June 24, 2012

Photograph © Wallflower

Summer has officially begun, the Summer Solstice blessed us with the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and I find myself craving the romance of a late candlelit dinner or an elegant cocktail on an outdoor patio. Perhaps this comes of many summer nights spent in Montreal where locals naturally stay up late, summer nights are warm and a beer on an outdoor terrace is a de rigueur ritual. I love that feeling you get in certain cities when the sun goes down and you still don’t need another layer of clothing.

I associate insects with summer. The sound of a fly buzzing, a bee droning, a cicada chirping. After the eerie silence of winter, it’s a joy to have all senses come to life. Smell is another sense, of course, and nature’s perfumes and potions run rampant in the summer. What better way to celebrate than to light some tealights—I love these—pour yourself a glass of lemonade and make a plan to get inspired by summer.

Kouboo Porcelain Votive Candle Holder

Photograph © LLC

What does this mean to a designer? Well, for one thing, it means the Dwell on Design show at the Los Angeles at the Conference Center on the last weekend in June. Sander Architects, LLC has had a booth at the show since it began and we love the opportunity to live, talk and breath design for an entire weekend. 

This year, one of the true stunners is “screenplay” an installation by Oyler Wu Collaborative. The silver polypropylene rope looping around a steel frame is mesmerizing and otherworldly: pure design inspiration.

Screenplay art installation

Photograph © Oyler Wu Collaborative

Design Materials Lab has a new product called Stikwood, the world’s first peel and stick solid wood planking that is sustainable and gorgeous. The possibilities had designers at the show buzzing like bees.

Stikwood panelling. Photo © Catherine Holliss

Photograph © Catherine Holliss

Another bright idea, this one by a company named Wallflower—and a delightful way to bedeck your home with summer flowers—promised an inexpensive way to transform a room into a bouquet of flowers: very, very high resolution photographic murals applied to your wall like wallpaper—for the cost of paint.

Wallflower decal. Photo © Wallflower

Photograph © Wallflower

One other find this year came from Urbio, a new company with a modular system that attaches to any surface for indoor and outdoor vertical gardening. It uses magnets so the units pop on and off and they can be adapted for anything from plants to pens. I think it is both gorgeous and brilliant. Imagine an entire wall covered with these. Stunning. 

Urbio magnetic wall system.

Photograph © Urbio

These are the kinds of ideas that make the show a showstopper.

Patrice Gerber, founder of talks about his trips to Asia as the source of his inspiration see his post on Saigon here.

Summer, with its fine weather, flowers and fluttering butterflies is full of stimulation. I love to take that initial prompt from nature and try to refill and refuel. Do you have a favorite museum, gallery, trade show or book you use to replenish?

I wish you a summer full of design and delight.

Oh, and by the way I found some sound tips for home decorating right here at

Written by Catherine Holliss

Interior Design Blog Writer,, LLC

Director of Interior Design, Sander Architects LLC.  


Photographs © Catherine Holliss unless otherwise noted. 

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