

Winterthur Museum has been selected to serve as the location to showcase this year’s “best of the best” in American heritage craftsmanship for Early American Life’s prestigious “Directory of Traditional American Crafts.”  Now in its 30th year, the directory showcases the winners of the magazine’s annual competition of artisans who best preserve America’s heritage of handcraftsmanship by reflecting classic designs in new creations.

“Winterthur was delighted to welcome the fine work of these artisans, which beautifully complemented the Museum’s collection of American decorative arts,” said Linda Eaton, Winterthur’s John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw director of collections & senior curator of textiles, who also served as a judge in the competition. “The artisans demonstrated a mastery of traditional techniques and the scholarship that informs them. We congratulate the winners for earning a place in Early American Life’s respected directory.”

The directory appears in the August 2015 issue of Early American Life, a national magazine focusing on architecture, decorative arts, period style, and social history from colonial times through the mid-19th century. The directory has been used for nearly three decades by curators at living history museums, owners of traditional homes, and motion picture producers to find artisans to make period-appropriate furnishings and accessories for displays, collections, and use.

“The judges look for authentic design and workmanship, whether the piece is a faithful reproduction or the artisan’s interpretation of period style,” said Tess Rosch, publisher of Early American Life. “Scholarship, as well as use of period tools and techniques, is particularly valued in this competition.”


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July 22, 2015 at 7:00 am

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High-end furniture manufacturer Alden Parkes shares design trends

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“High-end furniture is embracing the beauty and wonderment of the outdoors by infusing organic elements into its designs,” said Lynne McArdle, owner of Alden Parkes. “Organic shapes, natural materials and nature-inspired details are everywhere in the luxury market for home furnishings, and it’s expected to become a major style influence in your home.”
McArdle says to keep an eye out for these trends:
•    Gold and silver:  The precious metals still hold center stage, but this season they often appear with a brushed or leafed finish for a softer edge that blends especially well with other materials. Using just a touch of gold and silver in an accent piece can give a sanctuary that finishing touch.
•    Natural shapes:  Designers have always taken inspiration from the world around them; this year’s emphasis on luxe makes the familiar new again.  “I’ve picked up interesting shaped rocks, exotic flowers and little mementoes during my time spent outdoors all over the world,” explained McArdle. “I’ve always wanted to display these beautiful things in my home, but they typically are stuffed in a drawer and never seen or enjoyed again. This inspired me to take the elements of nature that are close to my heart and infuse them into home furnishings designs so I can prominently display them in my home.”
•    The wave:  After years of straight-edged modern designs, the high-end has rediscovered the undulating line.  Look for waves, flutes and curls on everything from chair backs to occasional tables.
•    Figurative wood and stone:  Beautiful wood and stone are perennials in luxury home furnishings but this season’s trends turn it up a notch.  Top of the list: the natural patterns found in highly veined stone, and woods with a pronounced grain, all finished and polished to make the most of the natural patterning.
“From the ebb and flow of the ocean waves, the exquisite details of garden roses and the raw nature of bamboo, high-end furniture companies will continue adding natural elements in their furniture designs,” said McArdle.

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July 21, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Customers can build their own designer furniture with OpenDesk

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With downloadable designer furniture plans available for download, customers can build their own furniture, or find the nearest manufacturing plant to do so.

OpenDesk is a portal that connects customers with local makers and distributes designer furniture plans online. Currently targeted toward office furnishings, the service offers savings for custom-made designer furniture by skipping shipping, marketing and other conventional overhead costs.

OpenDesk’s system also guarantees more benefits for designers, better control over manufacturing, faster deliveries and a less wasteful approach to furniture production.

With OpenDesk, customers are likely to spend 50 percent less compared to purchasing designer furniture from a store. Estimates for furnishing a startup office space runs at about $3,000 to $7,700 which means about a $500-$900 budget per head.

Many of OpenDesk’s furniture plans are available for download under Creative Commons licenses for people who would prefer to build their furniture from the ground up.

For those who don’t have the tools or the time, OpenDesk uses the customer’s location to map out the nearest manufacturing hub that can build the furniture items. The user can then send an enquiry for the pricing, customization, lead time directly to the local manufacturer.

Because of the made-to-order scheme, manufacturers may also have the ability to engrave company logos or whatever personal touches to the furniture for the customer. With manufacturing just around the corner, deliveries of the flat packs will be cheaper and burn less fuel making the process more environmentally-friendly.

OpenDesk has worked closely with Greenpeace to kit out its London headquarters. Storage facilities were also provided all in OpenDesk’s minimal wood block aesthetics. Aside from Greenpeace, OpenDesk has furnished the offices of Spark Venture’s accelerator hub The Garage among many other interesting startups.

OpenDesk supports an Open Making system where global collaboration is used to create better business. Designers are able to get global distribution for their creations, local CNC operators earn money and customers get great value designer furniture. The process is also less wasteful as each item is only made upon order.

For videos and pictures, check out the PSFK article here.

Written by cabinettrends

May 28, 2015 at 7:00 am

Rehau announces winner of design challenge

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Mallarie Hiaeshutter, student at Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD), and winner of Rehau’s second annual Leading Edge Design Challenge. <!–
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Rehau is pleased to name Mallarie Hiaeshutter, student at Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD), as the winner of its second annual Leading Edge Design Challenge, a competition in which undergraduate design students create furniture concepts featuring Rehau furniture components.

This year’s participants were asked to submit designs for a retail or hospitality setting. Hiaeshutter’s curvilinear reception desk concept caught the attention of the judges with its organic, fluid design and creative use of materials. To create the illusion of movement, Hiaeshutter chose Rauvisio crystal glass-design surfaces paired with LaserEdge Visions in Duo-Design and Mirror Gloss edgebanding. In addition, the design’s manufacturability earned high marks from the judges.

“My inspiration came from the beauty of a winter landscape,” said Hiaeshutter. “I set out to create a piece that emulates the forms created by the cover of fresh snow. I was able to create that illusion, along with the organic shape of the desk, by combining the clear and seamless elements of Rauvisio crystal and LaserEdge edgebanding,” she said.

“This desk feels both clean and complex at the same time, with a creative take on the elements of light and shadow,” said Lee Davis, associate professor of interior design at KCAD. “Each of the panels has a monolithic look which will be enhanced by the modernistic attributes of the materials from REHAU.”

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April 17, 2015 at 7:00 am

Lone designer makes furniture in less than five minutes

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When it comes to handmade furniture, speed seems to the enemy of craftsmanship, design journal PSFK reports. But designer Jenny Nordberg wanted to test this principle with her latest collection in a series, ‘3 to 5 minutes – Rapid handmade furniture.’

Nordberg decided to test her skills as a designer, by creating quality pieces at the speed of mass production factories. Nordberg created two armchairs, a trolley and a dining table with four chairs all in under an hour, using materials that can be found at most hardware stores. The designer timed each step in the making process to ensure that every piece was made within three to five minutes.

Turning herself into a one-person assembly line, Nordberg used pre-cut wood, clay that did not require firing, linseed oil and lacquer. The resulting pieces, which were recently shown at Stockholm Furniture Fair, have a purposeful unfinished look that, is in part, inevitable because of the time restraints. ‘The design, materials and details are all the result of the lack of time,’ reads the project page. “The coating does not cover the whole surface, details are few and imperfect, assembly screws are visible and the design is restrained.”

But these restrictions do not take away from the artistic quality of the works. Indeed, Nordberg found that the time restraints pushed her skills and forced her to make design decisions she would not have made had she had more time. For instance, using the quick-drying ceramic clay to protect the sharp corners of the wood, when otherwise might have sanded them.

Like her previous project, ‘3 to 5 Seconds – Rapid handmade production’, where she made tableware in a short space of time, this collection interrogates the meaning behind handmade goods—is it the time it takes to make the product the thing that makes it more valuable? Or can quickly created pieces have equal value?

See the full story, along with pictures, here:

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March 30, 2015 at 7:00 am

Furniture designer stripped of award

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During the March 2 finale of HGTV’s “Ellen’s Design Challenge,” 45-year-old furniture maker Tim McClellan was named the winner. After filming was over, McClellan was disqualified because his creation was found to be too similar to a console created by European designer Simon Schacht. Katie Stout, the original runner-up, was told she was the winner in an epilogue in the finale.

“It’s highly unlikely that McClellan knew of the designer he was accused of copying,” said Kim Maneely, McClellan’s marketing manager at Western Heritage Furniture, the company McClellan founded in 1991 to sell his intricate, nature-inspired furniture made from reclaimed wood.

“I went to design school, and I study European designers, and I did not know about him,” Maneely said of Schact.

DeGeneres informed Stout in a taped segment on the “Ellen” talk show set afterward that McClellan’s title was revoked. Not much more of an explanation was given, and McClellan was not mentioned or heard from again in the final few minutes.

“Tim did not fulfill the requirement of the final challenge, which was to create an original piece,” the HGTV narrator simply explained, as the two very similar pieces were displayed onscreen.

Stout was granted the default $100,000 and editorial spread in HGTV magazine.

McClellan, whose furniture sells for $800 to $40,000, was the only one of six contestants recruited by DeGeneres after she watched his furniture-making video on YouTube. The others applied for a spot on the show. He also was the only self-taught furniture maker.

McClellan is set to appear and talk about his side of the story on “Ellen” March 5.

See the full story from the Arizona Republic here:

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March 24, 2015 at 7:00 am

Join furniture and design professionals in January 2015 for Imm Cologne

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The International Interiors Show, Imm Cologne, will bring together major players in the furniture and design world in Germany, Jan. 19-25, 2015.

The fair ensures a global presence, as 2014’s show comprised a foreign share of 65 percent. Features will include highlighting long-standing as well as young designers and platforms like the “interior innovation award.”

To exhibit or with questions, please contact Kasia Piechnik, sales & project manager, North America, at 773.326.9926 or

Written by cabinettrends

September 8, 2014 at 7:00 am

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