[laNeva News] Product Launch: laNeva SK8 Patterns

In our last post, we detailed how laNeva Tile is partnering with like-minded companies and artisans to create tile designs and patterns that are greater than the sum of their parts. Dynamic, interesting, never seen before combinations that we think are pretty spectacular (can you tell?!?!)

This collaboration concept was born this past summer and was first evident with the laNeva GLASS tile launch in October. After working to refine and precisely plan our multi-media tile collaboration, we are launching today:

 laNeva Tile & SK8 Tile by Art of Board

Art of Board is an incredible company that not only uses recycled skateboard decks to create graphic, functional wall tile, they also coordinate nationwide collection of used skateboard decks through their organization I Ride I Recycle and support several local and national charities.

SK8 tiles are hand cut from 100% recycled skate decks. Every scratch, scrape and gouge is kept intact – making them truly original. Each tile has its own story. They’re alive with texture, shape and color. Together, they bring that story to life in every space they inhabit – creating a vibrant visual experience in the home, retail or commercial environment.

Without further delay, here are just the starting two of our SK8 designs, featuring laNeva’s new L-shaped handmade ceramic tile and Art of Board recycled skateboard tiles:

 

 To learn more about the beauty and brilliance of Art of Board, check out this dynamic video by Converse, featuring the AOB story:

For more information including specs, pricing or custom patterns using laNeva & SK8 tile, please contact us!  We can be reached by phone at 612-217-1748, email products@lanevatile.com or fill out the form on our Contact Us page.

If you like this launch, please join us on Facebook and Twitter to learn about laNeva’s latest news and designs!

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The Non-Toxic Dilemma…

A choice we made upon starting laNeva Tile: All of our glazes must be lead-free and rated as AP-non-toxic. All of them. No exceptions.

Okay, here’s the dilemma: While the industry is reformulating many glazes to be lead-free, there are still a lot of glazes out there with lead and cadmium in them or they are still considered a “toxic” glaze (or rather, not “non-toxic) because they contain other elements with a known health risk.

There is yet another problem when the glazes meet the non-toxic requirements when used as a brushed-on glaze, but not when sprayed.  Inhalation risks are great with sprayed glazes and any dry glazes. Lead-free or not. (Spraying is not an issue for us because we brush all of our glazes. Glaze overspray isn’t good for people or the environment, period.)

An even further problem is that some of the coolest, richest, most dramatic glaze colors are made from heavy metals, including lead and cadmium, the exact elements that make these tiles not fit with our business model.

We have an awesome (and I don’t use that word lightly) launch coming up and we’re working on glaze formulations and selections like madwomen* here. The challenge is to find glaze formulas that create gorgeous laNeva-worthy colors that all fit in with our lead free and non-toxic glaze model. So, stick around for a truly fabulous, richest, bestest new glaze color launch you ever did see – all lead free and non-toxic – early next week.

*Yes, for those of you wondering, we are all women at laNeva Tile ;)

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Retro Finds at Spinario Design

One of my favorite places to browse for interesting furniture and accessories is long-time love, Spinario Design in Minneapolis.  I wrote about Spinario back in 2007 on the LLD Latest and Greatest blog.

Well, Spinario is better than ever with their unbelievable selection of midcentury modern and eclectic retro decor, including furniture, lighting, artwork and accessories. Their store is a place to dream and be inspired. I still am in love with the Lane desk that I wrote about previously, shown here, and long since sold. Sigh. Never to fear, though. Spinario always has a great selection in the store and warehouse, with treasures just waiting to be discovered.

My newest loves from Spinario, wouldn’t you like to know!? Okay… here are just a few of them:

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Check out Spinario’s website or connect with them on Facebook for some amazing one-of-a-kind treasures.

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A Midcentury Vacation Rental -The Kugel Gips House

We wrote a few months ago about the Mod on Cape Cod: Midcentury Modernist Homes on Cape Cod that were being saved and renovated thanks to the Cape Cod Modern House Trust.

Today we were thrilled to see in our email inbox information from a favorite design resource, Remodelista, regarding STAYING at the newly beautified Kugel Gips House in Wellfleet- the very house we featured. It is absolutely stunning, both the building and surroundings, and has made us quite green with envy for such a gorgeous week’s stay.

“The house, which overlooks Northeast Pond on Cape Cod, is available for rent during the summer months (a portion is tax-deductible); in the autumn and spring, artists and scholars can apply for a residency program.” via Remodelista.

There are actually three homes available for rent on the CCMHT site. They are auctioned in week-long blocks via email. Please contact The Cape Cod Modern Home Trust for more information. Please send us pics after your stay there, but we ask that you not rub it in too much!

The Cape Cod Modern Home Trust also accepts donations of furniture and art associated with the Midcentury Modern style, as well as monetary donations and volunteers for research, fundraising, construction, event planning, publicity, graphic design or technical support.

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Preserving the Mod in Cape Cod

Nathaniel Swift House photo, Library of Congress

When I think of Cape Cod, a cute little symmetrical home comes to mind.

With it’s rectangular shape and single gable roof, it is a simple, yet effective design intended to withstand the cold Northeastern winters as well as sand and surf.  I was completely floored to learn that the Cape Cod area has a wide variety of modernist structures built generally between the late 1940′s and mid 1960′s.  Turns out many famous architects built their own summer cottages here as well, for example Walter Gropius  and Marcel Breuer designed homes for their families on Cape Cod.

Like many mid-century modern homes, these are in various states of deterioration and a group called the Cape Cod Modern House Trust is working to not only restore these houses, but collect information and document the history of the modern homes on the Cape, something which has never been done.

The /Gips House Vincent Dewitt for The Boston Globe

Kugel/Gips House by Vincent Dewitt for The Boston Globe

The underlying reason for some of this deterioration is an unusual one: Many of these homes have been sitting vacant, owned by the National Seashore. This is not due to lack of interested buyers, but from a government acquisition of the properties to create a state park on the Cape.  This buy-out took place in 1961 but allowed the occupants an option to stay in the house for another 25 years and in some cases, longer. Due to a fortuitous twist of fate, the government did not have the money to raze the houses as was originally planned so they remain, a silent reminder of the modernist history of that area in the last 50 years.  The goal of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust is to “Restore all seven of the Modernist houses owned by the National Seashore and reconfigure them into educational and cultural resources.”

Click here for some amazing photography of these modern homes, linked to the Cubes on Dunes/DWR article referenced below.

Sources and more information:

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Tile Designs Around Town #2

WHAT: Exterior Entryway of a 1960′s modern Apartment Building

TILE USED: 1″x 1″ glass, multi-colored and frosted.

Always on the lookout for interesting tile designs and applications, this is one found on a recent travel adventure. Tucked under a wide entry overhang, this large-scale tile design is an unexpected treat considering the building is a mere 5 units.  Using 8 total colors of glass tile  with a few small areas of surprise contrast, the wall design reminds me of a flat, simplistic version of an avant garde El Lissitzky (Russian Constructivist) painting circa the 1920′s.

That’s my BA in Art History paying off right there…

Well, I am not about to get into an in-depth comparison of the two artists, as they are very different, with incredibly different mediums, but it is a fun comparison nonetheless.  My introduction to the works of El Lissitzky came through an Interior Design Studio class and the discussion of Constructivist Architecture.

What inspires you?  What do you see in your everyday environment that strikes a chord with you? Sometimes people have a hard time recognizing what they like but can easily identify what they DON’T like. Today, you are hereby challenged to look more closely at your everyday environment and find one unexpected art object, pattern, color or complex shape that really appeals to you.

Notes: Click any of the pics for a closer look. Also, I really don’t like using wiki links, but there is some great background info.  If you know of a better source, leave a comment.

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Is it Modern or Contemporary?

What really is the difference between “Modern” and “Contemporary”? Even within the design community these words are often used interchangeably. The truth is the two are inherently different.

A trade resource (ie not available to the general public) from Moen discusses the fundamental differences between the terms “Modern” and “Contemporary” and how knowing the difference/clarifying their clients wants can help a designer’s success:

“Modern isn’t a style. It’s a way of thinking,” says architect Bryan Russell, a partner in the Atlanta-based Dencity Design. He says that modernist designers seek creative solutions for design problems. By contrast, contemporary is just a style and differs from traditional only in looks, he says. A good illustration of this is the traditional Cape Cod house: a simple box with symmetrical windows topped by a gable roof. A contemporary house might replace the gable with a shed roof, or with a flat roof surrounded by a parapet, and lose some of the detailing. But, because it’s basically a distilled version of the traditional home, major elements and proportions remain. Inside, the design will call for the same materials as a traditional, but with less trim and molding.

The modern home might be radically different: a box cantilevered over the top of another box with large corner windows, for example. That’s because the designer is more concerned with views to the outside than with composition. “Modern thinking is based on asking questions about how to solve problems and not necessarily following the tried and true,” says Russell.

Are you modern or contemporary or somewhere on the spectrum in between? To read the Moen article in it’s entirety, click here.

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So Simple, So Mondrian

What is not to love? Piet Mondrian: A Dutch painter, part of the DeStijl movement who worked in rectilinear color blocks… and whose work is so beautifully translated into tile. Take the following Piet Mondrian painting for example:

Using laNeva tile, we could create something like this conceptual tile design:

We used Siren #84, Twilight #68, Butter#73, Steel #24 and Snow #31, all in our standard sizes of 4×4, 2×2, 1×2 and 1×6. A decent interpretation, huh?

If you want to read more about Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl movement in the Netherlands, or related artists, please see today’s amusing article in the UK Telegraph or the exhibition information for Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde at the Tate Modern in London running now through May 16, 2010.

January 2011 update: We are happy to announce that laNeva’s interpretation of Mondrian’s painting is now available using our handmade tile. Please take a look at our Lineal Collection Border  ”Composition Six”, available as a border pattern or a mesh mounted panel suitable for tiling or grouting/framing. Shown here with dark gray grout. Please contact us for pricing & purchasing  information.

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How is LaNeva Tile Produced?

LaNeva Artisan Tile is produced when we receive your order. It takes a little longer to get to you than just pulling items off the shelf, but it is worth the wait. We can produce a design perfectly for you using our many unique sizes and colors.

Making handmade tile is a detailed process with many exacting steps:

  • First, the raw clay needs to be rolled out into a precise thickness: Our standard thickness is 3/8″ which is the perfect thickness if you are matching our tiles to stone tiles or many other handmade tiles. It also makes a great thickness for creating drama when used with machine made tile. Order the overglazed edges and you have a great play of height differences….but I digress.
  • After the clay sheet is rolled, the tile shapes are cut for exactly the size, shape and quantity ordered.
  • The raw clay shapes are then moved onto trays and placed on racks to dry. This drying can take up to 10 days.
  • For our larger sizes, once dry, the fragile dried clay is carefully stacked into an electric kiln and fired. This makes the clay body solid and easy to handle. This is called a bisque firing. We do not bisque fire our smaller sizes.
  • After cooling, we paint the glaze colors onto the clay body by hand. In our larger tile sizes, you may see our brush strokes from how we applied the glaze. This is a look that machine made tiles cannot reproduce.
  • Then the tiles have to dry again.
  • After the second drying, the glazed tiles are carefully stacked and fired again at temperatures between 1800-1900 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The tiles are allowed to cool, removed by hand and examined for quality.

Because LaNeva tiles are handmade, and each tile is a work of art, each tile will have variations in color, shape, and texture.

We then lay the completed tiles out to verify the quantity of the order and mesh mount if needed. All of our tiles are then packed carefully in recycled shipping boxes along with recycled packing materials and sent out to their final destination via UPS. It’s a process that takes us between 4-6 weeks, but we are sure you will be thrilled with the result.

If you have additional questions, check out our FAQ page or contact us at orders@lanevatile.com.

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