2014: Inspiration from a Cartoon

06.03.2014 § Leave a comment

cartoon

As I look at this cartoon, the alarms in my head grow louder, telling me that I should not be sitting still. The message is very clear and true, especially considering what children do nowadays compared with how I grew up. I never owned a doll. My family did not own a television until I was in junior high school; we had a record player and a piano. I was always outside with neighboring kids playing and fighting for stones. Yes, stones. I loved stones. I still have a scar on my face from one of those fights. My mom told me I would hold onto the stones even when I fell asleep, and she could not unwrap my figures from them, I held them so tightly. « Read the rest of this entry »

Discovery Collection Inspiration ~ 2

10.02.2014 § Leave a comment

Below are some more of the stories from my travels that sparked design ideas and eventually led to the patterns in our spring 2014 Discovery collection.

Lumen

The National History Museum in Taipei is located in a botanical garden with a huge lotus pond, not too far from my undergraduate college, the National Normal University. My friend and I would go there very often, and after viewing the exhibition we would always buy a cup of tea and some sweets in the luminous cafeteria and look out on the ocean of blooming lotuses fluttering in the breeze. I can never forget that scene and the satisfaction that the tranquil environment gave me.

I saw many exhibitions there. The pottery in this picture is very similar to the ones in the National History Museum. It belongs to the so-called Cai Tao Culture from our history books. Cai Tao potteries are from 7800 years ago (Neolithic Period); this one and many of the others were excavated from the Silk Road areas in China. The primitive motifs, burned into my mind since my college years, have manifested many times through my work. Lumen is one such manifestation.

Cai Tao potteryBrentano pattern Lumen

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Discovery Collection Inspiration

30.01.2014 § Leave a comment

Hill and Dale pillows

I keep a loose diary on where I go and what I see, but the things that impress me the most usually become burned in my mind. Those are the ones that spark design ideas and eventually become patterns for Brentano products. « Read the rest of this entry »

Lactose Intolerant

24.01.2014 § Leave a comment

A few years ago, I was surprise to hear my gastroenterologist tell me that 100% of Asians are lactose intolerant. So I have been drinking soy milk all this time. Today Brentano’s intern introduced me to Lactaid, a milk that is lactose free. She said she has been drinking it for two years. Really? I got curious and immediately started reading the carton.

I don’t know when I started this habit of reading labels. I grew up in an era when we bought food by weight or by pieces from local markets. If you bought pork, the butcher would weigh the meat and tie a string of raffia on it so you could carry the meat without touching it. The packaging material included large leaves, like lotus leaves. Old newspaper was a luxury since it cost money to buy newspaper—although come to think of it now, that would have been the most toxic packing material you could have in those days. We would go to the deli next door to buy our daily supplies with our own bowls, go to the produce market to buy vegetables and put them in our baskets without any packaging. No plastic bags, no labels, nor would we know where the food was produced. My mother told me about how she bought sesame oil in her youth: They would bring their own bottles to the oil shop with its big drums of oil, and the shopkeeper would weight the sesame oil and shoot the oil through a funnel into her narrow necked bottle. « Read the rest of this entry »

More Color Talk

02.12.2013 § Leave a comment

Brentano_ColorForecast_2014_Header

We are forecasting interior color trends again this season. There are always nuances of differences in the colors used in different sectors of interior design (homes, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, offices, etc). However, if you look at them over time, the overall color cast does show a consistency across the sectors. Colors were warm with a yellow cast during the 1990s; the 2000s were a transitional time; and now they have definitely cooled and have a red cast. During the 1980s, mauve and plum were big in the contract market, so we can see the pendulum has swung back to red again except now we are seeing different hues with a red cast.  « Read the rest of this entry »

Our Cotton Plant

12.11.2013 § 1 Comment

This year at Brentano, Aaron (Designer) ordered some cotton seeds, and Lan (Studio Assistant) planted them in a pot outside of the training room. The cotton plant grew healthy and bore fruit.

Cotton Flower

Cotton Flower

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Rhythm Collection

07.08.2013 § Leave a comment

As long as there is pattern, there is rhythm.

Pulse from the Rhythm Collection

Color, space, composition, and structure all compose visual effects. Rhythm is the combination of some of these elements—and the focus of Brentano’s fall 2013 Rhythm collection. « Read the rest of this entry »

Brentano’s First Showroom at NeoCon

02.07.2013 § Leave a comment

At NeoCon 99.9% of the people I met recognized that we had a new showroom (one thought we had been there before), which is pretty good. With a showroom on a contract floor, I finally saw the full scope of NeoCon, meeting people from South Africa, Holland, China, Korea, and Japan, etc; many had just come to see the trends. I am glad our showroom attracted their eyes.

showroom « Read the rest of this entry »

At NeoCon on the 10th Floor

21.05.2013 § Leave a comment

We will be meeting many, many people at NeoCon this year. I’ve been going in and out of the Merchandize Mart nearly a third of my life; this NeoCon I will probably meet more people than the sum of all the past years combined. At least I hope so.

NeoCon feels like a big party for our industry. I once heard a young party-loving girl say, “to go to a party is to see and be seen.” That “to be seen” part was new to me since I have never thought that way. In this case, to open a new showroom on the 10th floor of the Merchandise Mart is for sure an action “to be seen.”

There is a sense of confidence in taking this stride. It is important enough to benchmark Brentano’s history. We are excited about the opportunity to exhibit our style—yet nervous about the amount of work we have to put in to reach our goals. I am sure there is hard work ahead of us from here on out, but this leap will strengthen our capacity to design. I shall open my arms to greet the challenge, or I shall wither with the comfort of an easy career.

Added Value of Brentano Polyurethane

03.04.2013 § Leave a comment

I received a request from one of our reps to explain what makes our polyurethane products unique, focusing on Jetset and Essence. More people may have the same question, and I am happy to share.

1)     Unlike some of the faux leathers on the market that use polyurethane resin made for the fashion industry, our polyurethane products are designed for the furniture industry. The resin formula is designed to last and stay in good condition for a long time compared to products that are made for fashion purposes which will deteriorate in a few years.

2)     Our polyurethane faux leather is uniquely designed and colored by the Brentano Design Studio and marketed only by the Brentano brand. The soft hand, color, pattern and luster are outstanding, and the function of our faux leather goes beyond what real leather can do. « Read the rest of this entry »

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