Ideas for Contemporary Living

Category: Elements

Moving Light

Posted on December 4th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Knowledge, The Moment. No Comments

I’ve recently designed several stained glass windows and skylights for windows. While color abounds, this is not a requirement, and there is absolutely no reason to veer from a modern point of view. To begin these projects, I referenced a few of my favorites projects and designers for inspiration. Here’s a look at a few of these.

A new point of view. Architects, designers and artists having been rethinking the possibilities, the idea of a stained glass window.

Shifting light. The effect of light tracking across a room can provide animation, and reveal the metaphysical passage of time.

Private spaces. Bathrooms are a natural location for stained glass window, which can obscure while providing transcendent light.

Stairwells. These are a natural location for stained glass windows and skylights, providing much need light, and a does of design into a transitory space. Color here is great, as you don’t need to live with it all day long.

Introspection. Translucent glass, arranged in a geometric pattern, can provide light and style in spades, while setting the stage for serious concentration or relaxation.

Creativity. Artist continue to employee stainless in their work, introducing contemporary ideas into an old art form.

 

David Bjørngaard, December 2018

Check out what I’m up to at Bjørn … Read More »


Heath & Artek

Posted on October 23rd, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, The Moment. No Comments

Two of my favorite companies have teamed up for a terrific collaboration:  Heath Ceramics and Artek. The collection includes Alvar Alto’s Tea Trolly 900, Stool 60 and other designs, all of which have been updated with Heath’s take on the West Coast sensibility: handcrafted pieces, wonderfully tactile, attuned to the color of the Sausalito hills.

These are available in limited additions, so hurry to Heath Ceramics to learn more about this great collaboration.

 

David Bjørngaard, October 2018

Check out what we are up at Bjørn Design.

 

All images from Heath Ceramics.


Parchin kari

Posted on August 21st, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Knowledge. No Comments

A charming Southeast Asian couple recently tasked me with designing a parchin kari kitchen backsplash for their Mediterranean-style home in Palo Alto.  Also known as pietra dura (in Italian), parchin kari is a stone inlay technique of using cut and fit, high-polished colorful stones. Parchin kari is not associated with restraint, so how does one integrate this technique into a clean, contemporary interior?

Simplify the materials. Our goal was to create a modern kitchen, open and bright, with an accent of design and color at the stove. By minimizing contrast in the surround materials, we allowed the parchin kari pop! without being overwhelming. The result of less is more.

Embrace color naturally. Typical stones used include marble, precious and semi-precious stone. We used a combination of turquoise, agate and lapis lazuli for the flowers; mother of pearl for stamen; malachite for the leaves; and branches in Jaisalmer stone.

Roll with it.The downside of long-distance design – 8,000+ miles! – is that sometimes things get lost in translation. While our design was meant to be the full width of the range, we were able to accommodate the somewhat narrower final design with seamless results.

History and future.Developed in 16thcentury Rome and Florence, and being widely used in Mughal India, … Read More »


Summertime

Posted on June 23rd, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Inhabit. No Comments

Summer is finally here. Time to relax, get outside and enjoy the fruits of our labour in comfortable style. For outdoor spaces, the right mix of furniture has  flexibility, personality, durability and style. Above all, an outdoor space requires fun, sculptural pieces to compliment the organic shapes of nature. To help kick off your summer, get inspired, or find that right piece to mix into your outdoor room, here are a few of my favorite outdoor furniture finds.

Mix light and airy with solid volumes. For this outdoor space in Palo Alto I designed with Monica Ream and Stephen Verner, I paired oversized Lolah Lounge chairs with a Paola Lenti Otto footstool and Orlando daybed, resting on a custom concrete platform. The white curved slats of the chair create an organic volume, and echo the wood of the trellis. The solid shapes of the day bed and ottomans don’t compete with the chairs, while offering a really relaxed, carefree and flexible space to enjoy the sun, shade and pool. Click here to see more of this project.

Every outdoor room needs a piece of sculpture. The view is inspired, so should be your furniture. Simple, refined shapes mix well with the outdoors, and hold their own … Read More »


Caning

Posted on December 13th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Inhabit, The Moment. 2 comments

This brilliant restaurant, Loulou Restaurant Paris, recently got me thinking more about the use of caning in interiors.  I love how the technique softens and adds texture to a clean modern space.  I also am intrigued by the veiling of our voyeuristic tendencies:  cane gently obscuring mirror. Clean interiors require a bit of texture, and modern interiors require a bit of history.

  

Lately I’ve searched out the variety of caned furniture. I like the touch of artistry and handicraft, plus the sense of exotic glamour.  Adding warmth, texture and color to modern interiors is the key to creating inviting, comfortable spaces to live. Here are a few of my favorite interiors and pieces of furniture.  I recommend you embrace the trend.

I’m not terribly acquisitive – could be an occupational hazard –  but I regret passing up a set of 6 Marcel Breuer chairs at a second-hand store in San Rafael years ago.  Bent tubular steel fashioned into a continuous frame, softened by the caned seat and back. Casual yet elegant, modern yet grounded in craft techniques, nearly a perfect chair…and now someone else’s chairs!  Probably in a breakfast room in Mill Valley, or a second home in Palm Springs.

Here are a few other … Read More »


Spring Design

Posted on April 13th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, The Moment. No Comments

I wasn’t fortunate enough to make plans to attend this years Milan Furniture Week, which just ended. I followed with envy as friends and showrooms posted pretty pictures on Instagram. I did however take the time to check out some of the newest designs unveiled recently at the San Francisco Design Center. Color, texture, precise detailing…here are a few of the trends which I observed.

Pops of Color. Fresh, vibrant yellow and green made a strong showing. Clearly the design world is taking its cue from fashion. It is refreshing to see a bright yellow chair on a grey day, but I prefer the lichen green for a cozy read.  Isn’t this what we need in the foggy Bay Area?

 

Richness of leather. Leather is being used in warm camel and wood tones, providing a visual rhythm and tactile warmth to any room.

Texture. Materiality and texture are having a strong presence, with chunky, tactile imperfection prized. Look for wicker, rattan, brushed wood, rope and hides to compliment your home.

Elegance and precision. There is still a strong showing for elegant, clearly crafted pieces, but often done in a restrained color palette. Look for details like metal legs, wide arms, simple proportions, and … Read More »


Beauty

Posted on February 28th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Here/There, The Moment. 1 Comment

I caught the Cooper Hewitt’s Design Triennial at the San Jose Museum of Art just before it closed.  Titled Beauty, the show explores contrasting themes in contemporary design, where the worlds of art, craft, technique and automation intersect or contrast. While offering a glimpse at the work of some of the hottest designers working today, the exhibition also offered an opportunity for me to ponder the age-old question…what is beauty?  Here are a few of the standouts from the show.

Max Lamb might be one of my favorite designers working today.  There is something visceral in his process, as Lamb explores and integrates the process of furniture making into the end pieces.  Lamb uses raw, often inexpensive and throw away materials, in combination with experimental techniques which result in a rough and tactile quality. This work resonates directly with me, perhaps because I believe that intellect and education only bring us so far in the designing of spaces…we need to ask how does a space feel.

To get a glimpse of Lamb’s process, check out this video of the fabrication of the Pewter stool, where Lamb pours molten pewter into a mold dug into the sand at the beach. He then excavated the hardened piece from … Read More »


Snapshot 26

Posted on January 17th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, The Moment. No Comments

If you attended the Fog Fair last week, you most likely noticed three works by the Dutch duo that makes up Studio Drift:  Shylight and In 20 Steps at Pace Gallery, and Fragile Future at Carpenter Workshop Galleries.  These two designers are working to create site-specific installations and interactive sculptures that deal with space and light, utilizing an understanding of geometries and movement in the natural environment paired with the latest in technology and craft. This is worth checking out.

I first noticed Skylight  in a video of the installation at the Rijksmuseum. Mimicking the metamorphosis of flowers from day to night, this is a dynamic interpretation of lighting, which are normally static in the form of stationary pendants or chandeliers.  I think this is perfect for a temporary installation or public space…a little bit goes a long way.

In 20 Steps expresses the movement and “ultimate freedom of flight” in brass and glass, LED and microchips. Simple elements become dynamic, and capture light as the sun sets.

  

 

My favorite, perhaps the most easily integrated into the above-average home, is Fragile Future. I love that dandelions were hand-picked, with their seeds individually glued to LED lights, becoming something both fragile and exquisite. Perhaps I just remember playing … Read More »


Fog Fair

Posted on January 12th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Here/There, The Moment. No Comments

I’ve spent the afternoon being inspired at the  Fog Art+Design show at Fort Mason Center, January 12-15. The fair brings some of the best contemporary furniture dealers and art galleries to San Francisco. There are many amazing objects and pieces of furniture which will make you stop in appreciation, especially if you appreciate  process and technique. New discoveries and works by old friends abound. Even if you’re not a collector, a show like this helps to train your eye, which will make it easier for you to sort through all the design choices you encounter. It also helps one learn how to stylishly display our own personal and prized treasures at home. I hope you’ll go explore. Here are a few of my favorite objects from the show.

Finally, check out this great ad…love my day job!

David Bjørngaard, January 2017