Sunday, June 7, 2015

EXHIBITION: Dwell on Design LA

Mad for Mod's multitalented West Coast correspondent Joemy Wilson 
spent a day at the recent Dwell on Design exhibition, May 29-31, held
 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. She filed this report, 
along with the photos. Thank you, Joemy!

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Outdoor display, with swings and Groovebox
The Groovebox is a new flat-pack, multifunctional outdoor living
"product system" that can be used as a fire pit, barbecue, table, 
stool, bench, planter and more. 

I knew that Dwell on Design would be fun, and that it would feature fabulous designs. Indeed, I fell in love with many jazzy lighting fixtures, fountains, and furniture, not to mention the idea of "glamping" (glamorous camping).

         Glamping tipis, designed by by David Bromstad, 
                     with Rockpillows in foreground

Vendor demonstrates proper technique for use of a Rockpillow. Glamping!

More fabulous stuff:

           David Trubridge Lighting

Avalon Fountains by Mehrdad Tafreshi, an artisan from Surrey, England. 
Works in copper, bronze and glass

Kodama Zomes by Rickie Duncan, proudly made in the US by the designer's family 
and friends. He has resisted all efforts to have it manufactured overseas more cheaply.

As I wandered through row after row of booths chock full of high-tech, cutting-edge, luxurious and fun stuff, a surprising theme emerged: responsibility. Vendors of goods exemplifying environmental, social, corporate and personal responsibility were on display at every turn.

APLD, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, held court in the center of Dwell Outdoors, handing out guidelines for creating environmentally responsible landscapes and giving free consultations to local residents who were contemplating tearing out their water-guzzling lawns and putting in hardscape and native plantings. I had a lively, all-too-brief half-hour chat with Katrina Coombs of Outside InStyle, touching on elements such as decomposed granite, an irrigation system that would provide the three different watering areas my yard would need, and the fun stuff -- a dreamy color palette of lavender, orange and green around my 1930s Spanish house. Who knew that being environmentally responsible could be such fun?

Corporate responsibility (as well as commercial savvy) was demonstrated by Airstream, the venerable mobile trailer company. They have partnered with the Columbus College of Art and Design, to allow a group of gifted undergraduates to design an RV that would appeal to millennial types. The students came up with a new model called the Pursuit, in which a young creative artist, perhaps a photographer or designer, could live, work and play. Naturally, it included a hatchback – “What’s the point of working at the beach if you can’t see the beach?”

Airstream exterior (above) and kitchen (below)

The team built a mockup of wood and cardboard and went on to refine every detail of the interior, and the result was so professional that Airstream is currently discussing its manufacturing and marketing potential. Tom Gattis, dean of the School of Design Arts, who spearheaded the project, told me that this inspiring collaboration was “Corporate America engaging with academia to develop the next generation of design leaders.”

Social responsibility was exemplified by Method Homes, a Seattle-based company that builds custom architectural prefab. They teamed up with Brad Pitt’s foundation, Make It Right, which builds affordable housing for people in need and is best known for constructing homes in New Orleans’s Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina. 

      Above and below: Method Homes exterior and interior
                        Photos courtesy of

The 3-bedroom, 2-bath model showcased at Dwell is a modern stunner that anyone would be proud to call home. Everything about it is energy efficient, from the solar roof to the AirRenew Gypsum Board, “the only drywall that cleans the indoor air by permanently removing formaldehyde.”(I’m breathing formaldehyde in my house? Who knew?)

Another Method Home on display at the expo was filled with Monogram luxury appliances. In the kitchen, an enthusiastic chef was busily handing out samples of her roasted chicken from the Advantium, a halogen-powered mini-oven that requires no preheating and cooks seven times faster than a conventional oven. Unlike a microwave, she told us, “it cooks from the inside out and crisps the skin perfectly.” One delicious bite proved her right.

Prefab fabulousness: the small oven in the background is the Advantium. 
Its halogen technology roasted that big chicken in 20 minutes.

On Monday following the show, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum unit was packed up and sent to Fort Peck, Montana. It is the first of twenty homes being built for the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes that live on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Appropriately, the home’s walls were full of works by Native American artists, which were auctioned off in support of the artists and the housing project. Living room furnishings provided by Eklahome were advertised as “elegantly sustainable furniture made by hand in America.”

Personal responsibility? There’s Stir, the “Standingest of Standup Desks,” the desk that doubles as a personal trainer. We are constantly being reminded to take responsibility for our own fitness these days, and the Stir Kinetic Desk not only senses how many calories you’re burning, slaving over the budget report or that Great American Novel, but its Whisperbreath technology prompts you to change your position to match your preset movement goals and “lead to your most creative work.” And you thought your phone was smart!

It’s a mighty sexy design, too. Very inspiring. I think I might just need that desk, to sketch out my environmentally responsible new landscape.

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"Here to create an environment of love,
live with passion, and make our most 
exciting dreams come true ..." 

To read more about Dwell on Design 2015, link here.

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