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Twisted Timepieces

The clocks and timepieces conceived by Eric Frietas are the product of a fevered brain.  Each piece is finely built of harvested metal bits,  intricately cut steel, and salvaged clock motors. Little by little Eric studied the dying craft of clockmaking to bring to life his own intricate machines. It took him almost a year of making his own tools (and a lot of mistakes) before he heard the first tick. This is appropriately called no. 6

over 1,000 pieces of steel were cut for the clock above

drawing of a watch design, and yes it is available as a tatoo

actual  watch, but I advise the tatoo if you're wearing knits...



Chain detail of a clock. In Eric's twisted designs you see that he plays with simple taken-for-granted components like this chain. Here he puts arabesque flourishes in places where they don't affect the function but do transform the design. A chain, or a gear, or a spring doesn't have to be boring.

No. 7

the artist







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Transforming Walls with Paper

I started this week by searching for vintage wallpapers but veered off the track when i saw the latest by NLXL.  They are a new company (opened in 2010) in Holland and are currently creating two new collections; "Brooklyn Tins"  for Merci Paris and a concrete series for Piet Boon.  They also carry a scrapwood collection by Piet Hein Eek which is super fun.  

Some examples of their Brooklyn Tins line: 

Piet Hein Eek's designs by NLXL.  It's washable and NO slivers!

Cool faux concrete paper by Piet Boon

Another great line of paper and fabrics is by the UK company Timorous Beasties; founded by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmon.  They met while studying textile design at Glasgow School of Art and they have a wayward, playful and sophisticated take on insects, plants and toiles. The Beasties also provide a bespoke service from custom colours to original artwork.

The Grand Thistle (one in a series)

This pattern is appropriately titled "Grand Blotch Damask"

TM's patterns have also been reproduced on concrete tiles using proprietary molds to get high definiition detail like the bee below

A close-up of the high definition of this concrete tile

Sources:  NLXL; Timorous Beasties


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Shopping Istanbul

We were in Istanbul recently and decided to go antiquing in the city that spans Europe and Asia. With a little research I found that the locals go to a street called Çukur Cuma. After a lot of back and forth with a taxi driver we settled on pronouncing it something like Choocker Juma. Its in the heart of the 18th century part of town on a steep hill not too far from the Para Palace Hotel (a must see). Anyway here's a little walk down the hill.

Kocgiri Antiques;  antique Iznik tiles, architectural salvage and everything in-between

Try lunch at Kedi; a great little cafe serving regional Turkish cuisine - yum. They are popular with locals as we found out. Food is displayed behind a glass screen for the Turkish impaired - like us. While we were eating some political party members came through passing out roses to all the girls so I got one though they must have known I wasn't likely to vote. One of the local men gave me his and when we left we gave both to the proprietor's wife. She collected a nice little bouquet. 

18 Istanbul restores Industrial antiques, signs and they also make new items. I really wanted that Cigarette sign but couldn't figure out what to do with it.

why use a computer when you can have this?  All it needs is a new ribbon and it will last another 100 years.

What a great door. Unfortunately it was in use and not for sale. 

The Turks love ceiling decorations like this medalion - pretty impressive. 

These chairs were waiting for restoration. If you think you don't have enough space imagine these guys.

Ok, not antiques but you can't visit Turkey without trying their pickles. They pickle everything and we couldn't get enough of them. More yum.

Lol cats Turkish style. The bottom one is not for sale.

A friend collects Fezs and we found the mother-lode. Turks are experts at hand pounded felt and take pride in their dying skills. 

We didn't stop but what  nice store front.

Not sure what this meter was for but I hope you can read Arabic script.

You see these in a few shops. They are grain threshers used in the mainland wheat country. Made by embedding sharp stone shards into a plank. Whack you grain stalks agains them et voila. 

We did end up buying a few things and not every store was open so we'll be back the next time we're in town. We hear there is another district like this on the other side of the Bosporus in Asia, a short and cheap ferry ride away. 

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Furniture Finds in Brooklyn


Hangers never looked so good.  This unusual pendant lamp made from 25 plastic hangers rotated around a central bulb, is crafted by Sonic Design in Brooklyn.  Their goal was to liberate the hanger from it's dark, and lonely existence, so if you decide to purchase, please keep the light on......


Made from discarded walnut scraps, this table is a stunning example of deconstructivism in furniture design.  By Saftiuk Conservatory.

A unique four-sized storage box that can open on all four sides.  by Takeshi Miyakawa.

This jewel-like wallpaper is one of many handpainted designs by Eskayel, from Brooklyn New York.  Each design is handpainted and reproduced on recycled material. 

Shanon Campanro, founder and designer of Eskayel.

Named in honor of 1940's stride pianist Arthur Tatum,  this unique lounge chair by Thomas Rumple of Nine Stories Furniture, is repurposed from an abandoned upright found on the streets of Brooklyn. The seat is thin and nearly transluscent; setting off the beautiful framework of this chair.  Despite it's delicate appearance, this chair could easily seat your largest guest. It is composed of 36 mortise and tenons and 25 ivories.  Think of this chair next time you listen to  "Handful of Keys" 


Do you ever wonder what to do with your keys, coats, and bags when you come home?  This hallway table designed by Big Prototype serves a multitude of purposes. 

Um Projects used the exact dimensions of a true milking stool their updated design.  The great proportion combined with multiple color choices make this a must use for home or dairy.  

All the designers above are represented by Voos Furniture; who are dedicated  to celebrating and showcasing fresh new design in NYC and beyond.  Voos is located in a 1500sq space in the heart of Brooklyn.



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Laura Spector: Saving Trees Rustic Style

Rustic furniture and organic forms have always fascinated me. You can find examples of rustic furniture throughout history and all over the world.  Tyically rustic furniture was made from whatever materials were on hand or in good supply.  Organic forms made into something functional can be bad or good but they always have a unique personality and a story to tell.  I worked hard at it for a number of years only to realize how difficult it is to do it well.  Tracking down and finding your materials in the woods is the easy part;  assembling them into something that you can be proud of is another matter.  Organic shapes are difficult to work with using conventional cabinetry methods - and the saying "you can't fight mother nature"  was probably invented by a frustrated furniture maker.

Laura Spector is a great example of a designer who can do this well walking the line between rustic and refined.  Her work is influenced more by the British decorative arts of 18th century, than the rustic style of the Adirondacks .  She somehow conveys the whimsy of natural forms while also suggesting wrought iron. 

She hunts the forests of Western Connecticut stalking the Oriental Bittersweet vine. The plant was imported from europe in the 19th century as a decorative plant, only to turn invasive and kill many trees and shrubs by strangulation.  She literally has saved hundreds of trees and carried off tons of vines in the process of gathering materials, keeping park landscapes healthy in the process.  

You could really classify Laura's work as outdoor art which also serves as a functional purpose but many of her pieces could be used indoors as well.

Below are a few examples of her work.  The first photo is of the artist at home in her Connecticut studio.

An example of one of her Bitterroot benches

these giant spheres are available in many sizes.  these are five, four and three feet in diameter



Sources:  Laura Spector Design; New York Times

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Hot Spots Paris

my friend Diane is going to Paris for the first time this spring, so it made me think of some of the great places she'd want to visit.  below are a few of my favorite shops out of the tourist mainstream.

Sugar Plum Cake Shop:  forget croissants;  you have to try a piece of Laurel's carrot cake when you vist.  Laurel hails from Charleston and the recipe has been passed down from her grandmother, so it is perfect for a homesick traveler who has had their fill of patisseries.   They are also causing a buzz with their amazing cakes.  Pictured below from left:  Laurel, usually you'll see her at the front in the coffee bar, Taylor, baker extrodinaire from Vancouver BC, and Krista, head decorator.  

Sugarplum at 68 rue du Cardinal Lemoine

Dessert, floor toppping AND work of art!  Their cakes have been featured in Vogue and Brides. Not bad for the short time they've been open.

Another  great restaurant is Grazie, located in a raw industrial space near the center of the Marais. It's rough, but somehow retains it's Parisian feeling. Check out the lighting fixtures which are currently featured at Trainspotters. The pizza is wonderful too.

Glory is in the details and depth of finishes....

Chatomat is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that recently opened to rave reviews in Menilmontant - a funky mixed neighborhood in East Paris.  it's becoming known for both it's food and interiors which are quite simple; exposed brick, industrial, and light finishes.  Check out the cod fritters....

Coutume is a new coffee roastery in Paris that offers an exclusive selection of pure origin coffees. The designers found a typical raw Parisian space after demolition, and played up the laboratory feel with square white tiles, grid lighting, stainless steel, plastic curtains and lab glassware. Designed by CUT Architecture

Sources: Sugarplum Cake Shop, Voguesparis, Paris by Mouth

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A New Look at Light

IQ Environments had a hit at the New York Design fair with their Odyssey lamp; made from recycled beer bottles and inspired by fire hydrants. 



Great chandelier by Willowlamp, formed by two designers in Cape Town.  The partners Adam Holt and Sian Eliot were experimenting with ball chain to create chain curtains.  one thing led to another et voila....their lighting is industrial yet elegant.  



These crisp pendants are from Vincente Garcia.  Their  irregular and randomly intersecting plans achieve a clean but organic feel.



The appropriately named Turtle Lamp is by  Cleveland Arts.  



View from below,  of this hand-crafted glass  chandelier by Fix Studio. 



If you need some light in your warehouse, you could do worse than this "waterfall" chandelier by Cleveland Arts.




Sources:  IQ Environments; Fix Studio;, Vincent Garcia; Willowlamp; Cleveland Arts

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Over The Top in the UK


Les Trois Garcons design with unfettered exuberance.  Their restaurant in London (below) was formerly an old pub, but the renovation is a lavish example of tongue in cheek design;  from the suspended handbags to the bejeweled taxidermy and overscaled bling.  it is a must to check out if you are in town.

Les Trois also renovated the Chateau de la Goujeonnerie (shown in renovated glory below) which was built in 1872 and sat derelict for a many years.  it has been beautifully but wittily restored and is available for that special wedding or party - just make sure to invite us.)

Loungelovers, in the meat-packing district, is another project by Les Trois and located on one of East London's bleakest stretches of road.  It's glam interior is totally at odds with the dreary neighborhood so be prepared when you enter. . Stogie smoking monkeys, dogs in tiaras and a giant hippo are mixed in with human anatomy charts.  The furniture is eclectic as well contrasting banquettes, sofas and ornate chairs against simple wood and glass tables.  Lighting is over the top as would be expected. We suggest multiple visits and cocktails to take it all in. Food is Japanese and it's considered one of the best cocktail bars in East London.

Cheetah enjoying a fine cohiba

another interior shot at Loungelover

...a regal resident at Les Trois

Sources:  Les Trois Garcons, The World of Interiors


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Mad Max Tetelin

Max is not really mad but he does have a crazy good selection of antiques and architectural salvage in Normandy, specifically Isneauville near Rouen France. Max has a large space fill if with object he finds in the courtryside. His prices often reflect his distance from the crowds of Paris.

His shop is worth visiting for its beautiful post and beam constriction.

Here are some of his current crop that we like.

cast iron grilles from doors


this is a wedding armoire from the 19th century with very detailed carving


an 18th century pew



a carved wood cupboard


and for that vinyard you are furnishing...


Max's is putting more of his collection in the catalog so stay tuned.

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The Human Form

Recently a friend of mine, who designs interirors for a large retail clothing store, asked if we could find vintage manequins or busts.  what we found shows a pretty amazing evolution of form.

this is an old wood and fabric mannequin, dating from the 19th century.  Belgium

A beautifully carved foot with a wooden ball joint for an ankle. 

this stately mannequin is from Belgium and dates from the 1920's

this great old bust dates from 1880. Belgium

this model comes from the mid 1800's back before women had breasts. 

a charming boy mannequin head from the 30's.  United States

a rare Fery-Boudrot (Paris) mannequin of a 12 year old boy dating from the 1940's. For sale in the UK

two more Fery-Boudrot mannequins dating from the 40's.  France

looks for the Fery-Bourdrot logo

This is one of a pair of horse costumes from long ago. not sure what it has to do with the human form but it was too cute to pass up. Belgium

Sources:  Passe' Compose', Elemental UK; Ruby Lane; Nordouest 

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New Life for a French Ghost Town

What better use for a derelict old mining town than to move in and make something cool with all of the junk lying around? That is just what Les Pas Perdus did with a worn out coal mining village in Southern France.  Les Pas is a group of artisans and artists that moved in and with the help of locals turned the little houses and gardens into playful art installations.  


100,000 palettes were made available for the artists. 

bright paint add's cheer to the abandoned rowhouses

"Fountain of Coal" created from old coal scoops and yellow wheelbarrows (not shown)

a catapult or ineffective windmill?

privacy screen - miner style

funky canopy


the main characters of Les Pas Perdus

Sources:  Art Design Kitch; Lille Sortir, The World of Interiors

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New Sources for European Industrial

This week we did some research for a client and found some new sources for European Industrial objects. Here are some racks from a shoe factory in Belgium. What great display shelving they'd make. Put them where you can see the backs because they're interesting too.

detail and patina of the old shoe racks. Belgium

Fantastic old rusted metal lamps from Belgium (set of 9)

old French 2 door lockers (rare riveted style) Netherlands

Fantastic reclaimed French tiles. This source has a large selections so these are only samples. Netherlands

vintage leather clawfoot bench. Belgium


old industrial lamp and detail below. France

Vintage metal rolling shutter cabinet. I'm not sure if this is a Strafor but it looks similar.  Belgium

grand chest of drawers - great for display. France

This is rare piece where you have provenance for how it was used. Unfortunately industrial objects sometimes loose that history. This old copper bathtub was used in a factory to color feathers as you can see in the period photo. Belguim

bathtub in situ (1910)

check out the patina on this old clock. Belgium

Sources:  Brice Berrard; Wood Stock; Les Puces de Lille; Benko

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The Art of The Stool

Today we came across some nice stools and I just had to point them out.

They are stable and pretty comfortable if you have to move around while working and they were the original ergonomic piece—they had one of the first adjustable seats.

My dad used to have a Singer stool for his piano. We always thought of it as a more or less throw away piece. No longer!

Another Singer in another classic style

There is one more style we like, these are at Elemental UK. Pat calls this the 'art deco' style.


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Time To Play

The family get togethers over the holidays bring out the play in us all so we thought it would be good to bring out the play worn objects.

What boy of the 50's hasn't dreamed of having a tractor?

Or maybe a big bird to play with is your style.

In the day of Wii and XBox the riding toys seem so evocative of a quieter time.


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New Organics in Furniture Design

This week's blog showcases three furniture designers that push the boundaries of design in a new and organic way. 

Meg O'Halloran hails from San Francisco.  She runs a collaborative design studio and not all of her designs come from the computer .  This is evident in her  "Loop" stool, where the back supports virtually sprouts from the seat. There are many color options but we love it in green.

sprouting detail at the back......

These unique stools by Florian Schmid, from Germany, are made out of "concrete canvas" , cloth and stitching; pushing the boundaries of concrete in a totally new way.  His concrete stool is waterproof, fireproof, UV resistant AND durable. 

once the shape is set, the stool is "watered" and sets up within 24 hours

sitting on concrete never felt so good.....

Timothy John is a furniture designer from New Zealand that believes in making things by hand. Timothy says that he "begins his process simply with materials that interest him. He manipulates products by hand; testing functional and structural boundaries while mixing textures."  The "Genius" chair (below) is made using woven industrial felt over a metal framework.

The Deviant clock is currently being exhibited at the Su Nero art and design show in Italy.


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