Ideas for Contemporary Living

Tag: Color

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 »

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 »


Posted on October 15th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Inhabit, Knowledge. No Comments

Connecting and working with talented individuals is one of the highlights of my job.   Local crafts people and artists have a thoughtful perspective on design, and they help create objects that are both more meaningful and fully realized.  International designers often have a different cultural perspective, a different aesthetic framework, yet it is exciting to see that many of us are working on projects that emphasize the same core values: using traditional techniques, sustainable materials, and cutting edge designs. I recently meet Nani Marquina, a talented designer and founder of the eponymous firm which creates and explores ideas surrounding rugs. Here are a few of my takeaways from our meeting.

Rugs define a room, creating atmosphere and emotion.  Rugs provide the foundation of a room, while adding warmth, color and comfort. Bohemian. Tailored. Artistic. A rug suited to your personality and taste really can provide a transformative experience to your space, expressing your personality. A thoughtfully selected rug transforms an existing room, making your existing furniture look new.

Collaboration yields striking results. Through a range of collaboration with designers such as Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec  and Ron Arad, the company is pushing experimentation of textures, shapes and materials. Carpets are being pieced together, or woven … Read More »


Posted on May 12th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, The Moment. No Comments

This carpet collection by American designer and florist  Jeff Latham for  Tai Ping Carpets strikes notes that resonate with me: artistic, bold and modern. I want to reach out to touch and feel these textural carpets…they are very tactile. And the colors and designs are so sumptuous that they stand alone as art.

 Inspired by his medium, flowers, the carpets are a contemporary riot of color and pattern, rendered with a water colorists brush. The shading and the patterns are beautiful, with color seeping through and staining a graphic grid. It’s sort of like a slightly faded flower, where decay or “wilding” are allowed to seep in and humanize the grid. To me, this resonates with how I want to live today: guided by modernist principles, but allowing nature, chance and artistry to soften the edges. Even if we are not buying a rug for a living room or bedroom, we can be inspired by this new found freedom in design.


David Bjørngaard, May 2016

{Images from Taiping Edward Fields.}

Snapshot 22

Posted on October 13th, by David Bjorngaard in Here/There, The Moment. No Comments

An installation at the Victoria & Albert Museum plays with our perception of light and space, using colored acrylic panels and ceramic tile in a color gradient to create a visual passage of compression. Situated in-between the Renaissance galleries displaying drawings and glass, this installation plays gently with the historical concept of line drawing in the form of the cut out shapes, and the literalness of the stained glass windows on display nearby. I think this is very clever, with excellent execution.

The title of the show furthers the Renaissance reference: “The Mise-en-abyme”, which means “into the abyss”, is a representational technique in which a scene is depicted within the scene which is depicted within that scene. The installation was created by London designers Matteo Fogale and Laetitia de Allegri.  The show was installed to coincide with this year’s London Design Festival. Very cool.

David Bjørngaard, October 2015

New York

Posted on May 28th, by David Bjorngaard in Inhabit, Knowledge, The Moment. No Comments

Part of the appeal of this New York apartment is the expansive volume, rare in New York (and San Francisco). I also like that this was done on a budget, with a mix of smart design, inexpensive materials, pops of color and vintage Scandinavian antiques.

Color is a defining feature of this home. It is used sparingly to animate and define space. This is especially evident in the Mondrian-style bookcase done in some of Corbusier favorite colors. This serves as a focal point from dining to living room, drawing your eye through the space. Imagine how dull this space would be without this color!

The first thing the architect did was remove the drywall to expose the black steel beams. Removing drywall from the ceiling, and painting this white, maximizes the 13′ ceiling and creates a sense that they are drifting away. A new plain sawn-oak floor provides nice contrast with the black, and creates even more volume. I’m a fan of flooring with grain and pattern in loft spaces…more casual, more authentic.

Probably my favorite part of the apartment is the entry. A smart addition provides a space to take off shoes, hang your keys, and stash a coat. The full height cabinet also provides … Read More »


Posted on May 14th, by David Bjorngaard in Inhabit, Knowledge, The Moment. No Comments

There are important lessons in rhythm and thematic repetition which one can learn from this Parisian apartment: lessons of color, material and detailing. Or one can just fall in love with this modernist update on an apartment, blessed with boiserie wall paneling and parquetry floors and furnished with a mix of 1950’s vintage and modern design.

I appreciate the use of color throughout the house, with a French Grey being the constant.  The mood ranges from a quiet intimacy in the grey & camel living room, to moody in the grey & red dining room, to vibrant in the Cerulean blue kitchen, and calming in the blue-grey bedroom. Color is used to reflect the way we inhabit each space: relaxing, entertaining, cooking and resting. Color is used to stimulate each activity, and engage the mind.

Working for years at Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, people assume that I don’t like color. White lab coats; white office; white homes. But the truth is that Orlando likes color, and I like color. I like almost all colors, in different amounts and applications.  My seven years at ODADA further developed my understanding of the nuances of color and its’ appropriate application. I like to experiment, and I like being bold with color. And through my … Read More »

Snapshot #17

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

As the “makers” movement spreads, not only are neighborhoods and jobs created, but traditional crafts are being revitalized. I’m really excited about this. Working on high-end interiors has allowed me to source and design hand-made items, things which you cannot find anywhere else, providing one-of-a-kind exclusivity to the projects I work on. This is a huge source of enjoyment and fun as I get to know the crafts people, and gain knowledge on how things are made. The makers movement has democratized this process, bringing unique and affordable pieces into the homes of design conscious individuals. I think the shift is great, as we all deserve to live with things made by individuals with care and love.

I am working on a project where I have been sourcing unique textiles for my client, who lived and traveled in Japan. She loves the Japanese aesthetic, especially a blue & white color palette. In my endeavor to outfit her office, I came across Ricketts Indigo, a husband wife team that cultivates indigo on their Indian farm in order to produce the dye for their crafts. The process is labor intensive, resulting in both woven and dyed textiles which are imbued with value and meaning. The textiles have subtle color … Read More »


Posted on March 12th, by David Bjorngaard in Here/There, Knowledge. No Comments

Recently I spent a week in Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, as many of my friends are all to aware from all the travel-porn/travel-bragging I did on Facebook. It was fun! beautiful! laid-back! boozy! and really, really relaxing! It is the type of place where you can check your shoes and wallet at the door, grab a swim suit, and forget about everything.

But you’re here to get my views on design. In my dreams we would all be able to escape to a tropical paradise. I would design your space with air-conditioned bedrooms, living spaces protected only by thatched roofs, and plenty of lounging options in the sun and shade. All of my design would be based on sand and palm trees, crashing waves and Negro Modelo.

Back in reality, there are several design lessons which I can incorporate into my practice, and you can incorporate into your lives. Here are some of my take-aways.

Blur the lines. Indoor-outdoor living rules the day in Mexico. Bedrooms and bathrooms might be in indoors, but after that all bets are off. In California, we have the luxury of design living rooms which open directly onto patios and decks. The goal here, is to blur the transition … Read More »