KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for January, 2011

Jan 31 2011

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The Zen of being silent

Recently, I was on a train travelling back from a day trip into New York City. It was a Sunday, so the train was mostly full of families returning from one outing or another, and also a smattering of business people. As the train pulled away from Penn Station, I settled back and shut my eyes and began to think about the events of the day. After a few moments, I began to realize that someone in the seat in front of me was talking. And talking. And TALKING. It was a young girl in her teens or early twenties chatting on a cell phone. She was speaking in a foreign language, so I was uncertain what she was talking about, although I could certainly hear her loud and clear. This went on for the entire length of the train ride, which was around 20 minutes. I began to wonder just who the other person was on the phone that was actually listening to the girl going on and on, and if that person was as bothered as I was.

There was a woman sitting across from me reading a book. Several times, she glanced up from her book and looked at the young girl. At one point, she caught my gaze and looked at me and shook her head. We both smiled and had a bit of a giggle over such an annoying occurrence. I got off the train at my designated stop, and left my chatty travelling companion still talking away.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that I’ve been assaulted by a person ‘over-communicating’ in a public place. Be it a cell phone or just a conversation between two people, lately I feel like wherever I go, there’s a whole lot of talking going on. I think maybe the reason it bothers me so much has something to do with my age. I don’t know at what point things like this start to annoy the hell out of you, but unfortunately, I’ve reached the age where it has.

But here’s my question: WHY? I have to honestly admit, I simply don’t have that much to say. For the life of me, I cannot imagine talking about any one subject for that long without stopping, hesitating, or letting the other person at least say one or two words.

There’s a lot to be said for silence. It’s almost becoming a lost art. Silence gives you the opportunity to reflect or think through a problem you’ve been having. Silence is also a great way to relax and quiet your mind and remove yourself from the stresses of the day. I think it’s important to sit quietly every day for a few moments and just BE. We are all so connected now through social media sites, email, cell phones, smart phones, etc., that I think it’s easy to forget how important it is to remove ourselves from our daily routines and focus on not only ourselves, but our interaction with other people. Is anyone really listening? Or is there constant, unending meaningless chatter?

I’m guessing you are wondering what this has to do with what I usually blog about: green design. Of course, it has nothing to do with it, except that I deal with people all day long and sometimes it’s difficult even to listen to my clients. I think sometimes we listen to people talk too much all the time that we forget to LISTEN to what they are saying. And listening to my clients is probably the most important thing I can do in order to deliver a design they will be happy with.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to try to listen more to what people have to say. And also try not to chat on my cell phone in a place that I know would bother other people. It’s time to become more aware of my surroundings, other people, and mostly, aware of what it means to be silent.

Patricia Gaylor

Jan 28 2011

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Design future: The possibilities are limitless…


I was reminded this week of a conversation I had with my old mentor, Philip Johnson, back in 1995 when I lived in New York. In an interview this month for Architects and Artisans, I recalled how Johnson once told me how architecture had to be imitable, that is, something easily copied by the masses.

SOURCE: Metropolis Magazine

“I can’t present the world with a Frank Lloyd Wright, ” he told me (paraphrasing), “the masses cannot copy that.” It was by this measure he promoted the work of more “easily digestible” architects. In fact, Johnson’s influence over the architectural community was vast, giving power to the overrated International Style and, later, Postmodernism.

In the decades since that conversation, I have come to understand what he meant. Design, as a profession, seems to be more divided than ever into two distinct camps. The first holds that design is reserved for special occasions like office buildings and libraries and, as such, is out of reach to most people. The second is that design can change the world and should be affordable to all. While Johnson enjoyed being the arbiter of architectural tastes, perhaps we are missing out on some great design possibilities.

We haven’t even scratched the surface of what is possible in design. Design shouldn’t be based on what is easy for people to copy, but on challenging our sensibilities and questioning what we have done before. Johnson himself wrote, “All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.” As designers, our responsibility is to push the boundaries of what is known. For me, I find proof of this in the design found in Nature. Endless solutions, color palettes and intriguing geometries can be found within nature if we only take a look for them.

SOURCE: Malcolm Wells

“Continuously nature shows him the science of her remarkable economy of structure in mineral and vegetable constructions to go with the unspoiled character everywhere apparent in her forms” wrote Frank Lloyd Wright. For Wright, whose lifelong dictum of Organic Architecture inspired his designs, nature was the primary source for inspiration. Before the Ancient Greeks, Romans or Egyptians, there was Nature.

Surface detail from subBlue on Vimeo.

This video begins to express what I mean. Based on fractal geometries, this video shows a sphere being divided into surfaces based on the mathematical randomness found in Nature. This lyrically beautiful display is what you may imagine buildings of the future might look like.

Imagine the possibilities! Floor plans generated from the dimensions of nature, sprawling into rooms constructed from living plant materials and following a plan embedded in Physics and Biology. Buildings could grow the way Nature grows…but we have to start by looking for our inspiration in the right place.

Eric Corey Freed is an architect and author of four books, including “Green$ense for the Home”

Jan 26 2011

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February 1 tele-seminar: “Get More Affluent Clients”

Much better clients are just two hours away.

Invest that time on February 1, and you’ll learn how to find and serve higher-caliber clients—with bigger budgets for better projects.

“How to Connect With More Affluent Clients” is the name of the two-hour tele-seminar scheduled for 11 am EST (10 am CST, 9 am MST, 8 am PST) on Tuesday, February 1.

Joining me in presenting this powerful program is Gail Doby, the cofounder of Design Success University.

The investment, which includes an audio download, is $79 for the first 30 who sign up, and $99 for the others.

You won’t have to leave your home, office or showroom to learn ten steps to finding and working with a higher caliber clientele.

You need only to dial into this program to learn how to:

• Attract affluent prospects, and convert them into clients

• Turn single sales into long term relationships, with multiple profitable projects

• Position yourself as the go-to design professional most qualified to serve the affluent market

• Set and get high-caliber fees.

If more affluent clients are what you want, this tele-seminar is what you need.

Remember, you’ll save $20 off the registration fee if you’re among the first 30 to sign up.

For more information and registration details, click here: http://fredberns.com/feb1teleseminar/

Fred Berns coaches design professionals on how to dramatically increase sales and profits, and promote themselves more effectively. Contact him at 303-665-6688, or Fred@FredBerns.com.

Jan 25 2011

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Sugatsune Monoflat Series

Sugatsune America, manufacturer of cabinet hardware, has a new product I’m eager to incorporate into my kitchen design—the Monoflat Lin-X hinge system.


Sugatsune LIN-X450

Even though it’s a hinge, it acts like a sliding rail system. The flush door “pops” out of flush position and then swings in a limited radius—all without requiring rails on the floor or ceiling of the cabinet. A damper system makes the operation quiet, and the doors can be stopped at any open position.
As you can see in the photo above, they provide much better access to a small corner. Note that the photo shows a 12-in.-deep space instead of 24 in. It might not be a good fit by an appliance unless the appliance was integrated but in any other application, it could be a true access saver.


Sugatsune LIN-X600

If there’s a doorway or limited access where the typical swing door would be affected by a nearby interior door, this is an effective solution. The system can also be installed to be flush with surrounding cabinetry and walls.
You can find both products at http://www.sugatsune.com. There is also a video available to check out the doors in action.

Until next time,