Sep 29, 2014

Product of the Week: Driscoll Robbins Carpet Collection

If you want something done right, sometimes you've got to do it yourself. Seattle fine carpet fixture Driscoll Robbins now has 16 designs in his own line of carpets, with ten more slated to debut in the coming months. They are handwoven in Nepal, and each one features a bit of silk woven in to impart a gorgeous luster. This graphic design caught our eye today, and we're eagerly anticipating what Driscoll will design next!

See more from the collection, here!

Sep 28, 2014

GRAY Conversations: Living Big in Small Spaces

Live in a small space? It doesn't mean your design ideas have to be small. As part of the IDSWest GRAY Conversations series, we brought together a panel of experts to talk about ways to optimize small living spaces for the biggest impact. 

Jasmine Vaughan, Made & State Design (Portland)
"Pick one unexpected material to add texture to the room." For this project, Vaughn used Cascade Coil chain panels (similar to the material used in vintage fireplace screens from the 1970s) in lieu of traditional fabric curtains. 

"Don't be afraid of going really dark or bold in small spaces." While dark paint has the potential to be overwhelming in a large room, it has a luxurious impact in this small home office. 

Barbara Hyde Evans, Hyde Evans Design (Seattle)

In this 788-square-foot Seattle condo, interior designer Barbara Hyde Evans created two distinct areas, each with multiple functions. The two photos above show the living room and dining area. Behind the brightly patterned screen is the bedroom and home office (below). In small spaces such as this one, Hyde Evans suggests using the multi-functional approach—not every aspect of life needs a specific room. She also notes that the use of lighter colors makes the room feel larger. Watch a future issue of GRAY for more information about this project.

Images by Alex Hayden. 

Eric Siu, Resource Furniture (Vancouver)

Resource Furniture helps with small space planning, allowing homeowners to make the most of their space. Above, a bed from their collection folds up to become a desk, and, below, the couch and desk allow for a living room and home office during the day, while the bed folds out for sleeping space at night.

Jen Eden, Occupy Design (Vancouver)

Vancouver-based designer Jen Eden says that when it comes to kitchens, keep it sleek and scale down the size of the appliances to fit the square footage of the space. "The space will open up if you put the fridge or dishwasher behind a panel because it gives your eye a break as it moves along the space," she says.

Sep 26, 2014

GRAY Conversations: How To Get Published

Today marked the opening of trade day at IDSWest, and the launch of this weekend's GRAY Conversations. We brought together a panel of industry experts including GRAY editorial director Jaime Gillin, GRAY editor Rachel Gallaher, Amery Calvelli of Push Plus Minus, Tanya Tweten from Promoter at Heart, and freelance journalist Laura Goldstein. We rounded up some of the top tips from the morning to help you as you plan to pitch your projects.  


1. Closely read 3-4 issues of the publication you are pitching, paying attention to the style of the projects they feature. This will help you get a feel for the aesthetic and the types of projects each one features.

2. When you pitch, send images. They don't have to be professional pics—iPhone snaps are fine. Magazines often shoot or re-shoot projects with their own photographers anyway, but it gives them a good idea of what a project looks like.

3. When sending a pitch, include as much information as possible—a short description of the project, clients, any unique or challenging aspects of the project, any other design professionals involved. The more information, the better.

4. Pitch new projects, or things that are in the works. Most magazines work far in advance and like to slate things in for future issues. At GRAY we like publish fresh, new, unseen work.

5. Writers should follow up on their pitches. Sometimes people feel shy or worry about "bugging" editors. At GRAY we really appreciate when writers follow up. Don't hesitate to check in and remind us you're waiting on an answer—as long as it's been a couple weeks since they sent their pitch.

TOP TWITTER QUESTION from BC Industrial: What do you have to spend on advertising to get editorial?

At GRAY we don't base editorial coverage on advertising dollars. Our advertisers' projects and products do, of course, have our attention, but everything that appears in the magazine is included for its quality design.

Amery Calvelli of Portland's Push Plus Minus, GRAY editor Rachel Gallaher, freelance journalist Laura Goldstein, GRAY editorial director Jaime Gillin, and Tanya Tweten from Promoter at Heart talk about how to get published on the GRAY stage.

Industry ladies talking to the crowd about how to pitch a story.
The packed crowd at the first GRAY conversation. 
Editorial Director Jaime Gillin interviewed post-panel on the GRAY Conversations stage.

5 Questions For: Jason Ball, Jason Ball Interiors

Name: Jason Ball
Title: owner

Which of your designs or projects are you most excited about right now and why?

We’re just about to start construction of a new bar in Southeast Portland. When the clients approached me, they had a clear vision of an old-world pub with dark wood, etc. I worked with them to take it a step further and really make it into a special place. The design is definitely reminiscent of an old world pub, but we’re adding some great contemporary lighting and art to provide that unexpected moment in the space.

Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.

Tailored. Creative. Balanced.

What's your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest and why?

The Oregon coast holds a special place in my heart. Not to get sappy or anything, but my wife and I started our dating relationship on the coast in high school (26 years ago!) and it’s the one place we go together to reconnect in our busy lives. Being by the ocean grounds me, forces me to reflect on what’s important in life. Plus, our dogs love the beach and that’s always fun.

Who or what are you inspired by right now?

I am always inspired by travel. I just got back from a great trip to Manhattan and historic Virginia celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. The trip was an interesting one from a design perspective. Moments of inspiration in an urban environment like New York City are so prevalent. This time around, I focused on street level textures—sidewalk grates, brick-paved roads, etc.—and window displays in the high-end stores on Fifth Avenue. The juxtaposition between the two will keep me inspired for months.

What do you think of the color gray?

Gray is and always has been one of my favorite colors. It’s the perfect neutral. Even though it’s currently in vogue, it’s really a timeless color and fits in any style or era of design.

Image courtesy of Jason Ball Interiors. 

Sep 24, 2014

Room of the Week: Lisa Staton, Lisa Staton Design

Category: Bedroom
Designer: Lisa Staton, Lisa Staton Design
Location: Seattle

Goal: To make every inch count in this 900-square-foot condo in Seattle’s ultra-urban Belltown neighborhood. The client wanted a space conducive to entertaining despite the fact that the living room and bedroom are open to each other.

Inspiration: “In a small space, each item needs to be carefully considered to make the space flow properly,” says interior designer Lisa Staton. “We started with drawings, sketches, renderings, and the concept of a curved sofa. From there, it was about texture and luxury: The authentic Flokati rug is soft and ethereal. The sofa is upholstered in rich wool satin. We also wanted ‘jewelry box moments’ like the tufted headboard.” 

Breakdown: Instead of trying to hide the bedroom, Staton decided to seamlessly blend the décor between that traditionally private area and the living room by using similar tones and textures to create a luxe, sophisticated look. Revealing the bedroom also presented the opportunity show off the client’s high-end style. The bed is custom designed by Lisa Staton Design, and the headboard is made of a metallic white leather from Design Tec that pops against the dark gray C2 Wildwood paint. The curved sofa is also custom by Lisa Staton Design (inspired by Vladmir Kagan) and covered in wool fabric from TerrisDraheim. The animal-inspired chair was the client’s own, appropriately upholstered in Brunschwig & Fils Le Zebra Linen.

Tips to Get the Look: “Really study the space from a two-dimensional standpoint,” Staton says. “And then find materials that are authentic and luxurious, such as wools, linens, hides, leather, bronze, and wedge.”

Image by Alex Hayden

Sep 22, 2014

Product of the Week: Revolution Design House Madison Candle

The Madison Candle is a witty, contemporary take on an age-old silhouette. The candle, as well as the base itself, is cast in wax and designed to melt to within an inch of the bottom, making it safe to place anywhere. Portland's Revolution Design House has turned to Kickstarter to make this cool-looking product a reality. We only have until October 19 to show our support, so let's light this campaign up, guys!

Visit the Kickstarter page here

Images courtesy of Revolution Design House. 

Sep 18, 2014

Vancouver's First Official Design Week: What to Expect

As the design magazine for the Pacific Northwest, we’re always excited to hear about new design-related events happening in our region. But excited is an understatement for what we felt when we learned about the inaugural Vancouver Design Week. GRAY is proud to be a media partner for the two-week showcase, which runs through September 28, and we reached out to director Jennifer Cutbill to get the scoop behind her decision to launch VDW.

Vancouver Design Week Co-Director Jane Cox and Director Jennifer Cutbill

First of all, tell us about Vancouver Design Week. What should people expect?

Vancouver Design Week is the city's first ever citywide and trans-disciplinary design event. It is a platform for showcasing the amazing talent we have here in Vancouver (that too often goes overlooked or undervalued), as well as an invitation to the entire city to immerse itself in design across multiple disciplines. It is also a call to action for designers, design-thinkers, and all who live in and love this city, to discover what design is and how it can improve the quality of life of our city—today and throughout the future.

At VDW, people can expect to engage design like they never have before with talks, tours, workshops, exhibitions, awards, and parties, but also through less-expected programming like Open Studios, Samplings, and various design pop-ups across the city. It will be a chance to peek behind the curtain of designers’ processes and perspectives, to celebrate what makes Vancouver design unique and valuable, and to engage the whole city in conversation about what design is, what it can do, and why it is so vitally important!  

What made you decide to tackle the task of starting a design week in Vancouver?

Initially I had not intended to set out on this path. With a background in art history, architecture, regenerative design, climate change policy, and systems ecology, my focus had been more on how we solve the truly gnarly problems we face as a city and as a society. It is increasingly clear that these problems will not be solved by any single design discipline, but rather by collaborating across multiple disciplines. It also seems clear that we need to start by finding ways to break down current barriers and radically shift the conversation and culture if we hope to solve them. Design Week seemed to offer a strategic means to engage more people in the conversation to (hopefully) really shift the needle.

How do you think this will affect the design community in Vancouver? What are your hopes for how it can help designers?

My hope for Vancouver Design Week is that it can become a platform for connecting designers across disciplines, for spotlighting unique talent and innovation, and for ultimately shifting not just the conversation but for shifting mindsets and shifting values so we can leverage lateral thinking and design agency to inspire investment in design and its incredible potential.  
Design is not just a noun, but a powerful verb and vehicle for realizing meaningful change and holistically improving the quality of life in this city (and beyond), and I am hoping Vancouver Design Week can help us—as a city and a latent design culture—realize our full potential.

What are some highlights of VDW? What are you most excited for?

We have a fantastic lineup of events ranging from talks and tours to parties and pop-ups to exhibitions and studio tours. There are exciting special Vancouver Design Week editions of some already-loved events such as Pecha Kucha Night, Creative Mornings, Designer of the Year Awards, Party4Architects, Built City Speaker series, Modern Home tours and IDSWest's full event programming.  In addition, we are also excited about several new events, including the inaugural Mayor's Vancouver Urban Design Awards; an Architecture for Breakfast speaker series to leverage greater design agency; creative leadership workshops from THNK; design-thinking studios from Briteweb and others; an interactive pop-up exhibition plus public party at the MOV called “Why I Design,” focusing on process and local innovation; hands on prototyping at Makerlabs; and a range of other new creations.  

And within this broad spectrum we are especially excited about our three VDW signature events: Open Studios, Open Buildings, and Samplings (the latter is like a design-insider version of Dine Out Vancouver)—all open doors focusing on immersing the public in design process and practice and exchanging perspectives between and across disciplines.

Is this architecture and interior design-focused, or are there other types of design highlighted as well?

Vancouver Design Week runs the gamut from architecture and urban design through to graphic design, web, communications, industrial, gastronomy, fashion, landscape, creative leadership, and everything in between.

So there is something for everyone, and an unparalleled chance to join in, speak up, and stand out for design in Vancouver! 

Image by Sergio Vara.