Bringing Birchbark to Modern Design

Turning birchbark into a usable material is an age old Siberian craft.  Anastasiya Koshcheeva has used the material to create the ‘fabric’ for her Taburet stool.

long view

Although she has been applying the wood in different applications, in her stool she sews and folds it to create a faceted seat which when viewed from alternate angles plays tricks with the eye.

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Natural birchbark is water repellent, anti-bacterial, and is both strong and flexible.  The use as a seat in this way is a fantastic vehicle to take advantage of those qualities.

top view

The birch is sourced and fabricated in Russia by craftsmen still using traditional methods. Koshcheeva’s pieces introduces an age-old use of material into a fresh form for today.



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Lonely Houses

Small houses with backdrops of open sky make up an ongoing series by the photographer known as Sejjko.  These traditional homes found in Portugal have caught his eye as well as ours.

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Each has a unique personality that feels intimate, welcoming and yet at the same time are in contrast to their stark surroundings.  The photographer edits them to “bring them as close as possible to the way my eyes see them.”

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A reflective series that connects Sejkko to his feelings of home and childhood. Those moments when we feel lost yet safe exactly where we are.  To read more on the project head here and to see more of his work follow his instagram.

sejjko combo


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25 Lamp by Kovac

Named for the 25 pieces of wood that create it, this lamp begins as a flat pack item but unfolds to beautiful silhouette.


Available in Oak, Ash, or Birchwood and handmade in Sweden with sustainable materials by the Kovac Family.


Not only is it an attractive lamp, the proceeds go to support the Kovac Family’s Biomimicry project which is attempting to create light without using electricity by using elements in nature that already do just that.


Promoting sustainable design in a deceiving simple way.


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A Documentary a Day

As the winter weather rolls in, thoughts of indoor pursuits rise.  We came upon this curated list of documentaries that focus on those that have impacted the design and art world as well as films that hone in on a particular field.  A great way to spend an evening.

Here are some of our top picks:

objectified bill-cunningham-new-york helvetica eames vignelli

Go ahead, curl up with a warm beverage, cozy blanket and delve into some great design.


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The Pencil Redefined

When asked to look at the standard pencil and conceive a new sense and purpose for it, the 3rd year industrial design students at HIT, Holon Institute of Technology, rose to the challenge.  18 designs were created for the project, below are a selection.  We cannot help but be intrigued by the possibilities and use of each.

wide brush

wide set

Student Ofra Oberman created brush pencils to enhance the sketch process.

rollerFor pattern making, Noy Meiri designed a roller pencil.

squeeze squeeze groupIn order to rethink how a pencil stays sharp, Yam Amir looked to the mechanics of a squeezable tube for inspiration.

carvedEvgeny Barkov looked to prehistoric carving tools creating one end that has a colored point and the other which can be used to carve and texture a surface.

duoSimple in approach, Yal Hasid designed a duo, a pencil and eraser.  Can’t have one without the other.

toothFor a touch of whimsy, student Eitan Bercovich designed the fairy pencil, which is for the child to write the tooth fairy.

“It’s a very specific and classic object but has a big historical and cultural value,” their teacher told Dezeen. “Every student has an intimate knowledge of the object and affection towards it, and it has room for interpretation from the materials to the function and forms.”

An interesting project and fantastic results.

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When Clay Gives Way to Stone

While still in their soft state, a stone is placed on the edge of a clay vase.  The weight of the stone shapes the clay, forming a natural curve in response.


Each piece is signed, numbered, and its formative stone is presented with the finished product.  The pieces are designed by Martin Azúa and produced in collaboration with the ceramist Marc Vidal out of Spain.

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There is a simplicity to the approach and the materials that when put together forge a lovely symbiosis.  One can purchase their own here either in black or white.  His new collection is on view here.

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Floating by Threads

To achieve the ambient light and suspended construction, the design firm Spitsburg wraps a thin fabric around an ash wooden ring which is then connected by six fine wire threads to the light source to create their ‘Floating Light‘.


As the light passes through the fabric it is diffused into a soft glow, perfect for dining or bedroom spaces where intimate ambiances are required.

red det 1 red detail 2

The lightness of the thread suspension complements the fixture by allowing it to ‘float’ thus achieving the designers ethos of creating items with “clarity and simplicity, a luxury we embrace.”


Handmade in Amsterdam, the Floating Light can be purchased now.  Available in Red, Black or Nude.


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Pigments by PIGMENT

Created by the versatile and multi-faceted firm, Warehouse Terrada, the new concept store, Pigment, has a clear vision. It approaches the materials and tools artists use as the key to a successful creation.  It seeks to offer only the best and often rare materials as well as tools, especially those that have lost appreciation in modern times.


The store is located in Tokyo, Japan and upon entry one will be greeted with an undulating bamboo slat ceiling, wide open space for their workshops and most intriguing, walls lined with thousands of glass vials of pigments and a wall covered with brushes equally varied.  Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates.


Whether in the shop or at their online store, a true reverence for the matter artists use to express can be sensed.  It is their hope that between the products offered and workshops held, both old techniques will be learned, preserved and new ones developed and expanded.


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Metzker-Master of Light

Perhaps we feel an affinity to Ray Metzker‘s work because his photographic roots were planted here in Chicago, our home base and his frequent subject matter.  Regardless, with his ability to capture light and lines, his images would have caught our attention.

chicago trash

He pushed the boundaries of what could be done with black and white photography from how he took his photos, experimented with double exposures, to how he developed them.  He considered himself ‘an intellectual wanderer’ and his subject matter reflected this curiosity.


An exhibition of his photographs are currently on display at the Laurence Miller Gallery in New York through December.


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A Wool Story: from start to finish

Sometimes it takes a what seems to be a simple stool to appreciate the many steps that go into making it.  Hanna Bramford has taken the wool from one sheared sheep then carded, treated, and felted it into 100 balls to create the seat.

Process linsåpa pilar

Her design starting point was to be inspired by a rebel.  She chose the metaphor of the black sheep who stands out from the crowd and created a piece  that explored what she could draw out from one such black sheep.


The legs were created by turning wood on a lathe and balance wonderfully with the felted cushion.  We appreciate the process, taking raw wool from a local farm, to the hand preparation, and ending with a refined result.


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