// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Charles Eames: Time Life Chair Yumminess

So I'm finally posting on my newest and most cherished Mid-Century Modern artifact...and collector deal of a lifetime– my Herman Miller Aluminum Group Executive Management Work Chair, or Time Life Chair. Perfectly orange (for my friend Jess) and super soft, super plush high quality leather...the Bentley of the chair world. And the most luxurious chair I have ever sat in. So here it is, along with a few odd ball office shots for context. Let me know if you want one. I have 6 more (albeit not in as pristine condition). I bought them to sell, so let me know if you too would like one. Following is some additional info for anyone intreged and interested in learning more. A NY Times article called Seats of Power. A distant cousin. A recent eBay listing. Another. And another. A recent sale. Architonic coverage. A current listing at $3,300.00. Yet another. Herman Miller's page. Learn more about the chairs history, and download the original Charles Eames designed leaflet from 1960 announcing the chair in PDF form here. See what midcenturymodernist has to say about this.

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American's Are Reading Less. Yes, Less.

Reminder and still amazing to me: AMERICAN'S READING LESS. Do you have information to the contrary? If so, send it to me or point me to it. Some of my colleagues disagree. I would like to see facts dispell this article.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

BarryBlog Special: February Music To Design To

Welcome to the BarryBlog February stand alone music player. Songs you can design to, then buy if you like. Email song requests or leave them in comments and I'll see what I can do for next month, that is unless I don't like your suggestions. Again, ckicky the linky for the stand alone player, less you have pop up blocker on, in which case I recommend you just whistle your favorite song and pretend you're enjoying the BarryBlog February music selection.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

200 College Students Study Themselves

Staggering. I have kept this post short. Because your attention span is small.

For those with a longer attention span: This is a short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today - how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime. Created by Michael Wesch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University.

( via swissmiss )

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eames Lounge Debut: Arlene Francis Show

Charles Eames in 1956, interviewed on the Arlene Francis' Home show—the precursor to what is known today as the Today Show. Eames was given this prime opportunity to describe and debut his Herman Miller Eames Lounge chair to America for the first time. Major furniture history in the making.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

HEMA: Website Mayhem

Dutch department store HEMA has a website like no other. Go there right now, then PATIENTLY wait for mayhem to break out. If you aren't patient, you will 100% not understand why I sent you there.

( via H. Michael Karshis's That'sRight )

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Monday, January 21, 2008

bt (Brian Transeau): A Designer's Soundtrack.

Chicago native Brian Transeau goes by the name "bt." He's an incredible talent. I've developed a mix of his songs for you in the event you need some background music today. Just click the button below. It will launch a new web page with a standalone player you can have open in the background while you work. I tried to design an entire player interface into this post, but no matter what I did, I kept messing up the html embed code. I figure this pop up player is a great plan B.

If you're interested in learning more about Brian, hit his music website or Facebook profile. With a bit of curiosity and some research you'll discover the unfortunate fact that allegedly Brian's ex-wife ran off with his daughter and they were on the run for an extended period over the holidays until they were eventually located by authorities and his daughter subsequently returned. If any of this is true, I am sad. If it's not true, and has been fabricated as suggested by many posts online, I am also sad. The whole situation, true or not, was not a fun thing for anyone associated with this talented individual. But his music really is the opposite of this ugliness. It is very upbeat, intelligent, energetic and hopeful. I originally heard of his music and for some unknown reason thought he might be a brother in Christ. I am now not sure, but in any event he has been in my prayers, and I am appreciate of his talents and gifts. Hope you will enjoy his stuff, and then go out and buy some of his music.

If you're interested in a real informative how-to on his latest project,
This Binary Universe, check out the video below. It is really very incredible to hear how it all came about, his personal thoughts, and some serious behind the scenes goodness- including how he captured some of the beats for the project in a Starbucks using an inconspicous M-Audio micro track recorder. He says his whole travel studio now consists of his 15 inch titanium Macbook pro and his 0-2. Amazing.

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Bell & Ross: High Time

Those who know me would confirm that spending excessively is definitely not my MO. But considered purely on quality, craftsmanship and product design beauty alone, my vote would have to be Bell&Ross. They make the masterpiece of timepieces. Pure excellence. Though this type of frivolous spending's not a high priority for me personally, something's gotta be said for excellence, and Bell&Ross do bring it. Their website is equally as impressive looking, except for the fact that they built it all in Flash, which as I've pointed out in the past, is not recommended (by me anyways). I love my Nighthawk, but am hoping to continue my string of fortunate and profitable deals of the century (like my Eames Time-Life Executive Workchair for $75.00 in mint condition), and if I do, let's just say I'll snag it no-questions-asked. Then you get my Nighthawk.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

SAWDUST - Designers Extraordinaire

Sawdust consists of Rob Gonzalez and Jonathan Quainton—both graphic designers, illustrators and art directors. As you'll see from their site/portfolio, their work is bold, well considered, and highly creative. They strive to exceed their client's expectations, which it appears they do on a rather consistent basis. I'm honored to consider them part of my design:related network, and I recommend their work to anyone looking for originality, craftsmanship and differentiation. Bravo SA//DUST!

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Hoefler, Frere-Jones, Heller: On Typefaces

Television interview I saw a while ago about typeface design. A rather 101 course that features Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones of Hoefler & Frere-Jones and Steven Heller.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Harry Wysocki: Mid-Century Modern 3D Art

Last summer my wife and I vacationed in Golden Colorado to visit my brother-in-law. During the week he generously gave us full use of his car while he was at work, and we took it to downtown Denver one afternoon to visit Antique Row on Broadway street. We came across a place called Hooked on Glass, which for the most part specialized in, well, collector glass of course, but in addition to a bunch of Heywood Wakefield items and other great mid-century decorative art , we found these 3D pieces of art. The minute my wife and I saw it, we knew these were special.

Upon returning from Denver, I began my research. Each piece is hand signed "Wysocki" on the back. I found a ton of work by him, mostly Americana puzzles and impressionism painting. Some of his work is selling for big dollar on eBay, so I decided to call him. Harry as very kind to have spoken with me, and he was fascinating to talk to. A graduate of the former Art Center in Pasadena, he had a long career as an ad man. To make a long story short, he told me the whole story behind these 3D artworks. He told me they were ideas he had for art while he was working at an ad agency. He wanted to try and prototype these out, so he went to a machine shop and had a mold made first out of wood, then he took that to a plastic extrusion facility and had prototypes made. He then took these to a company who specialized in making art for office furniture stores, which he tells me was a rather common place for art to be sold then, at which point he and this company produced rather short runs of the cat, owl, plus a third which I can no longer remember. Suffice it to say these are super rare, and from my conversation with him believe these may be worth several thousands dollars each. Harry is alive today and maintains a studio.

This is some information about Harry from his website.

A dichotomy exists in Wysocki's present works as expressed by his ability to paint impressionism along with his fascination for nostalgia. His many collectors appreciate his diversity. He describes his Americana paintings as nostalgia: a time before computers, hi-tech movies and fax machines, when traveling by horse and buggy were the mode of transportation. He finds a lighthouse, an old hotel, a railroad station, and then the historical research begins. He delves into archives, haunts old book stores, or talks to old-timers who remember "the way things were", and the painting begins to evolve. The finished portrayal is history, nostalgia, and fantasy.
It is really fun for my wife and I to spend time together looking for collectibles and treasures. And for me, I have even more fun doing research and at times speaking with the artists themselves to hear the story behind the treasures. The truth is, neither of us have the desire or resources to spend very often, but admittedly we do have a knack for finding deals. Big time deals. And it's something we enjoy together. These two pieces were the most we ever spent on art. $240. But if my research is correct, this could represent a $4,000-6,000 profit. Not bad for an afternoon spent doing what we really enjoy. Next time you see a garage sale, flea market or collectible market, stop in and see what you might find.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Steelcase. The Genius of Warren Snodgrass.

Learning and discover new things is thrilling. Recently I had an experience that although cool and fortunate at first, only got better. It went like this.

I recently came across a reasonably priced pair of Steelcase guest chairs designed by Warren Snodgrass. I have a knack for discovering hidden gems, and these immediately caught my attention. Simply put, they are a work of art. The blue fabric in the pictures I've posted didn't come out as well as I hoped, as the true color is a brilliant and vibrant blue, in a tightly woven fabric that appears
brand new. In researching these beauties, I initially found them featured in a November 2007 Steelcase publication entitled "Wood Seating Specification Guide PDF" (page 73). In this publication I discovered the model was 474419W and part of the Encore Series of guest seating, with a U.S. base price of $962. Awesome! I also learned that they were designed in 1980, and found the tag underneath the chair which said these particular chairs were made in 1994.

With further research I discovered more about Warren Snodgrass. Having lived and worked as an art director in Grand Rapids Michigan for several years, I had significant exposure to the contract furnishing marketplace and I had heard of Warren. Not only has he designed products for Steelcase, but also for Haworth, Thonet and Stow Davis. As I researched further, I discovered Warren's personal webpage. As it turns out, he is spending his time with his lifelong passion for painting and sculpture in his art studio located in Ross CA. His studio looks incredible. Sounds idyllic. So with a desire to know more, I emailed Warren directly and asked him if he would be willing to shed any further light on these remarkable chairs. He was kind enough to respond. This is what he said in an email I received this evening:

Dear Barry– "We designed the chairs for Steelcase in 1980. It is nice to know they are still appreciated after 28 years. Our goal was to design a chair with clean classic lines that would stand the test of time. The frame was designed to be configured from a single piece of elliptical oval steel tubing which made it economical to produce without sacrificing esthetics. The chairs surround the conference table in my study and the poker table in my den. In addition they are part of the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art." – Yours truly, Warren Snodgrass

Thank you Warren for your transparency, and your willingness to share this first hand experience in creating these wonderful chairs. I especially appreciate your sensitivity to the balance between beauty and economy.

You know how when you or someone you know gets a new car, you start to notice similar ones from that point on? I'm sure this is what will happen to me as I begin to recognize and appreciate the incredible design of Warren Snodgrass. I am a big fan.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

BarryBlog Visitor Demographics: January 3rd

January 3rd, 2008 was a typical day in terms of the amount of visitors to //BarryBlog//. But what caught my attention was how diverse this day was in terms of where these visitors came from. The visitor demographics for this day looked like this:

Cities of the world (alphabetical):

  • Ankeny, Antioch, Baltimore, Bangalore, Barcelona, Bethel Island, Birmingham, Bremen, Brooklyn, Buenos Aires, Bursa, Cameron, Casablanca, Cincinnati, College Park, Columbus, Denham Springs, Dublin, East York, Elgin, Elmhurst, Fairview, Framingham, Glen Ellyn, Hilliard, Houston, Lexington, Lisbon, London, Milpitas, Minneapolis, Nesttun, New York, Osseo, Padova, Peabody, Pearl City, Reno, Reynoldsburg, Sacramento, Sant'Eufemia Lamezia, Seoul, Shibuya, Southfield, St Petersburg, Stein.
Countries/Territories (in order of most vistitors):
  • United States, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, South Korea, Argentina, Norway, Morocco, Russia, India, Turkey, Canada, Spain, Portugal
Sub Continent Regions (in order of most vistitors):
  • Northern America, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern Asia, Western Europe, Northern Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Southern Asia, South America
Continents (in order of most vistitors):
  • Amercias, Europe, Asia, Africa
Fascinating. However I suppose it might sound more interesting than it is in reality, especially if I could more accurately determine which visitors were those with a heartbeat, verses computer bots. Still interesting, especially if you consider that the visitor demographics I've just shared is from a polling of just 54 visitors.

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kwout: Web Tool Goodness

What's so great about the link to //BarryBlog// archives below? Well, in and of itself, nothing. But for some of you this could be really fun. You see, I just saved the kwout bookmarklet to my bookmarker toolbar, and then I am automatically able to cut out any part of any web page, which gives me not only an image cutout of where I clicked and dragged on the page, but also one complete with links and embedded code to throw around where ever I please. Awesome. See how the links in my archives (below) actually work (albiet a bit small, blurry and somewhat hard to read). Or try it yourself.

( via StingyScholar )

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Seadragon; Photosynth.

On the 4th of July, 2007, I posted about this incredible video and the incredible Photosync and Seadragon technologies. I came across it again, and wanted to repost it with the idea it may have got lost in the shuffle of the holiday season. When I think of the way the new Apple iPhone's pinch navigation works to enlarge and shrink web pages, and how the new Amazon Kindle eReader (and competitive products) will alter the way we interact with books in the future, I can't help but visualize opportunities for Seadragon in this mix. If for nothing less than to inspire interactive designers. Blaise Aguera y Arcas makes the most complicated issues seem interesting as a result of his intelligence and enthusiasm. His enthusiasm is contagious.
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Microsoft, in typical fashion, has aquired (purchased) the brilliant thinking of Blaise Aguera y Arcas and his Seadragon and Photosynth technolgies. Photosynth changes how we look at and interact with images and information. Seadragon's aim is to change the way people use screens (wall-sized, mobile devices, etc.) so visual information can can be smoothly browsed regardless of data amount involved or network bandwidth.

Both technologies blow me away.

( via ChuckGreen's PagePlane Blog )

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BizWeek asks the Candidates: Innovation Edge?

BusinessWeek.com asked the leading Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates if America's losing its innovation edge to emerging powers. Here are their responses - By Matt Vella

Governor Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, John Edwards, Senator John McCain, Senator Barack Obama, Fred Thompson, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani

( via BizWeek Innovation and Design )

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