Industrial Design

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Photo: Jordan Doner -  Courtesy of Avery Marriott


These vintage Eame’s chairs, wonderfully and imaginatively collaged by artist Phillip Estlund, would be perfect for my studio!

In Estlund’s own words:

“These chairs were realized, rather fortuitously, while working on a series of collages in my West Palm Beach studio. I often work with imagery from field guides and books containing detailed images from nature. As I was organizing cut out images of flowers I laid them out on several surfaces, including on the seat of my Herman Miller, Eames molded fiberglass chair. The otherwise stark surface became immediately activated in a way that I hadn’t considered and after arranging and adhering the flowers to the seat the result was the Bloom Chair.”

At $3,600 each, I’ll have to let them pass, alas!


Sold via: Grey Area


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In this paperless day and age it’s nice to receive an envelope with an interesting stamp. The U.S. postal service has been doing a good job recently of putting out well-designed stamps in hope of attracting letter posters. Personally I don’t write anything much more than thank-you notes these days, but I like to use a card and stamp that is a little out of the ordinary. So I’m always on the lookout for nice stationery and stamps.

The newly released “Pioneers of American Industrial Design” series falls into the “interesting” stamp category. The “Forever” stamps highlight some of the most influential designers of the 20th century and their work.

My favorites are the colorful and sleek Fiesta pitchers designed by Frederick Hurten Rhead, followed by the Raymond Loewy’s bullet shaped pencil sharpener. Henry Dreyfuss’ 302 Bell telephone is pretty cool and I wouldn’t hesitate to use Greta Von Nessen’s “Anywhere” lamp.

The stamps were issued last week and there were only a few sheets available when I snagged one just after their release. At the slow pace in which I use stamps, it’s a good thing these will last through the next postage rate hike!

industrial design stamps

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I’ve always considered electrical transmission lines – especially the monster ones marching across the landscape – a bit menacing and definite eyesores. Imaginative and humorous new pylon designs prompted by an international design competition could change my opinion.

Brookline, Massachusetts based architects Jin Choi and Thomas Shine of Choi+Shine have re-thought the humble pylon in their entry “The Land of Giants” by transforming them into human-like statues.

The competition was sponsored by the Icelandic power company Landsnet, which owns and runs the electrical transmission system in Iceland where 80% of the electricity is from green sustainable sources, such as geothermal power. The goal was to obtain new ideas in types and appearances for 220kV high-voltage towers and lines that encircle the country.

According to Choi+Shine, “we sought to make an iconic, unforgettable pylon, that created an identity for Iceland and the power company.”


The pylon figures in Iceland vary in position. As the carried electrical lines ascend a hill, the pylon-figures change posture, imitating a climbing person. Over long spans, the pylon-figure stretches to gain increased height, crouches for increased strength or strains under the weight of the wires.


The pylon-figures can be placed in pairs, walking in the same direction or opposite directions, glancing at each other as they pass by or kneeling respectively, head bowed at a town.


Despite the large number of possible forms, each figure is made from the same major assembled parts (torso, fore arm, upper leg, hand etc.) and uses a library of pre-assembled joints between these parts to create the pylon-figures’ appearance. This design allows for many variations in form and height while cost is kept low through identical production, simple assembly and construction.

For Icelandic color inspiration click here and here.


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I suppose that when you live on an island there is a greater tendency to use and reuse available materials to fashion new objects than when living on the mainland. This imaginative rolling fire pit that my husband and I encountered at the Whale Cove Campground on Digby Neck, Nova Scotia took first place in the reduce-reuse-recycle-made-us-smile department.

Every campsite had one. Discarded washing machine drums were mounted to old push lawn mower chassis’. It’s actually a pretty ingenious idea as you can roll them around to get out of the wind or to clean up the site. We found it made a terrific windscreen for our high tech stove. Unfortunately we were blasted by torrential rain and wind and didn’t get to enjoy an evening fire before packing up soggy gear and moving on the next morning.



Enjoy your weekend!


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Kevin Cyr’s habitable fusion of bicycle and camper, titled Camper Bike, is a functioning sculptural piece that has influenced his series of paintings. To see more of Cyr’s works click here.
Kevin Cyr’s habitable fusion of bicycle and camper is a functioning sculptural piece and has influenced a series of paintings. Camper Bike certainly puts a new spin on bicycle camping!

All images are copyright 
of Kevin Cyr ©2010. Via Cold Splinters

“Like” Poppy Gall Design facebook page to see what sorts of projects we’re working on and to become an interactive part of the studio.


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VW Bus

Can your wife bake her own bread?

Can she get a kid’s leg stitched and not phone you at the office until it’s all over?

Find something to talk about when the TV set goes on the blink?

Does she worry about the Bomb?

Make your neighbor’s children wish she were their mother?

Will she say “yes” to a camping trip after 50 straight weeks of cooking?

Let your daughter keep a pet snake in the back yard?

Invite 13 people to dinner even though she only has service for 12?

Name a cat “Rover”?

Order escargots.

Live another year without furniture and take a trip to Europe instead?

Let you give up your job with a smile?

And mean it?


Before the VW microbus became a hippie-mobile it was marketed as a station wagon. The creative ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach produced funny and honest VW ads in the 60’s. The theme of cool chic, used in the ad campaign, suggested that one had to be courageous and different – desirably different – to drive the bus as a family car.

One ad, “How does it feel to show up in one of these?” showed an elegantly evening-gowned woman emerging gracefully from the front seat of a bus at the Plaza. A woman who drove a VW bus back then recalls, “It made me feel cute as a button and interesting as hell.”

This ad makes me realize that marketing to women (and men) has come a long way since the mid-60’s. The above-mentioned desirable female attributes are the norm in my circle of women friends of the next generation, many who have driven microbuses, lived in teepees, traveled solo and grown their own food. Perhaps their mothers drove microbuses?

Excerpt from Think Small; The Story of Those Volkswagen Ads by Frank Rowsome, Jr.

If you like this, you might also like this

Now on facebook, “Like” Poppy Gall Design to see what sorts of projects we’re working on and to be an interactive part of the design studio.


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I am drawn to the improbable transformation of the forbidding chain link fence from hard to soft, industrial to hand made, forbidding to welcoming, functional to decorative. These lace fences designed by the Dutch design house Demakersvan delight me with their unexpectedness. Coated steel wire is twisted into familiar curvilinear floral motifs and incorporated into the chain link.
If you like this post, you might be interested in Design Inspiration – Cal Lane.

I am drawn to the improbable transformation of these forbidding chain link fences from hard to soft, industrial to hand made, forbidding to welcoming, functional to decorative.

Designed by the Dutch design house Demakersvan, they delight me with their unexpectedness. Coated steel wire is twisted into familiar curvilinear floral lace motifs and incorporated into the chain link. If your neighbor has to have a chain link fence, I hope it looks like this!






If you like this post, you might be interested in Design Inspiration – Cal Lane.


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The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is being held in Richmond, Virginia February 26-28. I checked out some of the exhibitor websites to see what’s in store.

I suspect being at this show is like being a kid in a candy store – so many sweet and desirable bikes and accessories to ooooh and aahhh over! Here are a few that caught my eye!


Long time cycling pal and veteran frame builder Richard Sachs creates amazing bikes. Who can deny the beauty and craftsmanship of this head badge?


I’m a sucker for polka dots; I swooned over this paint job from Groovy Cycleworks!


Or how about this fabulous polka dot “Giddy Up” jeresey from Dude Girl!? Problem is, which color? They aren’t showing – but should be! :-)


Bamboosero is a group of independent bamboo frame builders throughout the developing world.  People from Ghana, Zambia, Uganda, The Philippines, and other countries were taught by Craig Calfee on his techniques for joining specially treated bamboo with epoxy soaked wraps of natural fiber.


This stealth trials frame was designed by Tekonics Design Group for Cirque du Soleil rider Lance Trappe.


This is a super cool commuter bike from Vanilla Bicycles in Portland, OR. I love the classic green paint job, the leather saddle and the red bell.


At $209.00 these handcrafted leather Italian cycling shoes from Dromarti seem like a bargain. I’m not so sure about the brown color…


VéloColour is a custom bicycle painting shop in Toronto that specializes in contemporary bicycle refinishing. These flowers add a feminine touch without being too “girly”.


These hubs are fabricated by CED – what an amazing melding of metal and wood.

Speedvagen boots

These are possibly the coolest rubber boots I’ve ever seen! From Vanilla Bicycles.


Cyclo-chic pillows from C.C.P. – they also have hats made up in this print!

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I’m intrigued by all things ski – new or vintage. So when I discovered Grown Skis, a new-ish brand making hand-made skis in an eco-friendly way I was immediately interested. And of course, with my love of vintage looks I was drawn to the simple beauty of the warm cherry topsheets.

Mind you, I have not tried the skis or even seen them in real life, I just like the aesthetic of the design, manufacture and messaging.

Grown Ski

Grown’s eco-entrepreneurial mission is to make high performance skis in an environmentally responsible manner using sustainable materials.

If you’re going to ISPO next week check them out in the Eco Village, a showplace for products and companies in the sports arena who are considered pioneers of eco-friendly manufacturing methods.

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