Wednesday, June 30, 2004

cameleon. interactive. furniture.

Norman Coultur designed his Cameleon line of furniture to be interactive. Don't worry, this isn't another ill-fated attempt to let your recliner connect to the Web. It's a way to let you connect your furniture together like jigsaw pieces. Need a sofa but only have two chaises? Use your ottoman to join them together and you're set.

platforms. backs. arms.
The Cameleon line is made up of platforms, backs and arms, all of which can be reconfigured and rearranged to suit your needs. You sit on the platform parts, lean on the back parts and drape your arms (or balance your drinks) on the arm parts. There are squared off pieces for a more modern look or rounded versions if you prefer a funkier feel.

comfort. quality.
I've tried a bunch of Cameleon pieces and think they're about average when it comes to comfort and quality. The tradeoff is versatility, which Cameleon has plenty of. I don't have exact pricing, but I know it was also moderate...not too high, not too low.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

evo. chair.

The Evo chair from Bo Concept is one of those body-hugging affairs that you'll either find super comfortable or totally wretched. I happen to find it super comfortable, both physically and psychologically. For me it's not a bit unlike curling up in a puffy eggshell: Snuggly. Safe. Secure.

the. look.
A glance at the Evo should be enough to tell you if it will fit in with your decor or not. It has a distinctive look, both because of its round contours and because of the single metal pole that supports it. It seems like the designer was torn between making an office chair or an arm chair, so he made sure there was a bit of both in the Evo.

unusual. fabrics.
The Evo comes in all the usual fabrics and a few unusual ones, like felt. The felt feels a little unsettling to me, probably because it reminds me of pool tables, which are fun but not the least bit comfortable to sit on. The fabric itself is warm but a bit raspy to the touch.

not. just. bo.
The best place to see Evo is at a Bo Concept store, since Bo makes it. But I've seen it in other stores as well. The price starts at $1,099.

Monday, June 28, 2004

cirque. ceiling. fan.

I love everything about ceiling fans except looking at them. Not to put too fine a point on it, but most are ugly. The worst offenders are the ones with brown faux wood paddles that seem to have crawled out of a 1970s kitchen. But even bold attempts to modernize fans tend to come off poorly. Try to add a bit of metal or a hint of a curve to the paddles and suddenly the fans look like death dealing machines.

I think the long flat blades are what have been tripping designers up. The Cirque neatly overcomes that obstacle by using oval paddles in two different sizes to soften and break up the look. It also gives the fan a nicely organic feel. I don't know how much air they push around, but they look like they'll do an adequate job at least.

three. flavors.
The Cirque comes with three paddle styles: silver, red/yellow/blue (in can't just get all blue or all red, for instance), and mahogany (don't get me started). I'd only recommend the colorful version for a super funky room, or a circus big top.

cutting. costs.
At $335 the cost of the Cirque isn't bad. You can easily pay twice as much for something twice as ugly at the local Home Depot.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

dale. chihuly. piano.

Put artist Dale Chihuly together with Steinway & Sons and the result would be a piano like the Olympia. Actually, the result would be two Olympias, one that travels around the world on display and another for Dale's house.

art. case. collection.
The Olympia is part of Steinway's Art Case Collection and was designed for the 2002 Winter Olympics. According to Steinway's official Web site, the piano "reflects the abstract expression of wintery mountain forests juxtaposed with the bright Promethean colors idealized by the fire of the Olympic spirit." The pictures on the Steinway site do not do the piano any justice, however. The bright lime-green piano looks dull in their photos. I assure you, it's not.

but. i. don't. play.
If you're thinking you can't buy a piano because you don't play, don't worry about it. Neither does Dale. If you're thinking you can't buy the Olympia because it costs $375,000, I can't help you there. You're probably right.

sherman. clay.
I don't know where the touring version of the piano is at the moment, but Dale's is on display in the Sherman Clay store in Seattle. The guy at Sherman Clay (who told me Dale doesn't actually play piano) said he's not sure if Dale is going to keep his or sell it.

low. volt. light.

The Low Volt Light from SuckUK is about as minimalist a design as you'll see. There's no shade and no on/off switch, just a bare bulb and two hoops of wire. Put the bulb in one hoop and it turns on, put it in the other and it turns off. (Okay, there are a few more parts, like a cord so you can plug it in and a shiny reflector plate. But that's it. Really.)

low. light.
The Low Volt Looks great, but it's only 12V so don't expect it to actually illuminate much. It's designed as more of an accent piece, presumably because making a higher voltage version would burn your fingers when you touched it or burn your eyes when you looked at it.

perfect. for.
I think the Low Volt Light would be perfect as a nouveau nightlight. Not one you leave on all the time, but one you use if you have to get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water. Think about fumbling around for switches, no bright harsh light to destroy your sleep. Perfect.

SuckUK sells the light for £50, which is about $90 U.S. Generate sells it in the U.S. for $89, including shipping.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

weekend. web. updates.

I added some links on the right that are well worth checking out, including Sensory Impact, MoCoLoco, Generate, Apartment Therapy, SuckUK, Velocity, Black+Blum, and Design Addict. (The listing order is random and has no bearing on quality. They're all cool.)

Friday, June 25, 2004

mystic. sink.

I was browsing the archives of the excellent site MoCoLoco when I came across the Mystic Sink. I can't pick an adjective to describe it, but some that come to mind are: Stunning. Dramatic. Amazing. Jaw dropping. Beautiful. Gorgeous. I could go on, but instead I'm going to just go with an exclamatory "Wow!" for now.

not. practical.
Of course, this isn't a very practical sink. It's 50" long but only 14" wide, and a shallow 4.5" deep in the "deep end." And, you know, the faucet isn't very near the drain. It's clearly not meant to be a primary sink, but would go great on an island bar if you have the room.

practical. schmactical.
I'll be honest, I don't care if it costs $1,755.00 or that it's not remotely practical as an everyday sink. I'm willing to work around its eccentricities. I'm willing to suffer for the sake of art. I want one.

gmail. invites.

Gmail has given me a few more invites that I'm going to pass along to Funfurde readers. If you're interested, post a comment with an e-mail where I can reach you.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

nixie. clocks.

I think a milestone of sorts has been reached. I've seen Nixie clock kits on the Internet before, but last week for the first time I saw one on sale in a brick-and-mortar store, albeit a high-end overly expensive brick-and-mortar store. But at least that means Nixies have finally gone mainstream!

numeric. indicator. experimental-1.
If you're wondering why they're called Nixies, the name comes from Numeric Indicator Experimental-1, or NIX-1. Nixie is better at capturing the romance of the thing, however.

what. are. they?
You could say that Nixies are glass tubes, diodes and neon gas, but I prefer to call them simply "enchanting." Their closest modern cousins are today's LEDs, but where LEDs are harsh, modern and unwavering, Nixies are warm, old-world and inviting. To me an LED is like a fluorescent light, while a Nixie is like firelight. One is efficient, one is artistic. You can get an idea of what they look like from this site, but pictures really don't do them justice.

where. do. you. get. them?
Finding Nixies is still tough in the real world. Your best bet is to go to Nixie Clocks first, but be prepared to spend some money. I have yet to see one for less than $300, and that's for a kit. Completed models sell for a lot more, some in the thousands.

tivoli. model. one.

There's been a lot of blogging recently over the iPAL portable radio from Tivoli, which is an excellent companion for iPods. I'm a big fan of the iPAL but prefer Tivoli's also excellent Model One.

style. sound.
The differences for me come down to sound and style. The Model One sounds better to my ear, and indeed comes with a slightly bigger speaker than the iPAL. Also, the Model One in black (not so much the other colors, though) just looks better to my eye than the iPAL, which seems like it's trying slightly too hard to be consciously retro modern. The Model One isn't portable, but that's okay with me since I only use it by my reading chair.

the. tivoli. experience.
Both models are pretty barebones AM/FM radios when you get down to it, with some input jacks in the back for iPods, CD players or whatever. You tune them with a giant knob, you turn them off and on, you raise or lower the volume...that's really about all you can do. No preset stations, remote controls, equalizers, or other blah blah. And that suits me fine. When I want to just listen, the Tivoli is there for me.

price. value.
The Model One is just $99.99, and the iPAL $129.99, so both are great values for the quality of sound that comes out of them and the quality of design that goes in.

hot. tip.
Restoration Hardware has a the Model One on sale for $79.89.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

noël. chair.

I don't usually buy into a manufacturer's hype, but the people at Szado describe their Noël chair this way: "In red it is the flame of passion. In green it is the bud of new growth." And looking at the chair, I get it.

art. not. furniture.
However, the Noël in any color doesn't look particularly comfortable, and even Szado wisely bills it as a "piece of art." And I suppose as art goes, $2,100 - $2,250 is not terrifically expensive.

outrageous. squirming.
When I picture myself squirming to find a comfortable seating position on this chair, though, their marketing line "it can also create an outrageous dining experience" may not be working quite the way they intend.

invader. wall. graphics.

I want the Space Invaders rug but not the $3,000 charge I'd have to put on my credit card to get it. While reading BoingBoing I found a compromise, the Invader Wall Graphics by Blik. For $45 you get eight decals in assorted colors, including "color-coded missiles." How can I go wrong?

hot. tip.
I noticed Velocity has them for just $40.

not. so. hot.
If I'm reading right, these are vinyl decals that you can peel off your wall if you don't like them, but you can't restick them onto another wall. Be warned. I'm still getting them, of course.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

designer. toys. as. art.

After visiting I suddenly have a desire to buy designer toys from Japan and Hong Kong, like Box C and BB. Sadly BB (the orange one) is sold out, but Box C is just $95! (I'm also tempted by the Kubrick toy version of Edward Scissorhands, though curious why the Terminator 3 Kubricks are not in stock. Did someone actually buy those?)

the. story?
I'm sure there's a story behind these toys that explains why that fellow's pants have fallen down and why he has a box on his head, but I didn't see one online. I'm also sure I'm better off not knowing. But I did learn the orange guy comes with an extra set of hands!

michael. lau.
What I did find out is that Lau is an artist whose medium is toys, specifically 12" figures. What I stumbled upon are the 6" mass-produced versions of his handmade originals. He's mostly focused on street culture, and the orange guy is a skateboarding dog.


If you're looking for elegant but inexpensive shelves (I always seem to need more), check out the KIRK from IKEA, which looks like a giant checkmark to my eye. The picture here is a bit misleading because the long side actually sits more horizontally than this. Here it looks like something from Downhill Racer, but on my wall the shelves gently curve in the direction of the end bracket, which holds your books and CDs snugly.

Okay, it's not free, but it packs a lot of style at just $8.99 a shelf.

the. rig.

The Rig is a stylish mobile kitchen island on wheels from the folks at Urban Icons in the UK. It's got a removable block of beech wood for a top that serves as a work surface, along with some internal shelves and lockable casters (for when you don't want it to move so much). Seen here it's outfitted with the some "holdsters" that I'd recommend getting.

too. r2d2.
The Rig is gorgeous and has only two problems that I see: 1) It faintly resembles R2D2 and 2) It's only sold in the UK at the moment, so shipping to the US is prohibitive. Oh yeah, it's also £1,200.00, which is like a billion US dollars.

Monday, June 21, 2004

eclipse. chair.

It's hard to miss the Eclipse chair from Carter Furniture, since the back is a towering 60 inches tall. This is not an everyday piece, but it would make quite the conversation starter in a grand entrance hall (with suitably tall ceilings) or at the head of a sizeable dining room table.

form. over. comfort.
I like the form of the Eclipse quite a bit, but not the comfort of it. Four words sum up my feelings here: Hard. As. A. Rock. A rock with a nice shape and a soft looking fabric covering, but a rock nonetheless. The uneven arms also work to the chair's disadvantage. Sometimes I find an asymmetrical piece of furniture gives me a chance to spread out in new and relaxing positions, but not on this giant. Instead I feel like I'm listing to port while simultaneously being keelhauled. I'm not a nautical expert, but those strike me as bad things, at least in furniture.

cost. over. comfort.
Just because this chair isn't terribly comfortable, don't expect the price to be any lower. At the stores I've seen it in (Lee's Studio in New York, Kasala in Seattle to name two) it was running about $1,000.

digital. sand. timer.

I came across this Digital Sand Timer the other day, which has a cool factor of 8 out of 10. The traditional part of the timer shows a numeric countdown in minutes and seconds, while the hourglass side shows digital grains of sand slowly falling from top to bottom. The neat part is that you can turn the timer upside down and it will reverse the countdown. The numbers reorient too.

The downside is that it's a bit more complex to use than an ordinary timer, and not very intuitive. On the other hand, it also works as an alarm clock or a stop watch, and it lights up. Cost: $9.99-$19.99.

hot. tip.
Doing a quick Google search, I found it at for just $9.99.

cb2. online.

The CB2 site is now online. CB2 is a "new destination" from Crate and Barrel. So far there is only one physical store, in Chicago, but they promise more to come. The Web site is worth a mouse around, if you have a spare couple of moments to kill.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

the. swopper.

I've run across the Swopper chair in furniture stores and places like Relax the Back that sell ergonomic stuff. I have to admit, it's piqued my interest, but not because of the grandiose claims behind it. I just think it looks fun.

sit. in. motion.
Swopper USA claims the chair allows you to "sit in motion," which supposedly gives you all kinds of benefits over normal chairs. Swopper dealer has a list of the benefits, ranging from the dubious "have a fun and energized work experience" to the more serious sounding "stabilizing your spine." I'm not sure if there is anything scientific behind the claims, though, and there is a definite snake oil feeling to some of the sites that sell Swopper. (Swopper USA even has a partner program, where you can earn money by selling the Swopper to your friends.)

does. it. work?
I've only been able to try out the Swopper for 5 or 10 minutes at a stretch, so I haven't come up with any conclusive results. As you might suppose from looking at it, the Swopper bounces up and down and also sways from side to side. It's a precarious perch to start out with, but after a few moments your body gets the hang of it. I can't say if it felt "healthier" to me than a more typical office chair, but it was certainly different.

the. bottom. line.
I might try it if someone gave me one, but at a starting price of $499 I'm not rushing to order a Swopper for my home office.

float. bed.

Max Longin of Germany sent me a link to his intriguing "float" bed. I haven't seen it in person, but you can get the general idea behind this piece from the picture and Web site. Max says the site will be translated into English by the end of June.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

big. brother. lamp.

You don't just switch on the Big Brother Lamp, you ignite it by turning a key (supplied). Of course that's not the only interesting design element of this thing. Just look at it. Someone clearly watched War of the Worlds before they sat down to build this. If you like your lamps with less sci-fi to them, the blue version is not quite as alien looking as the green. It's about two feet tall and weighs a gazillion pounds, so you don't have to worry about the ungainly (but beautiful!) head tipping it over. Cost: $200-$250.

big. brother's. sister.
The Big Brother lamp has a sister called the Area 51 (pictured top right). You don't need a key to get this one going. To turn it on, just tilt it. Cost: $350.

where. to. find. it.
I first saw this lamp in Kasala in Seattle. I think Jensen-Lewis in New York also carries it. (Duncan writes in to say: I think that these are available in the Greater Boston area at the DeCordova Museum store in Lincoln, Mass.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

propello. fan.

It's summer, and summers tend to be hot. Heat tends to be diminished by breezes, hence the invention of the fan. But fans look unsightly and make noise, hence the invention of Propello.

black. and. blum.
Propello comes from black+blum, my new favorite designers. First, they made the fan look (sorry about this one) cool (told you) with a neat feat of design. Then they made it work to cool you by eliminating the blade guard, which is generally what causes a lot of fan noise. So it's quite quiet. Of course fan guards are there to make sure you don't lose your fingers or other bits, but black+blum solved that by making the Propello blades out of rubber.

cool. case.
The tin case Propello comes in has a nice touch of retro coolness to it.

where. to. find. it.
Propello seems to be more easily found in Britain than in the U.S., but I see that Design Within Reach carries it for $130.

amsterdam. in. new. york.

Technically the Amsterdam sofa is a "sectional" but that's a pretty ugly word for this intriguing slab of furniture. It seems designed as a conversation piece, both in the way people will converse about how interesting it looks and in the way they'll be able to easily converse with one another while sitting on it.

compromising. positions.
When it's closed, the Amsterdam has room for three, maybe four, friendly people. Friendly as in you'll probably be bumping into each other a lot, since the main seating area is more like a small bed than a couch. Open it can seat six or seven, although only four of them will get a bit of back rest. Both have their pluses and minuses. Closed: more compact and easy to romp on, but hard to use like a traditional couch because of its giant seating area. Open: plenty of places to put people, but now the depth of the seats is a bit more shallow than most people will find comfortable.

picture. this.
These colors are not to my taste, so when I picture this in my mind I try to clothe it in some more becoming cloth. You can go with a single tone fabric or leather throughout, which will tone down the funk factor a bit. Photo taken with a Nokia 3650 phone at Design & Comfort in New York.

the. cost.
Starts at $4,999.

hot. tip.
The Amsterdam screams "home theater!!" to me. Closed, it's the perfect place to snuggle up with your sweetheart while watching Casablanca. Open, it's got enough room for all your friends to come over and watch the new blockbuster.

Monday, June 14, 2004

scooter. power.

I can't decide if the Scooter collection from Sitcom Furniture is more fun than funky, or vice versa. Each piece has two distinguishing features: it has to lean on something instead of standing free, and it has wheels. Sounds dangerous, right? It's really not -- the wheels are mounted parallel to the leaning surface (i.e. wall) and made of rubber, so they grip and steady quite well. But it looks cool.

scooter. style.
The CD Ladder, Magazine Ladder and Mirror all use the same basic ladder-style frame and lean against a wall, with the rungs used to hold CDS, magazines, or what have you. They're made of brushed steel and will fit in well with a modern decor, or any place where a bit of whimsy won't hurt. The lamp differs slightly with a brushed chrome finish and only one wheel.

good. cheap.
The Scooter stuff is solidly made and relatively cheap, with most of the pieces in the $100-$150 range.

lofty. look.
The "ladder look" elevates any room in my eye. If there's a ladder, my mind tells me there must be something "up" to get to, so even if the room is small, it suddenly feels bigger. Or at least taller.

hot. tip.
Straight from the Crate seems to have especially good prices on the Scooter line.

cool. hunting.

If you like Funfurde chances are you'll also like Josh Rubin's blog Cool Hunting. The site's subhead sums it up succinctly: Stuff From The Intersection Of Design, Culture and Technology.

more. design. blogs?
If you know of any other interesting design blogs, let me know and I'll check them out.

(Thanks Gizmo for reminding me how cool Cool Hunting is.)

Sunday, June 13, 2004

sydney. sofa.

The idea behind this sofa is to give every person sitting on it a little place they can call their own. That's accomplished by the scalloped back, which partitions the sofa into three seating areas. Does it work? I tried it out in Urbana's showroom in Orange, Calif., and can report that, yes, it does. So well in fact that my friends--who it should be noted weren't even there to buy furniture--ordered the sofa and the matching chair on the spot. They have the sofa at home now and say it's as comfortable as it is stylish. (Upon seeing the couch through the window, one neighbor was heard to remark, "Oooh, fancy!")

the. name.
The sofa is named after the Sydney Opera House, which also has curvy lines to it.

hot. tip.
Urbana now sells furniture out of its showroom (but only to people who live in Southern California) If you're nearby it's worth the trip because you can see a lot of unique furniture all in one place, and you can get some pretty good discounts.

I decided to order one of the Charles Slutter "Lean Lamps" and found it for a good price at While there I checked out the rest of the site and found they had a pretty amazing selection, plus good prices. The home page is a bit messy, but once inside it's easy to surf their collection. Recommended.

thanks. luke.
I had a question for them and a fellow named Luke e-mailed me back promptly with an answer. Thanks Luke.

what's. a. lean. lamp?
I'll blog it after it arrives and I have a chance to check it out.

weekend. web. updates.

The way Funfurë: works is that there will be at least one post every day about funky furniture and/or design, and then a post on the weekends to update the resource links on the right-hand side. This weekend I'm adding links for Joey Manic, The Well Dressed Home, Goodman/Charlton, Soho Spices, Agape, Inform, spOre [Products], and Design & Comfort. I'll also be intermittently posting some reviews of stores and Web sites. Feel free to send in links to furniture, design, Web sites, stores or anything else that seems appropriate.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

free. gmail. invitations.

I have some extra invitations to join gmail that I'd like to give away as a "Thank You" to Funfurdë readers. If you're interested, leave a comment to this blog entry. (While you're at it, you can let me know what you think of Funfurdë, but that's not mandatory.) If there end up being more people asking for invitations than the number of invitations I have to give, I'll randomly select from among those asking.

Friday, June 11, 2004

electra. chair.

I've got mixed feelings about this chair. On the one hand it's got a high funk factor, but on the other it might be just a bit too Jetsons for me. It's made by Goodman Charlton Inc., and it's actually quite comfortable as funky chairs go. It's nicely padded but doesn't feel like you're sitting on puff, and it's roomy enough that you can curl up with your knees under you and not feel cramped.

it's. got. legs.
The legs on this chair sum up my feelings about the whole rig. I love them. Made of aluminum and styled almost like stilettos. But I don't have a lot of aluminum stilettos, so I don't love them in my house.

where? how. much?
The only place I've seen this chair is in Design & Comfort in New York, and on the Goodman Charlton Web site. It runs a bit over $2,000.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

soho. spice. rack.

When it comes to spice racks, the typical offerings at Bed, Bath & Beyond or Crate & Barrel just don't do it for me. But the Soho Spice Rack does. It meets my two big criteria for a spice rack: 1) it's got to look good. 2) it's got to work. By "work" I mean, I have to be able to see all the spices at a glance, they have to be in easy reach, but they can't be in the way.

two. equals. four.
If you break it down that was actually four criteria, not two (notice No. 2 actually had three parts?). However you count them, the Soho Spice rack meets them all. Looks wise, it's got nice big round windows to show off my colorful spices, and stainless steel will never go out of style in a kitchen if used with restraint. Those big round windows also let me see all my spices in one shot. And the canisters are magnetic and attach to a flat sheet of stainless steel (included, as are the screws), so they are easy to mount in a convenient location. Because the canisters are wide and flat, they have a low profile, so they more or less hang on the wall out of the way until you need them. Hang on the wall like art, I should add.

spicy. but. pricey.
The good looks and cool design will cost you, though. The 20 canister mega rack goes for around $200. The lowest I've seen the 5 canister rack is $29.

not. gripping.
There is one problem I've run into. About four (out of 36) of my canisters have detached from their magnetic base and fallen down. However, there was no damage done and a little glue fixed them up straightaway. Turns out they are quite sturdy.

the. picture.
It's a product shot, not something I took.

the. well. dressed. home.

I found The Well Dressed Home while scouring the Web for the lowest price on the Soho Spice Rack. The site is simple but professional looking, and despite the cheap pricing it didn't strike me as the kind of place that would just take my money and run. Since I was ordering three of the $88 priced racks, I e-mailed and asked if there was a discount for "bulk" orders. A fellow named Jim wrote back immediately with a code giving me a 10% discount.

the. collection.
WDH has a modest collection, mostly of items I've seen on similar sites. It's all accessories, no furniture. On the other hand the pricing is good, the site is easy to get around, and Jim was a pleasure to deal with.

hot. tips.
The WDH's specials page seems to actually have decently priced special items, unlike many sites I've been to.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

joey. manic. virtual. office

The Virtual Office by Joey Manic is my ultimate dream desk. It seems to have been made with only two things in mind: style and organization.

Let's take organization first. In the Virtual Office there's enough room for a little of everything, but absolutely no purchase for unwanted clutter. You can keep a few papers in plain view with the "file cabinet," store a pen or two in the "drawers," and even keep your cell phone close at hand. But that's all you get. This desk is tough love if you're like me and your office is arranged in either heaps, piles or heaps of piles. But oh what love it is.

And then there's style. Let me point out that this beauty comes equipped with a rearview mirror so you can tell if someone's coming up behind you (or check your appearance before they get there), and a flower vase to brighten your day. And what about these "drawers" I mentioned earlier? The two glass holders on the bottom. Family photos? The clips on the top left and top right. File cabinet? A rack that will hold a few papers, which is all you should be working on anyway. It's also got a swivel base for your laptop and a round tray for mousing. You can tell this is an older design, though, because the rack on the right side is meant for CDs. We'd rather have an iPod holder.

how. to. get. one.
The bad news is that the virtual office is a victim of its own success. It proved so popular that Joey Manic had to outsource its construction. But it's so complex that it costs too much for someone else to make it. So it's been discontinued. I hear that there may be a few kicking around that were shipped to retail stores but that may not have been sold yet.

success. story.
This site shows pictures of someone who not only successfully procured a Virtual Office, they also mated it with an iMac.

blatant. plea.
If you have a Virtual Office you want to sell or know where to get one, let me know.

consolation. prize.
You can still find the Virtual Diner in some retail stores. It's the TV tray equivalent of the Virtual Office. It even comes with little salt and pepper shakers.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

flexible. pvc.sink.

This sink from Agape in Italy is made from a sheet of flexible PVC and seems to float in air. I first saw it at a store called Inform in Vancouver, B.C., then again in Inform's Seattle showroom. Both times it caught my eye straight away. When I reached out to touch it, I was delighted to discover it had a pleasant, flexible feel, not unlike a piece of licorice (or a gummy bear!). That means it's both unique and sturdy, although tasting is not allowed so I can't comment on that aspect. I bet kids would love this as much as I do.

the. picture.
The photo I took in person doesn't do the sink justice, but this one from the Agape site does.

the. cost.
Inform tells me that they sell the small version for $700 and the larger version for $800. The siphon (i.e. drain) and faucet are extra.

inform. informs.
When she found out I lived on the East Coast, the friendly woman in the Seattle Inform store told me I could also find this sink in the Moss store in New York City.

spOre. bell.

Your spOre bell is ringing. No, you're not infected with mold, but you do have great taste. The spOre Bell from spOre [products] is a doorbell that's so cool, the first time I saw a wall of them on display I thought they (it?) were interactive art. Which, in a way, I guess they are. They look intriguing, and if you touch them, they react in interesting ways. Plus, they light up. And they squish. Ick! Cool!

what. are. they?
According to spOre, spOre bells are made with "a soft to the touch polymer resin button and anodized aluminum." Lighting comes from an LED.

the. cost.
A spOre bell will set you back $29 - $89.

what. else?
spOre also carries door numbers in both plane and hole formats, plus something called "Hole Numbers With Doorbell", a light switch, and a doorbell ringer. Oddly, the ringer is old school in design. Some of the products are listed on spOre's Web site but don't include photos.

Monday, June 07, 2004

round. float. table.

I found this ingenious Round Float Table at a store called Area 51 in Seattle, Wash. I say ingenious because the leaves of the table (the wooden parts on either side of the center glass) actually fold in on themselves and tuck away under the table, making this ideal for small homes. The frosted glass lends this piece more warmth than many other glass tables we've seen, and the dark wood means it will fit in with different styles. The table is 51 inches in diameter when fully opened.

a. bargain.
At $395 I consider this table a bargain.

not. recommended.
The chairs in this picture are optional accoutrements, and I recommend passing on them. They're inexpensive, and that's nice. What's not so nice is that they look inexpensive. Which is to say, cheap.

the. picture.
Taken at Area 51 in Seattle, Wash.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

dragon. faucet.

I found this faucet in one of those trendy New York stores that sells items salvaged from old buildings. The height looks like it would be a perfect fit with a modern vessel sink. The style manages to be both funky and classic at the same time. Although it looks like it came from a well appointed home, I'd put this in a simple setting. When you have a piece this singular, let it fly solo.

the. cost.
The faucet and handles are listed at $800.

maly. bed.

This is the famous Ligne Roset "Maly Bed" that you see in virtually every designer magazine. I decided to check it out and see how cool it was in person. The answer is that it's pretty damn cool, but it has a few drawbacks.

the. cool. parts.
There is no fixed headboard on this bed. Instead there are movable back cushions that you can rearrange as needed. It also comes with optional pivoting tables. And the design, as you can see, is to die for. Simple. Elegant. Stylish.

the. drawbacks.
The biggest drawback I saw is that the pivoting tables are not movable like the back cushions, and they're also not removable. If you're like me and you get up frequently and toss and turn a lot, that makes them very awkward obstructions most of the time, which rules out this bed. Too bad, too, because otherwise I like it a lot. The $5,000 price tag also seems a bit much for what you get.

the. picture.
This picture was taking at the Ligne Roset store in New York, N.Y.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

sleek. chic. chaise.

The Monte Carlo chaise from Urbana is "inspired by the design of classic American automobiles." It shows, doesn't it? But this chaise isn't just sleek, it's also comfortable and well made. Granted it won't fit in with everyone's decor, but if it fits in with yours, be sure to check it out.

hot. tip.
Urbana also makes a matching sofa.

the. picture.
This was taken at SOMA Sofa in San Francisco, Calif.


This mirror adds a bit of funk to any room but can still blend in with more traditional furniture thanks to its gorgeous mahogany finish. You'll need a lot of room for this one, though, since it's 81 inches tall. You'll also need a lot of cash; it costs a bit over $1,000.

this. picture
We took this at Design & Comfort in New York, N.Y.

space. invaders.

Want a rug that's modern and retro? This Space Invaders piece should do it.

Playing with this rug will cost you $3,000.

interesting. fact.
This rug is made by Dune in New York. The owner told me that they called Taito (creator of Space Invaders) to ask permission to manufacturer it, and were given the go ahead with no need for a licensing fee or royalty payment.

the. picture.
This was taken at Dune in New York, N.Y.

naomi. bed.

The Naomi bed by Axi is a whimsical piece that's also comfy and cozy looking. Seen here it only has a boxspring, not a mattress, so adjust your perception accordingly.

hot. tip.
Axi also makes a dresser, a chest, a nightstand and an armoire in the Namoi line.

modern. vanity.

This vanity is a bit too modern for my tastes, but it's got some interesting things going on. I like the fact that the sink and counter are made from a single piece of see-through glass, and overall the lines are nicely atypical. Notice how the shelf above the sink is only about half as wide as the top piece with the inset lights? I'm not crazy about the cabinets being offset on an angle from the countertop, though (on the left side). But it does allow you to place things beneath the glass. The shelf also has an integrated cup/toothbrush holder. Unfortunately the cabinet doors look like they are made of white, shiny plastic, which makes the whole ensemble feel sterile, instead of inviting.

picture. quality.
Sorry about the poor picture quality. As usual, this is taken with a Nokia 3650 camera phone, which is finicky when it comes to lighting.

Friday, June 04, 2004

steel. martinis.

Martini set at Basics. A steal at $19.95.

hot. tip.
Bed, Bath & Beyond also carries these.

basics. furniture.

I popped into Basics Furniture today, which I stumbled across by accident. The store has definitely earned a place in my heart. On the retro/modern/funky meter I'd give it a solid modern with a bit of funk thrown in. But it's not modern in that annoyingly SOHO self-aware way like so many NY stores (especially ones not actually in SOHO). Not sure why they call it Basics, as it carries anything but. Unfortunately, from the outside you could easily mistake it for one of those stores that sells cheap starter furniture. That would be a shame. Sample the Web site. If you like what you see, you'll like the store.

eye. catching.
A martini set with a shaker and two martini "glasses" made out of stainless steel caught my eye. Seemed like a good deal for $19.95.

A clock vaguely reminiscent of porthole was pretty cool, but not for $49. Magnetic metal canisters with clear plastic lids for storing office supplies (easy to stick on shelves, or on the supplied metal rack). Just $19.95. Sadly, they were out of stock. That's okay, I have to go back to get the martini set anyway.

the. staff.
Friendly without being annoying.

shopping. tip.
Make sure to visit the lower level, where you'll find discounted stuff. The stairs down don't look inviting, but don't let that stop you.