Bright Ideas: Lighting Inspiration

Bad lighting is instantly recongnizable. Think about stark, flourscent classroom or airport lighting: Often cold, clinical, and harsh, the unwelcoming glows create spaces we'd rather rush from than relax in. But good lighting can have an equally strong effect in the opposite reading. See some of Haute Living's favorite fixtures here.

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Staying Ahead of the Curve

The spectrum of sofa design has, for years, been polarized by two extremes. On one end, there's the over-stuffed, ornately upholstered and decorated traditional sofas. On the other, there's modular, extremely modern, and low-laying sofas. But, as living spaces become more multi-dimensional, design cannot be approached from one angle.  That's where circular sofas-- which sit somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum-- find their place.

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Thinking Outside the Box By Redefining It

Storage can be surprisingly well-designed and become part of the interior landscape, rather than just a piece meant for holding and hiding our books, clothes, and gadgets.

USM's Haller system transforms the tradtional, boxy storage solutions into sleek, sophisticated options-- and offers more unconventional storage pieces.

Explore them here.

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Woodnotes Design in Space

In the spirit of Finnish design, Woodnotes encapsulates the pure simplicity and authenticity of nature. Every product incorporates natural materials with honest, pure lines. What results is a comprehensive collection characterized by geometrical figures and original design.

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Verpan Design in Space

In the midst of functionalist and minimalist Scandinavian design, Verner Panton was an explosion of color and personality.

At the time Panton was designing in Denmark-- during the 1960s and 70s --strong, clean lines, light woods, and tradition dominated the landscape. Panton, whose geometrical furniture designs for Arne Jacobsen's architectural firm had garnered early attention, wildly disregarded these tenets.

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Fferrone Installation at Haute Living

Art and design are vehicles well-suited for raising awareness and funds for charitable causes, as well as providing an eye into contemporary culture and values. For the past five years, Chicago Magazine's Chairs for Charity event has invited local designers to reimagine classic chairs that are then donated to be auctioned off to support a local charity. This years charity was Designs for Dignity.

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Best of Interieur 2014

Haute Living's top picks from the 24th International Biennale Interieur, hosted in Kortrijk, Belgium.

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Rimadesio Design in Space

From Chicago to Shanghai, Rimadesio's culturally and ethically aware design is surfacing in the world's most prestigious cities.

The Italian company, founded in 1956 by Francesco and Luigi Malberti Ribaldi, is based on a simple product and concept: glass. Combined with aluminum structures, the material is transformed into a myriad of products to divide and define any space: doors, shelves, modular storage units, closets. The simplicity of glass is communicated through exceptional technical and precision detailing, elimination distracting hardware and thus creating maximum style, pragmatism, and reliability.

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Zeus Design in Space

Creativity is dynamic. Uninhibited, this heightened consciousness will swell, then retreat, then swell and retreat many times more. The individual creative process is a process of ebb and flow-- one that is often complicated, obstructed, frustrating. But when the individual creative process merges with other ideas, it naturally grows. Exposure to outside forces builds a larger communicative voice that is grander than the individual. For Zeus, the polyphany of creative voices was a deliberate decision in order to forge a distinct, post-modern movement. Continue reading to see how Zeus can enhance your project.

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Carpet Sign Design in Space

When we are always working, moving, living, it's often easy to miss the details. But as Charles Eames said, "The details are not the details. They make the design." This is true on both the small scale (say, the hardware or finish on a chair), and on the large scale. That's why it's important to notice the details, and why we accessorize and incorporate flooring choices into a grander design scheme: to pull a space together in a cohesive way, and to create an environment, not just a room.

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Le Deun Luminaires Design in Space

Let there be light.

For Jean-Luc le Deun, photographer and founder of Le Deun Luminaires, the forces of light and dark have always been a matter of art-- the medium has simply changed. Where light was once an integral ingredient in the outcome, it now takes center stage as final product.

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Moooi Design in Space

Imagine a Victorian home: Vast windows complete with lavish molding. Dramatic arched doorways leading to spaces filled with texture and delicate detailing. Vibrant. Charming. Now, imagine hosting a 21st Century party among the historic interior architecture: Fast music playing over a series of speakers. Quick conversations taking place in spaces filled with a mixture of senses. Vivid. Bold. It is an act that would require a graceful balance of tradition and modernity. In an unexpected welcome, Moooi has managed to strike this exact balance in its design aesthetic.

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Carl Hansen & Son Design in Space

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the strongest.

In 1908, Carl Hansen took one simple idea-- that a combination of elevated craftsmanship and rational means of production could yield high-quality furniture at accessible prices-- and built his eponymous company on it.

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Montis Design in Space

Inspiration is often drawn from history, whether directly and consciously, or subtly and subconsciously. Take, for instance, how Italian Renaissance artists were inspired by ancient forms, or how pop artists rebelled against those same tenets of classic art.

Montis displays its design inspiration by staying true to its roots of Scandinavian design, whose aesthetic is typified by minimal, light creations designed to make life better and more beautiful for all-- true democratic design.

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Interstuhl Design in Space

A change in schedule. A missed train or delayed flight. A sudden turn of the weather. Life is defined by our ability to adapt. The products we use to navigate life and its inevitable bumps in the road should, too.

Interstuhl, a family-run German design company, takes this statement to heart, and to the heart of its products: ergonomically designed chairs. Because we so often spend long periods of time tucked behind a desk or into table, every Interstuhl chair is designed with the body in mind and is created to facilitate active sitting. 

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USM Modular Furniture Design in Space

Form follows function. For USM Modular Furniture, this is less of an overused adage and more of an integral part of company history.

The company, which began under Ulrich Schaerer as a hardware and locksmith business, was expanded in 1961 by grandson Paul from a manually-oriented factory to a full-fledged modern industrial plant.

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Vioski Design in Space

Modern design as we know it is dynamic. It is an ever-changing landscape that conforms to few rules, yet continuously forges just as many of its own. It is rare, though, for a singular design to be able to do the same.

Enter Jeff Vioski, the creative vision behind the L.A.-based Vioski. His pieces, such as the Shea sectional and Isola lounge, are designed with flexibility as the core tenent of the creation.

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The Republic of Fritz Hansen Design in Space

The Republic of Fritz Hansen™ is not merely in the furniture business, it is in the business of creating classics.

The company’s official history begins in 1872, when cabinet-maker Fritz Hansen obtained a trade license in Copenhagen. In 1885, Hansen, along with his son, established a furniture production company. Within a few short years, Fritz Hansen’s order resume included The University Library, Copenhagen City Hall, and The Supreme Court.

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John Ford Design in Space

Passion. Expression. Tradition. Just as the things we are capable of creating vary from person to person, so do the forces that drive us to create. Oftentimes, it is not a solitary force, but many that work together.

Take, for example, the WB Chair by L.A.-based designer John Ford, which was born from watching his son’s fascination with gazelles. The animal’s profile -- lean, agile, and strong – is translated into a solid wood chair that masterfully uses a curved, solid wood ribbon as both backrest and armrest.

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Introducing Jake Dyson's Ariel Down Light

Jake Dyson's Ariel Down Light, inspired by the first all-British satellite 'Ariel 1,'  is revolutionary in its use of space age technology and cutting-edge LED lights. See how this light can change the way you illuminate your world.

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Lema Design in Space

The spaces we come into contact with every day must do more than exist as a curation of finely crafted objects. They must accommodate our preferences, anticipate our needs, fit into our schedules.  As Lema Art Director Piero Lissoni puts it, the spaces we visit, live, and work in must be decidedly human spaces. A seamless sense of ease between person and product creates comfortable environments that transcend design for the mere sake of design.


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Piet Boon’s design philosophy can be summarized in two words: refined sophistication. The practice’s portfolio showcases its commitment to design that seamlessly marries form, function, and finesse. Founded in 1983 by Dutch designer Piet Boon and joined three years later by business partner Karin Meyn, Piet Boon has worked in corporate, commercial and residential spaces in an impressive 46 countries worldwide. Products constructed of natural materials such as rich leathers and various metals combine with sleek, classic lines that make an almost effortless impact in any space.

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Man and nature have not always peacefully coexisted. But from the first fire to the first wheel, man has triumphed in ways that take the natural world and its vast spread of elements and transformed them in striking ways into something both useful and eye-catching. Since its inception in 2003, De Castelli has been combining the spirit of the century-old tradition of handcrafting iron goods with today’s advanced technology to produce pieces for interiors and exteriors alike. 

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Since 1956, Rimadesio has completely revolutionized the use of glass and aluminum in the furniture industry, fusing technology, function, and beauty to create timeless products. This video, shot at their stunning flagship showroom in Milan during last month's Salone del Mobile, showcases the evolution of Rimadesio with new materials, new finishes, and new pieces that only strengthen their already elite product offering.

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From the exhibit halls on the fair grounds in Rho, to the hundreds of events scattered all around the cosmopolitan city of Milano, the Salone is truly a visceral experience that cannot adequately be described in words alone. This short video is only a glimpse of what Haute Living observed and experienced during the record-breaking 2014 Salone del Mobile. Enjoy!

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DAY 5: Salone del Mobile 2014

Day 5 was spent walking beautiful Milano, observing and taking in the sights and some incredible "off the beaten path" design, including the exalted Nilufar. A warm, beautiful day was capped off with an equally beautiful dinner with Los Angeles-based designer Reza Feiz of Phase Design, his brother Khodi Feiz, and Morteza and Fatemeh Emami´╗┐´╗┐ of Surroundings Home Decor at Ilia Ristorante con Giardino. 

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DAY 4: Salone del Mobile 2014

Haute Living was on-the-go again on Day 4, with visits to Woodnotes, USM, Edra, La Palma, Kartell, Alias, Thonet and many more. We ran into the boys from Rich Brilliant Willing and they showed us a sneak peek at their new lighting pieces to debut at ICFF next month. Then it was off to the Fritz Hansen event in Brera, and finishing the evening was dinner and design talk at Trattoria Da Abele Temperanza with Chicago-based designer Steven Haulenbeek and interior designer Bridgette Nyman of Soucie Horner. The energy was incredible today!

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DAY 3: Salone del Mobile 2014

Our third day at Salone was an active one with visits to LEMA, Riva 1920, Ceccotti, Tonon, Rimadesio, Bosa, Quagliotti, and many, many more. We're excited as new products from these respectable brands will be on our showroom floor very soon. The day ended at one of the most vibrant (and delicious) restaurants we've ever been to on our trips to Itlay: Trattoria Caprese in Monza. The next time you're in Milano, please make the trek out to Monza, it is well worth it!

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DAY 2: Salone del Mobile 2014

Today was the official opening of Salone, but Haute Living spent the day in closed-door meetings (one of which was held at the exclusive Ristorante Al Porto) with some of the best design manufacturers in Italy. And though our cameras were mostly dormant, we were hard at work in order to bring you the most unique contemporary design products being made today. We think you're going to like what we're up to.

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DAY 1: Salone del Mobile 2014

Some pastries and several cups of espresso at a Milanese cafe was the morning fuel on Day 1 of Milan Design Week 2014. We took the Green Line subway to Tortona and roamed around a bit, peeking in on some exhibits still in the process of being set up before heading over to the Piet Boon, Linteloo (coming soon to Haute Living), moooi, and Spazio Rossana Orlandi press previews. 

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imm Cologne 2014

imm Cologne is regarded as the preeminent convention place for furniture manufactures, furniture retailers, furniture designers, architects and interior designers. Haute Living was there on a mission to observe, discover, and procure the latest in the contemporary furniture design. Though falling short of our (overly) ambitious attempt to cover the nearly 1,200 exhibitors over a five-day span, we managed to see a great deal and we’re excited to share with you our favorite designs from imm Cologne 2014 – most all of which we will proudly be exhibiting at our Kinzie Street showroom floor in the coming year.

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