Design Blocks

Archive for the ‘Foundations’ Category

Yesterday I shared the link to photos illustrating Kelly Wearstler’s Malibu mansion which were photographed by Jamie who keeps the blog From Me To You. Recently, while working in Abu Dhabi she visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and posted the stunning photos to her blog. I am calling all of my interior design students to view this as it is a wonderful example of Muslim Design and helps to illustrate design history. I hope you take the time to look at each picture and identify the various types of ornamentation. Click here to view all of her posted photos!

{All Images via From Me To You}


This is one of the best retrospectives I have found on an iconic designer before. Pam Keuber at Retro Renovation has put together a fabulous tribute celebrating Eva Zeisel. Ms. Zeisel was an iconic ceramic designer during the mid-century period and she continued working until her recent passing at 105 years old. If you do not know who Ms. Zeisel is then here is your chance to learn all about her and her contributions to the design world. Please click here to view this wonderful tribute!

{Image via Eva Zeisel}

I cannot wait to share these images with my textiles students later this semester but in the mean time I thought you would all be interested to see a slide show of images featuring a shawl completely woven from spider silk. It took 80 people and seven years to collect enough silk to complete this shawl, which will be on display later this month at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK. Click here to view a picture gallery of this magnificent shawl!

{Image via BBC News}

{Detail Image via BBC News}

Check out this pristine mid-century designed home by William Pahlmann that was featured on Retro Renovation. Click to view her other posts on this this designer via retro renovation.

{Images via Retro Renovation}

Interesting article called ‘Tertiary Hues‘ in the Stir website by Sherwin Williams. I think this is a great one for students to view regarding color theory.

I like most other people flip through all the furniture catalogs that I get in the mail. I enjoy viewing all the style trends for each season and seeing historical designs reinterpreted in contemporary ways.  Here are some images from West Elm’s fall collection and I would like to know if you can identify what historical furniture designs they are derived from. I will post again tomorrow with images of original designs. 🙂

{Image via West Elm}

{Image via West Elm}

{Image via West Elm}

{Image via West Elm}

I know it can be very difficult for students to draw furniture in plan and elevation views when they are first learning to draft and use AutoCAD. For this reason I love when furniture companies include line drawings with dimensions in their catalogs and online website. It is an excellent resource for students to learn and interpret how furniture looks in a picture to a floor plan or elevation drawing. One such company that includes drawings in their catalogs and online is Design Within Reach (DWR). You can click here to subscribe to their catalog to start receiving it at home, it is free. 🙂 It is important to note that not every image includes a line drawing but there is a great many of them, including light fixtures and tables. It might just take a little time of looking and exploring their products. I also highly encourage you follow their blog or newsletter which you can view here, it is chock full of furniture design news and history.

I encourage all of you to actually pick a few furniture, lighting or case pieces and actually practice drawing them in plan and elevation view. The great part is if you are working in AutoCAD you can save them as a Wblock and add to your furniture library to reference in future projects. Also, for those websites that do not include line drawings the best tip I have is to look at all the furniture images. Look to see if it has a straight or dead on side view. This way you can look at the dimension specifications and still draw what you are seeing. You can also import the JPEG image into AutoCAD scale it and then trace the image. Though that can be time consuming and you might actually spend less time drawing it from scratch.Check out all the furniture images and their drawings below:

This one would be great for you to reprodce as it is a very simple chair and sectional design that could be verstile when illustrating furniture plans.

{The Simpatico Collection via DWR}

 {Nube Armchair via DWR}

{The Bantam Armchair via DWR}

{The Era Round Arm Chair would be a great one to practice for the curved lines. Image via DWR}