Thu. 10.01.09

Harry Wakefield
June 2004
Mscape 415.543.1771
Retail Stores: Jun 29, 2004

mscape-wesley-sm.gifFormerly known as Cedanna, this San Francisco furniture store now has different owners - Della Robbia USA now runs the show - new thoughts on home and commercial interior design, and a new line of sleek, minimalist furniture that makes the most of Della Robbia's extensive line of textured and colored upholstery products.

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William Stout Architectural Books 415.391.6757
Books & Magazines: Jun 28, 2004

stout-store-sm.gifWm. Stout is San Francisco's premier purveyor of books on architecture and design. I have lost myself for hours in the well-organized stacks of this small shop - it is a candy store for anyone interested in modern architecutre and all aspects of industrial and graphic design, and their selection of books on classical and traditional forms of these disciplines is also extensive. In addition, they began publishing a number of titles on various subgenres of architecture and design in 1995. Most of the titles are reissues of classic source materials which had become, prior to 1995, unfortunately quite difficult to acquire.

William Stout Architectural Books
804 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

LINK: William Stout Publishers

Design Within Reach 800.944.2233
Retail Stores: Jun 25, 2004

DWR has become the king of modern furniture catalog shopping in the last few years, but those who have not yet attended one of their warehouse sales in Union City or Hayward are missing a real treat. Hundreds of items - from the usual stock of their retail stores to customer returns, slightly damaged goods and various bits and pieces that never make it into their catalogs are available at cut-rate prices. The showrooms are always worth a visit, and I look forward to receiving the catalog a few times a year.

DWR has recently expanded their accessory and lighting product ranges and now carries a number of items by Le Klint, Pablo Pardo and a number of other designers and manufacturers.

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Berkeley Mills 510.549.2854
Designers: Jun 23, 2004

Berkeley Mills might not be the first place you'd associate with the words "modern contemporary," but among their large collection of ultra-high-end handmade Japanese-inspired craftsman reimaginings (and their new custom shoji line) are a number of modern originals.

Known as the home of the $21,000 maple Tansu, Berkeley Mills also creates a number of less-Asian and -Craftsman inspired pieces, like the Azama and Lambda chairs, and the sculptural Harp and Wave tables.

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KCC Modern Living 510.704.9928
Retail Stores: Jun 22, 2004

The most eclectic of the East Bay's modern furniture dealers, KCC's showroom on University Avenue - about halfway between the UC Campus and the Marina, just east of the University exit off Highway 80 - is filled to the brim with interesting and very competitively-priced furniture, glasswork and art. Many of the designers showcased at their Berkeley store are local, although a fair range of products from manufacturers all over the world is on display.

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CCS Architecture 415.864.2800
Architects & Contractors: Jun 22, 2004

css-residence-2-sm.gifEstablished by Cass Calder Smith in 1990, CCS now resides in a converted warehouse in SoMa from wherein they have become one of the preeminent restaurant design firms in California. Principals Cass Smith and Lev Weisbach, along with a staff of 8, have produced projects such as Lulu Petite in the Ferry Building, the restaurant Azie on Folsom St., the wonderful Rose Pistola in North Beach, Straits Café in San Jose and projects in Europe and on the Eastern Seaboard, not to mention numerous homes throughout the city and along the coast and commercial buildings throughout California.

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Pablo Designs 415.865.5000
Designers: Jun 21, 2004

pablo-aura-sm.gifVenezuelan-born and US-trained Pablo Pardo designs, manufactures and sells lighting and a number of other products (the cushions and organic-looking trash can designs are great) out of his San Francisco workshop.

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Ted Boerner 415.487.0110
Designers: Jun 18, 2004

boerner-poe-sm.gifFurniture designers & consultants Ted Boerner and Frank Pontes opened shop in 1988 and since then have expanded their offerings to many more made-to-order products which are sold through showrooms nationwide. Sleek designs that seem to fuse a sort of Craftsman-period ethos into essentially modern forms, Boerner's furniture is both smoothly cool and comfortably warm, due in part to the rich wood grain and wide range of plush upholstery choices available for their sofas and chairs.

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Cleverhomes 415.462.5730
Architects & Contractors: Jun 18, 2004

clever-3-small.gifCleverhomes provides systematic (or programmatic) architectural design and building services with an emphasis on using proprietary standardized, prefabricated panels and other interchangeable parts to generate a number of customizeable floorplans.

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The Sea Ranch
Books & Magazines: Jun 17, 2004

ranch-book-cover-sm.gifThe Sea Ranch is possibly the most influential Western development of the 1960s, and one of the most architecturally significant planned communities ever constructed in California. Located just south of Gualala, California, about 100 miles north of San Francisco just off Coast Highway 1, The Sea Ranch is situated on several thousand acres of meadows and wooded glens, and many of the home sites have panoramic and uninterrupted views of the crashing waves and small beaches and tidepools that the Mendocino coast is known for. Landscape designer Lawrence Halprin's original master plan for the community focused on guidelines that would minimize physical and visual impact on the landscape, giving each homeowner wide unblocked views and plenty of open space around their homes.

LINK: The Sea Ranch
LINK: The Sea Ranch: Diary of an Idea
LINK: William Turnbull, Jr.: Buildings in the Landscape

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Ryan Associates General Contractors 415.861.3085
Architects & Contractors: Jun 17, 2004

ryan-1-1-small.gifWith offices in San Francisco, Hawaii and the Napa Valley, employee-owned Ryan Associates General Contractors has been building residential and commercial properties throughout the West since 1979. The varied skillsets of their large staff and their obsession with the smallest details of craftsmanship (Ryan even has their own expert cabinet shop, which turns out some very striking work) really shine in some of the very complex custom homes they've built.

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ohio-blocks-small.gifBoth interior and furniture designers, Ohio specializes in a particularly pared-down style and minimal settings. By reducing unnecessary decoration and excess material, they intend to make more room for thinking and doing in the spaces they design. Their furniture is consistent with this ethos; steel and wood are paired to create edited-down items that are more geometric shapes meant for seating, or for storage, or for eating off of than "furniture."

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McCartan Associates 415.956.9091
Designers: Jun 16, 2004

mccartan-5-small.gifSan Francisco's premier hotel design group, McCartan Associates is singularly attentive to every detail of the hotels they produce: they provide not only architectural and general interior design services, but also design the vast majority of furniture, lighting and even textile products used in their projects.

With offices in both San Francisco and New York, McCartan is constantly involved in a number of projects in both cities.

LINK: Hotel Adagio on MoCo San Francisco

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Modular Dwellings 415.350.4904
Architects & Contractors: Jun 15, 2004

blazona-construction-small.gifEdgar Blazona is a furniture designer, builder and welder whose prefabricated Modular Dwellings (MD) - also available in kit form for do-it-yourself types - have become especially popular with spas. Many of the tiny "modern shacks" have loft or pull-out beds and small architectural details missing from many larger homes - corner windows, translucent fiberglass walls, and ventilation solutions that are as useful as they are attractive.

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Jeanice Skvaril 415.461.3240
Designers: Jun 15, 2004

skvaril-small.gifSan Francisco furniture designer Jeanice Skvaril mixes style and comfort in her first available project, the Slice rocker. Both striking and comfortable, this piece is the first of - we hope - many new designs from Skvaril.

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Art Deco 1910-1939
Exhibitions & Shows: Jun 14, 2004

artdeco-small.gifAll of the Modern design disciplines are, of course, deeply indebted to the Art Deco movement. Please, if you are at all able, make time for a visit to the Art Deco show at San Francisco's Palace of the Legion of Honor, recently extended to run through July 5.

Legion of Honor
34th Avenue & Clement Street in Lincoln Park
San Francisco, CA 94121

LINK: Art Deco, 1910-1939
LINK: Art Deco (book)

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100 Watt 888.477.9288
Retail Stores: Jun 11, 2004

100watt-doorbells-small.gif100 Watt sells lighting products, primarily, but also carries a number of interesting electrical fixtures and related items. One line in particular fashion is Spore Inc's doorbell button & architectural lettering/numbering line, but 100 Watt also carries their own line of lights as well as fixtures and lamps by Resolute, Taller Uno and a number of other manufacturers.

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Friend 415.552.1717
Retail Stores: Jun 10, 2004

Hayes Valley boutique Friend sells design objects from all over the world, with an emphasis on translucent glass and plastics. The shop is jam-packed with brightly colored toys, furniture, light fixtures, dining ware and home decor items of all types.

401 Hayes Street
San Francisco CA 94102
t. 415.552.1717

Messersmith Homes 650.274.3352
Architects & Contractors: Jun 10, 2004

mess-wayne-small.gifArny Messersmith builds floating homes: not houseboats, which are what client Wayne Greenwood calls "the seafaring equivalent of a mobile home," but rather fully-built and -featured custom homes that just happen, by way of magic or perhaps physics, to float. In fact, Redwood City's Docktown Marina, home to Greenwood's house (pictured at right and in the extended entry below), has become a sort of mecca for modern floating-house aficionados.

LINK: The Houseboat Book

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ReadyMade Magazine 510.549.6400
Books & Magazines: Jun 10, 2004

ReadyMade is a do-it-yourself manual to building almost anything. Recent issues have included instructions on how to build everything from grass-covered (outdoor, hopefully) sofas, backyard showers and igloos to soda-can campstoves, shelving, clothes & light fixtures. A recent issue of the Berkeley-based magazine included a short article and instructions by Mimi Zeiger and Edgar Blazona on how to build a surprisingly roomy 100 square foot plexi and corrugated metal shed (colloquially known as "The Blazona," with blueprints and step-by-step instructions available for $35), and goofy pieces like "How to Appear Smarter" round out the package.

Art-Sites San Francisco
Books & Magazines: Jun 9, 2004

artsites-cover-small.gifWhat a great idea - a guidebook series focusing specifically on "contemporary art, architecture and design"! Authored by an art historian who has previously written on Yves Klein and Rosemarie Trockel, Sidra Stich's Art Sites San Francisco edition focuses primarily on visual art and innovative spaces throughout the city, with an interesting approach to navigating the city's neighborhoods with walking tours that celebrate the city's many galleries and modern architectural landmarks.

LINK: San Art-Sites San Francisco: The Indispensable Guide to Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design

Hotel Adagio 415.775.5000
Hotels & Restaurants: Jun 9, 2004

The Hotel Adagio boasts a minimalist aesthetic and a clean, modern look in its guest rooms, lobby and small meeting areas. It also contains the excellent tapas restaurant Cortez, recently named one of the "hottest new restaurants in the world" in Conde Nast Traveler. The rooms in theater district hotels are never large, but the simplicity of design at this hotel certainly maximizes what space you do have.

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San Francisco Modern
Books & Magazines: Jun 8, 2004

By far the best and most comprehensive idea book on integrating various modern architectural styles into a very specific environment (i.e. the hills and fog of San Francisco), Zahid Sardar's San Francisco Modern is full of photographs (by architectural photographer J.D. Peterson) that will be tremendously helpful for anyone planning a new project or addition. While the book stays reasonably focused on San Francisco and the Bay Area in general, many of the properties illustrated address all sorts of landscape and lot-size problems / constraints, and would be helpful in almost any environment.

LINK: San Francisco Modern

Fossil Faux Studios 415.621.7484
Designers: Jun 8, 2004

Marcia Stuermer's Fossil Faux Studios creates, in their Bits line, contemporary fossils - custom resin-molded furniture and architectural design elements that incorporate interesting bits of cast-off technological detritus. Other products, such as the Elemental series' Sushi Yes/Sushi No table duo, use basmati and wild rice within the resin of the tabletop as a striking and original surface material, and the Mercurial line features custom resin recipes that allow for an illusory swirling effect within the material. All of these treatments and materials are available for a variety of purposes, from the tabletops illustrated here to wall panels, cladding and partitions, stair railings and tread, countertops, hardware, light panels and signage - just to name a few.

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Delinear 415.626.5463
Designers: Jun 8, 2004


Textile designer Chris Baisa's Delinear make and sell (via Limn) beautiful and architecturally-inspired hand-knotted Himalayan wool rugs. The current collection is comprised of over two dozen different designs, from cool and subdued to chaotic and colorful.

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The Magazine 510.549.2282
Retail Stores: Jun 7, 2004

magazine-glider-small.gifBerkeley's The Magazine has sold "the classics" of modern design since 1990. Located over the train tracks from the hullabaloo of Fourth Street on Eastshore Highway, their showroom is filled with Capellini, Herman Miller, Alessi, Starck, Eames, Noguchi and Paulin - in the form of furniture, textiles, metalwork, toys, books and much more. Whether you are looking for a classic of 1960s modernism or something much more contemporary, the large group of international designers represented in the Magazine's collection will inspire and fulfill.

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Temple 650.323.1001
Retail Stores: Jun 7, 2004

temple-chair-2-small.gifTemple has been, through both their retail store and their gallery, the South Bay's preeminent modern furniture dealer since 2001. With an emphasis on Italian design (but also carrying products from designers and manufacturers all over the world), Temple regularly carries a wide array of home dec�r accessories, lighting and furniture products from the latest Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan and principal Paolo Preite's frequent buying & research trips throughout Europe.

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Cheng Design 510.849.3272
Architects & Contractors: Jun 4, 2004

cheng-concrete-small.gifSince 1978, Fu-Tung Cheng's Berkeley-based Cheng Design has been building & remodeling some of the most striking modern homes in the area. Known specifically for their innovative use of concrete/Geocrete(TM) products as both decorative and structural elements in interior and exterior construction, Cheng recently branched off and opened Cheng Concrete Exchange, designed to facilitate information exchange and resource sharing between builders, planners, clients and designers working with or interested in modern applications of this constantly-reinterpreted material. [photo at right by Matthew Millman]

LINK: Fu-Tung Cheng's book, Concrete Countertops: Design, Form & Finishes

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Yves Behar at SFMoMa
Exhibitions & Shows: Jun 3, 2004

As principal of the San Francisco-based design studio fuseproject, Yves Béhar focuses on communicating the emotional aspects of a product or company through storytelling, an approach emblematic of a new vision in industrial design that takes inspiration from the experience of the user. Organized around six themes - move, step, touch, hold, connect, and expand - this exhibition features Béhar's designs for a range of clients, including Birkenstock, BMW MINI, and Toshiba. This is the second exhibition in SFMOMA's design series devoted to showcasing emerging talents in the fields of architecture, graphic design, and industrial design (from the SFMoMa site).

March 26 - October 3, 2004

Hotel Diva 800.553.1900
Hotels & Restaurants: Jun 2, 2004

Voted "best hotel design" by Interiors magazine, the Diva is certainly the most avant garde of the city's high concept design hotels. From the stainless steel and sculpted resin to the lush and glossy fabrics in every guest room, the surfaces of the hotel are a far cry anything else in San Francisco. The Diva's frequent specials, often advertised on their web site, make one of the city's most calming and pleasant hotels also one of its most affordable.

Limn 415.543.5466
Retail Stores: Jun 2, 2004

You can't even talk about modern contemporary design in San Francisco without talking about Limn. The largest and most comprehensive of the few design superstores, Limn's huge showrooms (in San Francisco and Sacramento) present a tremendous volume and range of new and classic furniture design. The Limn Gallery, next door to their San Francisco showroom, has regular shows of upcoming painters, photographers and sculptors.

LIMN - San Francisco 290 Townsend Street, San Francisco

Jason Lees Design 510.482.4321
Designers: Jun 1, 2004

lees-showroom.gifJason Lees builds modern furniture using traditional materials and techniques - i.e., he builds his pieces out of wood. This wouldn't sound so strange, except that it is. In a field where so much is made from cutting-edge new materials, from plastics and polymers to concrete and resin and cardboard, it's refreshing to see someone bringing a carpenter's discipline and craft to modern furniture design.

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Zinc Details 415.776.2100
Retail Stores: Jun 1, 2004

With shops in Berkeley and San Francisco, Zinc Details sells a tremendous variety of furniture, accessories, lighting products, toys and art / design objects from a large number of contemporary designers. From Dorothee Becker's classic Uten.Silo (for Ingo Maurer) to the much more contemporary work of Mathmos, Alessi and Offi (as well as a number of local designers and artists), Zinc's small shops are full of many wonderful little - and big - treasures.

Zinc Details 1905 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA; tel 415.776.2100 1842 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA; tel 510.540.8296

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Edge Modern
Retail Stores: Jun 1, 2004

According to their website, Edge Modern opened their doors in 1971 and quickly became the most prestigious manufacturer of aftermarket parts for farm machinery and equipment in Eastern Europe. That was a good gig, but it quickly came time for a change. So, after a short rebirth as the world's largest chain of discotheques, they decided it made sense to start selling modern furniture. However, the real story is that they are two friends - Drew and Sina - who believe in "modern design for modern life." Until the eventual birth of an actual showroom in San Francisco, their extensive lines of furniture and accessories (which also include a number of items [Chicago desk; Buttercup chair; D2 shelving] designed and manufactured by Blu Dot; rugs by Angela Adams and lots more) remain available solely online.

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Publique Living
Designers: Jun 1, 2004

publique-lamps-small.gifPublique Living design modular shelving systems, textile items and several ranges of attractive containers and tableware. Most make use of interesting veneers and veneer-like materials. In San Francisco, a selection of their products are available at the SFMoMa (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) store, but the complete line is available online.


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