Do design classics have to go?

January 8th, 2009

In the most recent issue of “Elle decor” we stumbled across this article:

“Greatest-hits decorating has got to go,” says Elaine Miller, who writes the take-no-prisoners blog Decorno, referring to interiors packed with home-furnishing icons. “It’s time to quit gorging at the design buffet and create rooms with more soul.”

Let’s face it, if you walk into someone’s home and can’t decide whether you’ve stepped into someone’s living room or a retail space it’s probably lacking some soul, but I think there may be a bigger culprit than furnishing your home with “Design Classics”. In my opinion, personal touches are what really make a space your own, through surrounding yourself with the things you love and have a personal connection to. Being an aficionado of mid-century design, I am captivated by the lines and shapes of these iconic pieces. Design classics are classics because they are timeless, they are inspiring and change the way we look at conventional furniture. For example, the Paimio Chair designed by Alvar Aalto in 1931 pushed the limits of plywood manufacturing shaping the chair to help the sitter breathe easier. It’s hard to ignore pieces that have had such an impact simply because “Greatest-hits Decorating has got to go”. So fill your homes with what inspires you whether it’s Eames, or Le Corbusier, or a set of lawn chairs you found at a flea market that you’ve proudly set up in your living room. If you love a design it’s worth having around. if not, toss them, and we’ll be there waiting for you on craigslist to give up the goods.

Speaking of Design Classics, we took a look at some contemporary pieces that have all the makings of a future design classic, all of which are available locally and are anything but soulless. Here are some of our favorites: GT Rocker

The GT Rocker Designed by Toronto local: David Podsiadlo of the design collective “Gus Design Group” featuring a hot-rolled steel frame and your choice of upholstery, though we can’t think of a better colour than this electric yellow. Dimensions: W26″xH31″xD39″ Price: Starting from $1800 Available: at Style Garage


The onedge series comes from twin woodworkers Jason and Lars Dressler out of their wood shop in Toronto The onedge lounge is made from birch plywood and available in 5 different stains (dark, brown, natural, red, and charcoal) made with or without arms. Being environmentally conscience about waste, excess materials left in the process of creating these chairs are made into cutlets and bracelets. Dimensions: W24″xH39″xD33″ (chair) W24″xH16″xD19″ (ottoman) Price: Starting from $1500 (chair) $700 (ottoman) available: at Made Design


Biblioteca bookshelf comes from “wonder kid” Matt Carr for Umbra. This ingenious design was born forging two vintage coffee tables into a book rack for his own home. The design was then produced using a natural mahogany top and black lacquered legs. Dimensions : W37″xH44″xD11″ Price: $725.00 available: at the Umbra Concept Store

Balloona Stool

Balloona Stool from designer Natalie Kruch for Umbra. Part of the “Confetti line”, this playful stool is comprised of over 500 balloons wrapped around a solid wood base. This being only her first piece with Umbra, we can’t wait to see what other designs she’ll come up with! Dimensions: W14″xH17″xD14″ Price: $350 available: at the Umbra Concept Store


Castor’s Recycled Tube Light comes to us from Toronto design duo Brian Richles and Kei Ng. Comprised of used florescent lights from “architecturally significant buildings”, depending on which model, these lights are capable of hanging horizontally, vertically, or free standing. Check out their work at “Oddfellows” restaurant at Queen and Shaw. Dimensions : varying in lengths of 15″, 2ft, 3ft, 4ft and 8ft Price: $600 – $1900 Available: at Klaus by Nienkamper


Forked up is by design collective “Thout” comprised of Patrick Turner, Andrea Perason, and Thomas Hirschmann. Created with a white laminate plywood face, this fun space saver allows you to store your utensils as if they were “hurled into the wall by a knife thrower”. Compatible with most standard cutlery magnets ensures that it works smoothly. Dimensions : W24″xH24″xD1″ Price: $300 Available: at Made Design

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