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Monday, October 28, 2013

SkateClocks by Deckstool: skateboard graphics for walls

Beaten up skateboards have a second  chance over at the Pennsylvania company Deckstool - they rescue broken and trashed skateboards and craft them into unique collections of sustainable furniture and useful designs for walls. Overtime lead designer Jason Podlaski realized they collected so many small pieces they could not use for their furniture designs and could not bring themselves to throw them away; He found a new life and beauty in the scraps and recycles them into cool useful designs for walls. The new launched site is called SkateClocks - a new creative outlet for smaller home product ideas inspired by skate graphics and graffiti. All products are recycled in the USA, precision cut and hand assembled by skater-artisans... so awesome!

Q & A with designer Jason Podlaski. Let's learn a bit more about the designer...

How did you get started designing with skateboards.

I was into skating and snowboarding growing up. I was never a great talent on a board, but I loved the culture, art, and lifestyle that went along with it. I graduated from Philadelphia University with a degree in Industrial Design and worked in the furniture industry after school. A series of unfortunate and fortuitous events, (including the designing of the original skateboard stool by my brother and I, and the burning down of the woodworking company I was working for at the time,) led me to start our skateboard recycling company Deckstool.

Take us behind the scenes of your creative process.

My first step in any project is to become very familiar with the material and the different methods that may be employed to create with it. This can be a slow process, but I think it opens up  horizons creatively and helps push new things in terms of design and manufacturing. The design process basically consists of conceptualize, sketch, build, refine. And then repeat as necessary. We run through this process until the products quality and deadlines dictate that we are finished (or finished enough, for now!) Product improvement is an ongoing process.

Prizes anyone? 

Jason is offering a cool giveaway! Remember, every skateboard is different and unique. So the graphics may be different than this one. How special is that?  (United States residents only can enter) 

The SkateHook has multiple uses especially with that double-headed hook:

SkateHook is a wicked cool way for kids to hang their gear, bags or whatetever.... It's made from a skateboard tail and  has a cutout skateboard truck shape that pops-out for a 3D effect.

It can also be used as a charging station for your cell phone or smaller tablet device.

These funky and fun SkateClocks are coming soon! 

You can connect with Deckstool on their 

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Architecture SWOON: Zaha Hadid's Heydar Aliyev cultural center

My FAVE building of the week is Zaha Hadid's Heydar Aliyev Cultural center in the city of Baku. It is magnificent and merits a visit to Baku...The building is a monument of light in the landscape with its endless continuous soaring curves. Designed to house an auditorium, a gallery hall and a museum, the project's role is to play an integral part in the intellectual life of the city and redevelopment of Baku. 

The building's shell is inspired by its natural topographic landscape it stands on.....

Each function inside the building is represented by rippling white paneled folds, which are separated by glass for natural light. 

Are you amazed as much as I am by the complexity in construction of 90 linear feet of steel to form these staggering curves....

The envelope is formed by a network of white composite panels that are integrated by geometries of complex triangles, trapezoids and parallelograms. 

There are long sinuous openings that allow natural light to filter into the building. The interior volumes are as dynamic. See some of the rendering from Zaha Hadid's site. 


Take a tour ...rendered by Zaha Hadid's team:

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sensory + Innovation: Dornbracht Sky shower system

How would you like to shower and engage all of your senses?

I haven't seen a shower system like this one yet...... that touches all of your senses by using color, various water types and fragrances...Sieger Design for Dornbracht has created the Sensory Sky shower system that elicits the feeling of showering in the open air and sky. It entails a wide and flat head with separate sprinklers, a "rain curtain" of water and settings that allows users to program and customize their own settings. 

They can choose from three options: 

Colored lights project onto droplets of rain.... and we all know that color has psychological properties that have an emotional affect on people....the spectrum of colors radiating thru rain will be majorly stimulating....

Another setting combines your senses of smell and sight....a nozzle sprays cold water to create a foggy mist while the smell of herbs and berries emanate around you...

The third setting elicits a sexy tropical storm by combining cold and warm water and a tropical fragrance.... oh my....Dornbracht's Sensory Sky is pushing the envelope...its not just a shower could be life changing. Coming out Spring 2014.

Watch the racy video by German art director Mile Meire for the Dornbracht brand:

(all images by Markus Jans and Dornbracht)

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Monday, October 14, 2013

MoD Must Haves: Hand-Crafted Luxury Lighting by Urban Electric Co.

MoD Must Haves
craft, tactile, novel
for lighting lovers

I love the idea that things are made in the United States and are made by highly skilled artisans who craft unbelievable things..... pure artisanal making ....can you hear the hammer, hammer of metal?;  A recognized contributor to American manufacturing is the Urban Electric Co., a creative company that prides itself on uncompromising craftsmanship, original design and impeccable service. With a collection of over 300 fixtures, this unique lighting/design/manufacturing company based in Charleston, South Carolina is not only passionate about what they do but strive for extraordinary quality. That is attainable because Urban Electric Co. has pure control over their own manufacturing. 

the 'L' fixture

Their own original designs can simply be described as imaginative, classic and unique.

Michael Amato; Cube

With a background in fashion design, visual merchandising and interiors, Creative Director Michael Amato leads the overall design direction and works closely with outside designers who introduce new collections. Mr. Amato's own collection is very original with simplistic, clean lines.  One of my faves is the Cosy fixture:

I love Cosy's pure geometry and how the light bulb is connected and suspended within its elegant volume. The yellow and blue colors are fab too. All of Urban Electric's fixtures are  constructed with the finest materials of metal and glass. You can customize each design with different type of metals (antique brass, black, white, hewn brass, painted, bronze, polished. Glass nickel) and glass (clear, colored glass, etched, german new antique, ice, seeded, translucent antique). The design possibilities are endless....Take a look of more of Amato's designs:

I'm loving the Urban Smokebell that comes in clear, antiqued or etched antiqued mirror...the proportions are perfect over a kitchen island..


The punch fixture comes as a sconce or a pendant. Love the texture and curve of the glass. What a fabulous fixture for a makeup area for the queen bee...


Are you lovin the Malplaquet pendant..ahhh! This past year NYC based designer Steven Gambrel has collaborated with the Urban Electric Co team to create custom fixtures inspired by the American vernacular. Mr. Gambrell's collection honestly brings attention to the joints and connections... I  relish the heftiness of his fixtures and the strong industrial nod to the utility for ships and factories. The Malplaquet is my favorite. The aluminum body can be powder coated in an endless array of colors. How fun! The fitting detail at the top is quite beautiful too!

I didn't realize at first but there is a lot going on in Gambrel's collection of fixtures. The intricate detailing over a large scale is quite complex and I would assume difficult to manufacture. The  Houghton and West Wycombe are stunners!. Bravo, Urban Electric Co for amazing craftsmanship!
To connect with Urban Electric Co.,

(all images courtesy of Urban Electric co.)

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

HGTV CASTING: Brother vs Brother 2nd series and Renovation Competition Series

Modsters, HGTV is looking for new reality stars and casting for two shows: the second season of Brother vs Brother, a competitive series featuring The Property Brothers and a brand new series called HGTV Renovation Competition Series. If I couldn't leave my life for a number of weeks, I would like to sign up!
Here's some info on each show: 
For Brother vs. Brother they are looking for: Passionate, charismatic individuals who have major hands-on skills, an eye for renovation and real estate know-how.
(Contractors, carpenters, interior designers, architects, real estate professionals, artists and those with design expertise).
For the New Renovation Competition Series they are looking for: Dynamic friends, couples or family members with big dreams and a love for renovation and design.
(Handy teams of two who think they have a superior eye for design. Although home renovation experience is a plus, it is not required).

For more information, visit HERE! Good luck!

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

MoD Must Haves: Fashionable STRUCTUREbags

Organic Canvas Line - Totes 

Two year ago, Brenda Guyader, an engineer-turned-bag designer, began designing eco-friendly, patriotic and stylish bags for women called  STRUCTUREbags.  I really love the collection's clean lines and eye-popping contrasting colors and fun, mod patterns.  The bags wonderful attention to detail is also not surprising coming from an engineer.  Their Organic Canvas Line are made from 100 percent organic cottons and hand-crafted at their founding location in West point, NY.  I love that these bags are made in the USA and that the company is devoted to giving back to military families...............and a lucky MoD Design Guru reader!
Did someone say prizes? 

Lets learn more about STRUCTUREbags shall we?  I was in touch with Brenda, the founder and designer at STRUCTUREbags and she takes us behind the scenes of her designs ....  

Organic Canvas Line - mini totes

What made you leave engineering and start your own bag business?

I truly love being a structural engineer. There is something so rewarding about knowing you've solved a problem for a client - either an architect or an owner - that will save them time, money or both, all while keeping the users safe.

But when my husband and I made the commitment to support his career as a football coach and we decided to start a family, engineering had to step to the side.  It is certainly not gone, but with the addition of a child to our family, income could not replace the feeling of watching and teaching our daughter as she grows.   

STRUCTUREbags gives me the chance to use all my training and professional experience in one place, while staying close to my family and creating a company that gives back to the things our family believes in.

Camo Line

What inspires your designs?

When I was a design student at Cal Poly I did a presentation on architect Louis Sullivan. His design philosophy of "form follows function" stayed with me.

As an engineer, my finished product was a structural drawing.  Together with talented CAD designers, we created beautiful works of art everyday!  I love the look of modern prints and contrasting fabrics.  The products I make are scaled to give proportions that are both functional and beautiful.

When I am living life with my daughter, I am always finding inspiration in the beauty that surrounds us: elegant structural connections, bright, linear architecture and unexpected touches in nature.  I am all about marrying the hard and soft, the fun and functional.

Organic Canvas Line - Sachets

What is your fave design?

Organic Canvas Line - Wristlets

I find a special use for each of my designs! But, my go-to bag is without a doubt the Element Pencil Wristlet.  I love its versatility and styling. I love how it holds just what I need when I want to scale down, but tucks in nicely when I am heading out for a longer trip.  I love its simple, yet dynamic design. I currently rotate between the Navy Tri with red and the Digital Camo. 

Are you lovin' these colorful bags as much as I do? 
Good luck on the GIVEAWAY, great gift for the upcoming holidays or just a little somethin' just for you!

You can connect with STRUCTUREDbags on their WEBSITE, FACEBOOK and TWITTER.