// 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).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jubilee Furniture - What Caught My Eye

Photography is a hobby, and today I had a chance to shoot a few pieces of Jubilee Furniture's current inventory that caught my eye. If you haven't been there recently, you should. Susan, Dave, Connie and all the other great people at Jubilee put in a lot of work to keep the donations streaming through, and a few new business relationships with impressive local big name companies have made the prospect of getting interesting new donations a reality. Judging by today's inventory, I am personally excited by how this may make things really interesting. For those who trust my eye and thrifting skills, understand that Jubilee just got even more interesting. As these partners deliver new furniture all across Chicagoland, the old stuff they remove (sometimes in like new condition) will end up at Jubilee.

I didn't take a ton of photos, but check out the stuff that caught my eye.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lushpad: Steelcase Stow Davis Continuum Series Chairs

Lushpad is an amazing Mid Century Modern marketplace, and tonight I tried it out for the first time. For sale are 11 amazingly mod Stow Davis Continuum Series chairs by Steelcase. They have deep dark wood and original upholstery, and would look awesome in a design or photography studio, or similarly modern interior. If you know anyone who might be interested, send them to my first listing in what I hope will be more to come.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ettore Sottsass, Olivetti, Thrift Stores and Me

Those who've followed BarryBlog, especially through the three years of rather regular postings from Fall 2006 until Winter 2008, know that I have a rather informed design eye, combined with a consistent thrift store routine, which gives me a great deal of opportunities to find important design items at thrift store prices. As an example, one afternoon I came across a rare Olivetti Praxis 48 typewriter by famed designer, artist and architect Ettore Sottsass. Just to rub it in for my fellow thriftsters, it was $4.99. It just so happens that Sottsass is one of my long-time favorite designers, since I cut my design teeth in the late 80's, right about the time Sottsass founded The Memphis Design Movement. During this formative time in my young design career, Memphis was at full stride and had influenced the design thinking of Mark Johnson and Lauren Ciesa at JCI (JohnsonCiesa) – the design firm where I worked at in East Lansing Michigan. During this time, the bold, whimsical colors and shapes where a complete departure from the bland work being done in Corporate America, where the archetypal color combination was burgundy and grey. Lauren always sprung for great office lighting, modern decorative arts and high end furniture, and that passion for well design items made a lasting impression.

Though Sottsass’s iconic Valentine typewriter has eluded me, I do have a couple other fine examples of his work in the form of the Olivetti Lettera 36; Olivetti Lettera 32; and Olivetti/Underwood 319. The Praxis 48 is among my most prized items in my growing collection of important design. I keep hoping I will come across a piece of his incredible pottery, but that would surprise me considering they routinely go for $5,000 on up.

So this afternoon, savoring a newly sore throat and achy body, I came across this great Sottsass film by his last collaborator, Enesco Corporation. Ettore’s design fire was not extinguished until his death at the ripe old age of 90.

If you have any stories of Sottsass, or have any of his design work in your collection, do share it here.

I am not certain if these last two recent posts are a sign of things to come, but for some reason I am feeling the desire to contribute, and realize how I still have plenty to add to the conversation. We’ll see.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Do you know what you want? Spielberg Does.

Incredibly easy for me to understand; not particularly easy to explain; and a complete lack of understanding (or a denial) by many businesses, are the myriad of reasons why senior design thinkers (Creative Directors, Art Directors, [not design stylists]) should be involved in the crafting of every day business, not just design. Spielberg says it best here. Knowing what you want is in large part the result of having spent years of your life imagining things from the inside out. Making things that are completely unrelated and intangible, that when connected in a new context, create a tangible whole. The supreme irony to the business bottom line is this: many people who can champion this often untapped business tool are themselves unable to picture it. The exact people who hold the purse strings literally don't see this potential, and by familiarity and lack of action relegate design to the important but marginalized business of aesthetics. As everyone looks to innovate, compete and pursue business in this new economy, I recommend looking close to home. As Spielberg says..."Can you see this?" For me, that's an easy answer. Vision is the ability to see. Seeing is the ability to think. And in companies wanting to prosper, top thinkers are given the chance to grow.

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