Power Struggle

I've decided that a nutty three year old girl lives within Karim Rashid's colorful candy shell. Her name is Karina, and she likes to assert her tyrannical childishness by forcing him to indulge in attention seeking acts of blobby decorating, while using all the colors of the crayola rainbow. I can imagine it must be a PR nightmare trying to keep both halves of a schizophrenic designer together during photoshoots... does Karina pull at Karim's glasses and demand apple juice and Dora the Explorer?

karim rashid

Dear Karim, the pink Converse shoes Karina picked out for you are rather natty, but I'm concerned about those Alexander Girard tattoos... Oh wait, those are "your" designs. I think you have only yourself to blame for that judgment call. On the other hand, I'm kind of liking what she did with your extra special Fisher Price weekend house.

karim rashid

karim rashid

She's a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world.

karim rashid

Kid friendly leather, soft rounded edges, and a magic marked up carpet, all suggest Karina's tiny helping hands. But what's up with the big red question? A plea for recognition, perhaps? A subliminal stamp on the room?

karim rashid

Toys and tvs in the bathroom -- a kid definitely designed this place. Plus, it's looking a lot like Yo Gabba Gabba up in this hizzy. You be the judge:

yo gabba gabba

karim rashid

Can you even tell which one is the cartoon, and which is the house? I didn't think so.

Still, there are a few signs of adult life in this home. I'm sure this followed a major Karim/Karina showdown, wherein Karina whined for 678459 hours straight, and Karim plugged his ears and belted out some Moby tunes, which would undoubtedly destroy any child's will to power.

karim rashid

And then Little K let Big K have a grown up(ish) office space.

karim rashid

And also this artwork that keeps threatening to reveal some very adult information... or maybe that's just me.

karim rashid

I'm not sure which K is responsible for the world's most amazing diving board, or these glorious windows, so I guess I'll have to award both a shiny gold star.

karim rashid

I suppose K squared make a pretty good team, all things considered. The both share a love of dress up, and you know they like to get together and talk about Me Me Me. I'm really not sure why Karim doesn't just embrace his inner Karina, and shout it from the rooftops that he loves having a little girl inside him... Well, maybe not in exactly those words.

karim rashid

Dude, you're not fooling anyone.

(all photographs by Richard Powers)

Beware the Blob

It's heading right for us! During the late 50's and 60's, biomorphic design took over homes everywhere with its blobby, soft forms and rounded edges, only to be quashed by the hard shapes and blunt, straight lines of the sleek 70's. Fast forward to the current design crisis (har har), which endlessly recycles past trends to form a patchwork pastiche of eclectic styles. Translation: ain't nothing new under the sun. So it should come as no surprise that the blob is back, in all its space age, plasticized glory.

greag lynn bloom house

As architect Greg Lynn, designer of the Bloom House, would have us believe, Blobitecture is a way of life -- which is fine, so long as I can snag that coffee table in my local furniture shop. Hubba hubba, that sucka is bubblicious.

greag lynn bloom house

But a great deal of the house is characterized not by its furnishings, but by its groovy custom built ins (many of which were made with Corian, the new plastic), lack of ornament, and clean, white spaces.

greg lynn bloom house

Of course the vast expanses of white are punctuated by flashy shots of color, often in the form of creepy little Japanime characters. It's like minimalism for disturbed 5 year olds.

greg lynn bloom house

Perhaps taking a cue from Takashi Murakami, there's a vaguely psychotic undercurrent to the art and sculpture present in the home. The whole house reads like a sterilized acid trip.

greg lynn bloom house

Have I mentioned before that my own tastes tun toward the vaguely psychotic? Love those prints by Malcolm Venville -- I really have a thing for wrestlers right now. And the wood frame on Lynn's Duchess Chair warms the room up a bit. I could live here.

greg lynn bloom house

But did I forget to tell you that the home owners are Oprah rich? Apparently the lights above the breakfast nook are by Damien Hirst, who probably charged a $987,436 dollar fee for the design. Eight Ikea lights arranged in a circle should create a reasonably good facsimile for about $987,336 less.

greg lynn bloom house

However, if you've got a zillion Benjamins burning yet another hole in your threadbare hobo jeans, you can purchase one of Lynn's Recycled Toy Tables. Who doesn't want a pile of overgrown eggplants grinning up at you WITH TEETH while you slurp down your morning Toasty O's?

Lest ye think that Lynn has an, ahem, corner on the blob market, may I redirect your attention to the ever zany Karim Rashid's blobtacular loft?

karim rashid loft

Well, for a guy who likes to create pink blobby bathroom vanities and tubs, I would say this is practically restrained, wouldn't you?

karim rashid bathrooms

Or perhaps you prefer the designed by My Little Ponies look of Rashid's home furnishings line? The graffitied signature is so "Barbie wuz here, but now she's gone. She's left her name to carry on..."

karim rashid loft

Back to Rashid's loft. Did I actually use the word "restrained" in the first picture???

karim rashid loft

I take it back. But I actually do kind of dig the desk, which I expect would inspire grandiose, pink tinged blog postings about wildly surreal furniture.

I guess -- if you can't already tell -- I feel a litte conflicted about The Blob. On one hand, it's sort of extremely infantile. On the other hand, I think I actually like these table lamps designed by Rashid.

karim rashid lights

What do you think, smart and savvy readers? Would you ever live in these spaces, or do they bring back nightmares of the blob in your closet that summer you did all those drugs? You can tell me. The blob can't hurt you here.


Remember when the holidays were fun and awesome and filled with toys? My brother and I were so freaking excited on Christmas Eve that we staged reconnaissance missions to determine the specific nature of our gifts piled high beneath the tree. One of us (not me) may or may not have gone a bit far by actually unwrapping said gifts and PEEKING beneath the wrapping paper. I'm sure my brother will be annoyed that I'm ratting him out, but dude -- dad totally knows! It doesn't take a forensics expert to recognize that grubby fingerprints on mangled tape = one excited little brother. In an effort to recapture that sweet feeling of childish anticipation I am showering you with good time gifts today. Couldn't we all use a little more fun in our lives?

chocolate tools

How much better is a chocolate wrench than a metal one? A lot. Just try eating a metal wrench... gross! I'm not sure these would work on real nuts and bolts, but thankfully there are chocolate versions included in the set. Yes, chocolate nuts.

chocolate eames house

Speaking of yummy treats, who knew design could be so delicious? Check out this edible version of an iconic Eames house by chocolatier, Thomas Haas. You can even see the recipe here. By the way, how does one grow up to be a chocolatier? I feel like I missed my calling.

zaha hadid doll

karim and jaime dolls

The design savvy would also enjoy unwrapping these designer dolls by Olivia Lee. Choose from Empress of Architecture: Zaha Hadid, King of Plastic: Karim Rashid, and Chief of Ceramic: Jaime Hayon. The dolls are supposed to caricature the designers' personalities while also evoking the styles of their products. All I know is I always thought that Jaime is a cute and cuddly little dollypants.

iwg dolls

I bet these Baby Cubs by Insurgent Wilderness Gruppo would satisfy your deep, dark bloodlust for adorable animal misfits. Eyeballs on a spit and blood spattered polar bear cubs, oh my! These dolls may be for grown up children only.

lego duck hunt

Remember how much cooler Nintendo was before the Wii? Just kidding... sort of. Get back to really basic with a lego rendering of Duckhunt. I love this inanimate tableau of lego taxidermy because those stupid ducks were hard to hit, what with their zigging and zagging. Can you tell I was never a gamer? If you can't master Duckhunt, you're kind of a loser.

lego freddie mercury

If you have some extra legos left over after playing games, why not try to be a real champion? Whosoever can duplicate this bust of Freddie Mercury shall be bestowed with the title of Lego Queen (you, too, dudes).

space invaders cutting board

Check out what this guy did with some blocks -- made a space invaders cutting board! You can even buy a handmade version, which they repeatedly and vehemently warn is only hand washable. I have included an illustration to reinforce their point, and also to point out that homeboy has a Linux sign over his sink. Hubby would approve.

glam guns

If you ever hoped and prayed to find a Red Ryder BB gun under the tree, maybe you'll find this upgrade even more alluring. Hellz yes, that is a My Little Pony AR-15 with a purple night vision scope. Lucky Care Bear body armor sold separately.

yoda hat

You remember in The Christmas Story when Ralphie gets that big pink floppy eared bunny suit and, despite his abject misery, actually has to wear it? Don't do that to your kids. Sure, you might think this pea green knitted Yoda hat is cute, but will they?

knitted digestive track

On the other hand, everyone wants a knitted digestive tract. Everyone.

monster skin rug

You know what else everyone wants? This crazy cute Monster Skin Rug by Joshua Longo. You should take a look at some of his other toothsome, deranged creatures. I would have included them, but I decided this should be a special holiday family post. Except for the chocolate nuts.

cat playhouse

The holidays are all about spreading the love, so don't forget to include your furry friends in the gift giving process. Perhaps your feline would enjoy a collapsable cardboard Cat Playhouse. Obviously Clint is lovin' every minute of it. Oh yeah. I think I would have some Christmas claw marks if I tried to shove my half feral little buddy down the hatch, but that's just me.

Are you feeling the holiday sprit now? Feel like playing a game? Tell me about some of your favorite holiday presents and adventures. I live for your witty and incisive comments. No, really, I do.