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Unison Q+A: Joslyn Villalpando of J.Villa Workshop

We recently hosted a Weaving Workshop using our scrap fabric with Joslyn Villalpando, founder of J.Villa Workshop. We talked to Joslyn about her practice, and how her love for teaching translated into hosting events, and what’s next for J.Villa Workshop.

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1. How long have you been teaching as J.Villa Workshop and how did it begin?

While teaching art for Chicago Public Schools, I was working on my thesis at the School of The Art Institute Chicago around creating community with craft and fiber art. After a long day of teaching and writing paper after paper for grad school, I was craving two things: time with friends and making art again, so I started hosting craft gatherings in my little Chicago condo with my friends. Each gathering, usually around a holiday, was paired with a cocktail and treat.

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For instance, I had a group for Valentines Day and we made block print cards, sipped a pink gin drink, and ate sugar cookies.  I love craft media; weaving, embroidery, macrame, etc. because of its implications of approachability and I love seeing what contemporary makers are doing with the traditional techniques.

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Curating a whole craft experience brings me so much joy so I started reaching out to various venues around Chicago to see if they’d be interested in hosting my craft gatherings that would involve them, in some way. I was pleasantly surprised that most are really into it and have fun coming up with the workshop with me! I’ve done some fun events with Bang Bang! Pie, Antique Taco and The Barrelhouse Flat.

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2. You teach a wide variety of workshops, including printmaking, weaving and embroidery. Do you have a favorite that you like to teach?

I love teaching each one for different reasons. Embroidery is so gratifying because I know how intimidating it can be for beginners and its fun to create an accessible workshop where people leave saying, “oh ok I can do this, I got this!” Weaving…that was my first love so I know my joy for that one comes through when I teach! I just love them all! 

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3. You also create custom weavings, how do you determine the color palette and patterning for those pieces?

I love creating custom weavings. I’m usually inspired by a color palette and I’ll stick with that for a weaving or two. I love switching it up between tight, laborious weavings with a more intricate design and textured, loose, minimal weavings. 

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4. What’s next for J.Villa Workshop?

I’m working to make J.Villa Workshop my full time job, this coming April will mark one year and I’m having so much fun continuing to come up with new gatherings! I started with a few contacts and venues who wanted to work together and those have each led me to new ones. I love collaborating with new makers, venues, and small business owners as my own business grows. I’ve found such a beautifully supportive community in Chicago and I’ll keep curating craft gatherings as long as people keep joining me! 

Learn more about J.Villa including upcoming workshops here

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Get Creative With Valentine’s Gifting

Stumped on what to get that special someone this Valentine’s Day? We’ve got plenty of great gift ideas, including a video tutorial with creative wrapping tips and tricks to impress your sweetheart.

Read on to see our picks + watch the video:

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Cube Drink Rocks, $40

The perfect accessory for the cocktail drinker in your life who likes to keep things neat. Pop these in the freezer and when you’re ready to serve up a drinks, they’ll keep it cold without diluting your cocktail.

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Trophy Brass Bar Jigger, $20

Measure out your spirits in style with the Trophy Brass Bar Jigger from experimental design studio, Umbra Shift. Double sided with 3 shot measurements, 1/2 oz, 1 oz and 1.5 oz it combines great design with functionality to boot, cheers Valentine!

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Sprinkles Red Apron, $30

Serve up your sweetheart with the Sprinkles Red Apron, designed by Chicago-based creative Alex Fuller. Made of 100% cotton, it’s a standout kitchen staple that will make your valentine dressed to impress.

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Rout Etch Double Old Fashioned Glasses, $16 each

Celebrate your love with stunning glassware that’s definitely cheers-worthy. Rout Etch Glassware fuses a clean-lined, modern look with fluid texture at its base, and is ready to showcase anything you’re mixing up!

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Virtu Cheese Knife Set of 4, $120

Sometimes Valentine’s Day can get pretty cheesy, but not too worry because this knife set is up for the task. Beautifully balanced in their clean-lined silhouette and carefully considered ergonomics, they make a striking addition to any entertainer’s table.

Shop our Valentine’s Gift Guide for more great gift recommendations!

Watch our video tutorial for some great wrapping ideas with our wrapping paper + washi tape:

Stay tuned for more tutorials on the blog and share the love!

Follow us on instagram: @unisonhome

Special thanks to  Potluck Creative  for the great video work!

 

 

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How It’s Made: Hand Printed Pillows

Here at Unison we’re committed to working with vendors that provide a high level of craftsmanship and quality products. Did you know our throw pillows are handprinted and sewn in the USA?

Read along to for an inside look at how are throw pillows, are made and now thru 01/14 enjoy 10% Off Throw Pillows with code EXTRA10

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The fabric for our throw pillows is made using a hand screen printed process. Large scale fine mesh screens are coated with a light sensitive emulsion. A transparency with the image to be printed is then exposed on the screen using an exposure unit.

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Water is used to rinse out the screen, clearing out the emulsion in the areas where the pattern was exposed, allowing for ink to pass through.

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After the screen dries, it is ready to print. Large buckets of ink are mixed and then poured on one end of the screen that sits on top of the fabric.

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The ink is then quickly pulled across the screen using a large squeegee, pushing ink through the screen’s open areas and producing our desired print. Because the screens are so large, it takes two people to pull the squeegee across the screen.

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This process is repeated down the remaining roll of fabric and once it’s dry, the next color may be layered on top. Once the printing is completed, the fabric is sent to our headquarters in Chicago for inspecting and then converted by a local sewing company into our line of throw pillows and table linens.

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Voila your pillow is complete!

Don’t forget to enjoy 10% Off Throw Pillows now thru 01/14, use code EXTRA10

 

 

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How to Set a Table

We’ve all done it: you plan a dinner party and spend loads of time mapping out a menu, shopping for ingredients, and preparing the food, only to look around in a panic when the doorbell rings on the night of. Where are those blue linen napkins?! Are they still in the ironing basket? And what am I going to serve the salad in? Oh no. Did we ever find that missing salad tong?

In the end, there’s more to a great party than scrumptious tastes. Even the most elegant dishes can lose their luster if the mood and ambiance isn’t carefully considered—including the mood of that stressed-out hostess, who’s too busy wrangling her table linens to actually enjoy her guests.

Ah, the all-important table setting.

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Setting a table is not rocket science. But it is foundational, essential, and darn fun, when you approach it the right way.

The key to tapping into the fun? Good question. Here’s our 3-part answer:

  1. Don’t wait

Setting a table is an every day task. And the more you do it—and do it well—the less stressful it will become when it’s time to throw a gorgeous tablescape together for a special occasion.

So set your table for family dinner on a nightly basis. Use your tablecloths, napkins, special flatware, you name it. Don’t be afraid to break out the place cards or crystal candlesticks on a Tuesday with leftovers. It’s fun to get fancy in your PJs—and it’s a great way to play around with different looks and become comfortable with more formal settings.

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When you have a dinner party on the books, plan ahead. A few days before the shindig, try out a few table setting combinations, make your selections, and be sure all your linens and other items are spit spot and ready to rock.

On the day of the party, go ahead and set the table early on. It’s an easy task to check off the list before you even hit the kitchen. And a pre-set table adds a great sense of ambiance for guests as they enter your home.

  1. Know the basics

You can do a lot with a table setting. But certain basics are a must. So get them down pat, and then build from there.

Here are the essentials:

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  • Dinnerware: The star of the show. The dinner plate represents the main event and sits at the center of the individual place setting, with all the other elements placed around it. Additional items, such as salad plates, soup bowls, etc., should be added as the menu requires.

Shop Merchant Dinneware here.

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  • Flatware: The supporting cast. Every piece of flatware plays a key role. At the very least, you’ll want to include a dinner fork, knife, and spoon, placed from left to right in the order in which they’re used—fork to the left of the dinner plate; knife immediately to the right of the plate, sharp edge facing inward; and spoon on the far right. Add additional pieces of flatware according to whether or not they’ll be needed during the meal—which is why a 5-piece place setting is essential.

Shop Eve Brushed Stainless Steel 5-Piece Flatware Set here.

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  • Glassware: Always festive glassware belongs above the knife. If you include a cup and saucer, keep it farthest to the right, above the spoon(s), with the wine and/or water glasses to its left.

Shop Toyo Glassware here.

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  • Napkin: The napkin will either match or play very nicely with the rest of your table linens. It usually belongs underneath the fork or on the plate, for a more informal setting.

Shop napkins here.

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  • Serveware: You know what you’re serving. Now, decide how to present it. Whether you’re planning a causal, buffet-style meal or passing dishes around the dining table family style, every serving piece has the potential to make a beautiful statement. Set your selected platters, bowls, and other serving pieces out in advance, and think about labeling them with post-it notes, so you remember what goes where when that harried all-the-food’s-ready-now moment arrives.

Shop Terra.Cotto Cookware here.

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Shop Galvin Black Serve Set here.

  • Tablecloth, runner, or placemats: Did we save the best for last? If the dinner plate is the star of the show, then this is your show’s theme song—the one you can’t get out of your head long after the party’s over. You’ll probably select this element first, so choose wisely and pair well. If you go with a bold and busy runner, keep your hard elements clean and crisp. If you select a simple, monotone tablecloth, you’ll have more flexibility to get creative with your other elements.
  1. Have fun

Speaking of getting creative, don’t forget the fun. Once you’ve covered the bases with your basic items, it’s time to infuse the table with your own sense of style—and any elements appropriate to the occasion.

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In the spirit of modern design, we’d still encourage you to opt for gorgeous simplicity here. Remember that more is not always more, but don’t be afraid to be a bit brave or funny as you add the finishing touches.

Anything can work at center table—from a bouquet-filled collection of stilettos to a single, glowing candle. Just keep it crisp, clean, and classy, and you’ve got a recipe for style success.

Watch our step by step video How To Set A Table here:

Bon appetite!

 

 

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Fall’s Best Friend: Rhine Hall Distillery

Apple and plum brandy? Indeed. Get the latest on seasonal pours and entertaining tips from a Chicago star. Read on for cocktail recipe and watch our video for a peek inside Rhine Hall.

Holiday season is coming – time to get your bar game strong. As you get your glassware in order and your spirits stocked, we’ve got inspiration to guide you. It comes from the pros at Rhine Hall, a small-batch distillery located just down the block from our Unison design studio in Chicago.

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There’s so much to love about this family-owned spot. Its expert selection of well balanced fruit spirits. It’s laidback vibe and bright, charming interior. It’s commitment to local, sustainable ingredients. And, of course, it’s willingness to raise a glass and celebrate. In fact, they’ve come up with cocktail recipes inspired by some of our new barware.

We caught up with Rhine Hall’s co-owner, Jennifer Solberg Katzman, who shares more about the distillery’s new fall menu, personal entertaining style and more.

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Unison: Rhine Hall has been around for three years now. Tell us about your journey.

Jennifer: Rhine Hall is a family hobby-turned-business. Our mission is to make quality brandy using methods we learned while living in Germany and Austria. The goal has always been to introduce people to learn about brandy and hopefully relate with it in a way where they feel comfortable to bring it home or drink it at bars and restaurants. We’ve always wanted to make different fruit brandies/eau de vies as the fruit became available to us. We have made a few different products, as private labels from top bars and restaurants in the city, which has been unexpected and super exciting.

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Unison: Fall is definitely a time for new beginnings or at least new projects … what’s on the horizon for Rhine Hall this Fall?

Jennifer: We’ve got a lot coming up! We recently released a newer product known as La Normande, also known as a Normandy-style pommeau. Pommeau is Rhine Hall Apple Brandy with fresh cider aged in Bourbon barrels. We will also be releasing an Oak Aged Plum, as well as a private label Oak Aged Damson Plum with The Aviary in October, and yet another private label with a large hotel group that can’t disclosed until the release in November. Lastly, we hope to be releasing a bier schnapps, a commonly made brandy made from beer sometime before the holidays. But mostly we’re excited because Fall is simply the best time of year — don’t you think of brandy and apples and fruit at this time of year? I hope your answer is yes! Lots of new cocktails with Apple and Oaked Apple in the many classics — not only in our tasting room but at bars around the city and country.

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Unison: You have an exciting Fall menu that’s just been launched. What’s the scoop?

Jennifer: Our Fall menu is intended to highlight each and every one of our products, by using fall-like flavors. We like to highlight the flavors by using different types of syrups, bitters, shrubs and combinations to again highlight the spirit yet still bring a multi-dimensional taste to your palette. A few favorites would include the “Space Trip,” which is our Pear Brandy with Green tea and ginger syrup. “Fall on the Rocks” is our Cherry Brandy with a fennel infusion with currant jam and ginger beer. Lastly, “Admiral’s Elixir” is our Oak Aged Apple Brandy, egg white and cinnamon bitters. None of them are overly Fall-like but still give you a taste of the season and bring a familiar taste and aroma.

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Unison: For our new glassware — particularly the Rout Etch High Ball, Rout Etch Double Old Fashioned and Fino Tall Tumbler — you’ve created a cocktail to pair perfectly with it. How did the glassware inspire or inform those concoctions?

Jennifer: I love the delicate etching on the glasses – it makes us feel like we’re recreating something from the past and improving the cocktail with a beautiful presentation. The different etching makes the color of the cocktail really sparkle as it almost brightens the liquid in the glass with the combination of the ice.

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Unison: Why is good barware so important to mixing a good drink?

Jennifer: Good barware helps make something very simple, something special. I think cocktails and spirits in general are things that people associate with experiences, and when you really create a cool experience doing something really simple, by having a really great glass and barware, it helps improve the entire time doing it.

Unison: What is your personal entertaining style?

Jennifer: My husband and I love hosting. We normally have people bring wine and apps, however I put a good amount of time into setting the tables, using all of the beautiful cutting boards we have for different charcuterie, different utensils for the (finally) more advanced dishes, and more! I always offer an appertif and digestif, as well as cocktail after a glass of wine or beer. Hard not to provide lots of booze when owning a distillery!

Unison: Any essential advice for those that want to get into or more adventurous with cocktailing?

Jennifer: I would just look at some recipes on imbibe.com and just experiment with what you already have at home! Don’t be shy. Super easy to swap out ingredients, like Rhine Hall for a gin, vodka or whiskey; jam for any syrup; and then fresh squeezing any citrus you have. There are just three parts primarily to a cocktail, and you can make every concoction your own every time.

Unison: Great – now onto something extra-appetizing. How about sharing a cocktail recipe?

Jennifer: Here’s the recipe for our #1 seller, the Rhine Hall Old Fashioned. It’s a very easy cocktail to make at home, and you are also able to swap out the Apple Brandy with other brandies of ours if desired.

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Wow your guests with this drink – and don’t forget to drop by Rhine Hall tasting room at 2010 W Fulton St in Chicago and get a fresh pour, straight from the source. Hours are Thursdays and Fridays 5-9 pm and Saturdays 2-7 pm.

Cheers to fall, everyone!

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Food + Design = A Very Appetizing Instagram Takeover

See What Elise Metzger of Filigree Suppers Dished Out On @unisonhome

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Brita Olsen + Elise Metzger of Filigree Suppers

This past weekend, our Instagram feed became pretty appetizing. No wonder — it was taken over by Elise Metzger, founder of Filigree Suppers, a pop-up supper club that celebrates American design.

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We turned some of our modern servingware over to Elise and she posted photos of it styled with her culinary creations. It captured the spirit of food + design + entertaining. We saw tomatoes take a starring role on a gridded serving tray, watermelon slices pop on a modern round platter, and cream chill in Biobu cups. It was a weekend that we hope made you savor summer and all of its sights and flavors.

We love Elise’s design sensibility and fun loving attitude. Get to know her a bit more in our quick Q&A.

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Unison: This was a fun partnership! What do you think are some similarities between Filigree Suppers and Unison?

Elise: We are all about being playful and quirky, but creating a balance of textures and colors. A lot of our aesthetic is informed by the products that we love and use in our personal lives, and each supper is a way to explore different aspects of our collective and individual styles. I think if Unison and Filigree were a cocktail, it would be a French 75. Classic elements for sure, but still lively and with bubbles, of course!

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Unison: How did the Unison products inspire you in creating your posts/dishes?

Elise: I like to use a lot of contrast when thinking about the relationship between food and the plate. Because the products were mostly black and white, I tried to stick within a relatively edited palette to give focus to the playfulness of the product. I used a lot of warm and bright hues/food, like salmon and watermelon.

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Unison: What was your main goal in executing the Instagram takeover?

Elise: I think that it’s fun to be conscious of plating food, even if it’s just for yourself or your family. It certainly doesn’t happen every meal of the day, but I wanted the ease of that to come across in the posts.

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Unison: What is your general philosophy regarding entertaining?

Elise: Pay attention to as many details as possible – napkins, decor, seating chart – until guests arrive. This isn’t always easy while hosting, and I could certainly improve on this, but it’s more important to give guests the attention they deserve than to fret about everything going perfectly. Also, make a mood board! Really, there’s no better way to explore your own theme than to do this exercise. Think of it as your entertaining strategy. It allows you to be really flexible (and probably have more fun!) when making decisions.

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Filigree came together over the course of six months. I was taking a pottery class and wanted to have a dinner where everything at the table was local and handmade. (The first dinner was at Ovation in the West Loop, where even the tables are hand made!) Brita Olsen, my business partner, and I both loved to throw dinner parties, and had been doing so together for quite some time. We decided to team up to be able to do it with more frequency, and to bring our love of food and design into the fold.

Unison was one of our first collaborators and participated in the first supper in February 2015. It was a natural fit for Filigree, being a design centric, locally owned business. We always look forward to our collaborations together!

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Unison: We can’t let you leave without sharing a recipe. Got a good one for us?

Elise: This is just as delicious the night you make it as it is cold the next day on top of a salad. I’ve been using it for over a decade, and I’m sure many people use it, but it’s classic and reliable.

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SalmonRecipeThanks, Elise! And happy cooking, everyone! Learn more about Elise and Filigree Suppers here

 

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4 Keys to a Beautiful Bed

We’ve collected some tips for making the right decisions when refreshing your bedroom. And incidentally, we’ve got a White Sale on through April 1st, to help you get your cozy on without breaking the bank.

Do a Duvet the Flexible Way

Your fluffy, warm comforter is the king of cozy. But with the amount of space it occupies, it’s also the king of your bed’s overall look. So choose a duvet cover that you 100% love, and use it as the foundation for the rest of your bed.

One fun approach is to select a versatile pattern, like our Tiles Lemon, that you can tweak for a fresh feel with the changing seasons. Pair it with matching shams and pillowcases for the sunshine-bright days of spring. Roll it at the foot of the bed and add a light, white blanket for warmer summer nights. Or throw in dramatic black pillows for a bold statement through the coldest months of the year.

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Ditch the Plain-Jane Sheets

You want slipping into the sheets to feel downright decadent, so look for 100% cotton, and opt for a thread count above the 200 mark.

Most of all, remember that the fun doesn’t need to stop with what’s on top of your bed. Patterned sheets, like our Float Pink Bedding, bring a sweet peek of statement style to your made bed – and a big burst of whimsy to your turn-down routine. You’ll find yourself smiling every time you climb in.

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Standards and Euros and Shams, Oh My!

Pillows are the sprinkles on the ice cream of your bedroom sundae. A little festive, a little flavorful, and absolutely essential.

When selecting sleeping pillows, go soft for stomach sleepers, medium for back sleepers, and firm for side sleepers.

Or, for the ultimate in versatility, consider the Eurosquare. This pillow provides good support for sleeping; works as a sit-up pillow for reading in bed; or makes a great accessory for beds, chairs, and couches.

But how to adorn it? If you want a cohesive look with depth, select bedding that offers pillowcasesshams, and/or throw pillows in the same pattern with multiple tones. Like our Stitch pattern in various combos of black, white, pewterpoppy, you name it. It’s mix, match, mod, as easy at 1, 2, 3.

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Bringing It All Together

So, you like pattern A. And pattern B. And pattern C. What to do? Learn how to combine pattern for truly high style.

The key to mixing patterns is to vary scale. If you combine 3 different small-scale patterns, your bed will look muddled. But pick 1 pattern each in a small, medium, and large scale, and you’ve got sure-fire style.

Our Alphablocks collection offers mix-and-match pattern options with built-in variety of scale, and a major wow factor to boot.

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Any other ideas for creating a stylish bed? We’d love to hear them!

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Himmeli: Art in Another Dimension

For anyone who has ever gazed at the night sky and outlined the forms of constellations in your mind’s eye, you’ve already begun to experience the quintessentially Finnish art form known as a himmeli.

Originally crafted as Christmas decorations, the first himmeli—a Finnish adapted name derived from the Swedish words for sky or heaven—were created centuries ago by Finnish peasants. At the time, women in small villages expertly threaded lengths of straw to form decorative geometric shapes reminiscent of the constellations, or of what some believed to be signs from heaven.

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Once complete, the himmelis were hung above the festive meal table at Christmastime, decorating the inside of the villagers’ tupas or log homes.

“By their ordered nature, these balanced constructions invoke the image of cosmic constellations that suspended and slowly moving in regulated courses, make rhythmic patterns in the sky, impelled to do so by an unseen will. The celestial connection is not fortuitous: it is believed that himmelis were inspired by the story of the appearance of the glittering star that announced the birth of Christ.” *

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In the 1950s, artist Saara Hopea-Untracht began crafting numerous himmelis, “as these constructions well suited her propensity for geometric design forms.” *

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And her standout pieces influenced Unison’s own Alicia Rosauer in creating our himmeli pattern.

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Set on versatile gray, our table and kitchen linens are as festive for the holidays as they are ready for spring, summer, or fall. And stain-resistant cotton sateen keeps messes at bay, leaving the himmeli pattern at center stage.

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Over the years, different artisans have put their own spin on the making of himmelis. Some have mixed the time-honored form with modern-day materials, such as the Prisma pieces in our current collection, which could hang above any table or stand alone as a piece of art.

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Whether you believe in the himmelis’ mystical powers, as did the Finnish villagers of old, or are simply captivated by the rich history and striking, airy geometry of these many-faceted shapes, a splash of himmeli design is sure to add a new dimension to your home.

* Source: Saara Hopea-Untracht: Life and Work. Written by Oppi Untracht 1988 ISBN 951-0-14377-4

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What Is Memphis Design?

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse meets Miami Vice. A shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher Price. Wildly bizarre.

Memphis design has been described in all these terms and more.

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The Memphis Group’s Carlton bookcase

During its early years, the Memphis movement was as polarizing as it was revolutionary. In the 1980s, the phenomenon rattled the design world to its core. But in its current resurgence, Memphis is being embraced for its history, boldness, and throwback appeal.

The Backstory

Inspired by a large collection of converging movements, including art deco, pop art, punk rock, early new wave, and, perhaps most notably, postmodernism, Memphis design peaked from 1981 to 1987.

The movement was begun by a small group of game-changing designers in Milan, Italy. (Yes, that’s right, the Milan that’s precisely 4,941 miles from Memphis, Tennessee – a town which was featured in the Bob Dylan song that played in the background during the group’s first meeting.)

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Peter Shire, sofa Big Sur, 1986. From the Memphis Milano Collection

 

The style offers a strong illustration of many hallmarks of postmodern ’80s design, including

– Mixed materials

– Overtly angular geometry

– A riot of bright, saturated, and often contrasting colors

– A seeming refusal to embrace the streamlined or refined

– Incorporation of graphic patterns, often in black and white

What now?

So why do we love Memphis today? Because it’s design-forward but uber accessible. Thoughtful, but without taking itself too seriously. And it’s bold and fun. (Who doesn’t love bold and fun?)

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A perfectly placed Memphis piece can bring a burst of whimsical glamour to the right space. So we’ll leave you with some practical tips for incorporating these oh-so-now looks into your own spaces:

Remember that less is more.
Minimalist pieces reign supreme in Memphis design.

Keep every detail feeling clean and open…
by incorporating mirrors, glass, and chrome. How about Stainless Steel Ice Tongs or a Titanium Bottle Opener?

Go graphic in every way.
Consider the lines of your furniture, the patterns of your upholsteries, the placement of your accessories, even the way shadows fall throughout the room.

Mix it up.
Your tabletop is a great place to start combining the bold colors and patterns of the Memphis movement. How about Splatter Plates, Falcon Tumblers, and a Grid Black Euro Runner?

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Raid the storage unit for inspiration. 
That desk you said goodbye to in ’91 might be ready to make a comeback.

Take it beyond the home front.
Think toys, gifts, or jewelry, like a Laszlo Necklace.

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If you’re new to the trend…
monochrome patterns provide a great starting point for your future Memphis adventures; they’re a bit easier to incorporate than the super-saturated hues ahead.

Want to start even smaller?
A few changeable accessories will update your look and let you test the waters. Try a few Shapes Drink Rocks or Ana Candles to light up the room, then see where the mood takes you next.

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Shapes & Style Down South: At Home With Designer Alex Fuller

We often work with artists we admire and, together, imagine new essentials for modern living. One of our favorite collaborators is Alex Fuller, a Creative Director who just relocated from Chicago to Charleston. Alex’s sensibility is fascinating — he’s drawn to shapes and colors because he thinks of them as “the fundamental building blocks of our universal language.” This leaves us endlessly intrigued and we couldn’t wait to see how he integrated these design elements into his new home.

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Alex gave us a sneak peek while we snapped some photos of him at home with his wife, Jessa, and dog. Says the designer of their decor style, “We quickly fall into the Mid-Century Modern camp. Eames, Modernica, Blu Dot … all the hits. When people come to our house in Charleston they feel like they’re in East L.A. I can see it, it’s got that Cali Mod flavor. Not to mention we have a lot of plants and tropical foliage around.”

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You’ll also see evidence of Alex’s early projects with Unison scattered throughout his new Charleston home. As a bit of background, we first teamed up with him few years ago when we had Spudnik Press make reproductions of his “Geometry” print — a study in strong lines, sweeping curves and bright, colorful punch. At the time, Alex was a creative at Ogilvy Mather and a founder of The Post Family. He moved on to Leo Burnett as a Creative Director and, around the same time, we expanded the Geometry print to throw pillows. Later, the pattern was modified to be a bit smaller and given new life as a framed lithograph, printed bedding, ottomans, bags and kitchen linens.

“We seek a balance of beautiful, tried and true design; and the warmth and personality of art, plants, music, books and sculptural objects,” says Alex. “I wish I could live in a minimalist Japanese home made from plywood but I love being surrounded by things with stories, collections with ideas. You know … a little texture, a little noise.”

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Because of Alex’s knack for giving rhythm and order an inventive, modern kick, we naturally turned to him when we began thinking about creating an alphabet print. With Alex’s modern Bauhaus take on the ABCs, Alphablocks was born. This pattern graces bedding, artwork, canvas bins and even poufs (which Alex and Jessa’s dog uses it as a soft perch!).

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Inspired by the Memphis design rebirth, we asked Alex to develop some other ideas. We’ve launched his Tango pattern, a zigzag-laden geometric graphic on black, as a knit blanket and pillow (seen in these photos). Other ideas are in the works and will launch in spring.

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This designer has so many ideas and always amazes us with his consistency. We love the outcome of his designs on fabrics and paper … and might even try shirts out in 2016. Alex is wearing one in these photos.

We hope these photos leave you inspired. Thanks for inviting us into your new home, Alex and Jessa!

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Photography credit: Olivia Rae James