Friday, August 30, 2013

Great Design - a triple giveaway

I felt it would be wonderful to start the new season with a great giveaway! I had the chance to review the Smithsonian's GREAT DESIGN book, written by Philip Wilkinson and published by the British DK publishing house.
Wilkinson takes the reader through an awe inspiring and thoroughly collection of the world's best design. 


I am quoting from the front flap since I could not sum it up any better:

"The book is an extraordinary photographic tour of more then 100 of the world's greatest designs. From the Red Blue chair to the Ekco Bakelite radio, the Vespa scooter to the Verdana typeface, the book tells the story of this modern art form from its birth during the industrial revolution to its high - profile status today. It explains the unique blend of aesthetics and engineering involved in the designing of a product that is both completely fit for purpose and unrivaled in appearance.

GREAT DESIGN takes you on a personal guided tour of each artifact, highlighting the main features and elements. By deciphering key points of style, it helps you to understand what design is and how it works."

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I had felt  almost a little wary of yet another design book, but to my great surprise I was captivated and pulled into it immediately. This book collects and displays a wide range of designs, from patterns to pitchers and cars to clocks, all in the most pleasing and easy to understand way.
A book, as well designed as its context. 

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GREAT DESIGN captures not only the world's most notable design of today, but gives a wonderful introduction to the development of design over the last 140 years.
One of the early designers is one we still remember well today: Michael Thonet. The German cabinet maker became famous for his revolutionary bentwood chair, still produced today. The simplicity and beauty of form and function captures all what great design entails. 

Some other examples are less known today, but well worth remembering. 

Other design objects were new to me, like the Kilta tableware by Kaj Franck (1952) or Konstantin Grcic's Miura stackable stool (2003) for the Italian design firm Plank.

But most of the objects were old acquaintances of mine, some of which I can find in my own household.... 
And of course, as always with beautiful objects, I get inspired....

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The book is categorized by decades rather then similar items or grouped by materials. This is a great feature since the time period brings many different design objects together and the reader gets a feeling for the trends in design in general and in particular. Design in all periods had far reaching impacts. Clearly, there are many more examples of great design and the author had to restrict himself, I missed a few things, like Ingo Maurer's light fixtures or any of the Mercedes automobiles or some Liberty of London fabrics.... but this is just me. I am fully aware of the difficulties to pull out just the most important objects in design over such a long period. And, like all books,  dedicated to time sensitive materials, it will need a new edition in the future....
The book is equally perfect for the design novice or the connoisseur, students of design and homeowners with a distinguished taste, in short, it's a great treat for all interested
in great design. 

The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 and is today the world's largest museum and research complex.
It includes 19 museums and galleries as well as the National Zoological Park.
The total number of artifacts, works of art, and specimens in the Smithsonian's collections is estimated at 137 million, much of which is contained in the National Museum of Natural History, which holds more then 126 million specimens and objects. The Smithsonian is a renowned research center, dedicated to public education, national service and scholarship in the arts, sciences and

The Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt, national Design Museum is the only museum in the nation, devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Many of the objects in this book can be found in the museum's collection.
And befitting a museum dedicated to great design, it is housed in the landmark Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Only a few steps away from the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan, it is a delightful place to visit.

The book will be available in September 2013.

This giveaway is open to all residents in the United States.
Three books will be given at random to lucky readers.
If you are not already a follower, please follow this blog, leave a comment and make sure I can contact you back.

The winners will be announced in two weeks time. (09/14/2013)
The winners will get the book directly shipped from the US marketing firm responsible for the distribution of GREAT DESIGN.

Good luck, dear readers!



All images through EMG promotions.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Forgotten pages?

Life has its twists and turns.
Mine has been packed with summer visitors, construction, day travels, writing, gardening, reading, cooking, cleaning. Doing things, you know.

The usual. I felt I would just bore you with my reflections on daily details.
There seemed too little to share other then things I have been talking about already.
And I have to admit it, I had gotten a little bored.

I took a good long break, with the risk of losing you. I know how much the blog world relies on the daily feed and responses. But the pressure was simply too much for me.

These pages have not been forgotten, but I needed the time to focus on other things.
Once school starts, I will return more often and hopefully some of you might join me again.

I have learned much over the years I have been writing. About writing itself, about design, human nature and our need to be heard. I have learned of friendships, grown and nourished through unusual pathways, some entirely virtual. What a wonderful thing.

I have learned that my thoughts can mean something to strangers, people I have not met and I might never see in my life.

It's forever a wondrous thing to write and send my words and pictures into the universe out there, where they might bounce around and find resonance. It never seizes to amaze me.
So, if you like, join me again in a little while, when the last summer days fold into autumn.

Maybe you remember, at the beginning of the year I thought of reducing and clearing out of stuff.

I have managed quite a bit, but there is still a lot more to be done. My goal is to reduce it all further. Clutter is my enemy, I love too many things, but I feel burdened down. Yet, reducing is hard.

I will share my thoughts on this and on the things which feed me. Books, ideas, new concepts of living and food, literally. As some of you might know, over more then a year now I have changed my lifestyle and studied nutrition intensively. Much has changed for me and many things I thought I could not live without have made themselves obsolete.
This new freedom has translated itself into other newly won insights: Things I can live without. Perhaps a strange concept for a design blog, but it rather makes sense to me.

I will take you with me, as I further try to clear out and bring fresh air into my closets, cupboards, bedrooms and kitchen. Will you come with me?

It interests me more and more how we live, not so much with what and how much we have. Less is certainly more in my mind and it counts what it all means. 

There will always be things in abundance: My curiosity, my hunger for knowledge, a little bit more wisdom, more peacefulness, more love, more reading, more history, more gratefulness.
More travel...if possible.
Less nonsense.
Less stress.
Less fear.
Less stuff.
Less talk, more listening.

See you soon!

All images by V.Zlotwoski

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