50 For 50 – Part 2
Products 13 years ago No Comments


Last month’s first half of P&C’s “50 For 50” list was a hit. If reader feedback is any indication, allPopart, Rock and Royal and Stardust Glass topped the list of reader favorites. As promised, we have the second set50502.gif of 25 notables helping us to celebrate each of the 50 Issues we have published over the last four+ years. So what will grab the spotlight this month: stylish fire safety tools, an ergonomically flexible computer mouse, or clever kitchen storage” Possibly all of the above. It is our wish that at least one item on The List will assist you with a specification on a design project, satisfy a personal quest, or simply inspire a little levity.

26 | Kirei
Starting with its name – which is the Japanese character indicating “beautiful” or “clean” – this eco-friendly manufacturer walks the walk when it comes to dedicating itself to all things elegant and sustainable. From their Kirei Board, which is made from reclaimed sorghum straw and will substitute for wood in furniture and millwork applications, to their Kirei Coco Tiles, which combine low-VOC resins and reclaimed coconut shells for both decorative floor and wall applications, the company offers healthy, attractive, green alternatives to designers through area dealers. [Now listed in P&C’s ECO SAVVY section.]

27 | Hettich International
We’re geeks for gadgets and organizational tools, and this company apparently is too. They’ve pretty much thought of everything when it comes to outfitting (or even retrofitting) your cabinetry and casegood furniture to work more efficiently. With Hettich’s handiwork, drawers glide more smoothly, doors close more quietly, and interior cabinet spaces store more tableware, cutlery and provisions. Though it’s hard to choose, our favorite has to be their ingenious OrgaWing system. As you pull out a drawer, two “wings” providing additional storage unfold from the sides. Just watch the video on their website to get the picture. [Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

50gallotti.jpg28 | Gallotti & Radice
The Italians know how to live, and they have the baffling knack for being able to make even the simplest of things sexy. Gallotti & Radice, an Italian manufacturer that has been around for decades perfecting its craftsmanship and technique, uses a simple palette of metal, wood, glass and crystal to create uniquely elegant pieces for both residential and commercial applications. Their sleek shapes include the usual suspects of tables, shelves and mirrors, but display cases, serving carts and media stands as well.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

29 | The Elton John Limited Edition Signature Series Red Piano
Who doesn’t react to the color red” It is the symbol of strength, joy and life. Sir Elton John, the audaciously talented pop star whom The Queen saw fit to knight for his lifetime of achievements, certainly understands the power behind the hue, and he has come together with Yamaha to produce one sassy red piano – well, 50 red pianos, actually. Based upon John’s David LaChapelle-produced Las Vegas show, “The Red Piano,” this fiery Mark IV Disklavier allows its player to do more than just tickle its ivories. The instrument will also play nearly a thousand audio CDs while accompanying them with acoustical notes. And that’s just where it begins. Should we really expect anything less grand from Elton John” [Now listed in P&C’s HOT SHOPPING section.]

30 | FireInvent Design
There is more to fire safety than Stop, Drop & Roll, and if Smokey the Bear had a wife who preferred nesting to camping, she would inform you that fire hazards in the home abound: cooking crises, faulty appliances, frayed electrical cords, fire-curious children, and unattended candles. We know that we need to take precautions, but the aesthete in us stupidly resists because we dislike the look of those ugly extinguishers and equipment hanging around. Luckily, FireInvent has recognized our neuroses and is producing “designer” fire safety wares to integrate more pleasingly into our homes, increasing the odds that we’ll actually use them and avoid burning them to the ground. What a concept.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

31 | Emerging Green Builders
You have probably heard of the USGBC, but have you heard of the EGB” This mini-me alphabet is part of USGBC, but it is exclusively for the student and up-n-coming professional set. In addition to many of the regular membership perks, EGB members have the extra benefits of having an exclusive forum at Greenbuild International Conference & Expo and the opportunity to participate in an annual USGBC Natural Talent Design Competition. As with most organizations, however, much of the payback occurs on a local level, and if you don’t have a local EGB gang in your area, then you can start one. Their webpage will tell you where to start.
[Now listed in P&C’s THE PROS section.]

32 | Weil Studio
Instead of sourcing art to add to space after it’s built out, how about integrating the art as part of the interior’s build out from the beginning” With her innovative phototransparencies, photographer Amanda Weil can help you do just that. Laminating her imagery – which includes blossoming flora, dense rainforests, and verdant fronds, as well as trippy and pixilated abstracts – in between crystal clear safety glass, interior surfaces such as sliding partitions, fixed walls, reception desks and tabletops come alive. Though custom installation up to 49" x120" are possible, Weil will only use her photographic images, and since she has some stunning ones from which to choose, that shouldn’t be a problem.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

50jjelliot.jpg33 | j.j. elliot
The j.j. elliot doodle studio has personalized baby announcements and party invitations so darn cute that they’ll knock your socks off. (Maybe even a shoe or two.) Their original designs are chock full of fun, hand-drawn doodles. They also have a special “custom doodles” section where anyone can become a nifty little doodle!
[Now listed in P&C’s HOT SHOPPING section.]

34 | Ideal Bite
This site’s name and its “a sassier shade of green” tagline package its mission up quite nicely. Their tasty morsels of information and palatable tips on how to live a life that is a bit kinder to the planet are guaranteed not to cause bloating and indigestion. And at this very moment, they are allowing readers to vote on the Next In Green winner as part of their Best In Green Awards. We mention this because P&C profilee / interior designer Kimi Rutkin of FISH LIPS paper designs is on the ballot for her sustainable papers. Good luck Kimi – we’re pulling for you!
[Now listed in P&C’s ECO SAVVY section.]

35 | Star of Morocco
We’ll admit it – this listing is completely indulgent. Ever since P&C Founder, Laura McDonald Stewart, trekked to Morocco in 1999, soaking up the visual perfume of the Atlas Mountains, adorning herself with henna tattoos near Fez, and falling off a camel in the middle of a seemingly endless desert, she’s been smitten with all things Moroccan. In fact, she’s even purchased several pieces from this importer out of Austin, Texas, including an elaborately painted buffet cabinet, a multi-colored hanging lantern, and a bright blue leather studded chair. Though it’s not quite the same as walking into a spice store in Marrakech, a piece from Star of Morocco will certainly add a little flavor to your or your client’s interiors.
[Now listed in P&C’s HOT SHOPPING section.]

36 | Appenx
So much of the time signage is an afterthought on interiors projects. This fact is most unfortunate since wayfinding is so critical to the ultimate success of a building and the safety of its visitors. It is possible that signage gets pushed to the end of the specification line because designers have a difficult time finding product that agrees with their aesthetic sensibilities, making choosing a chore. Enter Appenx. Between their Outsert line – which combines a variety of tiles and lettering applications – and their Dot-Dash line – which offers a range of options, including the super fun DOT-SOCK graphic add-on – specifiers are sure to find a creative way to tell people where they are and where they need to go. Bonus: Appenx’s interior offerings satisfy ADA requirements, as well.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

37 | Download Squad
We’re convinced that anything you ever wanted to know about new computer hardware, software applications, gadgets, communication tools, gaming, etc. can be found on this site if you just dig deep enough. Written by a motley crew of technology freaks, they revel in reporting about the manufacturing launches, technical glitches, downloadable patches and secret shortcuts having to do with all things digital. If you felt like your tech-loving friends were speaking Greek the last time you joined them at happy hour, just read a few of the latest articles here and impress them by matching their Greek with your Geek. [Now listed in P&C’s PRODUCTIVE SITES section.]

50zongkers.jpg38 | Zongkers Custom Furniture & Cabinetry
Nebraska produces good, Midwestern stock – and we’re not talking about the cattle. Owner, Omahan, and all around good guy Dan Zongkers has run this custom millwork shop for almost 20 years now, and in that time he has perfected a wide variety of woodworking techniques, allowing him and his team to craft pieces as diverse as audio-visual laden boardroom tables and contemporary paneling for corporations, reverential alters and baptismal fonts for churches, and inlaid dining room tables and intricately carved cabinets for homes. Lately, he has been letting both his inner child and sports nut run uninhibited by creating NFL and college football team themed beds that will make any little boy’s jaw drop. It’s one dedicated way to shout “Go team!”
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

39 | Neptune
How fitting that this Canadian company out of Québec is named after the Roman god of the Sea because they offer a wonderful array of baths, faucets, sinks and showers. We are particularly enamored with the Zen line, which features both single- and double-faucet-wide sculptural basins, elaborately outfitted showers, and bathtubs from which you just might never emerge. Within the Tao line, the Macoa tub is particularly decadent with its 60-inch-square girth, while the Ruby tub’s oval sleekness fits neatly within more modestly sized bathrooms but still allows the bathing addict a satisfying soak.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

40 | Bim Bam Banana
As you might surmise from such a silly name (we dare you to try to say it five times fast), Bim Bam Banana deals in humorous gifts, fun gadgets, and trendy gizmos for both personal and corporate occasions. As they claim on their website, “You will find the gift you did not know existed” for the person who seemingly has everything. Have a co-worker who can’t seem to make it to work on time” Then he is the perfect candidate for the Crazy Rooster Alarm Clock. Want to gross out your sister” Put some chewed Gum Magnets on the refrigerator. You’ll quickly find that there’s a little something rude for everyone.
[Now listed in P&C’s HOT SHOPPING section.]

41 | Switch Mouse by Humanscale
The ergonomically obsessed Humanscale has done it again with their Switch Mouse. Not only is this computer tech gadget fun to use, but it will also help you and your clients avoid pains in the arm like carpel tunnel syndrome. It’s named “Switch” because both Righties and Lefties can use it comfortably. Furthermore, the mouse helps cut down on repetitive motion by featuring a four-way scrolling dish, and the entire gadget adjusts in size so that it will fit any user’s hand proportions perfectly. Try it once, and you will consider this mouse anything but a pest.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

50cork.jpg42 | Cork Mosaic by Habitus
Habitus Architectural Finishes offers a diverse array of commercial and residential architectural finishes from around the planet, but it was their Cork Mosaic that caught our fancy. Recycled from industry by-products and mounted on sheets for easy application, these little cork dots add both visual and tactile texture to walls. Inherently water resistant, they are suitable for bathrooms and kitchens. Other cork perks include anti-slip, anti-static and anti-bacterial properties. The pièce de résistance is that the product comes in a great deal of color options, negating the idea that cork always has to look like…well…just cork.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

43 | National Trust for Historic Preservation
As the economy slows, so does funding for charities and organizations crucial to the well-being of our population, culture and environment. The United States tends to be a nation obsessed with “new,” often finding more pleasure in innovation than preservation. Though modernization and technological advances are vital to our entrepreneurial spirit and our future as a country, many existing buildings and sites are just as important as they add to the understanding of our rich, progressive past. In a time of corporate and governmental cutbacks, it will be up to private citizens to secure the treasures within our built environment. Supporting the National Trust for Historic Preservation is your opportunity to take action.
[Now listed in P&C’s THE PROS section.]

44 | Voice Quilt
Maybe the impending holidays are making us sentimental. Or maybe we are craving an audio balance to all of our visual recommendations. Either way, we want to introduce you to Voice Quilt, a company that uses cold, hard technology to create warm, fuzzy moments. And, guess what” It’s so simple that your grandpa can probably do it. (OK, depending on your grandpa, that might be stretching it a bit.) First, pick photo album or memory box. Next, get friends and family to leave well-wishes, funny stories, and sage advice in a designated voicemail box. Lastly, choose the messages to include on the VoiceQuilt, a CD of which will be shipped within your gift. With travel being as expensive as it is, this just might be the alterative you’ve been yearning for.
[Now listed in P&C’s HOT SHOPPING section.]

45 | Patterson, Flynn & Martin
No, we’re not touting a law firm here. A division of the famous textile house F. Schumacher & Co., Patterson, Flynn & Martin is instead a manufacturer of To The Trade high-end floorcoverings such as hand-knotted, hand-tufted, and historic reproduction rugs. Offering both contemporary and traditional options, PFM employs guest designers like Kelly Wearstler and Michael Smith to create collections exclusive to the company. As would be expected from a purveyor of this high caliber, custom options are also available. Hmmm… Perhaps PFM could also stand for Pretty Frigging Marvelous.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

46 | BoxCycle
Why is it that when you need moving boxes, you can’t ever find any free or inexpensive ones, but when you are finished moving and ready to get them the heck out of your garage so that you can actually park your car, you can’t find anyone onto which to unload them” In the spirit of recycling and efficiency, let BoxCycle be your middleman. This online service connects buyers with sellers, whether they are individuals, organizations or retailers. Handling all of the annoying details, BoxCycle allows you to list your boxes to sell or to search for boxes to buy, all in your local area. Of course, as the site grows and more people list, the service will be more effective. So go forth and participate!
[Now listed in P&C’s ECO SAVVY section.]

47 | Vancouver Gas Fireplaces
Along with water, metal and earth, fire is a basic element. Integrating fire – along with its strong symbolism and much-needed functionality – into an interior’s design is one way to make it really crackle and pop, and Vancouver Gas Fireplaces can guide you so that you and your client avoid getting burned. Who knew that there were so many ways to think about and interpret a fireplace” Some of their offerings take the traditional hearth from sweet-n-cozy to downright sexy-n-sleek. And with options from freestanding to outdoor to eco-minded to custom, if you can imagine it, chances are that they can do it. Hot stuff.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

50designtex.jpg48 | Designtex
Though this division of Steelcase has been around for quite a while, the company’s image has just received a facelift by the renovation of their website. The old standby proclamation of “New & Improved!” is not an exaggeration in this case. Those of you who used to know Designtex primarily for their wallcoverings, upholstery and panel fabrics now will have clearer picture of the breadth of the company’s capabilities, which include extreme performance textiles, surface imaging solutions, architectural panels, and both handmade and stock rugs through Loophouse.
[Now listed in P&C’s WHAT THE SPEC” section.]

49 | Soleil by Workrite
Another bastion of ergonomics, Workrite, has added to its inventory of adjustable monitor display arms, keyboard trays and workcenters and is now including highly flexible, long-lasting, energy efficient lighting. Soleil is a fully rotational and adjustable desktop task light that’s perfect for putting a little light on whatever subject you choose, and its sweet LEDs sip only nine watts of juice, lasting an average of 20 years / 50,000 hours. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the fixture’s base and body are produced from up to 60% post-consumer recycled materials and will be recyclable after its owner has decided that that’s been enough of that. Oh, and did we mention that it’s attractive as well”
[Now listed in P&C’s ECO SAVVY section.]

50 | Redesign Me
And, finally…for the ultimate creative critic: a site that allows you as a consumer to guide today’s manufacturers in the creation and streamlining of tomorrow’s products. In the ultimate consumer / corporation collaboration, RDM members can comment on their personal product experiences and make suggestions to the producer about how to make it better. The idea has grown out of the idea of crowdsourcing – i.e., taking cues from customers about what they want instead of manufacturers trying to guess what they think their customers want. This ultimate “Power to the People!” opportunity goes to show that corporate America has truly realized that design matters. Let’s all toast to the power of design. [Now listed in P&C’s OTHER DESIGN JUNKIES section.]