• Furniture with Soul At Gallery NAGA

    Referencing the Book Furniture with Soul by David Savage

    Furniture With Soul
    By: Mark Favermann - Jun 01st, 2012

    This exquisite exhibit is a continuation of Gallery NAGA's exploration of the most innovative studio furniture. The show is an assemblage of an all-star cast of furnituremakers from throughout the US and across the Atlantic. Seventeen outstanding examples from the pantheon of master furnituremakers creates a compelling visual and tactile experience to savor.

  • The Emotion of Design

    Why Does the Best Design Viscerally Connect To Us?

    The Emotion of Design
    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 26th, 2012

    Why do we "like" even "love" certain objects? And others we do not? Is it somehow in our DNA? How did Apple (Steven Jobs) connect so well with our wants despite what our needs are? Our objects of desire strike emotional chords. It isn't just about aesthetics, but certainly that is a major aspect of what the resonance of desire and ownership are. Designers wrestle constantly with an element's functional form. Getting it just right has less to do with science than art. This is true of a structure, object or fashion statement.

  • Isamu Noguchi, Poetic Sculptor/Designer

    Erasing The Line Between Form and Function

    Isamu Noguchi
    By: Mark Favermann - Feb 26th, 2012

    The line between what is art and what is design is a wonderful area of connected delight. The late Isamu Noguchi was one of the greatest practitioners of this hybrid form usually as creative functional sculpture. His elegant furniture and furnishings are still in production and cherished today. His minimalist abstract sculpture are still strong statements of his eloquent visual language. Noguchi erased the line between form and function.

  • Eva Zeisel, Ceramic Designer Dies At 105

    A Playful Search For Beauty

    Eva Zeisel At 105
    By: Mark Favermann - Dec 31st, 2011

    Eva Zeisel, one of the most influential industrial designers of the 20th Century who created beautifully lyrical yet practical tableware and ceramics, has died at the amazing age of 105. Zeisel estimated that she had designed 100,000 pieces of tableware. Many of her elegant curving organic pieces often appeared to have human qualities, particularly in the way they tended to hug and nestle. These playful, simple designs first produced in the 1940s are still popular.

  • From Train Tracks to A Public Art Walk

    Newburyport's Triumphant Clipper City Rail Trail

    Clipper City Rail Trail
    By: Mark Favermann - Dec 17th, 2011

    After 11 years of planning, meetings, grantsmanship, engineering oversight and curating public art, Geordie Vining established the Clipper City Rail Trail on the west side of the City of Newburyport, MA. He took an unused Boston & Maine railroad right of way and created a walking, jogging and biking pathway that was enhanced by public art. The result is a true pride of place.

  • The Eames Iconic Plywood Leg Splint

    A Breakthrough Design Leading To New Furniture

    Eames Leg Splint
    By: Mark Favermann - Dec 10th, 2011

    At the beginning of WWII, the United States War Department was in a dilemma. They needed a more modular, lightweight way of splinting wounded personnel. They turned to the creative Venice Beach based designers, Charles and Ray Eames, to help solve the problem. The Eameses had been working on molding plywood for the previous few years. Having accessible the Navy's facilities, their design team was able to develop a molded plywood splint. Sculptural and elegant, it is now a design icon.

  • Josef Hoffmann: Wiener Werkstätte Designer

    Influential Designer With No Moral Compass

    Josef Hoffmann
    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 29th, 2011

    Josef Hoffmann was one of the major designers of the first half of the 20th Century. His work across architecture, interiors, furniture and household objects was of great technical and aesthetic beauty. Also, he lived a long time. Unfortunately, his design skill did not always correspond to his moral integrity. Somehow, he was confused at the end of his life as to why he was not honored for his creative contributions. Perhaps, it was the fact that his last major work was for the wrong client.

  • Powered By Free Design

    UK Pylon Competition Sought New Design

    Pylon Competition
    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 29th, 2011

    Called Britain's "industrial soldiers," they have marched across hills and valleys carrying the UK's 400,000-volt power lines. Now the British government and National Grid are ending the 84-year-old design of the electricity pylon. A competition was held to find a more attractive 21st-century alternative to carry power across hundreds of miles of British countryside. On paper, the idea sounds great, the winning design is elegant, but once again the design community is being undervalued and having demanded from it free work.

  • Boston MFA Embraces Contemporary Decorative Arts, Craft and Design As Major Commitment

    New Curator and New Dedicated Gallery Space

    Boston MFA Contemporary Decorative Arts
    By: Mark Favermann - Oct 29th, 2011

    The Boston MFA has made a serious commttment to contemporary decorative arts. This has been a cumulative effort by Director Malcolm Rogers over the last decade and half. With the opening of the Linde Family Contemporary Art Wing in October, there was the opening of the first dedicated gallery to contemporary decorative art, the Farago Gallery. To curate this gallery and to integrate contemporary decorative arts, craft and design with the rest of contemporary visual art, the museum hired Emily Zilber as the first contemporary decorative arts curator. And this isn't all.

  • John Eric Byers at Gallery NAGA

    Furniture, Carved Paintings and Production Prototypes

    Byers At Gallery NAGA
    By: Mark Favermann - Oct 27th, 2011

    In a new and much awaited show at Gallery NAGA, Studio Furniture master John Eric Byers is exploring different directions and colors for his elegant and very precise work. Though often simple in form, the sometimes textured pieces are sophisticated objects of desire.

  • The Elegant Apple

    Steve Jobs’ Design Legacy

    The Elegant Apple
    By: Mark Favermann - Oct 08th, 2011

    Much has been written about Steve Jobs since his death at 56 on Wednesday October 5. But little has been stated about his major contribution to late 20th Century and early 21st Century design. Not only was Jobs a software and business systems innovator and entrepreneur, but his eye for beauty translated into elegance and inspirational design fostered the development of a series of revolutionary product designs that have influenced the world.

  • The Elegant Sculptured Door Knocker

    Minimalist Functional Design

    Elegant Door Knocker
    By: Mark Favermann - Jun 07th, 2011

    Since 1988, the doorbell has not worked at my carriage house. After most of a terrible winter that saw new delivery people and first time visitors stand outside ringing the silent bell while getting cold and wet, I decided to find an appropriate door knocker. As a designer and appreciator of great design, I wanted the most beautiful damn door knocker that could be found. I think that I came close.

  • MIT Names New Media Lab Director

    Joichi Ito, 44, College Drop-out And Entrepeneur

    Media Lab Names New Director
    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 26th, 2011

    With the appointment of Joichi Ito as the new Media Lab director, MIT has broken academic rules and appointed a megatalented entrepreneurial individual to lead the prestigious digital think tank and creative cauldron. However, with no academic credentials, what is the higher education institutional message that this appointment is making?

  • The Divine Comedy at Harvard

    Olafur Elliasson. Ai Weiwei and Tomas Saraceno Exhibit

    The Divine Comedy At Harvarad
    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 17th, 2011

    The Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Harvard Art Museums are presenting a three-part exhibition that addresses the "converging domains of contemporary art and design practice." Entitled The Divine Comedy, this exhibition is comprised of major installations by internationally acclaimed artists Olafur Eliasson, Tomás Saraceno, and Ai Weiwei. Though the premise of the exhibition may be academic and pretentious, the quality of the work speaks to beauty and truth.

  • Cocktail Culture At RISD Museum

    Ritual and Invention in American Fashion 1920–1980

    Cocktail Culture
    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 12th, 2011

    An ambitious and elegant exhibition is the first multi-disciplinary show to explore the social and cultural rituals of the cocktail hour through the lens of fashion and design. Cocktail Culture features both formal and casual fashion apparel, jewelry, textiles, decorative and fine art, film, photographs, and period ephemera from across 60 years of American development and change. Drawn from the Museum’s vast collection as well as loans from other museums and private collections, more than 220 objects are included in this entertaining slice of 20th Century design.

  • Decorative Arts In America At The MFA

    The New Wing Showcases Objects of Desire

    Decorative Arts at MFA
    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 28th, 2010

    Throughout the new Art of the Americas Wing at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the curators have integrated the beautiful and often seminal objects of specific time periods into the displays. These objects often compare vividly to the great paintings and sculpture that they are grouped with. The quality of these objects, often objects of desire, is often brilliant and sometimes even breathtaking. A sampling of a few is not enough to understand the breath and depth of the MFA's astounding collection. Revisiting the museum is necessary. The greatness of the collection is now better seen than ever at the MFA's new wing.

  • Animating the Inanimate

    Judy Kensley McKie At Gallery NAGA

    Judy McKie At Gallary NAGA
    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 14th, 2010

    One of the most acclaimed and beloved studio craftsman of the last few decades, Judy Kensley McKie continues to produce works of profound grace and sublime quality using imaging and abstraction derived from geometry, animals and plants. In her new exhibition at Boston's Gallery NAGA, she enlivens simple objects by giving them life and spirit. Her pieces are not just beautiful objects but resonating visual narrations.

  • Alessi: Creating Home Product Icons

    New Exhibit Underscores Design Magic

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 07th, 2010

    For the last three decades, the Italian home products manufacturer, Alessi, has through collaboration with star architects and designers been at the forefront of design, producing instant icons like Michael Graves’s bird-whistle teakettle and Richard Sapper’s elegant espresso pot. All are fixtures on many design devotee’s kitchen or bar counters. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is celebrating the 90-year-old company with an exhibition, ‘‘Alessi: Ethical and Radical,’’ opening Nov. 21 through April 10.

  • Why Design Now? At Cooper-Hewitt Museum

    Design Museum's Triennial Confusing Again

    Why Design Now? At Cooper-Hewitt Museum
    By: Mark Favermann - May 15th, 2010

    Every three years, the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt has its Triennial. Every three years, it is a mix of truly good sometimes great design along with examples of eccentric sometimes simple-minded objects and systems. The jurying process has always been questionable and less than transparent. Too often it seems friends of friends are chosen. This year the Tricentennial of the Unites States' design museum has gone global with designs from both emerging and industrialized countries. No other country's design museum would feature foreign designers. Instead, they would celebrate their own country's best design and designers. In addition, the exhibit is rather strangely laid out, captioned to confuse and badly focused. Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

  • Designing Wayfinding For Accessibility

    Compliance With ADA Regulations By Design

    Designing Wayfinding For Accessibility
    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 23rd, 2010

    Universal design or accessibility for everyone is one of the major themes of 21st Century design. The other is sustainability. The United States is at the forefront of accessibility requirements worldwide. A recent Toronto conference focused upon Canadian issues regarding accessible wayfinding and ease of navigation in, through and around the built environment. Mark Favermann was one of conference's speakers.

  • Museum Madness In Boston

    Moving Venues, Great Recession and Big Egos

    March Museum Madness
    By: Mark Favermann - Mar 17th, 2010

    Winter finally moves into Spring, Daylight Savings Time and NCAA Basketball March Madness are now being joined by a museum madness in Boston. News keeps coming about new museums promised, contracted and postponed in the Hub of the Universe. It is the Great Recession, resources are limited and apparently so are a lot of folks involved in the pursuit of the creation of new museums with or without actual buildings, collections or financial support. Does ego trump resources?

  • Gallery NAGA Exhibit For North Bennet Street School

    Studio Furniture Benefit Celebrating 125 Years

    North Bennet Street School Exhibit at Gallery NAGA
    By: Mark Favermann - Mar 13th, 2010

    Gallery NAGA is presenting a spectacular benefit exhibition, for the North Bennet Street School to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Founded in 1885 in Boston's North End to teach crafts – bookbinding, locksmithing, cabinetry, the making of musical instruments to immigrants, it has a long and distinguished history of training skilled craftsman. Twenty-seven studio furniture artists from throughout the country, including many of the most storied names in the field of studio furniture, are in the show. Generously, the artists and the gallery are donating 50% of the works' selling prices to the school.

  • I.D. Magazine Dead At 55

    Influential Design Publication Is Terminated

    I.D. Magazine Dead at 55
    By: Mark Favermann - Feb 27th, 2010

    Started in 1954, I.D. Magazine published its last issue in December 2009. To its loyalists including its rather inconsistent in quality and thought processes former writers and editors, it was a crying shame. They blamed a heartless and (gasp) an unsophisticated Midwestern philistine publisher, the Great Recession, severely reduced advertising revenues and the internet. Some others wonder why the New York-centric magazine's demise did not happen sooner. I.D. Magazine RIP.

  • Vancouver's Olympic Look of the Games

    Failing By Trying Too Hard On a World Scale

    2010 Vancouver Olympics
    By: Mark Favermann - Feb 16th, 2010

    The 2010 Olympic Winter Games opened in Vancouver on February 12. In the last 40 years or so, this has been an opportunity for a locality or country to showcase itself, among other ways, visually to the world. Billions of people are watching luging, triple toe loops and big air at remarkable speeds and often elegance by gifted athletes. This is an occasion for designers to strut their stuff as well. Vancouver 2010 seems to be a design opportunity lost. Too many cooks? No executive vision? Or too much television imaging? Vancouver 2010's "Look" just does not resonate.

  • Harvard University's New Post Graduate Course: Art and Design in the Public Domain

    Masters in Design At Graduate School of Design

    Harvard GSD New Masters Program
    By: Mark Favermann - Jan 10th, 2010

    Harvard's GSD is beginning a masters program that combines art, design and public involvement. The purpose of the degree focused on Art, Design and the Public Domain is for students who seek to engage with the public and social environment, either physical or virtual, with a view to shaping and transforming human action and historical experience. The three semester course is a multi-disciplined exploration of the social and virtual realms of the public environment from an art and design perspective. Will its direction eventually replace the MFA degree?

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