Subscribe to Design-Milk feed
Dedicated to modern design
Updated: 1 hour 40 min ago

WRECK by Bentu Design: Wasted Ceramics Get a Second Chance

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 18:00

Bentu Design has recently released a new project called WRECK, a series of furniture and an exhibition of pieces created from wasted ceramics from Chaozhou, China. For the project, Bentu went deep into the daily-use ceramics industry in Chaozhou, where they used broken shards of ceramics to build furniture and sculptural pieces, representative of the disintegration of culture of this ancient city, which supplies 70% of the total daily-use ceramic commodity for the world. The city is modernizing, and therefore some of its rich cultural traditions and old buildings are disappearing, making way for more urban structures. Factories have been transformed into recycling centers for ceramic waste.

The amount of waste ceramics doesn’t just include Chinese ceramics, but also global waste due to government policies on products, globalization and uneven economic development. The recycling plant operations in Chaozhou work to recycle these ceramics, but only a small portion of the porcelain waste can be used, so they’re left with piles and shards of unusable garbage.

Bentu wanted to draw more attention to this issue through an exhibition presented during Shenzhen Design Week called: “WRECK–Regeneration Experiment of Wasted Daily-use Ceramics from Chaozhou, China”:

A Heritage Home Gets Modern Outdoor Entertaining Spaces and Gardens

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 17:00

In the Camberwell suburb of Melbourne, this heritage house wasn’t the problem. The issue was the outdoor spaces and how they didn’t work for the entertaining-loving owners. Ian Barker Gardens was hired to bring life to the exterior while creating plenty of modern entertaining spaces, which included the entrance garden, side lawn garden, woodland garden, rear garden, pool area, and side courtyard garden.

They were also tasked with designing a pool large enough for their extended family, a playhouse for the kids, a play area for them to run around, space for everyone to spread out, a veggie garden, and a shady tree to rest under. The owners also asked them to update the look of the tennis court and to save as many of the original trees as possible. Many tall orders, but the designers definitely came through.

The designers managed to merge the original architectural style with new modern details that complement each other. The plant choices and materials help modernize the rigid lines of the house for a cohesive and inviting aesthetic everyone can enjoy.

A sculptural doorway was designed out of Corten steel as a passageway to the garden.

Polished concrete was used to create the outdoor living room that comes complete with an outdoor kitchen and pizza oven.

Photography by Clair Takacs, courtesy of BowerBird.

Clemens Ascher’s ‘Of Rainbows and Other Monuments’

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 16:00

The Bertone Rainbow was an oddball design even 42 years ago when unveiled as a concept car at the 1976 Turin Motor Show. Designed by Marcello Gandini for the Italian-based automotive styling and coachbuilding company, Gruppo Bertone, the attention the Rainbow earned for its sudden abbreviated angularity was only eclipsed by its genuinely cool retractable hardtop design that transformed the car from a coupé into a targa. The trapezoidal concept mostly faded into obscurity – at least amongst the general public – but has since reappeared in new light recently thanks to photographer Clemens Ascher.

London-based photographer and artist Clemens Ascher’s “Of Rainbows and Other Monuments” is a striking triptych that breathes new life into the mostly forgotten peculiar prototype. Colored in vibrant hues of yellow, red, and blue, the Bertone Rainbow attains a fresh graphical presence of a vehicle not from a forgotten past, but hinting of an imaginary future yet to unfold against the backdrop of mysterious monuments and undetermined landscapes.

I dreamt up this surrealistic and graphic world featuring mysterious monuments, the legendary Ferrari Rainbow, and it’s furious drivers.

If the Rainbow looks familiar, it might be because it is actually based on the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4, a model also designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone for the Italian Stallion.

Concept illustration: Bertone.

In the end, the Bertone Rainbow attained its own distinct and unique footnote in the annals of automotive design – its severe angled wheel wells, prominent U-shaped rear brake light, and graphical wheels all reminding us of the wild explorations of futuristic design pursued during the 1970s that undoubtedly inspired a future generation of automotive designers (and also likely influenced watered down interpretations like this).

For inquiries about Ascher’s fine photography series as prints, interested parties can contact him via his website.

Toru Uses Leather in New Ways for a Collection of Unique Seating

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 15:00

Toru first caught our eye in 2017 at WantedDesign and since then the Barcelona-based designer has expanded his collection of seating that uses vegetable-tanned leather in experimental ways. Leather is typically used to upholster pieces of furniture but Toru uses the material itself for backrests and seats on chairs and stools. Each piece is handmade by local craftsman using the highest quality of leather that’s tanned with chestnut, mimosa, and quebracho extracts, which helps keep the original raw look and color of the material.

Babu is a floor-based chair that was inspired by travel. The easy-to-move design is made with sheets of leather and brass and it offers a spot to relax and meditate.

The Clop lounge chair features three legs and a folded leather back that was inspired by the simplicity of a clog shoe – half wood and half leather.

The Clop table chair is much like the lounge chair above but it stands on four legs and merges natural, hard wood with soft leather.

The Pony stool might make you dream of riding a horse with its sleek steel base and 6mm thick leather seat.

Toro will be exhibiting these pieces at this year’s London Design Fair which runs from September 20-23rd, 2018.

Friday Five with Serena Confalonieri

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 14:00

Serena Confalonieri is a Milan-based designer and art director that could easily win “Best Headshot”. A Master’s Degree in Interior Design led to stints at various architecture and design firms in Milan, Barcelona, and Berlin, along with working as an assistant professor in the interior design department at Politecnico di Milano. That foundation naturally led Confalonieri to focus on product, graphic, and textile designing where her work falls somewhere in between, with particular focus on the surfaces of each design. Her Flamingo rug, for Nodus, marked her design debut at Milan Design Week in 2013, which led to collaborations with Italian and international brands like Saba Italia, Swatch, cc-tapis, Archiproducts, .ex-novo, Crate&Barrel USA, Porro, and more. Since then, she’s been chosen for design residencies and workshops in Italy, New York, Mexico, and Portugal, and her work has graced the pages of many magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Corriere della Sera, Il sole 24 ore, Wallpaper, Interni, Ottagono, L’Officiel, Elle Décor. Let’s see what she chose as inspiration for this week’s Friday Five.

Photo by Robert Cook

1. Death Valley Artist Palette, Nevada
I went there a few years ago, and this is one of those places that makes you think about the greatness of nature and the effort we make every day to create something that will never be more beautiful then this. It makes you feel small, but at the same time proud to be in this world.

2. Marcello Mastroianni movies, and in particular my favorite: Fellini’s 8 1/2
I really love old movies, and the charm of these actors (not only Mastroianni, but also Giancarlo Giannini, Vittorio De Sica, Cary Grant and James Stewart), an elegance which is difficult to find now.
8 1/2 is a very special movie: very realistic, and surrealistic at the same time, it gives you answers about life both in a very straight and metaphorical/poetic way.

Anish Kapoor, Leviathan, 2011, Installation: Grand Palais, Paris © BOUM!BANG!

3. Anish Kapoor installation Leviathan, at the Grand Palais, Paris 2011
It left me literary breathless: the installation was stunning both outside and inside, it was massive and at the same time it added value to the Grand Palais building.

4. Saul (and Eleine) Bass movie opening titles
When a movie starts with his opening titles I know it’s going to be an amazing movie, and it puts me in a good mood.
His style was unique, and unconventional at that time. He set a very high standard.

5. My dog Fausto
Lovely and very very very lively lakeland terrier. Maybe it sounds crazy but I think I found true love :)

Two Apartments Merge into a Modern Apartment for a Family in Ukraine

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 19:00

Minimal Mine is a renovation project headed by Maxim Doschinsky and Pavel Voitov of Ukrainian interior design firm ZOOI. The designers merged two apartments – a one-bedroom and a three-bedroom – to create a comfortable, yet modern home for a couple with children, who longed for a minimalist space that was packed with function.

The kitchen, dining room, and living room were combined to form a larger, open space but with an oversized sofa creating some delineation. A cozy palette of neutrals fills the public spaces with hints of color speckled throughout.

The designers’ sketches were translated into these decorative wall panels that mimic rough stone. A bright blue armchair that was custom made for this project pops in front of the charcoal gray panels.

The master bedroom is essentially four spaces in one – a bedroom, bathroom, closet, and office. A glass partition is used to provide separation between the bed and the workspace with a sliding curtain to offer additional privacy.

A large glass window allows for a view into the shower

The children’s rooms are where the project really comes alive with sunny yellow accents, rock climbing walls, and chalkboards.

Photography by Maksim Shelkovnikov.

Claustrophobic Balloons and a Multilingual Parrot: A Summer of Interactive Art

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 17:00

This summer, two group exhibitions in New York hide some serious surprises. The first, titled “The Party”  on the 3rd floor of Anton Kern Gallery  in Midtown includes a gifted parrot and a room full of balloons. Even more unexpected experiences await downtown in a multi-location mini-art crawl titled “ON CANAL”. Here are 7 of the most unmissable experiences from those two locations right now – on view until the end of this month.

Martin Creed, Work No. 1190: Half the air in a given space, 2011

Glass doors contain a room packed full of yellow balloons on the 3rd floor of Anton Kern Gallery.  A work by artist Martin Creed titled “Half the air in a given space” is EXACTLY as the title describes – with the balloons enclosing precisely half the air in a given room.  A version of this was on view at the Park Avenue Armory in 2016, but this new little-known showing forgoes the admission price AND wait to get in!

Martin Creed, Work No. 1190: Half the air in a given space, 2011

Martin Creed, Work No. 1190: Half the air in a given space, 2011

Martin Creed, Work No. 1190: Half the air in a given space, 2011

Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled 2018 (with finger of author)

The surprise of the summer is an avian “performance artist” named Sara. This beautiful (and very real) Jardine Parrot is performing “Untitled 2018” by artist/prankster Maurizio Cattelan in which a trained parrot produces the sounds of other domestic animals. Joined by her trainer (both of them are extraordinarily friendly), she performs ONLY Tuesdays and Fridays from 12-6pm for the first 40 minutes of each hour, for her well-being. I visited towards the end of the day and she was all too happy for the opportunity to show off. And *spoiler alert* if you’re willing, she loves to perch on your finger after the performance (that’s MY finger in the photo above to prove it).

THEN jump a train downtown to “ON CANAL”, a new “neighborhood” for art operated by Wallplay, which has transformed a number of previously vacant retail spaces/garages along Canal Street into surreal art experiences. The whole experience of jumping into art havens along the bustle of Canal Street is an experience in itself. Here are 5 of the most unmissable locations.


Adrian Yu installed a purposefully kitschy cross-culture room of strobe lights, yellow banners and flailing inflatable dancing tube men! Appropriately titled “Yellow” (see the link for a animated GIF of the room) it’s located at 357 Canal Street.

diMoDA 3.0 @ ON CANAL

325 Canal Street hosts “DiMoDA’s third collection of curated works”. Among the VR and projected works are these mesmerizing color-changing light polyhedrons.

Lara Atallah @ ON CANAL

Lara Atallah @ ON CANAL

At 329 Canal Street, “THRESHOLD” features Laya Atallah’s damaged polaroids of Mediterranean shorelines. Visitors are encouraged to pull the hanging light bulbs closer to examine the distorted and beautiful images.

Katsu, Drone Flowers, @ ON CANAL

Katsu’s drone-painted spray paint works were featured on Design Milk in 2015, but these newer “flowers” on view at 351 Canal were created by pre-programming drones to fly & paint without the need for a human remote controller, making the “brushstrokes” identical, but the drips and colors unique.

Frankey, Badaboom, @ ON CANAL

327 Canal Street hosts the giggle-inducing “Frankey” (aka Frank de Ruwe). Among the humorous objects is this fragile toy airplane titled “Badaboom” which reads “Enjoy it while it lasts. A glass catapult glider that probably won’t fly a second time”.

Also in the space, “Apolly” (below) is a motorized bird swing with a fake parakeet that defies gravity by swinging upside-down at random intervals. The text below it reads “A small swing for bird, a giant swing for bird kind. Once in a while Apolly swings where no birds have swung before: A full loop”.

Frankey, Apolly, @ ON CANAL

The two birds in these two group exhibitions are an amazing serendipitous link. They’ve also become the mascots of the happy absurdity of the art world in New York this summer. Whether it’s “art” to you or not, you can’t help but smile.

What: The Party, curated by Ali Subotnick
Where: Anton Kern Gallery, 16 East 55th Street (balloons and parrot are on 3rd floor)
When: July 12 – August 31, 2018.  Note: The parrot is only on view Tuesdays & Fridays from 12-6pm

Where: Various locations along Canal Street, ranging from 312 to 361 Canal Street
When: July 31 – September 1, 2018, Tues-Sat 12-7pm

“The Party” images courtesy the artists and Anton Kern Gallery, New York
“On Canal” images courtesy the artists and ON CANAL

Protecting Your Tech with Laptop Sleeves from Society6

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 16:00

Whether you’re a student shopping for a new laptop or just looking to upgrade your MacBook Pro from 2012 (that might just be me…), the second most important decision you’ll make after deciding how much memory you’ll need to run Netflix, 23 Chrome tabs, Photoshop, and Spotify at the same time is which laptop sleeve to get to protect your beloved new investment. On Society6, not only do you get to support independent artists but you can find a design that speaks your mind or captures your own style. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started…


Orange Grove Laptop Sleeve by greenhouseprints

Chemex space Laptop Sleeve by stella el

Telesphoros Laptop Sleeve by Retro Rocket

Sutugius Laptop Sleeve by Retro Rocket

Faces in Dark Laptop Sleeve by Explicit Design

Watercolour Cacti & Succulents Laptop Sleeve by Vicky Webb AKA Crumpetsandcrabsticks

My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open – Typography Design Laptop Sleeve by Crafty Lemon

In an ongoing effort to support independent artists from around the world, Design Milk is proud to partner with Society6 to offer The Design Milk Dairy, a special collection of Society6 artists’ work curated by Design Milk and our readers. Proceeds from the The Design Milk Dairy help us bring Design Milk to you every day.

A Unique Sofa by Patricia Urquiola to Mark Her 20th Anniversary Working with Moroso

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 15:00

To mark their 20th anniversary of successful collaborations, Patricia Urquiola designed the Chamfer Sofa for Moroso. The unique design features chamfered corners, removing the 90-degree back angles found on most traditional sofas. The angled corners give a welcoming feeling to anyone that sits down, almost like a hug.

Chamfer consists of five modules that vary in length and depth, and a connector, that join together to form any number of configurations desired, from a simple two-seater sofa to a geometrical formation that could seat a dozen plus.

Gradient Shelf by Henry Julier

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 14:00

Gradient Shelf is a bookshelf created by Brooklyn-based designer Henry Julier. The shelves are assembled sans tools and come flat-packed for convenient shipping and storage when needed. The outer framework and folded steel shelves snap together via plastic clips.

Inspired by inexpensive wire shelving often seen in dorms and first apartments, Gradient presents the idea of easy-to-assemble furniture in a more architectural format. Horizontal elements increase in frequency from top to bottom, giving the design its namesake “gradient” effect, while keeping items contained within the shelf.

The sides and back of the shelf are secured by extruded ABS plastic clips, allowing sheet steel shelves to rest inside the structure. The result is a design that can be assembled in less than five minutes by one person, without the use of a tiny allen wrench.

Photography by Blaine Davis.

Hotel Kabuki: A Taste of Japan in San Francisco, California

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 18:00

Designed by interior design and branding firm MARKZEFF, the Hotel Kabuki recently underwent a new interiors update that’s inspired by Japanese influences. Mark Zeff, Principal of his eponymous firm, says:

After learning about the culture of the area, and drawing on knowledge of Japanese architecture as well as my own affinity for the beat generation, we were able to reinvent and modernize the interiors of the hotel in a sophisticated way.

While Eastern influences are certainly abundant throughout the hotel’s interiors, there are also many details that pay homage to San Francisco’s music scene in the 60s, its hippie culture, and its counterculture movement of the 60s and 70s.

In the lobby, a black and blond color palette inspired by the Japanese technique of shoutouts sugi ban sets the tone for the interiors. Carbonized black, alligator skin-textured walls are juxtaposed with blond wood floors. A Japanese calligraphy-inspired carpet delineates public spaces that have design and cultural books neatly stacked through for casual lounging and perusing. A communal table holds popular records curated by a DJ for different events that take place at the hotel.

Zeff designed two themes for the guest rooms: one featuring vintage Japanese newspaper print and one featuring retro sumo wrestling cards. All rooms are outfitted with custom furniture, carpets and fabric inspired by Japanese aesthetics, such as shibori-dyed drapery and headboards, patchwork style of borough stitching, and the clean lines of Japanese woodworking.

Zeff also worked with a local consultant to source unique art and images to expand the Japan-meets-San Francisco vibe even more, collecting graphic Japanese matchbook covers from the 20s and 30s and historic photos from San Francisco’s past to complete the spaces.

What: The Hotel Kabuki
Where: 1625 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115
How much? Rooms start at approximately $238 per night.
Highlights: This Joie de Vivre hotel fuses Japanese aesthetics with historic San Franciscan influences.
Design draw: The style of the hotel is Japanese, San Franciscan, bohemian, industrial, artistic and culture, all at the same time.
Book it: Visit the Hotel Kabuki

DESKter Sit & Stand Workstation by Malgorzata Wojtyczka

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 17:00

Designed as part of her Master’s Degree final project at the Wrocław Academy of Fine Arts, the DESKter is a sit & stand workstation, by Małgorzata Wojtyczka, that gives you the best of both worlds. Standing desks have been growing in popularity in recent years with all of the news on sitting being bad for our bodies. But, standing full-time isn’t always ideal either. With DESKter, you can switch back and forth as needed for both health and comfort.

The workstation is made for adults and children for use in offices, public areas, schools, and even at home.

DESKter is composed of three pieces – the supporting structure and two bent plywood desktops that can easily move into any of the various positions. If you’re ready to transport the desk or move it out of the way, it folds up and stores the desktops in additional slots. It’s also small enough to fit into a regular car.

The Courant Catch Recharges Phones Faster, Fashionably

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 16:00

It’s funny how fast cables become passé and inconvenient once you get used to placing your phone onto a charger instead of having to plug it in. But wireless chargers still have an Achille’s heel: charging speed. Brooklyn, New York startup Courant is attempting to narrow and exceed the speed gap – and rather stylishly – with two chargers outfitted with higher-wattage ratings wrapped in the textural luxury of genuine Italian pebble grain leather.

Available in two models, the smaller $80 Catch:1 and larger $175 Catch:3 (where did the 2 go?), both Qi-Certified Fast Wireless Charging platforms are made of matte aluminum base and handsomely wrapped in Italian leather. The chargers are designed to scale for speeds dependent upon the device placed upon it, with 5W/7.5W/10W fast wireless charging available. The smaller Catch:1 seems ideal for a nightstand or smaller side table for overnight charging duties, while we imagine the Catch:3 as a desk or landing pad for keeping a wallet, keys, watch, and other smaller accessories dependably always in the same place while the phone is being charged.

Available in three colors – Ash, Black, and Bone – the pair of Courant Catch devices joins an ever-growing number of aesthetically pleasing charging solutions, eliminating the need for Lightning or USB cables.

Lorre: A Sculptural Installation of 3D Printed Kinetic Lights by David Weeks Studio

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 15:00

New York City-based David Weeks Studio designed the Lorre sculptural installation comprising 3D-printed kinetic lights and cable that explore the connection between space, light, and material. The wireless lights are suspended on copper cables where the conductivity of the cable lit them up allowing each shade to be moved as desired.

Each light is made of nylon plastic that was printed using selective laser sintering making them lightweight. Their simple forms delicately cling to two thin cables resulting in a minimalist lighting display that can be continuously rearranged.

The Outdoor WEEK-END Collection by Studio BrichetZiegler for Petite Friture

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 14:00

The WEEK-END collection is a range of outdoor furniture designed by Studio BrichetZiegler for Petite Friture. The oval shapes of the backrests are filled with horizontal slats that are juxtaposed with the connected vertical slats to become the seat of the chair. The collection makes an overall graphic statement with the perpendicular stripes and the negative spaces they create.

The WEEK-END collection consists of 3 stacking chairs, including the Chair, Armchair, and Bridge, the stacking Bench, stacking High Stool, and multiple tables, including the Coffee Table, Square Table, 2 Rectangular Tables, and a High Bar Table. Basically everything you’d need to create various setups for any outdoor space. Each piece is lacquered aluminum and is available in five colors: Black, White, Ultramarine Blue, Matt bordeaux, and Yellow.

Photos by Ola Rindal.