Autonomous Furniture’s Kaiwa Table Makes Sure No One Is Left Out of the Conversation

Autonomous Furniture’s Kaiwa Table Makes Sure No One Is Left Out of the Conversation

You know that feeling when you’re last to arrive at a dinner and the only seats left are towards the ends of the table? The unlucky souls that land those positions are most likely going to miss out on large portions of the conversations unless they’re constantly leaning forward or back to listen around the person they’re beside. Looking to solve that problem is designer Kirk Van Ludwig, founder of Vancouver-based Autonomous Furniture, who created the Kaiwa Table.

The Japanese word kaiwa loosely translates to conversation and to help with that very think, Van Ludwig angled both ends of the table in order to create additional conversation lines.

The tabletop’s biased grain visually enhances the angles and clear acrylic standoffs underneath were used to connect the legs, adding an unexpected detail. The table comes in sustainably sourced FSC-certified Douglas Fir with a German hard wax oil finish or in Western Red Cedar with a torched top and sides and legs with a lightly tinted oil wax finish.



Where I Work: Kate Banazi

Where I Work: Kate Banazi

London-born, Sydney-based artist Kate Banazi is definitely one to watch if you don’t already have her in your sights. Her Instagram account is like a heaven where color and geometry meet in perfect harmony and you might remember this cool collaboration she worked on with another designer she met through that very same social media app. Focusing on silk screen printing, her playful work explores layers of graphic components, gridded structures, and bold color palettes that keep your mind intrigued just as much as your eyes. We decided to explore her process further by virtually heading to Sydney, Australia, to check out her art studio and to see a little bit of how she does it, in this month’s Where I Work.

What is your typical work style?

My work style is haphazard, depending on how late I worked the night before and work I have going on. I like to work on Saturdays and take my weekends as a Sunday and Monday, although the nature of what I do means I’m always drawing or working some idea through. I move between silkscreen printing at my studio to working on the computer or sketchbooks at home. Inevitability both places end up filthy.

What’s your studio/work environment like?

I think I’ll admit to messy although my studio mate, Daniel Gray, will probably say it’s much messier than messy – borderline feral.

How is your office organized/arranged?

I work from a factory unit in Sydney. I’m on a mezzanine level which has the kitchen and bathroom attached, so our door is always open and my other studio mates come through often. My space is organized into desk spaces and printmaking space – dry/wet space. I share my space with the illustrator Dan Gray Barnett and the whole unit is shared with a glass artist, a creative and media company and a photographer.

Photo by Jacqui Turk

How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?

I’ve been here three years now and before that I was in a beautiful space in Koskela, sharing with Joanna Fowles the textile designer. Before that, I was in my neighbours spare room and on a tiny plastic wrapped balcony at home. I’ve been so lucky with the support and friends I’ve made since I arrived in Sydney who have made space for me or pointed me in the right direction..

If you could change something about your workspace, what would it be?

The only thing would be to be able control the heat, the space is too cavernous to have air conditioning so there’s a couple of months of the year which are really bad for printmaking, so it’s always working a way around that as soon as the summer starts to hit.

Is there an office pet?

Stanley my dog comes in with me sometimes, he loves spending time with the other studios – probably because he gets spoilt and they’ve got sofas.

Do you require music in the background? If so, who are some favorites?

I love having the company of music or a podcast, we’ve got eclectic tastes so we keep it democratic with the weekly discover playlist on Spotify and now I’m hooked on the new gems I’m being sent every week. I’ve also been listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast ‘Revisionist History’ which has been really interesting.

How do you record ideas?

Sketchbooks, backs of hands, envelopes, text messages and poorly in my brain.

Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?

I don’t as everything keeps falling off the walls! I keep everything in sketchbooks, scraps of paper, and folders stacked high.

Photo by Jacqui Turk

What is your creative process and/or creative workflow like? Does it change every project or do you keep it the same?

It tends to differ with each project but always starts with a sketchbook and pencil, it’s my go-to beginning, a therapeutic start and is the easiest process for me to start ideas flowing.

What kind of design objects might you have scattered about the space?

We don’t tend to keep design objects in here as I’m so messy, it’s more of an industrial space. But I’ve got gifts from friends and families, a much loved Joe Colombo Boby trolley which holds all my pencils, a nodding dog from my mum, drawings from my son.

Are there tools and/or machinery in your space?

I’ve got a great selection of power tools plus the usual printmaking tools and machinery, an exposure unit, washbay, vacuum table. Most used tool must be the hairdryer and a scalpel.

What tool do you most enjoy using in the design process?

INK! Does that count as a tool? Pencils, all my equipment… I’m a lover of all my tools.

Let’s talk about how you’re wired. Tell us about your tech arsenal/devices.

A computer, a Wacom tablet, a scanner, camera and that’s about it.

What design software do you use, if any, and for what?

Photoshop and Illustrator are my tools for creating and producing the filmwork which I send off to be made up.

Is there a favorite project you’ve worked on?

So many that I feel lucky to have worked on with great people or collaborators, a recent one was with my friend Diego Berjon who lives in Spain, which became an across continent collaboration for WeWork in Sydney. We created a big body of work for their new building in Sydney. And the most recent would be the collaboration with Berlei for their centenary – seeing Serena Williams in a bra with my art on it made me cry a little!

Do you feel like you’ve “made it”? What has made you feel like you’ve become successful? At what moment/circumstances? Or what will it take to get there?

I’ve never thought about that because I’m always trying to learn new things by working with people in different disciplines.
I feel successful in that I’m able to work on things I really enjoy or challenge me, within a creative industry that’s constantly changing. Working with great people like LocalDesign gives me a ‘shelter’ to develop ideas and a support system to try new things which I’m never going to take for granted, I’ve worked enough jobs that gave me little joy to know how lucky I am right now and that I’m always learning.

Tell us about a current project you’re working on. What was the inspiration behind it?

I’m working on a huge collaborative project with some and getting some new work together for the Stockholm Affordable Art Fair in September, as well as planning a new show in London for next year.

What’s on your desk right now?

I’ve had to clean it, I’m not showing you pictures of half eaten plates of food and moldy coffee cups. This is not a true representation, it is super tidy for me… and I found a load of things that I’d forgotten about!

Do you have anything in your home that you’ve designed/created?

Some clothes, some artwork and lots of not quite rejected objects that I consider are works in progress that sit around gathering dust until someone else quietly disposes of them and I don’t notice.


Daihatsu Debuts a Pair of Weird and Wonderful Concepts for the Tokyo Motor Show 2017

Daihatsu Debuts a Pair of Weird and Wonderful Concepts for the Tokyo Motor Show 2017

The retro-futuristic, tail-finned profile of the Daihatsu DN Campagno is billed as a “compact four-door coupe for active seniors”. And indeed, its 1960s spirit designed in collaboration with Italian coachbuilder Vignale harkens to the charm of the original sedan of years gone by. But peek inside and the retro moods gives way to a slew of technologically progressive features all designed to propel drivers toward the future.

Unveiled ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show 2017, the Daihatsu DN Campagno is the latest in a lineage of kei cars – a Japanese category of micro-sized cars rarely ever seen in the SUV/truck-loving United States.

Here, the Campagno is reimagined as a hybrid engine reboot of the original compact sedan, sharing only the moniker with the original model that launched the automaker’s passenger car line in 1963 (built until 1970). The updated concept DN Campagno replaces the gas powered engine with a hybrid 1.2-liter powertrain, adding an electric motor and battery to bolster range and reduce emissions.

Inside, a V-shaped layout anchored by two screen bisects the center console with an array of modern day comfort and convenience options.

Perhaps even more interesting – and weird – is the DN Pro Cargo, a box-on-wheels 4-seater with a deceptively spacious and versatile interior layout offering numerous configurations (apparently including mobile blogger and bakery on wheels modes).

The Toyota-owned Daihatsu has been absent from the United States market since the early 1990s, so its unlikely we’ll see anything remotely as oddball as these two designs motoring bookended by a sea of SUVs. But we’re looking forward to seeing both the Daihatsu DN Compagno and DN Pro Cargo in person in just a few days, still hopeful in our “active senior” years we’ll be fortunate enough to drive something with such vim, vigor, and vivacious attitude as this pair.


The Milk Stand Is Popping Up At The WestEdge Design Fair

The Milk Stand Is Popping Up At The WestEdge Design Fair

If you haven’t already heard, the Milk Stand is setting up shop in Santa Monica, California, at the WestEdge Design Fair 2017! This is the first year the popup shop is making an appearance on the West Coast as we have only shown at ICFF before, so it’s a special edition! We’ve curated an awesome group of independent designers and makers who specialize in everything from bags to architectural jewelry to home accessories. This is a cash-and-carry section so you’ll be able to shop and take home a souvenir from this year’s exhibiting designers:


Capsule Wallets

Fire Road


LACE By Jenny Wu

Lupa Bags

Marja Germans Gard

Multiply Made

New Made LA by Amsterdam Modern

Parachute Home

The Small + Savage Wild

UME Studio

Zimarty Modern Jewelry

Itching to shop now? Stop by on October 19-22nd at the WestEdge Design Fair – get $5 off your tickets with code DESIGNMILK here – and come shop with us!

Thanks to Civilization for our awesome graphics!



Ciutat Vella Apartment in Barcelona by YLAB arquitectos

Ciutat Vella Apartment in Barcelona by YLAB arquitectos

Presented during Barcelona Design Week 2017, the Ciutat Vella Apartment is a renovation project designed by YLAB arquitectos for a Dutch couple to use as their second home. The apartment is located on the top floor of the building making way for treetop and sky views overlooking the town hall square. The original design was dark and sectioned off into smaller, unusable spaces, so it was opened up and given a neutral color palette that became the perfect backdrop for their art collection and Scandinavian-inspired furnishings.

The new layout created a large open space in the center for the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The bright and airy room is unified with the light gray cement floors and refinished white ceiling.

The living room is outfitted with modular sofas and tables by Punt and another sofa by B&B. Underneath the coffee table is a rug by nanimarquina and the artwork above the main sofa is by Iñigo Arregi.

Sliding doors disappear into the walls that divide the living area with the study and bedroom, which are on opposite sides of the apartment. When the doors are open, additional light pours into the interior.

A large island becomes the focus of the mostly white kitchen with its contrasting dark walnut veneer and hammered black granite countertop. One end of the island includes the stove and sink, while the other becomes the dining table with bar-height stools from Capellini.

Photos by Tobias Laarmann.



Slowdown Studio Introduces New Blankets and Beach Towels for Season Eight

Slowdown Studio Introduces New Blankets and Beach Towels for Season Eight

Slowdown Studio’s Season Eight unveils four new blanket designs along with an ongoing series of beach towels. Like all previous limited edition collections from the Los Angeles-based brand, each bold design comes courtesy of various artists and this go-round comes from Tom Abbiss Smith (UK), Marcello Velho (UK), Kevin Umaña (USA), and Kristin Texeira (USA), for the blankets, as well as Chicago-based artist John Zabawa and LA-based illustrator Robbie Simon, who each designed two beach towels. Each product is made in the USA and goes for $230 for a blanket, and $85 for a towel (or a set of two by the same artist is $150).






















Hybrids: A Collection of Vessels by Tal Batit

Hybrids: A Collection of Vessels by Tal Batit

Recent industrial design graduate from H.I.T – Holon Institute of Technology, Tal Batit is a designer based in Tel Aviv with a focus on ceramics, a medium he favored in college. By using ceramic glaze to fuse components together when fired, Batit is able to combine pieces that you wouldn’t normally think of putting together. The result is the Hybrids collection of vessels that feature what looks to be mismatched parts due to the juxtaposition of materials, colors, shapes, and textures.

The final pieces include red terracotta clay parts that feel like traditional ceramics, which are fused with modern white ceramic components (modeled using 3D software) that are glazed in different colors for the hybrid look. All the pieces are dried and fired together, then glazed individually, placed together, assembled, and fired in the kiln to be fused together. The shiny glazes partnered with the earthy, rough clay makes for contemporary final products.

Photos by Ran Kushnir.