Ideas for Contemporary Living

Category: The Moment

2018 Showcase House

Posted on September 25th, by David Bjorngaard in Inhabit, Knowledge, The Moment. No Comments

Why can’t the dining room be the new family room, a place where the entire family can gather throughout the day? This is what I was saying as I drove back to the house, to take a second look at the dining room when it was in its ugly, no-character stage prior to our work.  How would I use the space, I opined? Coffee and news in the morning as I wake up; some breakfast at the cafe table to get me going; work on my laptop at the BDDW dining table, working but feeling like I’m in the park; read my book and enjoy the fog rolling in mid-afternoon; dinner with Sean or friends; a cocktail party in the evening. A room with this view needed to be used! Towards this end, I created a flexible space to accommodate lots of uses. Here’s a quick look at my approach.

Provide the tease.A bit of sparkle, reflected in the mirror just off the entry, catches your eye as you enter the house. (this also provides a great space to check your hair while heading out). A neutral color palette of sisal and plaster, with the absence of window treatments, focuses the attention.

Draw … Read More »


Fog Fair 2018

Posted on January 23rd, by David Bjorngaard in Here/There, The Moment. No Comments

We just had the Fog Design+Art Fair, which is one of my favorite events. Once again Bjørn Design was a Fog Forum member, which benefits the SFMOMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. Unfortunately this year I was down for the count: a poorly timed infection meant that I stayed home for much of the fair, missing all the fun parties and lectures. On the very last day, however, I did manage to drag myself out of bed to visit the fair.

Color, line, texture, and ingenuity were on display, and this was our chance here in SF to see some of the best art and design from galleries from all around the world. Here are a few of my favorite things.

 

If you know me, you’re aware of my commitment to the local art community.  So I was happy to see some of my favorite local galleries supporting local artists.

Haines Gallery impressed with a selection from John Chiara’s latest show. In particular, I love this camera obscure work, “Westline Drive at Mussel Rock, 2017”

Jessica Silverman Gallery included new sculptures by Woody De Othello and visceral paintings by Dashiell Manley.

Fraenkel Gallery did not disappoint, and in particular I loved this Diane Arbus piece “Clouds on-screen at a … Read More »


Showcase

Posted on January 6th, by David Bjorngaard in Here/There, Inhabit, The Moment. 2 comments

2017 was blur…great projects and clients, a growing business, and some amazing travel. One of the highlights was the debut of my powder room at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase House. A small, windowless room, the smallest room in the house.  Low ceilings, and no architectural details to salvage, this was not much more than a closet when I started.

The challenge was to make this enclosed space feel larger.  Inspiration came from a simple Roman fountain, with execution and detailing influence from trips to Rome and Milan. The result is a self-contained, immersive space that is quiet, reflective, and exquisite…in a way the anti-jewel box powder room. Like many of my projects, the design focused on the confident handling of materials, the detailing of which are revealed in the soft light animating the space.

Here are some of the techniques that I employed to expand the space:

Trick the senses. The rounding of all inside corners not only highlights the thickness of the materials, but also results in a lack of shadows. Our peripheral vision, lacking the vertical shadow lines that define space, is tricked into perceiving the space as bigger.  I like this about the work of James Turrell, using light-spaces … 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


Terrazzo

Posted on December 29th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Knowledge, The Moment. 2 comments

One of the materials which I have embraced this year is terrazzo. Part of the reason is that terrazzo reminds me of Italy, where it was invented in the 16th Century; terrazzo is widely used in Italy in homes, lobbies and restaurants. Part of my interests is due to terrazzo’s sustainability, being made from remnants of marble, quartz and glass. I also like the Art Deco and 1950’s vibe, as can be seen here San Francisco in many residential developments; just take a drive through the outer neighborhoods and look at the beautiful terrazzo entry stairs, still colorful and intact.

What is terrazzo? Terrazzo is a composite material originally made of cement and marble remnants from quarries. Today, resin is also used now as a binder, while quartz, glass and metal are being used in addition to marble. Terrazzo is either poured on-site, or can be purchased in tile or slab form for easier (and often less expensive) installation.

Why choose terrazzo? In addition to the charmed history and sustainability, terrazzo is extremely durable, and is available in nearly unlimited colors, in a range of materials. Terrazzo, which retains warmth, is also a great choice when using radiant heating.

Where can you use terrazzo? I’m … Read More »