And now for the Piece de Resistance - the Watermark cabinet! This entire cabinet, made from our Mixi components, is finished to simulate an antique Turkish marbled paper from the inside of an old book binding. The drawer pulls are also custom made and finished to match the base. We hope you agree that the result is truly special!
Here is a nice example of the type of piece that can made using our new Mixi components.
It also features several of the accessories we will be offering. Starting on the left, we have a wine rack insert, made to fit into our standard boxes. No tools required! Next we have our audio speakers. After a number of iterations, we have a design that not only looks good by perfectly fitting our boxes, but that sounds great, too. Finally, we have seat cushions that fit perfectly both in and on our cabinets, so you can use it as a bench as well.
Walk in the door, have a seat, kick off your shoes, crank up your favorite tunes, and have a glass of wine. Life is good!
When we unveil our new furniture line, you will be able to see it, touch it, hopefully not smell it, taste it only if you want to lick it, but also HEAR it!
The idea of integrating audio into furniture is not a new one, but frankly we haven't seen it done in a while. You could call us crazy for trying, and that may be accurate, but we're doing it anyway. We're getting help from our friend Iain and also from the very nice folks at Speakerworks, testing a number of different drivers, ports, crossovers and cabinet configurations. There is some engineering involved, but good sound also seems to depend on trial, error, voodoo, planetary alignment, doing the correct dance facing in the correct direction, and just plain luck. However, I am happy to say we are getting close.
We are about to launch a new furniture line at the Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles June 20-22nd. This is by far the biggest and most ambitious thing we've done and it's going to mean a HUGE increase in the variety of pieces we offer.
The pieces we will be showing are all in production now, and we are excited to finally see our ideas become reality. It's been a long journey. Right now, it's just a pile of cut panels, but they are very precisely cut. The wood that's going into the pieces we'll be showing weighs over 1,400 lbs! We'll have a lot of updates coming soon, so stay tuned...
We just learned about Pritzger Prize-winner Hans Hollein's passing here.
I worked for him many years ago, during a summer when Vienna was home for me. It was a grungy office, but everyone there was super smart, with all the requisite design talent, and we were all multilingual as well. (We had five different words for "shit" in the room I worked in.) I worked on the Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art, as well as Hollein's competition entry for the Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles, which of course was won by Frank Gehry.
While I'm certainly not in love with everything Herr Professor (as he was referred to) Hollein did, his comment that "Everything is Architecture" has stuck with me. Stacy and I have never just designed one thing. Whether it's a garden, or a building, or a drawer pull, or a cabinet, or an urn for a loved one's remains, or a stereo speaker, or a table, or a restaurant, or a serving tray, or your office, or your home, it's all architecture on some level. We can put the same amount of rigor into designing any of them. Each piece is part of the fabric of our environment, and each contributes to it in some way, so each piece deserves our consideration. We like that attitude. Sometimes it fits between your fingers and sometimes it's all around you, with awe-inspiring scale. But it's all architecture.
Happy Earth Day everyone! OK, OK, maybe you have a slightly nagging feeling about this. It’s one of those events that feels like a reminder, like maybe you’re not eating enough healthy food or exercising enough. “Am I really doing all I can to help the planet?” Probably not, right?
We could all probably consume less, drive less, remember to turn out the lights more often, use less water, pick less toxic products from less far away, and the list goes on and on. And then we feel a little guilty about it. And we think about how insurmountably huge the Earth’s problems are. And then we think about how ineffective we are, and it’s all hopeless. Earth Day, how depressing, I don’t want to think about it! And yet…
And yet… every little bit really does help. Look at your good side: Maybe you already recycle, maybe you eat organic, maybe you traded your SUV for a Prius, maybe you do take shorter showers. It’s all good! And it’s all cumulative. Enough of us taking these baby steps results in real movement. You probably already have more insulation, better fuel economy and a smaller carbon footprint than your parents did.
Where we live, Styrofoam food containers are already banned, if we don’t bring our own grocery bags to the store we have to pay for them, and our building codes are about to change again, requiring ever more energy efficiency. While this may all seem inconvenient, it’s also progress. At Fringe Studio we deal with a couple of larger-scale issues: Did you know that our buildings contribute far more to climate change than our cars? Every project we do improves energy efficiency somewhere. We wish we all could be less wasteful about furniture, too. Most of it has been shipped around the world, contains chemicals we don’t want to think about, and will be thrown out after a few years, where it will contribute to landfill volume for many years.
As members of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, we are committed to doing things more conscientiously. The fiberboard is formaldehyde-free, the finishes are low-VOC water-based, the sourcing is local. The wood slabs you see on our site? All salvaged. We can even tell you where some of the trees fell down. Some of it was retrieved from burn piles! Imagine: you could buy something made from someone else’s trash, that you would keep for a long time, and that is really beautiful. That would feel good, wouldn’t it?
Want to feel even better? Just click on the images below, and you will become a highly educated consumer, just like that.
Now pat yourself on the back! We can make a difference. Happy Earth Day!
"Furniture contains numerous traces of what we are and who we are and who we think we are."
An interesting article from the BBC of all places: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26881731
We think very hard about the design of pieces, but they become truly interesting when they become imbued with history, meaning and their place in our lives. An example: after more than 10 years our Jean Prouve dining table has scratches, dings, and sun damage. It has seen our kids' childhoods through. Anyone who knows us has sat at it. It has hosted countless meals, countless games, countless hours of work, countless spills, toys, candle wax, and whatever else has been the focus of our attention. It has always been a beautiful piece of design, and it has held up remarkably well. With the wear that it has, though, it is now not just any Prouve table. It is our Prouve table.
As the BBC article says, our table contains those traces of what we are and who we are. We, and our table, live full lives and we have the scars to prove it. Our goal with the pieces we design and create is to be similarly powerful. Brand new, they make a statement about how you care about design, how you love things that are different, and how you love materials combining and complimenting each other. As the pieces age, they have the capacity to take a few dings and gain some soul as they share their history with yours. Bring it on!
I just came across this picture and it makes me smile. It was taken a few years ago, on a day when our son Graham was crammed in the back of the truck with a whole bunch of furniture that we had out on loan from our friend Michael de Angelis. We had shown it all to a client of ours, but the pieces in the photo did not make the cut and were being returned.
For whatever reason, Graham took an intense liking to this one particular table. He clutched it tightly and was crying because he did not want to see it go away. I have never seen him feel so strongly about a piece of furniture before or since. Something about it resonated with him, and he wanted to keep it badly.
How about you? Do you own a piece that you would never part with? What is it? Why do you feel that way about it? Don’t be shy. We would love to hear from you!
Most of the images on our site have been pretty monochromatic so far, but that's about to change! Not that there is anything wrong with black, white & wood, but Spring is here and our flowers are showing us how nice purple and green and pink can be. Stacy has been working on some new pieces that are going to be super cool. We have a new line coming out this summer that will be available in almost any color or pattern you can dream of. Please tell us (publicly or privately) which colors you would like to see us offer. Let's brighten our worlds!
Happy St. Paddy's Day everybody! We wish the luck of the Irish to you all and hope you get to enjoy as much of your favorite beverages as you want!
Stacy made this four-leaf "clover" chest of drawers design just for today. (This is a sneak peak of something we haven't talked about yet...More on this new line of ours soon!)
Today is also a good day to plug our friends at the Sustainable Furnishings Council. These people, and several other member firms we have spoken to, not only talk the talk, but they all walk the walk too. They are about being "green," without the "greenwashing." The SFC's logo sits at the bottom of our pages here, showing that for us, every day is a green day.