niche modern lighting“I love going to environments that are beautifully designed, well thought out and have beautiful lighting. I think that makes people feel peaceful and at home and it sparks good conversation and community.”  JEREMY PYLES, Creative Director and Co-Founder, Niche Modern

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Hate is a strong word, but I seriously don’t like bad lighting. Period. And there’s a lot out there. How about those unlucky suckers who work forty plus hours a week surrounded by white walls with numbing florescent lighting beaming over their heads? Trust me there are better ways to stimulate productivity.

niche modern lightingHas anyone ever pulled the ‘florescent lights in the home’ trick on you? I hope my experience is a rarity, but I’ve been the guest in a new home – built from the ground up – where many of the primary living spaces were lit with florescent lighting. Not just bulbs, but tubes as well! I guarantee that bluish glaring light in a dining room does not make for a cozy dinner. I later found out from the architect that the energy conservationist homeowners valued the exterior look and interior flow, but were downright cheap when it came to accessories; particularly lighting fixtures. Sigh.

Guess what people? The future is now. Functional items can be well-designed. As a matter of fact you should insist upon it.

niche modern lightingIndeed, hardware pricing and energy consumption are important factors. However, if you find something you like and are surprised by the costs, instead of an initial “No, let’s find a cheaper option,” I recommend you sleep on it. Whether it’s your home or a work environment, it’s important to have an open mind when making interior design decisions. Yes, accessories should be functional and efficient; they should also be welcoming, tasteful, make a statement and comfortable for your family, friends or co-workers. Keep in mind these touches are going to be around for a while. Quality and beauty are always worth the investment.

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niche modern lightingJeremy Pyles Interview

ICFF is one of New York City’s premier trade shows exhibiting what’s new and unique in contemporary home furnishings.

Among the myriad of lighting companies, I was excited to discover Niche Modern, designers and manufacturers of handblown lighting pendants and furnishings. As I approached their booth to take a pictures of their new Helio Chroma and Pointelle Series pendants, I was greeted by the company’s leader Jeremy Pyles who jokingly asked if was I going to post that image on Instagram. Jeremy shared some of his insights on the benefits of ‘good design’…

bndd: Lighting IS art, right?

JP: I think it’s functional art. When people look at good lighting, obviously it’s functional. It has a purpose. It casts light. It illuminates things around, but the object itself when it is illuminated and you can see the beauty of the materials whether its handblown glass that’s transparent or semi-opaque glass and you can see a beautifully designed bulb, it becomes an art piece in itself and the affect it has on the human psyche in terms of making you feel warm and fuzzy without that person even knowing that’s the affect. I think that’s very powerful.

niche modern lighting

bndd: Why is lighting key when designing a space?

JP: I’m being sorta of silly, but it kinda harkens back to when we were cavemen sitting around a fire roasting our wild boar. It’s very nostalgic. I’ve put a lot of thought into this over the years “Why do moths gravitate to the flame?” or “Why do humans gravitate to the campfire or a candle?” You want to share meals with family and friends and gather around a beautiful light source and wonderful meal. That’s what it’s all about. Then we fall in love, have babies and the cycle of life continues (laughs).

niche modern lightingbndd: Do you think consumers underestimate lighting?

JP: I think they have historically. I think that’s changing. Your average consumer is being inundated with beautiful brands and advertising. High-end design is even filtering down to places like Target. I think the consciousness of the average consumer is being elevated everyday and it’s a wonderful thing. It just makes our world more beautiful. There’s a lot of thought put into industrial design and product design [such as] lampost in parks. I don’t know if the average consumer is aware of it, but I think they are reaping the benefits of it and in turn are seeking good design when they go to buy something. Maybe they’ll go to Target and they’re looking for a paper towel holder or a lemon squeezer or a garlic press and they’re given choices between an average product and a beautifully designed one. I think intrinsically consumers are choosing the beautifully designed one. I think we’re being genetically trained to select better designed things. It’s almost like Darwinism. Poorly designed things are falling away because the market is being inundated with better designed things.

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Photos of Niche Modern products: 1. HELIO pendant 2. POINTELLE pendant 3. HELIO multi-pendants on display at ICFF 4. BOA table lamps 5. CONVEX votives.

DISCOVER:  Niche Modern

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malene graphicCarpets provide warmth, cushioning and reduce noise, but I think a lot of us underestimate the artistic impact carpeting can have. When making decisions about design elements needed to personalize a living space or create an attractive work environment, where does carpet selection rank? Are you interested in more of a neutral foundation or a focal point with vibrant colors, bold patterns and textures?

I discovered Malene (May-lay-nee) Barnett, President and Design Director of Malene B. Carpets exhibiting at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City.

Watch video below...

Malene B. Carpets is a Brooklyn, NY based design studio specialized in custom, hand-crafted contemporary carpets for luxury residential and commercial spaces.

From Malene B.’s perspective, carpet choice should be at the top of your list when envisioning an environment. “Carpets can transform a space, they are the finishing piece to a room. They really complete the story. So I really think carpet is important to a space.”

malene b carpets

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Malene B.’s carpets are inspired by her travels around the world. One of the goals of her brand is to inspire people to look at fabric as a way to connect to the global community. “We all use fabric in some way in our lives. We wear clothes. We interact with fabric through our furniture and tableware. So there’s all these connections with fabric in our lives and it’s a global thing. Because my background is textile design [Fashion Institute of Technology], I’ve always had a passion with textiles when I travel and the intricacy of how they’re made. Each time I go to a different country I seek out the arts; particularly fabrics and I really see how it connects us.”

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VIDEO: In this interview with bndd Editor Harold Abrams, Malene B. discusses the artistry of carpets, how her travels around the world inspire her designs and how staying focused helps navigate the challenges of building a creative business…

A Custom Alternative . . .
As an option to ordering a custom carpet — Malene B. has partnered with SURYA, manufacturer of high quality and innovative rugs and home accessories offering an exclusive selection of carpets in the Malene B. style.

DISCOVER:  Malene B. Carpets 

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cards2life pop up greeting cardsWith increasing greeting card prices, more consumers are insisting on unique, well-designed cards with substantial paper quality.

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Walking the numerous aisles of the annual National Stationery Show in New York City on the lookout for what’s new, hot, fresh, creative and trendy can be a bit dizzying. One of the standouts for me this year were pop-up greeting cards from Cards2Life.

cards2life greeting cards

Cards2Life are a collection of 3D pop-up greeting cards when opened reveal intricate and creative designs tailored for a variety of seasons and special occasions including wedding, birthday, thank you and sympathy themes. The Provo, Utah based company also specializes in custom designed cards for individuals and organizations with minimum order quantities.

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STEPHEN SAINSBURY is one of the entrepreneurs of Cards2Life bringing these laser cut and hand-crafted cards to market…

brandnewdaydesigns: What is Cards2Life?

Stephen Sainsbury: We create 3D pop-up celebrations. We’re a small team. There’s seven of us. Two are still in college and the rest of us recently graduated. We’re chasing a dream of getting this business started, making it profitable and eventually becoming the kings of our own castles (laughs).

Watch: 3D greeting card by Cards2Life ‘spring to life’

Are you following brandnewdaydesigns on Instagram?…

bndd: How did you come up with idea of pop-up cards?

SS: We were traveling in Asia about a year ago and saw a similar type of technology we hadn’t seen in the United States marketplace. We decided to take some sample cards back, put our own spin on them, including our own colors and unique designs. We reached out to some suppliers and struck agreements with manufacturers in Southeast Asia. We have an exclusive agreement in the United States and just started moving forward and selling. [The Stationery Show] is where we’re launching our brand and putting our footprint in the stationery world.

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bndd: What makes these cards special?

SS: These cards actually spring to life. People don’t expect [our designs] to jump out of the card they way they do. We’re able to create an emotional connection between people. We realize some people will buy this as a gift as opposed to a traditional greeting card and found that to be very rewarding. It’s fun to be in a business where we facilitate that type of human connection.

DISCOVER:  Cards2Life 

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