Welcome to the DesignLAB

A Proper Setting

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the wildly popular BBC/PBS series Downton Abbey. Fans are eagerly anticipating the third season here in the U.S., which will begin airing in January. The series has sparked a renewed interest in Edwardian style and an appreciation for British historic homes like Highclere Castle, which is the real-life setting for the fictitious Downtown Abbey.

Learning Design

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One of the things I enjoy most about my profession is the opportunity to meet and work with the talented design students attending or graduating from design schools. Thankfully, we have the privilege to host interns several times each year.

On Shaker Design and Ornament

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Inarguably, Shaker furniture has influenced modern design. Many decades before phrases such as Sullivan’s “form follows function,” Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more,” and Wright’s “nature of the materials” became modern design mantras, the Shakers were creating chairs that were functional and unadorned while displaying integrity and honesty of construction.

Set Design: The Great Gatsby & Anna Karenina

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Set designers are becoming more influential in the world of home decor, offering inspiration and nostalgia on the big screen and on television. A perfect example is the huge influence Mad Men has had on fashion and furnishings. Set decorators Amy Wells and Claudette Didul paid attention to the smallest details to recreate the homes and clothing of the 1960s, sparking a mid-century-modern trend that is still going strong.


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I am a firm believer that yes, in this digital age, we still need books, libraries and bookcases. As Mark Lamster points out in "Still Here, Metropolis", libraries remain vital places. Many of them are more crowded than ever as people come to study, work together, consult with experts, and to discover rare and hard-to-find books.

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