Friday, October 29, 2010

Remember Remember, the 8th of November...

I wanted to reach out to our blog readers and remind everyone that there are only 11 days left in our Blu Dot 20/20 Sale. From now until November 8th, every Blu Dot product you buy from us will be 20% off. Check out the Blu Dot Page on our website, there are lots of beautiful products that would look great in your home, not to mention under a special someone's tree come Christmas! The special someone is me, if you’re confused.

Blu Dot is one of our favorite partners to work with. Their furniture and accessories are ultra-modern and ultra-cool. Don’t let the sale pass you by! Purchase before the 8th of November, and get great value on top of great products. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


One of the most popular and widely seen short films of all time is Powers of Ten (1977), a little movie about proportion and scale by Charles and Ray Eames. Starting with a picnicking couple in Chicago, the camera continuously zooms out to frame an area ten times greater than the one before. It only takes 24 (1024) zooms to extend the view to the limits of the known universe. Then Charles and Ray Eames take the camera in the other direction; we zoom in to the couple on the picnic, eventually shrinking to view the human hand at a sub-atomic level (this time in 16 moves - 10-16). It’s a startling film, and awe-inspiring to boot. Just the technical mastery on display in the special effects is reason enough to see it; it’s often shown in film schools for this reason alone. Powers of Ten has been on permanent display at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. for decades, and it’s shown in schools and theaters all across the country to this day. Even if Charles and Ray hadn’t built some of the most important furniture of the 20th century, they would be remembered for making this very cool film.
To celebrate the film, the Eames Office is putting on a series of events across the country on 10/10/10, a unique and uniquely fitting day to re-examine the iconic film.

The Powers of Ten movie is available for purchase at Smart Furniture Studio, right here in Chattanooga Tennessee.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Setting SAYL with Yves Behar

We first noticed Yves Behar during our trip to NeoCon this summer.

He was the keynote speaker, and talked a lot about the relationship between the designer and the buyer. He said that while the designer has to follow his own vision, and make something that works on a creative level, they also have a social responsibility to use technology and engineering to provide buyers with the most functional product possible. An eye-catching recycling bin project is useless if the bins aren’t easy to use, and a beautiful chair isn’t worth much if it’s not comfortable and supportive (preaching to the choir). The speech was about bridging the gap between personal expression and usefulness, enjoyment, and responsibility. Since Smart Furniture is all about putting parts of the creative process and design in the hands of our customers, we knew Behar was a man to watch. We even had the foresight to get our picture taken with him!

And boy, did he ever come through. Today marks the release of Behar’s newest design, which just happens to be a Herman Miller chair. It’s called SAYL, and it’s absolutely breathtaking.

The original concept for the chair was suspension bridge (Natch - Behar works in San Fransisco), and you can see how he executed that in the back of the chair. But not until you sit in it do you get the full impact; this is a very comfortable chair. The suspension bridge look is also suspension bridge engineering; the Y along the back of the chair is anchored at the top and bottom of the seat and seat back, and it creates just the right amount of tension to keep your back healthy and happy. Behar put his money where his mouth was at NeoCon, and the result is truly a thing of beauty. We’re really excited to be selling it at Smart Furniture. (Full disclosure: When you order this chair, because Herman Miller is just releasing it and kind of keeping it under wraps, it won’t arrive until February. Trust us though, it’s worth the wait.)

The design doesn't stop with suspension, though. Like the Setu Chair before it, this is a Herman Miller chair focused on using the least amount of material possible. In a way it’s a challenge; can you build a comfortable chair with no stuffing and padding, plenty of space in the seat back, lightweight materials, and a slight profile? Yves Behar can. The lack of material makes this a great chair for folks who care about the environment, and that’s one more way Behar was able to fulfill his social responsibilities while at the same time stretching his considerable creative muscles. In a way the chair reminded me of the Lars von Trier film The Five Obstructions, where a celebrated short filmmaker was challenged to re-make his film 5 times, each time with severe restrictions and, well, obstructions (no shot could last longer than half a second, it had to be animated, it had to be filmed in another country with a pitiful budget and poverty-stricken natives, etc.) In the end these restrictions only allowed the filmmaker’s creativity to fully blossom. Because he couldn’t rely on what he knew would work he had to break the mold and forge a new path. And the SAYL Chair is the result of a remarkably similar design exercise.

We’re really proud to offer our customers this chair; it’s one of a kind, and at $399, it’s an absolute steal.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Design Milk and Smart Furniture

This past month Smart Furniture has been partnering with Design Milk for their 2010 Reader Survey.  
If you’re a fan of Design Milk, like we are, check out their survey, and help them learn a little more about their readers.  You can fill out the survey until Sunday, October 3rd at midnight.  What’s in it for you, you ask?  One lucky person who fills out the survey will be chosen at random to win a $500 gift card to!