Friday Favorites 4/26/2013

Karin Lidbeck Brent, Contributing Editor
Isn’t this the time of year when we think about living outdoors, bringing out the patio furniture, setting up the deck and bringing color back into our lives?

This spring I have finally decided to replace all of my faded and colorless patio cushions. Until now I have put aside this simple task because I hadn’t a clue where I’d find the time to shop for fabrics that I could love. That changed this past weekend when I discovered vibrant canvas bags, pillows, placemats and tablecloths in a design shop in Chatham, Mass.

All of these home products and fabrics are made and distributed right here on Cape Cod by a company called Wellfleet Waters. Their indoor/outdoor fabrics are also sold by the yard and will be perfect for my patio makeover.

Three swatches from the Wellfleet Waters line. Photos courtesy of Wellfleet Waters

The company is owned by sisters and artists Beth Dean and Maryanne Morley. They started Wellfleet Waters by manufacturing 100 percent water-resistant cotton duck. The colors and patterns they choose are inspired by the water, sky and landscape of Cape Cod.

The sisters’ missions is to “bring the best experiences in life onto fabrics to make you smile.”

And smile I did, when I discovered their awesome textiles. I’m looking forward to brightening up my outdoor spaces this summer with Wellfleet Waters products and fabrics! For more information, please visit wellfleetwaters.com.

Paula Bodah, Senior Editor
The forecast for tomorrow is sunny and in the 60s, making for a perfect day to check out Design Museum Boston’s new exhibit, Street Seats International Design Challenge.

Twenty benches—from the sleek to the funky to the elegant—will be installed around the Boston Harborwalk. Created by designers, design firms and artists across the country and beyond, the benches are the finalists in an international competition to craft functional art from environmentally friendly materials.

Tomorrow afternoon, from 1 to 3, the public is invited to a party with food, music and tours of the benches. A jury that includes experts in the arts and design, along with a few Boston celebs like Tom Ashbrook, host of WBUR’s On Point radio program, and chef Ming Tsai, will choose a grand prize winner and a runner-up. And the rest of us will get to vote for the People’s Choice winner.

If you can’t make it to the party, don’t worry: the benches will be on display through October. Meanwhile, here’s a preview of benches by local designers that made the final cut.

City Blocks

Dirk Ahlgrim, Prat Ganapathy, David Goligorsky, Ann Kim, Sophy Lee, Timothy McGee, Liza

Rutenbeck and Greg Wolos from IDEO , Cambridge, Mass.

Photos courtesy of Design Museum Boston

StrataForm Bench

Brian Slozak and Marc. D. Gabriel, Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Boston

The Chroma Bench

Arvin Abadilla, Jason Cooper, Justin Cumming, Kat Hoy, Ian Schon and Eric Whewell, Make Stuff Lab, Boston

luminous

Courtney Borelli, Guy Compagnone, Kara Hanson, Gilbert Hsu, Elizabeth Jaeger and Eda Muco, Dyer Brown Architects, Boston, and Chapman Construction, Newton, Mass.

Urban Island

Sarah Carlisle, James Jarzyniecki, Robert Linn and Keith Moskow Moskow Linn Architects, Boston

Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in-Chief
2013 seems to be the year of books for the New England residential design community. (You’ll be hearing more about that from me over the coming weeks.) Several books by or about New England designers are already out (I mentioned one yesterday, by Connecticut designer Cindy Rinfret); several more are coming soon.

Also based in Connecticut, architect Phillip James Dodd this spring came out with The Art of Classical Details, an interesting and earnest collection making a case for the continued vitality of Greco-Roman architectural ideas in today’s world.

Peter Pennoyer Architects: Drumlin Hall. Interior decoration by Thomas Jayne Studio; photos by Jonathan Wallen

The book is divided into two parts: first a various selection of essays on ideas related to the classical tradition; then a brief look at twenty-five homes influenced in various ways by the five canonical “orders”—that is, systems of proportion and architectural detail based originally on the Greek column.

Henbury Rotunda stairway by Julian Bicknell & Associates. Photo from julianbicknell.co.uk

Even if you don’t fully embrace the contributors’ more polemical points—Quinlan Terry’s “Swimming Against the Tide” comes to mind for me—there will still be plenty of times you find yourself nodding in agreement or admiring the sweep of a stair. The book is really at times more a paean to the primacy of craft in fine building, illustrated by the work of some of the most painstaking practitioners of our time. And who can argue against that?

Quinlan & Francis Terry Architects: Ferne Park. Photo from qftarchitects.com

Ferguson & Shamamian Architects: Regency house in Hollywood whose new classical interior—somewhat relaxed, in California mode—was created retroactively to harmonize with the house’s 1930s exterior. Photo by Lisa Romerein

Country house in Hampshire designed by Robert Adam with Paul Hanvey, ADAM Architecture. Photo from adamarchitecture.com

Georgian country estate in Greenwich, Conn., by Wadia Associates. Photo by Jonathan Wallen, from wadiaassociates.com

The Roman architect Vitruvius famously defined the most important qualities of good architecture as “firmness, utility, and delight.” Dodd argues that the only way to achieve delight is “through the study of other likeminded designs and use of the classical vocabulary.” I wouldn’t go so far, but certainly there are delights to be found in his book. You can buy a copy here.

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