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Designed in collaboration with MUT Design, LZF again brings about the feeling of wood touched by light with Lens wall lights and the Tomo collection. Simple yet complex, both series bring about high design while integrating LED and bluetooth control to help keep your space smart.

Lens’ wood veneer shade surrounds a light and a central void, creating a symmetrical flow with no edges. The wall version places a mirror in the void, while the table and floor options remain open and incorporate a slender metallic base that keeps the shade in place. The soothing series has two shade types: circular and elliptical, with the elliptic version available in both an elongated and a truncated ellipse. Lens comes in several veneer options.

Inspired by books placed side by side, Tomo is made from a series of oblong shapes. Graphic and geometrical, the wood veneer collection is available as a suspension lamp as well as a table lamp. Thoughtfully designed, Tomo presents as a beautiful object even when not in use. Tomo also comes in several veneer options.

To learn more about Lens and Tomo, visit lzf-lamps.com.

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One study found the “average athlete’s water bottle contains 313,499 CFU (colony-forming units) of bacteria per square centimeter”. Dirty hands, backwash, and infrequent washes between uses are all attributable to the proliferation party of unwanted microbial guests on surfaces of reusable drinking containers. LARQ, a self-cleaning water bottle with a UV-C LED sanitizing light integrated into its cap, is designed to eradicate such bacterial and viral growth with an efficacy rate of 99.999% at the touch of a button.

The LARQ is powered by its own Li-Polymer battery that will last for up to a month between charges (via Micro-USB; charging cable included), with two purifying modes: Normal, a 60-second cycle for trusted water sources, and Adventure, a 3-minute cycle for extra purification from outdoor sources.

The original TSA-friendly sized LARQ water bottle series was launched by Justin Wang in 2018, a crowdsourced technological solution answering public interest for a safer, reusable water storage on the go. LARQ’s innovation was delivering in the inclusion of its very own UV-C LED integrated cap, allowing users the ability to sterilize the bottle in the span of a minute using the germicidal properties of ultraviolet light with just a touch of a button.

The brand’s latest announcement is four additional colorways, each inspired by earthly hues drawn from landscapes and nature – the LARQ Bottle Movement Terra Collection. Aimed at outdoor lifestyles, its sleek design is suited for the mountains, beaches, deserts, or anywhere additional hydration is required.

The aesthetic update features the same self-cleaning UV-C LED cap design as the original, alongside the electropolished 18/8 stainless steel and interchangeable premium food-grade silicone sleeves – with new colors designed to evoke the great outdoors.

The LARQ Bottle Movement Terra Collection is available in two sizes: $78 for the 24 oz (710 ml) size or $98 for the larger 32 oz (950 ml) edition.

>>> For hot and cold beverages, shop the original, double-wall insulated LARQ Bottle at the Design Milk Shop here! <<<

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CYAN arq+dis recently completed OBRA GRIS (A House in Gray), a modern home in Puembo, Quito, Ecuador inspired by the simplicity of the materials. Bypassing a “finished” look, the architects utilized materials, like exposed concrete, steel, and glass, and welcomed their imperfections to achieve the industrial aesthetic they desired.

During the design process, they focused on the spatial, the aesthetic, and the adaptation of the place. The layout was kept open allowing the spaces to feel connected as the homeowners like to be in contact with each other throughout the day. The couple works from home and wanted the spaces to be adaptable depending on their daily needs. They also didn’t want it to feel like there was a difference between the living spaces and the working spaces.

With no finishing or decorative details to cover up mistakes during the construction process, they had to ensure everything was perfect to reach the aesthetic they wanted.

The sides of the house are closed off with two exposed concrete walls to create privacy between their house and the neighbors on both sides. The back and front of the house are open with large expanses of windows to enjoy the views.

Photos by JAG STUDIO.

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Los Angeles-based furniture, interior, and accessory designer Jialun Xiong has created Building Blocks, a set of black and white seating designed around honesty of materials and purity of form. The minimalism of the shapes allows both designs to shine from every angle, with each piece leaning on the other to form a figurative whole. Building Blocks’ Side Chair is an illusion that plays with positive and negative shapes through its design. The side chair’s companion pulls double duty as a Side Table / Stool, depending on your space’s needs. Its round shape and minimal form takes the design down to only the necessities. Both pieces are available in both black and white. The white version is made from leather and a metal base, add Ash wood and suede for the black version and you have a pair that cuts at all angles.

Jialun Xiong

Learn more about Building Blocks, visit xiongisabear.com.

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Professor Harriet Harriss (RIBA, PFHEA, Ph.D.) is a talented and qualified architect, as well as Dean of the Pratt School of Architecture in Brooklyn, New York. Her teaching, research, and writing focus upon pioneering new pedagogic models for design education, as captured in her book Radical Pedagogies, and for widening participation in architecture to ensure it remains as diverse as the society it seeks to serve, a subject she investigates in her other book, A Gendered Profession. Today Dr. Harriss is joining us for Friday Five and sharing just a few things that are inspiring in her own life.

1. Prospect Park Dog Beach
As both a dog owner and a runner, living within close proximity to a green space is essential. Brooklyn’s Prospect Park offers an especially sublime space for canines to indulge their aquatic instincts, particularly when the morning light etches their wet fur in outline. Prospect Park also interests me for other reasons. Designed by the same landscape architects as Manhattan’s Central Park – Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux – it symbolized a visionary understanding of the need of all city residents, whatever their economic circumstances, to have free and easy access to the natural environment. From a runner’s perspective, the park offers something quite unique: the opportunity to run almost alone around a quiet (if artificial) lake at 6am on a weekend, or to join a sizable pack of other runners at 6am on a weekday by following the road that circumnavigates the park. Runners typically come in all shapes and sizes, and this often reminds me of how irrelevant our differences seem when our purpose unites us.

Image via Web Gallery of Art

2. Jan Davidsz de Heem, Still Life with Ham, Lobster and Fruit, c.1653
The New York Metropolitan Museum has an exceptional collection of 17th Century still life paintings, that for a former Northern European, capture something of the coolness of light and sense of damp that I’m familiar with. I’ve always found this genre of painting fascinating. At first glance, the assortment of fruits, meats, plants and bowls speaks of a kind of wealth and excess that only a tiny minority of 17th Century Europeans could ever afford. Upon closer inspection however, the rotting fruit and dying flowers evoke a sense of death not life, hence earning the title, memento mori, the memory of death. More recently, art historians and scholars have written extensively about the latent symbolism and multi-layered narratives within each hour glass, apple and decomposing grape that these pictures capture in exquisite detail. From my perspective however, I feel the work reminds us of the disproportionate inequalities created by Europe’s brutal exploitation of its colonies, a legacy that is still very much present and problematic, even today.

Photo by Steve Cadman

3. The Dunboyne Road Estate, 1965, Camden Council, London
One of London’s most overlooked architectural icons is the Dunboyne Road Estate, built as part of a huge post-war effort to rehouse the 1.5 million Londoners left homeless after the Blitz bombings of the Second World War. At the time, the London Borough of Camden was considered radical in their ambitions to provide well-designed, affordable homes to their residents and the 71-flats succeed in integrating housing and habitat quite wonderfully. Each home has both a private terrace and access to communal gardens, with dual-aspect windows ensuring residents benefitted from as much natural light as possible, something that all New Yorkers can relate to. The estate is now Grade II listed but it was the first major work by architect Neave Brown, who like it so much that he lived there for the rest of his life. It’s considered an architectural icon because despite often historically inaccurate bad press, concrete construction – often broadly described as Brutalist (meaning raw concrete) – can result in delightfully humanistic designs rather than uninhabitable bunkers as the public are too often led to believe.

Photo courtesy Naama Agassi

4. Hairy Jewelry by Naama Agassi
A rising number of women product designers are offering fresh takes on everyday objects, and Hairy jewelry by Naama Agassi is an excellent example of this. Her hair-derived jewelry is designed to be worn on areas of the body where body hair is typically considered unacceptable for women in most western cultures. Agassi took her cues from the colors and tasseled elements of ceremonial uniforms, and in doing so made something that was otherwise considered contemptible into something both captivating and compelling. The work speaks to two of my current preoccupations, firstly, the need to see more women designers impact the designs we use in everyday life and, secondly, the power and value of repurposing often overlooked, yet highly sustainable materials in innovative ways.

Photo via Public Radion International

5. Greta Thunberg
Since buildings emit almost half of the carbon dioxide produced in the U.S., architects have a huge role to play in responding to the climate crisis. Greta Thunberg is both an environmental activist and – to me – a design icon, because her message is doing more to make us think about the seriousness of the situation than any current piece of legislation, building code, historic style or genre has ever succeeded in doing. Her message is forcing architects to reassess not only the products but the processes within the architecture industry. By choosing to re-purpose instead of new build, by working towards carbon-neutral construction, and by recognizing that our responsibilities as designers extend beyond client and contractor to the local and the global requires a necessary and urgent shift in how we perceive the scale of the problem. Not only this, but Thunberg’s generation, despite seemingly impossible odds, are showing those in power how positive change can be peacefully achieved. We are learning more from them about bravery, integrity and what it means to be a human than they have ever learned from us.

Books by Dr. Harriet Harris:

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These days (and even more so recently) there are so many ways to discover small businesses thanks to social media and word of mouth. Today we’re rounding up 8 Black-owned businesses that we think are making some interesting products worth checking out. Purchasing a product goes a very long way when it comes to small businesses, but it’s not the only way to way to show support. Giving them a follow on Instagram, a heart on your favorite posts, or a comment of encouragement and love goes a long way too.

Skincare should be affordable and it’s a myth that only expensive products are effective. Also, when it comes to washing your face, simple is better! The shorter the ingredient list (with ingredients you can actually pronounce), the better. Plant Apothecary carries a variety of products for face and body but we can personally recommend the Wash Your Face, a certified organic aloe face wash that cleanses without stripping and is ultra gentle for even the most sensitive skin types.

Beneath Your Mask is gaining a cult following for their hair, skin, and body care products that are micro-batched by hand in Southern California. Our recommendation? The Remedy Conditioning Lip Balm for repairing dry, chapped lips. Its ingredients include ximenia (a rich, moisturizing African plum oil) and it smells of yuzu and green mandarin, a citrusy blend perfect for the summer.

We love the internet for enabling us to support a distant coffee shop like Portrait Coffee Atlanta from across the country. There are four different blends of coffee beans you can purchase, but if you don’t need the extra caffeine, you can also purchase Rocket Love, a candle with “a citrusy scent inspired by the blazing heat of a Georgia summer.” It smells of bright blood oranges and earthy sandalwood, and all candles are hand-poured and produced by the team at Portrait Coffee.

Up your adaptogen game with Golde. From face masks to matcha turmeric latte blends, you can start looking and feeling better from the inside out. If you’re not sure where to start, the Superfood Latte Sampler would be our recommendation.

Freedom Apothecary is a Philadelphia-based, women- and Black-owned store that was created for women, especially black women and women of color, to find community through the pursuit of health and wellness. The store carries women-powered brands and even has its own line. We’re not-so-patiently waiting for the Green Tea Butter to come back in stock to help our sun-chapped skin!

Pholk Beauty uses the healing practices and herbalist traditions from the African Diaspora adapted to local ingredients to create skin- and body-nourishing products. On our list to try is the Beauty Sleep Set, which includes a Honeysuckle Rose Face Mist and a Hemp x Hibiscus Night Oil to aid in our reparative face care.

There are only three products from Peak and Valley Co which is helpful if you’re new to adaptogens. Balance My Stress, Nourish My Brain, and Nurture My Skin are three different herbal blends that were created to help you feel better where you most need it. All you do is add a scoop to your favorite warm milk or your morning smoothie – it couldn’t be simpler to care for your own wellness!

Urban Re-Leaf uses 100% pure therapeutic grade cannabis oils mixed with coconut wax, which means their candles are both high-quality and clean burning. Since we’re not traveling any time soon, Havana Wood sounds like a nice way to transport us to Cuba with its rich and smoky aromas of tobacco, passionflower, vetiver, and kiwi.

We will be doing more of these kinds of round-ups in the future to highlight our favorite BIPOC businesses. If you have a favorite go-to shop, please leave a comment so we can check them out!

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The Duomo cathedral in Milan, Italy has inspired many creations, and now we can count FrattiniFilli’s DOMM chair among them. Created using traditional materials and processes, these bent wood chairs have a slightly different concept from traditional designs – it all revolves around the repetition of one beech wood “ring” with a bending radius, height being the one variable in the equation. The slightly descending line of DOMM’s profile allows for the lower rings to act as armrests while creating a bold iconic look.

Another new piece from FrattiniFilli is TRIDO, a multifunctional object that can be put to use as either a stool or table. Available in two sizes, each unit can be arranged in four different positions for maximum versatility as a low and high stool, small bench, side table, or even magazine rack. TRIDO is created by joining two previously folded triangular aluminum sheets, with the bolts clearly visible to show off the object’s minimal, geometric construction.

Learn more about DOMM and TRIDO by visiting frattinifilli.it.

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Well, this is it – the last episode of the Firehouse Project from TheBuild.tv. We have loved following along as Anthony Carrino and his team share the process of renovating this extraordinary space. Take a final tour here and get a sneak peek at Season 2:

Check out the 3D model here:

See more of the design details and photos at TheBuild.tv and watch all episodes here.

Images courtesy of Anthony Carrino.

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Extra&ordinary Design is a London-based design studio founded by designer Hyunhee Hwang who focuses on design-led products that transform ordinary spaces into the extraordinary. For the past 10 years, Hwang has worked in the design industry in South Korea and England, honing her aesthetic which comes to life through playful colors, sculptural shapes, and the use of jesmonite.

The brand’s latest collection is called Scala, featuring a series of objects, like a vase, candle holder, incense holder, and trays, inspired by Roman marble architecture, particularly marble block stairs and columns. Each piece is individually cast and handmade giving them marble-like characteristics and unique finishes.

Inspiration for the Scala collection

Part of the Jumony collection, the accessory trays (above) and wall mounted planters (below) featured ruffled edges resembling fabric details found on traditional Korean garments and accessories.

>>> Visit the Design Milk Shop to see everything by Extra&ordinary Design! <<<

Through September, we are donating 1% of the Design Milk Shop sales to The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Click here to read the Design Milk Mission for our commitment to donations, diversity, equity, + anti-racism action.

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Toronto-based design firm Cecconi Simone Inc. recently designed the interiors of a contemporary home located in Toronto’s Lawrence Park neighborhood. The home’s quiet and elegant design merges landscape, architecture, and interiors seamlessly, lending itself perfectly to a light and sophisticated material palette that highlights outside views to the pool and yard.

Cecconi Simone Inc. decided to keep finishes and lighting consistent throughout the space to maintain its calm nature and highlight the stunning outdoor views from double-height windows. Wood floors, white cabinetry, and a black fireplace maintain the structure’s contemporary style without sacrificing comfort.

“When you enter the front door, there’s a direct sightline that connects to the rear yard. To reinforce that sense of space and connection with the outdoors, we have a continuity of finishes and lighting, inside and out,” says Cecconi Simone principal Elaine Cecconi.

The main level is divided into a public and private area, which allows for easy entertaining and an extra level of privacy. The public zone features a combined dining and living room with a piano placed by the front window. A wood staircase with floating treads is set behind a glass screen, which becomes more noticeable when flooded with light through the skylight above.

The private zone is a double-volume space that features a grand family room with views of the yard and pool and a contemporary kitchen.

The upper level includes bedrooms for the family, along with a separate guest suite with two bedrooms and a shared bathroom.

Other notable features include a gym, home theater, and a music library that showcases the owners’ extensive vinyl collection.

Photos by Shai Gil.

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