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Design Stories Volume One

Areaware works with independent designers to bring their design ideas to life. We value design integrity, and collaborate closely with designers to realize their vision while also responding to consumer needs and market forces. There are many tests, outtakes, abandoned paths, and lessons learned on the road from project to product. In this publication, we are proud to share our Fall 2017 collection and the design stories that accompany them. Areaware is a gift and home accessories brand based in Brooklyn, NY and Columbus, OH. We’re a small team of 24 people dedicated to producing the best of new design. We work with a roster of independent designers on a royalty-basis, and oversee all aspects of bringing a design product to market, including creative direction, product development, sourcing, marketing, sales and distribution. Each design we produce is exclusive to the Areaware brand.

The Areaware office in Brooklyn. photo credit: Anna Ottum

Bitmap Textiles by Susan Kare


Susan Kare designed this set of textiles for the Jacquard loom, an early example of computer-controlled machinery, operated with punched cards and invented by Joseph Jacquard in 1801. This line of fine textiles celebrates the parallels between weaving and pixels; both rely on the idea of a grid spread across the surface of a medium.

Bitmap Textiles were inspired by Kare’s work on pattern design for MacPaint. Below, Kare discusses her early work on graphical computer interface design at Macintosh: The concept of the “computer for the rest of us” had great personal appeal to me as I didn’t have any engineering background. The whole team was focused on designing the Macintosh to appeal to non-technical users. I tried to incorporate everyday metaphors, a little nostalgia, and a little humor in the interface graphics in hopes of making the computer less intimidating.

Susan Kare is a pioneer of early computer graphic interface design. In the ‘80s, she began work at Apple Computer designing fonts, icons, and visual elements for the original Macintosh operating system and applications.

An icon design from Susan Kare’s sketchbook.

courtesy of thisisstory.com

Kare in the Macintosh offices. Cupertino, CA, 1984. photo credit: Norman Seeff 5

Available as coasters, napkins, placemats, and tea towels in black and white and color. Mix and match for a beautiful table setting. 6


Ridge Kitchen by Visibility


A collection of hand-blown pitchers and glasses. The rippled surface texture provides a natural grip and creates a wave-like optical effect in the light.

Ridge Kitchen originally started as a collection of porcelain tools for the kitchen. The idea was to convey use through pattern and motion. The forms referenced the language of the machine, while being implemented into traditional kitchen products. We designed a pitcher, grater, and mortar and pestle, prototyped them ourselves, and showed them as a part of our first body of work under the Visibility name in 2014. There was strong initial response to the set, and Areaware was interested in taking the collection into production, so over the course the following year we started developing the project together. Through this process, we considered new materials. Where the project had started in porcelain, we wanted the same sensitivity and detail to remain on the larger production scale, so we started to discuss glass–a new material for Areaware. Glass, like porcelain, is true to the landscape of the kitchen and would allow the collection even more room to grow. Sohrab and Guerra in their SoHo studio. Visibility is an internationally recognized industrial design office based in New York City. It was founded by Joseph Guerra and Sina Sohrab in 2012.

Paper prototypes for alternate and future Ridge Kitchen designs. 9

Ridge Kitchen in cobalt 10


Stone Fruit Bowls by Chen Chen & Kai Williams


A set of two porcelain bowls, cast from a selection grapefruits. Slight variations will occur from bowl to bowl, just like real fruit.

Casting a plaster mold for one of the first Citrus Stone Fruit Bowls.

The Stone Fruit bowls came about as an experiment with slip casting porcelain and an offshoot from our Stone Fruit Planter series. The concept of these products is emphasizing the interesting textures of the surfaces by making the forms a matte monochrome. This heightens the way light hits the surfaces and the shadows that are created. Our cement planters are cast in soft, flexible silicone molds. We thought about making the porcelain bowls almost as an afterthought, almost sure that the rigid plaster mold wouldn’t release such a textured surface.

Cantaloupe was the first fruit we played with because we liked the subtle difference in texture from one fruit to the next. It also had a simple hemisphere silhouette which was borderline abstract which made you look more at the texture. When trying to replicate an object with slip casting, it’s impossible to copy the same size because the clay shrinks as it dries. We originally produced 2 other shapes, an orange which shrank to the size of a clementine, and a grapefruit that shrank to the size of an orange. However,

by shrinking, it also creates a more intricate surface and helps turn these bowls into a hyper-real version of the original fruit. Chen Chen & Kai Williams is a New York-based design studio working in furniture, products, interiors and mixed materials.


Totem Candles by Grain


The Totem Candle is cast in unscented paraffin wax from forms originally created by turning beeswax on a lathe. Available in seven colors and three sizes.

About three years ago, we designed some candle holders that used cast graphite cups as the main heat resistant component. We were excited about what seemed like a new use for a material often utilized in industrial production and in order to present the design properly we began to search for some interesting candles to use in photography and to sell on our site with our candle holders. We found a great beeswax candle producer in near-by Oregon that had been around since the 1970’s producing 100% American-sourced beeswax candles in variety of interesting forms. We bought a bunch of samples to try out in our holders. We figured that we might eventually decide to cast our own shapes, so this was also part research for a future project.

We honed the designs down to three cut patterns and three sizes with the idea that they looked best as a composition of multiple sizes and shapes. As we continued to produce them—in 2015 they were our best selling product—our home and studio completely filled with the sweet honey smell of beeswax.

Grain is an American design practice dedicated to social and environmental responsibility.

At the time we were still working from our home-based shop and we had a very basic lathe that we used primarily to sand our candle holder bases. One night James was working down in the shop on some order production, saw the box of candle samples, and was inspired to throw one on the lathe to see what would happen if he tried cutting into it. James had a lot of experience turning from RISD and from his woodworking and boat building background, but he wasn’t really sure how the wax would respond. They ended up cutting beautifully–what he would later describe as “like butter.” Though very controlled, the early process was also fast and satisfying for someone used to working with wood.

The original Totem Candles were turned on a lathe. 15

Totem Candles are available in four new colors: moss, plum, black and white. 16


Totem Candles by Grain

The first Pinch Clip prototypes were hand carved and painted by the artist to resemble a line drawing of a hand.

I started by analyzing different common housewares that I thought were ripe for design intervention. I arrived at the chip clip, a category of objects that most people own but few people think about. It dawned on me that what a clothes pin, chip clip, or an “A� clamp are really doing is acting as an analog for a human hand pinching its finger and thumb together. I thought it would be fun and playful to make that process explicit. I love it when a thing speaks for itself, what it does and how it looks working together into a cohesive whole. I do my best thinking through cartoon illustrations, and while sketching I fell in love with the way the Pinch Clip hand looked as a drawing. I decided to recreate the original illustration as a physical object, with loose gestural line work and brightly colored psychedelic nails and skin tones. Nick DeMarco has been been an Artist since early childhood, cutting his teeth working on community art events, parades and performances organized by his family and friends in Seattle.


photo credit: Nick DeMarco

Pinch Clip by Nick DeMarco

Pinch it closed with these three-dimensional digits—an extra hand for pinching, clipping and holding just about anything in place. Each clip is fitted with a custom-engineered spring mechanism. The pieces are hand carved from wood and painted to resemble a drawing come to life.


Pinch Clip comes in four colors: white, natural, green, and black. 20


The Bank in the Form of a Pig is part of our Reality series by Harry Allen. Each object is inspired by the beauty of everyday objects. By casting natural forms, Allen thoughtfully reimagines objects and gives them new uses.

The 2017 limited edition color: Teal 22

Bank in the Form of a Pig by Harry Allen

Eraser Stand by Earnest Studio and Phil Procter

A dome-shaped eraser that doubles as a pencil stand. The eraser has a hole in the middle for keeping a pencil upright and handy.


Paper Clips by Daphna Laurens


Functional forms in bent spring steel. These colorful clips are decorative and extra large. Make any correspondence special.

Original paper clip sketches

The idea for this project came from a shape study experiment. With the aim to create a large furniture piece or lighting project, we set out to find unexpected forms through imaginative exploration. However, we began to really enjoy crafting these shapes and decided to develop a much more straightforward concept. We ended up with this beautiful set of paper clips. We hope they brighten up your day!  Studio Daphna Laurens is the collaboration of Daphna Isaacs Burggraaf and Laurens Manders.


Mirror Bookmark by Brandon Wilner


A reflective bookmark originally designed as a palindrome machine. The size of a standard bookmark, its polished mirror surface reflects text and generates palindromic phrases while saving your page.

Mirror Rim by Christian Bok, photographed in Brandon Wilner’s studio.

Since childhood I’ve regarded palindromes as sources of wonder and stress—they’re so unlikely and precarious that it’s a wonder that they exist at all, especially in sentence form. I do not have the gifts of a canny palindromist (I find it very difficult to incorporate verbs), but I’ve long wished to contribute to the canon that includes marvels like “Go hang a salami; I’m a lasagna hog.” My attempts have never been so pristinely odd; they’ve just been odd.

At some point I began to think that the simplest way to meaningfully contribute to the palindrome conversation would be to give the work over to a machine, and the simplest machine for producing a palindrome is a mirror. The object is the natural extension of this idea: a bookmark so the machine might be near text at all times, a reflective surface so that it might ceaselessly reverse a sequence of letters. Brandon Wilner is a reader, writer, and twin who lives in New York.


Glass Ruler by Allon Libermann and Hye Jin Ahn

Draw and measure with accuracy using this crystal glass ruler. The inch and centimeter grid overlays allow for precise alignment when placed on top of existing visuals.


What is a workspace? Is it a desk, a small ecosystem of one’s tools, or is it a state of mind, something that doesn’t actually require all that many tools? In the end, it’s probably all of those things. We’re curious what sort of spaces people create for themselves to get work done. The ad hoc tendencies that really make workspaces personal, outside the realm of design expertise. When we visited Donald Judd’s Soho studio we saw how everything from the bathroom, to the things he and his family collected, created his studio. In one instance he co-opted a common building material, a sheet of reinforced glass, gridded with metal wire and it became a tool for rigid drawing.

Our first collaboration started as a question. Why a glass ruler, Donald Judd? This prompt led us to design a set of rulers. Glass for how it slides across paper in fine increments with the slightest push. Glass for being transparent. Glass for having heft, and for sitting upright on a table. Donald Judd appropriated the glass in its original form; we honed all the best characteristics of that very same glass into a set of desktop tools appropriate for any kind of workspace. Hye Jin and Allon have regular weekend meetings in the cafes around Stockholm. During the week, they work together as part of a larger team of designers. On the weekends they collaborate and test out ideas on their own.

Prototyping the Glass Ruler at a cafe in Stockholm. photo credit: Allon Libermann and Hye Jin Ahn 29

Fall 2017 Desk and Office Collection 30


Snake Blocks by Clara von Zweigbergk


Snake Blocks are classic toys reinvented in wood and elastic. Twist and turn the colorful blocks to create endless forms, serpentine shapes and geometric patterns, including a sphere, a swan, a dog and a fish. Composed of 24 painted wooden triangles with an elastic band throughout.

I find the area between sculpture and play fascinating. The Snake Blocks actually came to life while working on a related product, currently in the making with Areaware. I had quite a few large triangular wooden blocks laying around my desk and while playing with them the vintage plastic snake toy came to mind. I liked the idea of shifting its scale and having the snake toy become more of a sculptural object. In addition to the new size and material, we added a few colors which gave it a new ex-

pression. The new color variations are fun to play with while exploring new variations in pattern and shape. Clara von Zweigbergk lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. She currently pursues her great interest in paper, color, typography and form through projects ranging from corporate identities, photographic art direction, packaging and a growing series of products.

pre-production samples and prototypes. photo credit: Anna Ottum 33

New colors: yellow/green, blue/pink, beige/green 34


BlockitectureÂŽ by James Paulius


Build the world you want to see with BlockitectureÂŽ, a set of architectural building blocks. Cantilever and nest hexagonal blocks to create towers, cities and dwellings. Available in six unique sets: Habitat, Deco, Factory, Brutalism, Parklands, and Garden City, each inspired by an architectural style.

When I started thinking about the newest expansion of Blockitecture. I wanted to allow people to keep creating and exploring their own world through play. I especially wanted this world to be optimistic, hopeful, and uplifting. It’s always refreshing for me to see buildings with greenery, especially in the mostly concrete New York City where I’m living. Integrating this element into Blockitecture was the most fun and challenging element of this design process. My first iterations were too angular and literal. After looking at architecture in NYC,

I noticed the contrast between the contours of the trees with the geometry of the buildings. Taking this cue, I then designed the green spaces to have an organic silhouetted effect.

James Paulius has an interest in designing products that integrate people with their environment to promote creativity, curiosity and joy.

Original prototypes in wood, paper and foam 37

BlockitectureÂŽ Brutalism, based on the architectural movement of the same name.



Dymaxion Folding Globe by Brendan Ravenhill and the Buckminster Fuller Institute

A folding magnetic map of our world configured using Buckminster Fuller’s dymaxion projection, a representation of Earth that easily transitions from flat to three-dimensional. Fold it up to create a globe or unfold to reveal our flattened planet. 40

The Fuller Projection Map™, also know as the “Dymaxion Map™,” is the only flat map of the entire surface of the Earth which reveals our planet as one island in one ocean, without any visually obvious distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the land areas, and without splitting any continents. Traditional world maps reinforce the elements that separate humanity and fail to highlight the patterns and relationships emerging from the ever evolving and accelerating process of globalization. All flat world map

representations of the spherical globe contain some amount of distortion either in shape, area, distance or direction measurements. On the well-known Mercator world map, Greenland appears to be three times its relative globe size and Antarctica appears as a long thin white strip along the bottom edge of the map. Even the popular Robinson Projection, used in many schools, still contains a large amount of area distortion with Greenland appearing 60 percent larger than its relative globe size. Fuller believed that given a way to visualize the whole planet with

greater accuracy, we humans will be better equipped to address challenges as we face our common future aboard Spaceship Earth.

Los Angeles-based designer Brendan Ravenhill added magnets to Buckminster Fuller’s patented Dymaxion Projection to create the Dymaxion Folding Globe as produced by Areaware. This product was created in partnership with the Buckminster Fuller Institute.

Courtesy, The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller 41

The Dymaxion Globe is a magnetic folding map of the world made from durable synthetic paper and magnetic sheets. 42


areaware.com wholesale.areaware.com Fall 2017 lifestyle photography by Carson Fisk-Vittori. For sales inquiries, please contact sales@areaware.com, call 1-800-783-5683 x 2, or visit wholesale.areaware.com. For press inquires, please contact press@areaware.com.

Areaware 267 Irving Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11247 232 Neilston St., Columbus, OH 43215 CopyrightŠ Areaware 2016 All rights reserved. No part of this catalog may be reprinted, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, without permission from Areaware. All designs shown here are protected under copyright law. Copying will be prosecuted. Front cover photo credit: Allon Libermann and Hye Jin Ahn. Back cover photo credit: Clara von Zweigbergk.


Profile for Areaware

Design Stories Vol. 1  

Areaware works with independent designers to bring their design ideas to life. We value design integrity, and collab- orate closely with des...

Design Stories Vol. 1  

Areaware works with independent designers to bring their design ideas to life. We value design integrity, and collab- orate closely with des...

Profile for areaware