A place where Minnesota's design community can blow its collective mind about creative expression in every medium from websites to landscapes, chocolate to bicycles.

Jim Brandenburg’s Home Studio

Posted: July 9th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: architecture, events, interiors, local twin cities | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

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Photographer Jim Brandenburg takes his home studio seriously enough that he had David Salmela design it (along with the rest of the house) and it looks like an amazing place to work. The irony of course is that Brandenburg, a renowned wildlife photographer, spends lots of time traveling to spectacular locations outside his studio. This is probably the most classic case of having one’s cake and eating it too that has ever come to my attention and while a lesser man would be jealous I can assure you that I am merely green with envy.

Even if a gorgeous, two story studio bordering the Boundary Waters is not in your budget at the moment now is a great time to listen to the architect himself talk about it. David Salmela will be speaking at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis on Wednesday, July 14th at 7:00 p.m.. Also speaking will be Tom Fisher who is Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota and the author of two books about Salmela’s work. They’ll be signing copies of the first book and talking about the second which is due in spring 2011. It’s sure to be inspiring for anyone in search of quality space. See you there.

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Today in the Studio Garden (08)

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: downloads, local twin cities, photography | Tags: , | Comments Off

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Now that monsoon season seems to have passed and the sun is again in full splendor the daylilies have exploded like so many fireworks – particularly when the filtered morning light shines through them.

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500 Solutions for Working at Home

Posted: June 30th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: architecture, interiors, resources | Tags: , , | Comments Off

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My brother gave me a great book by Ana G. Canizares entitled 500 Solutions for Working at Home. It’s 423 pages of solid inspiration organized by type, including studios design for personal use, architecture, design, art and services. Each case study includes not just beautiful photographs but details, square footage and floor plans. This book is full of clever solutions from humble to lavish. At $15 new / $8 used (at Amazon) your investment could be as little as one and a half cents per studio solution. Of course there is a ton of inspiration online but it can be hard to track down and usually won’t come with this level of detail so this book is pretty good way to augment your search.


Home Studio: Yummy Gum

Posted: June 28th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: interiors | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

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Here’s an interesting example. The two man web design shop Yummy Gum in the Netherlands renovated a small 215 square foot room into a beautiful studio space. An example of 215 square feet is a room that is 10 by 21.5 feet – larger than your average bedroom. Maybe not large enough if you added flat files, a silk screen and a paste-up table. However, unlike a simple desk in a corner this feels like a dedicated space where you could be dedicated to creative work. Check out the original post on Unplggd for more images of the clever ways they’ve kept the clutter (particularly all the wires) hidden away. I dig the cool laptop slot under the table (photo 2).

There are more home tours on Unplggd. They’re not all office or studio spaces but there are some interesting and inspiring ideas.


Get the Homely Out of Home Office

Posted: June 28th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: interiors | Tags: , , | Comments Off

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Many designers dream of starting a studio of their own. Somewhere between that vision and the beautiful agency spaces we’re used to working in lies reality: the home office. The benefits are obvious; no commute, fully stocked kitchen with no one else’s coffee cups in the sink, the ability to work outside or with your favorite music blasting. The drawback is that the work space is often crammed into the extra bedroom or the basement and nothing like the light and airy agency spaces we’re accustomed to. Space is critical to creative problem solvers because we constantly need to be drawing energy and inspiration to feed our work. What’s more, an insufficient space is a creative problem waiting to be solved and presents a distraction to getting our actual work done.

So, is it possible to rise above home office doom and create a studio space with all the benefits of being at home but without spending a fortune?

I’ve been looking around to see if I can find a way to believe the answer is yes. In doing so I’ve found a few sites that showcase amazing office spaces of the thousands of square feet variety:
This Ain’t No Disco
Office Design Gallery

Office Snapshots

And, some examples of home offices of the desk in a corner variety:
Desire To Inspire
Home Office Snapshots

There seem to be fewer examples of a sweet spot between but these are going in the right direction:
Fresh Home
Apartment Therapy

Working for yourself doesn’t mean huge budgets for office furniture but think of the money saved not commuting and not paying rent. Think of the money you don’t need to spend on agency style conference rooms and signage. Surely someone has found a way to put some of that savings into a home studio space that inspires creative endeavor? I think I’ll keep looking into it and will share what I find here. More and more people I know are launching out on there own – first rate talent – and they deserve a first rate studio in which to ply their craft. More soon.


UnSummit UpDate

Posted: June 26th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, input, local twin cities | Tags: , | Comments Off

View more presentations from Rohn Jay Miller.

By all accounts UnSummit 5 was a success. Personally, I met some great people and enjoyed many great conversations including “Ensuring Relevance With Good Design” hosted by Circadian, “Minnesota Start-up Culture” hosted by Jeff Pesek, and “Escaping Wage Slavery” hosted by Don Ball. My favorite presentation however was by an old friend. Rohn Jay Miller hit a home run with “The 25 Minute MBA: How To Anchor Projects in Real Business Success” which he has made available on SlideShare. Sadly, his fantastic delivery and the many nuances aren’t available for download. Don’t let that stop you from checking out the presentation above. And, if you find yourself intrigued give him a shout at Take5Interactive.


Riding Off Into the Sunrise

Posted: June 25th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, design, Interactive, output | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off

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It’s hard to believe after almost 20 years of designing and over 35 years of cycling that nary the two have met. Needless to say, when the agency Lindsay, Stone and Briggs (LSB) based in Madison, WI contacted me to design the new website for Saris I was elated. Saris makes racks for consumers as well as parking and storage solutions for institutional clients. LSB and Saris have been wonderful to work with. The new (and if I do say so myself) improved saris.com has just launched and while few designs survive development unscathed I’m still as excited as when we began and eager for the next cycling+design combination.

Actually, I guess I’ve started the next one by volunteering to help the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition with a logo and website as we work to make Saint Paul as cycle friendly as Minneapolis (We’re way behind Minneapolis but I guess that’s why they aren’t called the Identical Twin Cities.) More on SPBC soon.


UnSummit 2010 – June 26

Posted: June 15th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, input, Interactive, local twin cities | Tags: | Comments Off

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The 2010 UnSummit is an alternative, “unconference” for those in the interactive profession. It is being held on June 26th with the stated goals of “full participation, full dissemination and free admission — all the things that traditional conferences are not.” You can register here. The event will be held at the CoCo – Coworking and Collaborative Space in Saint Paul’s Lowertown district. This is perfect because CoCo is sort of an UnOffice.

I’m still a little unsure about what is going to happen at the UnSummit but things should get interesting as the group gathers to apply some brain pressure against the community’s collective hemorrhaging. The official theme is “Solve for X. Where X = your problem.” So, unless your problem is fear of open-ended conference themes you should come and participate in the unintended consequences. Hope to see you there.


Bicycle Portraits: South Africa

Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, photography | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

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Speaking of South Africa (which is currently on the lips of every soccer fan on the planet) photographers Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler are trying to publish a book called Bicycle Portraits chronicling their travels across South Africa. It’s tough to get a book published so in an effort to make it to print they are looking for pledges. Check out this fascinating and new (to me at any rate) approach at Kickstarter. Great portrait photography is a really challenging art form requiring both technical and social expertise. Get a preview of these wonderful portraits on the day one publications website and you’ll see what I mean. Then drop by Kickstarter and pledge your support or post an encouraging comment.

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Gorgeous Design Rocks

Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: artifacts | Tags: , | Comments Off

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Despite liking rocking chairs just fine it has always seemed to me that for the most part they are not as attractive as their stationary brethren. Certainly, I have never been inspired to post about one before but this rocker designed by Reno Bonzo is just too damn sexy to ignore. Learn more about the Gaviota Rocker or purchase at the Bodie and Fou website. For instance, it won a Brazilian design award, is priced in British pounds and ships from France. That’s not just a chair it’s a world tour. The only problems I have with this rocker is that I have a house full of small rooms and no legitimate need for a rocking chair. The obvious solution being to move to a bigger house and have children. If that is not an option for you consider adopting some great grand parents.