Scientists claim the universe is expanding, but they haven’t been to our house. You feel us? When it comes to saving space, more is never enough. Each of the items below is both more, and less. (Physics is full of such paradoxes.)
1. An entryway shelf that streamlines your exits.
Hang this by your door and free up a drawer. All the little things you need as you dash out—keys, sunglasses, phone, wallet—will find a place on it. You can even put reminder notes on it with a magnet. For example, “Buy that cute catch-all shelf.”
2. A caddy for storing #bedlife necessities.
Look at your bedroom. See any space for remotes? Magazines? Tablet? Neither do we. This pocket creates a place for them right where you need it: next to your bed. Now, cocooning will be even cocoonier.
*Editor’s note: The Mushroom Lamp is coming soon to our assortment. Get it first by pre-ordering here.
Imagine, if you will, a mushroom. What do you see in your mind’s eye? A red cap, flecked with bits of white? Or the spongier look of the prized morel? We’d bet anything you don’t picture a lamp, but maybe—just maybe—you should. And along with designer Danielle Trofe, we’re here to tell you why.
It may seem like there’s somewhat of a leap from mushrooms to your living room decor, but we swear, the connection’s relatively linear. The key? Mycelium, otherwise known as the network of subterranean “roots” that helps petite ’shrooms gather nutrients from their surroundings. In 2007, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre—co-founders of a company called Ecovative—set out to expose mycelium’s potential by using it to craft eco-friendly alternatives to stuff like polystyrene foam (yuck). It didn’t take long for Danielle to take advantage of Ecovative’s fun(gal) creation, incorporating mycelium into the design of an object you can now get only at UncommonGoods. You guessed it: It’s a lamp. The Mushroom Lamp, to be exact.
*Editor’s note: The Shape-Shifting Ollie Chair is coming soon to our assortment. Be the first to get it by pre-ordering here.
“I like creating objects that move and change and don’t always stay what they seem to be,” says Ollie chair designer Jess Banks. Transformation is everywhere you turn at her studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It starts with the building itself. The jaw-dropping space of the New Lab, where Jess and her team develop their kinetic designs, was once part of a shipbuilding mecca. The space is now a high-tech entrepreneurial hub. “It’s really amazing to think of how we’re based in a place that was running because of war, and I’m allowed the freedom and luxury to create new ideas,” she reflected. This is just the sort of place you’d expect to find a chair that unfurls from a two-inch-thick rectangle of aluminum and wood tambour—and transforms back again with a gentle pull.
We visited Jess to discuss design inspirations for her shape-shifting chair, the personalities behind it, and why she doesn’t call it a “folding chair.” Along the way, we learned more about tambour and discovered why the former Comedy Central employee looks forward to buying toothpaste. Continue Reading…
Far, far away from UncommonGoods’ historic headquarters in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Marylène Chauveau manipulates glass in her home studio in Wotton, Québec. A native of the French-speaking Canadian province, Marylène lives where she works, tracing, cutting, sanding, and assembling striking pieces of finely colored glass into jewelry, mobiles, and suncatchers, all while tending to her two school-aged boys.
When we first saw Marylène’s Night Sky Mobile—a new addition to our assortment—in the flesh, we found ourselves struck by its delicate, masterful construction and by Marylène’s own background as a STEM worker-turned-glass artist. Intrigued, we set out to welcome her as we do all of our most exciting new makers: with her very own spot in our This Just In-spiration series. (As you can see, she accepted the offer. And we’re so glad.)
Read on for a glimpse into Marylène’s studio, complete with the rundown on her morning ritual and a suite of pretty pictures of her fine vitraux. (That’s French for “stained glass,” FYI. And the cat above? That’s un chat.)
From prized carousel rings to shiny Sousaphones, brass is a storied substance with many contributions to material culture. This alloy of copper and zinc combined in 60 official formulas has a long history. The Chinese may have made it by accident in the 5th century BCE. They melted down zinc-rich copper ores and—presto—brass. More deliberately, the Greeks and Romans combined the two elements to form brass through a process that remained the industry standard through the late 19th century. Continue Reading…
Your nightstand—it’s just the utilitarian bedside spot for stashing your alarm clock or phone, some tissues, and your latest nighttime read, right? Maybe, but it should be a whole lot more. Think about it. What’s the last thing you see at night when you reach over to turn off the light? What’s your waking sight when you reach for your alarm each morning?
Since your nightstand is the closest thing to your bed, it’s your first and last visual cue of the day—so why not give a little attention to this overlooked spot? Add some thoughtful, personalized touches that are both functional and decorative for calming your mood at night and adding some energetic pep to your morning.
According to Carl Jung, the sea symbolizes our collective unconscious, spilling forth each night with dreams concealed by day. The swirling waves of this bedside lantern will be just the thing for your nightstand. Made from recycled paper, the wave-printed shade casts a warm glow perfect for cozy bedtime lighting and even adjusts for brightness. | Glowing Wave Paper Lantern
Canopies of colorful leaves. Air so fresh it actually feels different when you breathe it in. Wide open spaces and dewy blades of grass. These are things I don’t get to enjoy all that often in Brooklyn, but New Hampshire is another story. I experienced the natural beauty of “The Granite State” firsthand last fall, when I also got a full tour of Arra David and Anne Johnson’s bustling studio.
The state’s nickname is certainly fitting, given the extensive quarries in New Hampshire. It’s also fitting that Anne and Arra make their designs there, considering that their one-of-a-kind creations are made with wood, natural stones, metal, and–you guessed it–granite.
Curious about just how the designers are able to turn solid rock into functional home designs, our Tabletop Buyer NéQuana and I made the five-hour road trip from Brooklyn to Windham, NH to get an inside look.
Anne and Arra welcomed us in, offered us some of the homemade hard cider mentioned below, walked us through the studio and workshop, and let us take some tools for a test drive. With Arra’s guidance, NéQuana even built her own Sea Stone Splash Sponge Holder!
Arra, an engineer, talked to us about designing special tools to tackle heavy-duty work. He also shared thoughts on taking hold of inspiration when it “ambushes,” advice on the importance of collaboration, and a perfectly pertinent Thoreau quote.