Bunaco Housewares

Part of sustainability is simply making use of what’s on hand: the ancient art of sourcing from nearby bounty.

The founders of Bunaco understood this well.  For over fifty years the company, based in the Aomori region of northern Japan, has made use of the beech trees plentiful to its area.  From a base product line of lacquered tableware, the designers at Bunaco have continually expanded their vision and created a legion of useful interior goods.

Their most recent brain-child is the Faggio loudspeaker, which debuted just last month at the 2012 Maison & Object Show. Read the rest of this entry »

ART From the Ashes

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

~Henry David Thoreau

"Seconds Count" by Jason Wilbur

In the face of natural disaster, where others see devastation, Joy Feuer – and the many artists & volunteers who work with her – see opportunity for transformation and renewal.  Life is often about new beginnings.  Since 2008 Joy’s non-profit organization, ART From the Ashes, has been helping communities and individuals rebuild from the ashes of their former lives.

The concept for ART From the Ashes came to life autumn of 2007, during one of the most destructive fire seasons in the history of California.  AFTA was created to use the cathartic properties of art as a means of supporting the renewal of lives devastated by wildfire.  Members travel to a disaster site and from it reclaim materials – burnt wood, ruined household goods, architectural elements, anything that inspires – to be transformed into works of art and later sold at an exhibition-auction benefitting the effected community.

Joy Feuer, photo by James Carbone

The process is deeply meaningful for Joy.

“We have seen up close and personal the powerful connection and healing properties that our art programming has on communities in Southern and Central California,” she said.  “In the wake of disaster…watching what occurs to people and places, in that moment, you are there as well.  Its human nature to want to help in any way possible. In the actions of ART from the ashes, we can provide resource and support to communities in need.  Art provides a connection, provokes inspiration and invites hope.  There are no boundaries geographically or creatively.  Our desire is to honor this and expand our mission to help as many people as possible.” Read the rest of this entry »

Some Light Housekeeping, Japanese Style

I went on a bit of a de-cluttering rampage this weekend, much to the amusement of my husband (who, bless him, got in the spirit of things and started culling too).   I have had an overwhelming urge these days to simplify life.  My new rule is to keep only those things which have real emotional value to me, or are used at least once a year.  That means the Goodwill donation site is going to be getting regular visits for some time to come.

At the end of the month, If I can haul at least a carload of stuff away each week, I am going to reward myself with a single purchase.  You’re going to laugh – or at least raise your eyebrows – but bear with me here and I’ll explain.  This is what I want…

 

Such a beautiful combination of function and aesthetics, don’t you agree?

Still think I’m a little wacky?

Well, here’s the thing.  Along with my “vow” to keep my home filled only with meaningful objects, I have also decided to limit my future purchases to items that have a tangible quality of craftsmanship and innate beauty.  Hence my desire for this simple, perfect little dustpan designed by Masanori Oji, and made by hand in Japan, using traditional techniques.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pass the Baton – Watching the Past become the Future

There’s No Place Like Here: Pass The Baton from Etsy on Vimeo.

I love this video, I love that store, and I LOVE the concept.  A trip to Japan has been on my mind anyway, but a pilgrimage to Pass the Baton in Tokyo now seems imperative.

seen on re-nest

Friday Wrap-up – 4/1/11

Happy Friday everyone! And happy April Fools’ Day too. Last year, I went all out and posted what I thought was a funny, and pretty obvious, April Fool’s “product”. I’m not sure whether it was too good, or not good enough, but despite the date on the calendar, people took me seriously. So this year, I decided to skip it. Luckily, Inhabitat stepped up to the plate.

So here’s what I was looking at this week:

1. This History of Curtains is a lot more interesting than you might think at first. (design sponge)

2. You should really take a look at these beautiful prints made from pieces of discarded maps. I particularly love the Japanese Crane, especially because part of the proceeds go to Japan disaster relief. (design sponge)

3. You have to check out this crazy collection of taxidermy antiques in London. (Craft)

4. Est is a new online magazine about “global living with an Australian twist”. (desire to inspire)

5. Here’s a store that really takes sustainable living seriously. All of the products in their store are sourced and crafted in the United States from sustainable materials. (Re-nest)

6. I’m in love with this amazing bench crafted from 5000 recycled New York City Metro cards. (Yanko Design)

7. If you’re short on space, one of these 10 convertible dining tables might just help you squeeze in a little more functionality. (Tree hugger)

That’s it for now.  Happy weekend everyone!

Friday Wrap-up – 3/18/11

Well, it’s been a wonderful week here at The interioREvolution, in no small part because it was my birthday yesterday! My husband took me out for a lovely dinner and then to a play set in an Irish pub, and what could be a better way to spend a St. Patrick’s Day birthday than that?

Meanwhile, as usual there is plenty of fascinating stuff going on in sustainable design that I thought you might be interested in. Here’s what I’ve been reading about this week:

1. The process of dying silk fabric uses an awful lot of water. What if you could dye the silk before it is even spun by the silkworm? That’s what researchers are working on right now, by feeding fluorescent dye to silkworms. (Treehugger)

2. One of the biggest obstacles to using LED lighting is the initial cost. New research may be able to lower that cost by 75%, making LEDs comparable in cost to the much more popular CFL and incandescent bulbs. (Treehugger)

3. A big factor to consider in creating a sustainable product is the efficient use of material. This hardwood flooring company reduces waste by using a computerized analysis to calculate the curves and irregularities of uncut logs in order to create flooring using no straight lines. The curved edges of the pieces fit together like a puzzle. (Boing Boing)

4. Here’s an interesting look at some DIY lighting projects. (Design Sponge)

5. I don’t know what this midcentury modern wall sculpture is actually made from, but it reminds me of dried slices of citrus fruit. What do you think those funky circles are? (Standard)

6. Here are four good sources for paraffin free candles. (re-nest)

7. In this interview, furniture designer Leon Wong discusses why he encourages people to buy modern wood furniture for Earth Day. (Maneuvering Life With Style)

8. I thought I would close with this video interview with Architecture for Humanity founder Cameron Sinclair talking about how they are already helping  Japan rebuild. If there is anybody who can inspire architects and designers to go out and save the world, it’s him. (seen on Inhabitat)

Friday Wrap-up – 7/23/10

I’m actually on vacation right now (shhhh!  don’t tell anybody), but I’ve kept my eye out for interesting stuff to share anyway…

image via Shelterrific

Here are some really CUTE pillows from recycled materials, by Alexandra Ferguson. (Shelteriffic)

West Elm’s new line of FSC certified office furniture, designed by students at Pratt. (Inhabitat)

A lovely new kitchen, made of reclaimed materials, that looks absolutely classic. (re-nest)

GE has unveiled their latest technology in super efficient OLED lighting. (Inhabitat)

It takes 5,000 cocoons to provide enough silk for one kimono!  And this guy is raising the caterpillars, spinning the silk, and weaving it all by himself. (BoingBoing)

The first U.S. Certified Passive House, in Louisiana of all places. (Treehugger)

And finally, the most adorable ad, made on a whim by an 11 year old girl, for Harmony Art organic cotton fabrics.  Seriously, somebody hire this girl! (The Journey is the Prize)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Flush With Success – The “Japanese Toilet”

I once went to stay with a friend in Japan for a few weeks.  Although the plum trees were in bloom, the shrines were stunning, and I stood inside one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world,… in the end, it was the toilets I marveled at the most.

Nowhere I have traveled has the humble toilet been more intriguing.  From the literal hole in the ground at a park rest stop, to the futuristic, captain of the Enterprise, push button laden, wash, blow and style model I was warned not to use at an acquaintances house, the Japanese are the masters of the W.C..

Other than the really comfy, but slightly disconcerting heated seats that seemed fairly ubiquitous, the single most logical thing I saw was the integrated sink.

“Why don’t we have these back home?” I exclaimed.   “What an incredibly sensible way to save space and water!  Where can I get one?”  Read the rest of this entry »

Influences

This weeks guest blogger is David Johnson of Sidecar Furniture.   An accomplished craftsman, David is also a member of LA Box Collective, a select group of professional Los Angeles based furniture makers, committed to environmentally conscious design and production.

To look at my furniture it’s obvious that I like Danish Modern.  When we create we can’t help but let our influences show.  Our work is a compilation of what we see and our imaginations.  Certainly as a furniture maker I’m going to be influenced by the aesthetics of the styles of the past but I’m also going to draw upon why these furniture styles can to be.

I went to The College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program, in Mendocino, CA.  The school is known for teaching a high attention to detail and balance and symmetry in design based on the work of James Krenov, Jim, as he’s known to the students.  The program is set up like a European apprentice system where students start with the basics and then make pieces under the watchful eye of the instructors.  Students must have their designs approved by Jim.  Any deviation from his design sense may be dealt with by his sharp criticism.  Rebellion is mild but highly noticed.  It’s funny to look at the pieces I made during school to know that they were controversial at the time. Read the rest of this entry »

Japan – Master Carpentry

For our final post on Japanese craft, let’s take a look at the beautiful art of carpentry.

Japanese carpentry is known for its complex system of joinery, crafted entirely by hand.

The tools used to work the wood are as artful as the furniture they are used to produce.  Unlike western carpentry tools, Japanese saws and planes are designed to cut on the pull stroke, rather than on the push.  One advantage to this is that the saw blades can be thinner, and therefore make finer cuts, but the technique takes quite awhile to master. Read the rest of this entry »