Improvised Life » materials for making If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:00:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wondrous Sculptural Pottery from an Analog 3D Printer Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:00:44 +0000

Great Things to People is a studio involved in explorations in architecture, art and design, located Santiago, Chile. “We are in a continuous process of research and experimentation in digital crafting, promoting new encounters between the technologies for projecting and the richness of the local expressed in traditional materials and techniques.”

Their 3D pottery printer is not directly digital at all, but a fabulous rig that allows them to “work in the translation of computational logics and automations process in the material world through an analog machine.” Showing how they make their beautifully organic, assymetrical work is much easier than trying to explain it: (more…)

]]> 0
Asymetrically Cut Mirrors Tue, 22 Apr 2014 17:00:40 +0000

Designer Michael Anastassiades assymetrical copper mirror gave us two ideas: First, making a mirror of highly-polished copper.

But even better: cutting mirrors in odd, assymetrical shapes to shake up a room with the unexpected. All it would involve is taking a template to an open-minded  mirror company to have them cut your shape.

The farther reaches of this idea are Carlo Mollino’s nudie mirror, which we originally mistook for a cut-out wall… (more…)

]]> 1
Binder Clips for Cuff Links + Other Last MInute Fashion Fixes Mon, 21 Apr 2014 23:00:02 +0000

Anthony Giglio

Anthony Giglio tweeted this image of ad hoc cuff links someone at Crunch Gym helped him make out of binder clips as he was getting ready to head to a lunch. They are forthright and strangely chic…because they are so….off-the-cuff. THAT’S what that expression means: “ not prepared in advance : done without planning or preparation”

We’ve long relied on binder/presentation clips (more…)

]]> 1
A Drawing Pad You Carry with Your Everywhere: Your Hand Tue, 15 Apr 2014 23:01:01 +0000

Maria Robledo

Our friend Isabel Rower can’t NOT draw on things, and her favorite seems to be her hand. We’ve seen (and posted) all sorts of drawings Issy’s made on her hands. She treats them like an instant pad, always available for drawings or taking notes.  (more…)

]]> 0
Storage Cage Closets Then and Now Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:00:34 +0000


Over at Aqquindex, we stumbled on this image of a clothes closet made out of a cyclone fence, with the notation “Joseph Paul D’Urso, circa 1980″.  We looked him up to discover he was a major design force in the ’70′s, pioneering industrial materials that nobody has used before. A 2007 article in New York Magazine describes them:

Wire-and-glass coffee tables, hospital-curtain tracks, restaurant stoves, exposed ductwork, doctors’ sinks, security mirrors, marine hardware, gym lockers, and cyclone fencing: Those were the materials that D’Urso brought into the New York living space called the loft.

It also describes D’Urso’s method: (more…)

]]> 0
DIY? 70′s Striped Brick Bookshelves Thu, 10 Apr 2014 20:00:49 +0000


We generally viewed bookshelves using bricks as uprights as simple college student decor UNTIL we saw these fab shelves designed by Gionatan De Pas, Donato D’Urbino and Lomazzi for Longato in 1971. Of course the designers used just the right bricks for their striped shelving and a great deal of thought and vision, i.e. the width of the shelves are exactly the width of the bricks…some bricks are placed horizontally, others front to back.

These shelves are swell, an idea that could be riffed on endlessly. For inspiration in the realm of bricks, (more…)

]]> 0
Material for Making: Healthy Plywood 101 Tue, 08 Apr 2014 18:03:48 +0000

Among our many obsessions, plywood is high on the list. It is an endlessly useful, accessible, great-looking material for making. Dig, for example, these chairs designed in the 1930′s by Ko Verzuu, with their odd, simple lines and bright colors.* Plywood was the material Le Corbusier used in his tiny, austere cabin-retreat in the South of France. The problem with modern plywood is that glues that bond the thin sheets of wood veneer together often contain formaldehyde,


]]> 0
Birch Branch Canopy Bed Mon, 07 Apr 2014 20:00:08 +0000

On the heels of our post about using vintage columns as bed posts, we found images of Fashion Designer Samantha Pleet's Williamsburg Apartment. In it, a bed made of lashed together birch logs. ]]> 0
Repurposing Artist’s Ideas, for Home and Living Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:04:20 +0000

I confess to being a barbarian. I routinely check out artists work for ideas I can apply as home design elements. I wonder why my generous artist friends don’t come banging down my door angry at my canabalization of pure art for utilitarian means. They don’t. And I keep finding inspiration from artist’s work, like these paintings by Shaan Syed currently on view at the Ana Cristea Gallery. (more…)

]]> 0
Fischli and Weiss’ Fab Sculptures from Household Objects Thu, 20 Mar 2014 08:13:21 +0000

via | Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York & Galerie Eva

Every since Holton Rower mentioned Equilibres, the inspired series of sculptures Peter Fischli and David Weiss made in the 80′s with ordinary household objects, we’ve been collecting images of them. Only images exist. The tenuous assemblages were dismantled after they were photographed. The subtitle of the series reads:  “Balance is most beautiful just before it collapses.”


]]> 0
Minimalist’s Folding Chair Doubles as Wall Art Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:00:48 +0000

We love this design idea from German design group Ambivalenz. The Fläpps: Folding Chair doubles as an artwork, and a simple folding ‘picnic’ chair. The chair snaps out into a modern, streamlined version of a fold-out chair. Unfolded however, it transforms into a less than one-inch-thick artwork, (more…)

]]> 0
A Fab Makeshift Canopy Bed Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:00:53 +0000

Costanza Algranti

While looking around at Constanza Algranti's curiously modern, recycled decor, we came across this image of her wonderful bed. We know nothing about it but what we see: it's platform made of recycled wood, the charming pink coverlet and pillow and best of all, the canopy rigged with wire or twine and draped fabric.]]> 0
DIY Succulent and Cacti Cupcakes Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:01:10 +0000

We’re usually not crazy about cupcakes with colored frostings but find ourselves totally charmed by the succulent and cacti cupcakes Alana Jones-Mann created, a happy relief from the usual flower motifs.  She shows you how you can do it yourself in her great tutorial.   (more…)

]]> 4
Annals of SMART Design: Angled Headboard to Buy or DIY Thu, 06 Mar 2014 19:00:38 +0000

Crate & Barrel

We are SO happy to read Dalilah Arja’s practical wisdom about angled headboards at Remodelista the other day, and the harsh reality of straight-up-and-down, right-angled headboards:

After two years, I was ready to part ways with my right-angled headboard, which I fought with every time I tried to sit up and do some laptop work in bed. (more…)

]]> 0