This was one of the most asked questions at the BKLYN DESIGNS show. We exhibited at the St. Anne’s warehouse the weekend of the 10th and the scaled models we displayed attracted a lot of attention both from adults and kids as well.

The short answer is no, this is not doll furniture but the truth is so many requests sparked my curiosity and we may end up doing some modern doll furniture. The scaled models are 1/3 of the size and they are built almost exactly like the real furniture, using the same materials and finishes.

It turned out to be an excellent way of showing many designs in a small booth. We had in display only one real size loft bed and it was surprising to see how easily people would switch from scaled model to real thing when comparing the virtues of one design over another.

By using scaled models we were able to save not only display space but also in plywood and labor costs. Can this be considered “green exhibiting”? Every designer nowadays wants to be “green” and all sorts of claims are made to that respect. I have of course my own claims to be green, starting by designing durable furniture that will not need recycling any time soon.

For more information on our loft beds please email me at rg@casakids.com

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I recently helped my friend Crista Giuliani to design her daughter’s nursery. She wanted Sofia’s room to be all white so we did a custom version of the Ola Crib and painted white the wood rails. The budget was tight so the Ola crib was complemented with classic Ikea dressers lined up under the window.

A curvaceous mid century  armchair upholstered in black leather creates an interesting dialogue with the roundness of the crib. A white, furry, circular rug brings together the contrasting pieces.

The bedding’s polka dots (more circles!) provide a refreshing accent of color to the otherwise neutral environment. I like very much the calmness of this room. It seems very suitable for a baby to grow in. For more information on the Ola crib please visit casakids.com

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I recently completed three display cabinets for an exquisite and unique lingerie store in  downtown NYC, at University Place called La Petite Coquette. They carry very upscale merchandise and cater to a hip, affluent and edgy clientele, models and celebrities included.

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The owner of the store, Rebecca Apsen, wanted something very sexy and functional at the same time and she insisted: “use curves!”. The profile of the display units which are over seven feet tall, have a curvaceous contour, loosely inspired by the shapes of the  female body.

These units serve for display and for storage of lingerie. They have drawers at the bottom, hanging rods and also shelves. It was very important to provide flexibility in their use so I did three separate cabinets with hidden wheels that can be moved around the store and used together or separately.

For the color scheme, well, you can’t go wrong with pink. The yellow drawer fronts eventually will be decorated with hand painted details, same for the sides of the cabinets. It was clear from the beginning that I was creating a basic “shell” that will later be “decorated” by someone else, an artist perhaps.

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Making it work in a small space… I recently completed the room of a nine year old girl who needed a bigger bed with a lot of storage under it and a new desk. Eva, who lives with her parents and her brother Ethan has a small room but all for herself.

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“This room has to last until she goes to college… “The idea was that Eva could grow in this room and still like it as a teenager. Perhaps in the future the pink pulls may be replaced with something less “girlie” but the rest of the furniture should very well survive the passage of time.

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Green materials. We chose a combination of bamboo and formaldehyde free mdf (medium density fiberboard) finished with a non toxic water based paint. Bamboo plywood is a very “green” material, it is hard and it is durable.

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Storage and more storage… The platform bed has six drawers, a pull out tray that acts as a night table and a shoe cabinet behind sliding doors at the foot of the bed. Raising the bed from the floor 30” creates the equivalent storage capacity of a large dresser plus some extra shelf space.

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Floating cabinet… The desk has a hanging cabinet above it. This split creates a more open and lighter feel for the room. Under the desk top there is a pencil drawer and below it and between the two bottom cabinets there is a 6″ wide shelf where all the wires get plugged.

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Second time around… As an anecdote, I had designed and built the furniture for this room six or seven years ago when Ethan and Eva used to share it. www.casakids.com. Back then I had done a loft bed with a desk and a small bed for her. Eva, at such young age is now a repeat client. That feels nice!

sketchesevas-room-floor-planLast but not least… Special thanks to the multi talented Fili Perez who collaborated with me in this project and many others.

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FROM RED HOOK, BROOKLYN

January 1, 2010

I have been working in Red Hook since July 2000. I have a full wood shop where we make cabinets and furniture. I have also my design studio and a showroom with samples of my designs. We make scaled models of other pieces to show different configurations.

My shop/studio/showroom is located in a brick warehouse right on the water front, surrounded by a beautiful little park on two sides of the building. My office window faces the park and I never get tired of the changing landscape. The water, the sky and the green are constantly changing colors with the changing of seasons and the time of the day. It’s hard to believe this is also New York.

Red Hook is a great place to work. There are many other shops around: people that do metal work, stone work, glass work or other wood shops that specialize in doors and panels for example. Having all these resources around makes it easy to collaborate with other trades.

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Red Hook was much more quiet when I moved my shop here. Now we have Fairway, Ikea, nice restaurants, cool little stores on Van Brunt Street and a growing community of artists and creative people in general that hang out in Baked during the day and in Sunny’s at night.

The Valentino park (my back yard…) has a kayak launch and there is a growing number of enthusiasts that come on a regular basis to get into the water.

kayaksBut perhaps the most inspiring thing is to see the Statue of Liberty from my window. It’s a really pretty monument and has a powerful meaning.statue

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HOME OFFICE IN BAMBOO

December 2, 2009

I recently completed another home office in a spacious loft apartment in downtown New York, in the neighborhood of Tribeca. My client and old friend Nelba Valenzuela Delmedico, an art dealer, lives with her husband and their daughter in a converted office building and works from home.

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Even though their apartment has a separate study, Nelba likes to work in the main room of the house, so we had to design the bookshelves and the desk in such a way that could coexist with the rest of the furniture in their living/dinning room.

BEFORE AND AFTER

BEFORE AND AFTER

It seemed obvious to place the desk close to the window, just as Nelba had it. The challenge was to integrate it into the whole unit and make it as less “invasive” as possible. The actual desk is like a box with drawers that cantilevers from the bookshelves.

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WIRE MANAGEMENT

WIRE MANAGEMENT

PRINTER PULL OUT BEHIND SLIDING DOORS

PRINTER PULL OUT BEHIND SLIDING DOORS

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From the start, both my client and I decided to use bamboo. It is a sustainable wood, it is hard and durable and looks beautiful in its natural amber tone. The bamboo plywood is composed by many small strips of bamboo glued together in a triple layered 3/4″ thick “sandwich”. It is a very stable, flat sheet of material that allowed me to create this system where the shelves are a few inches cantilevered from the vertical supports.

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Going “green” is not only about using sustainable materials but also about creating products that will last a life time. It’s about designing and building furniture that is strong and durable and flexible enough to adapt to different uses and different locations.

Last but not least, my design process is based on the efficient use of materials and the refinement of its proportions rather than going after a particular “look” or “style”. It has been my experience that when you design with common sense, focusing on the functionality and the durability of the product, beauty may result as a welcomed sub product of this effort.

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I recently completed a home office in a beautiful 3 bedroom loft apartment in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). My clients, Dr. Brian and Magdalena Levy wanted a desk for their computer and storage cabinets for their files to be built in a corner of their loft.

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We came up with a “U” shaped configuration wrapping around the space and a hanging cabinet in one corner. In the middle section of the “U” we created a removable cover for the radiator.
I placed the desk under the main window, directly looking at the Manhattan Bridge.

beforeafter

Before and after: from chaos to organization, the new built in furniture can make work at home a much more enjoyable experience.

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There are four file drawers in the corner cabinet. A hanging bookcase above holds catalogs, boxed files and paper.

From initial sketch to completed fabrication the project took 8 weeks to complete.

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For price information and other questions please contact me through the contact page.

VIEW FROM THE WINDOW OF THE MANHATTAN BRIDGE

VIEW FROM THE WINDOW OF THE MANHATTAN BRIDGE


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A COLORFUL DESK

October 8, 2009

I recently designed and built this cabinet for a nine year old city kid who has many books, an iMac, a bunch of games and spends a lot of time in his bedroom. His mom, Ellen Diamant is the owner of Skip Hop, a hip NY based company that produces baby products including the trendiest diaper bags in the market. Ellen, a designer herself and a big fan of mid century furniture, really liked a piece I had done before in a sort of Jean Prouve-meets-Donald Judd style and asked me to design something for her child with a similar look.

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So we came up with this eight feet long unit that has a desk at the bottom and bookshelves above. It has drawers of different sizes and open and closed storage compartments. We used Baltic birch in a natural finish and MDF (medium density fiberboard) with a clear coat as well as with colored paint.

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But looks aren’t all and functionality is a big issue in modern desks. Under the counter top there is a very discreet wire management shelf where all the equipment gets plugged. There are no wires hanging or sitting on the floor.

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Designing for another designer is always extra challenging. Ellen has a great eye for color and proportion and she was not easy to please… It took many revisions to reach the right design. The main thing: her son likes it and uses it a lot.

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This project took 6 weeks to produce but the whole process including design consultation, site visits, sample and shop drawing approvals extended over a longer period of time.

For more information please go to the contact page.


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PORTRAITS IN DUMBO

August 28, 2009

“I rarely have the opportunity of observing so many kids use my furniture in such a short period of time…”
The best thing that happened during the Brooklyn Designs show last May was having so many kids try my furniture. Although most times parents select the furniture for their children the greatest thing is when kids themselves really like it. I can see it in their faces. Kids are drawn to the furniture that they recognize as for their size and taste.
So during the show I took a bunch of pictures of kids using the furniture or posing as if they were. It has always been important as part of my design research to study how children interact with the furniture and be able to make improvements based on these types of observations. Click on the image to enlarge. Thanks.


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THE BKLYN DESIGN SHOW

May 28, 2009

The past May 9-12 we did the annual Brooklyn Design show in DUMBO. It was a really good show. We had some new designs and some of the old ones too. We had a fantastic spot for the exhibition: the carousel space that is next door to St. Ann’s warehouse on Water Street that belongs to Jane Walentas (picture on the right with me). Jane’s carousel is temporarily housed there until the Brooklyn waterfront park is ready to host it permanently. Jane very kindly offered the space for the show and that’s how we could have our furniture there for the long weekend. See pictures below! Also check out her link to Jane’s Carousel.

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The most popular design at the Brooklyn Designs show last May was the DUMBO loft bed. This elevated bed has an adjustable desk and lots of storage. The cabinets are modular and they can be oriented towards the outside or the inside of the bed.
The storage cabinet can be used for books, toys or clothes. Doors are optional. We make the loft bed to order in our Brooklyn shop. We can also customize colors, heights and pretty much anything. We also install it in your home.

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