Dwell On Design Expo 2010

I went to the expo today to better spend time talking to people at length and was rewarded with loads of juicy stories, including a fascinating new household cleaning line I’ll talk about in more detail when it’s officially launched. The expo was gorgeous and mostly green as would be expected of Dwell. My favorite exhibit was Modern Living by ecofabulous, a prefab modular home made entirely from reclaimed materials, pictured above and below. I’m not just saying that because everyone who enters is invited to dip themselves a strawberry into a pan of Sunspire organic chocolate simmering on the stove! Of course I’d have liked the house just as much without my all-time favorite food being offered to me upon entry.

The homes are manufactured by Austin-based Reclaimed Space and this home was styled and filled with eco products selected by ecofabulous founder Zem Joaquin. I spoke with Reclaimed Spaces co-founder Tracen Gardner about how he sources and preps his materials. He searches far and wide for quality antique building materials and carefully restores them. The home does not look or feel like any other prefab, it truly carries the history and spirit entrenched in the materials they use. I walked into another prefab at the expo and it felt so sterile in comparison. Below are co-founders Tracen Gardner and Kimber Reed in the kitchen.

I also spoke at length with Zem Joaquin about the process of creating this gem of a mini-home. It’s a tiny place, but very well laid-out and comfortable. I especially liked that they put windows on two walls in the bedroom for a nice cross breeze. Be sure to stop the train of people long enough to close the bedroom door to see the closet. They did a great job of maximizing space, although this would barely fit the clothes I took with me on a recent 3-week trip! But not all people are such clotheshorses, and of course Reclaimed Spaces makes these homes in larger sizes for those of us who just can’t live that simply.

I also enjoyed other exhibits, particularly these gorgeous rugs from Amadi Carpets. The ones pictured below, with Amadi family members, are made in Tibet and carry Rugmark certification. Amadi also manufactures in Afghanistan, supplying looms and designs to Afghani women so they can carry on their traditional rug-making techniques while also making stylish modern rugs. This family-owned company has a long history of rug craftsmanship in Afghanistan and Tibet, working closely with their crafters. They also had a gorgeous patchwork rug made from old rugs in shades of blue.

My other favorite was BRC Designs. BRC is named for designer Benjamin Rollins Caldwell, the designer. He was on hand to explain his construction techniques and his creativity was truly impressive. He works with a broad range of materials, everything from solid steel to retired playing cards to reject zippers. All of his pieces are handcrafted by his team in Spartanburg, SC. I am always happy to see domestic manufacturing and more so when it’s so cool! This is his Spider Chair, which is made from leftover zipper ends and men’s ties.

The expo is at the Los Angeles Convention Center through Sunday, so check it out and get inspired! This grid explains their complicated ticketing structure. It’s based on how much you want to experience, really. There are also some home tours involved, if you pay extra. There are also some stylin’ cash & carry exhibitors and a Dwell gift & book shop if you want to spruce up the old homestead! Environment, which hosted the Green Blogger Meet-Up I wrote about last fall, had a great booth as well.

Written by Susanna Schick

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.


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