With 6 weeks left until our global debut at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, we would like to share an update on all things FACETLAB.  Both pieces of furniture that are being shown are (still) in fabrication, due to be completed next week.  Our good friend and photographer Daniel Chong will be photographing the finished work next weekend.

    Navigating the world of Dwell on Design and creating the infrastructure needed to operate as a company has been an eye opening experience.  The entire process has to be designed, from purchase to fabrication to shipping and even learning how sales tax works!  All of these things that most people do not calculate when making a transaction need to be resolved before we can begin selling. 

    Kirsten has finished the graphics for our marketing/propaganda which includes new business cards, logo, stickers, mailers, signage for our booth at Dwell on Design and even a pretty cool T-shirt that will debut at the show.  Look for FACETLAB propaganda everywhere!

    In other news, FACETLAB has its first client commission.  It is currently in the early stages of site studies, but should be a full commission by summer.  More details to come once there are details to share!

    While we prepare for Dwell on Design and work on client commissions, we are diligently looking for property and partners for our first development project.  We are looking for partners to help finance the construction of residential or mixed use projects that FACETLAB will design and build.  The goal is to have a project lined up by fall 2014.  Look for an investor package in your inbox soon!

    We are very excited about the momentum that is building around FACETLAB.  This summer is shaping up to be full of new experiences and opportunities.  Stay tuned for updates as the Dwell on Design show gets closer and our architecture projects develop.  If you are in Los Angeles June 20-22, come by the Dwell on Design show and say hello.

Thanks for your support!

 - Kirsten, Brandon & Lexi


FACETLAB will debut at Dwell on Design 2014

FACETLAB will be making its public debut at the Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles.  We are beyond excited to have this opportunity to showcase the Facet Table along with other products that we have in development at America's largest design event.  As lovers of all things design and all things modern we could not have asked for a better venue to showcase our work than at Dwell on Design, with 30,000+ of our fellow design nerds!

Over the next few months we will be creating marketing material, designing the booth and preparing for the show.  If you will be in Los Angeles June 20-22, 2014 drop us a line and come by our booth to say hi.  To read more about Dwell on Design and see the schedule of events, click on the link above



SD Tote

While Brandon was up in Tahoe doing this (what?!!!), the pup and I took advantage of the absolutely beautiful* weather here in San Diego and headed to the beach for the day.  A few hours of sun and surf inspired my mind-set for this afternoon's design session.  Part map, part city-love, this catch-all bag is perfect for a casual weekend outing to a local coffee shop, farmer's market or (my favorite) the beach.

SD Tote:  White Cotton Canvas with Screen Printed Map Graphic and Light Blue Text.  Bag: 15"W x 17"H, Handle: 12"


*repeat: absolutely b-e-a-utiful!!  check out FACETLAB mascot #lexithepuppy catching some rays on instagram.  


Building Matters

We came across this great video by the architect led design build firm Gluck+ that we want to share.  The video explains how they approach a project as architect and contractor, which is quite uncommon these days for most architects.  Over the years, architects have marginalized their role in the building process because of increased liability and specializations in construction.  What results is a sub par building devoid of its original intent, as design decisions are made by contractors, consultants and clients during construction.  All of the players in the increasingly complex project teams are to blame for this.  We think that it is essential for architects to take on the role of constructor and lead construction just as we lead design.

Have a look at how Gluck+ takes on architect led design build and the impact this has on their employees knowledge and growth and designers.  Enjoy! 

Building Matters Video

The World is Flat

Most people know the phrase "The World is Flat" from the book written by Thomas Friedman.  I read it a few years back and it opened my eyes to just how interconnected economies, manufacturing and technology is at a global level.  It also made me aware of how accessible the world is and the vast opportunities available to get work done.  Fast forward to last week when I was reading "The 4-Hour Workweek" by Tim Ferriss.  He has a chapter titled "Outsourcing Life."  He advocates for outsourcing tasks to services around the globe that work at a reasonable price and with very good quality in order to free up time in our lives.  

Tim Ferriss recommends using a website called Elance, which is a platform to hire freelancers to complete jobs.  You post your job and interested freelancers send you portfolios and hourly rates.  You choose who you would like to hire, then work with them through the website to complete work.  The payment for work is administered through Elance and files are exchanged through a workroom on the website.

We here at FACETLAB decided to experiment with Elance and, through that, verified that indeed the world is flat.  We posted a job asking to produce renderings for the furniture that we have designed.  We produced decent renderings from our limited experience with Vray, but were in need of more professional, realistic images.  We posted the job and within 2 days received proposals from over 20 prospective freelancers from just about every continent in the world.  It was fascinating to see that we instantly connected globally with very talented designers eager to work on our project.  With a little research, we hired a guy from The Republic of Moldova at a "per rendering" rate.  Don't know where Moldova is?  We didn't know either until we looked it up on Google maps.  With a few emails exchanged to agree on the terms and the exchange of Rhino files, we were working internationally.

The whole job took about a week to complete.  There were a few revisions for each rendering, which is to be expected regardless of who you are working with.  We are very pleased with the results and the ease of working with someone around the world.  You can see the renderings on our project page.  We had FACET TABLE, BOOKCASE and V TABLE rendered.

I heard great advice from a billionaire CEO in a NPR radio interview.  The CEO of Spanx (yes...I am taking advice from the Spanx lady) said that when it comes to starting a business you should "find your strengths and the work you really enjoy doing, then hire people to do the work you are not good at."  I have to say rendering is not something I am particularly excited about doing or good at.  Plus, I can't tell you the number of hours that I have spent rendering our designs with marginal results.  Using Elance was incredibly valuable for solving all of these issues.







FACET TABLE Prototype...complete!

It is here!  We are very excited to announce that our friends at Special Topics (http://spcltpcs.com/) have successfully fabricated a prototype of FACET TABLE. 

The design of FACET TABLE dates back to 2005.  The table was designed for a Product Design course that Brandon took while studying at Washington Alexandria Architecture Center (http://www.waac.vt.edu/) during his 4th year of undergraduate studies.  The idea came out of a conversation with his professor about stereotomy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotomy_(Descriptive_Geometry)).  Initially, the table was envisioned as a solid, using stereotomy to arrive at a final shape.  The middle was eventually carved out as well to make the table more practical in weight and constructability...so we thought!  Turns out, the compound miter cuts and exact degrees necessary to create the folds were not very easy to calculate by hand.  Even harder was constructing the pieces with the precision necessary.  The table was never realized during school.  For the next 8 years we have attempted to nail down exactly how to fabricate the table using analog and digital methods.

After eight years of starts and stops, we have a complete prototype, created with MDF and milled using a 3-axis CNC.  The table came out nearly perfect!

So what is next?  Special Topics will be fabricating a finished table out of Black Walnut, set to be completed in about 8 weeks..  We will be looking for gallery representation and opportunities to get published.

Enjoy the photos.  We will keep you updated on the progress of the finished table.



New Years Resolutions are becoming quite a tradition here at FACETLAB.  It's a good opportunity to set some goals for the upcoming year and have a mantra of sorts to keep in mind when working to achieve those goals.  

NY Resolution 2014 FACETLAB

While last year's resolution was more of a "within-myself" personal goal, for 2014 I'm focusing more on external interactions.  UN-PLUG-IN encompasses two themes.  The first, UN-PLUG, addresses the need to disconnect from the 24/7 distraction that is the internet.  Pinning, Gramming, Facebooking.... sure there's a time for it, but it's not ALL the time.  Secondly, PLUG-IN, relates to connecting with new design circles and getting involved in the community.  I might as well put all that time I'm spending "un-plugged" to good use!

Brandon has settled on Get Built 2.0.  I know what you're thinking, wasn't that last year's resolution?  Why yes it was.  Brandon rocked 2013, running 3 Half Marathons and getting some prototypes made (more on that here and here).  Seems logical to keep that momentum going into 2014, so here we go with Get Built round 2!  


RE_FAB summer workshop final images

On the last day of the workshop, I left the final product to print in the Makerbot without compete confidence that the print would finish and be accurate.  After a few weeks, I made it back to pick up the print.  To my surprise it came out perfect.  Photos are posted below. 

The Makerbot 3d uses an additive process where it melts the ABS plastic and distributes it in layers from bottom to top.  It also builds an interior support structure for pieces with any thickness.  This process creates a layered texture which is actually quite a nice finish if your design allows for it.  Printing with the white plastic provides a bit of translucency through the pieces and can be controlled by the thickness tolerances that you set when printing.  

So what is next for this piece?  We would like to spend some time developing it into a light fixture.  It would be cool to get it manufactured in a ceramic or translucent glass at full scale.  We have a few ideas for connecting the two pieces that will further abstract the LCW chair idea.

Previous blog post on RE_FAB summer workshop:

Stay tuned for developments on this piece and potentially exciting news about the prototyping of Table 01.


RE_FAB summer workshop

I had an opportunity to take a summer workshop with Woodbury University titled RE_FAB.  The workshop was a crash course in using a CNC routing, 3d printing and laser cutting with the goal of producing final products with these tools.

 The jumping off point was an exercise in "hackitecture."  What is hackitecture you ask?  Essentially it is taking a made or found object, digitizing it, then tearing it apart to create a different object.  This topic could be its own blog post, but I will explain it in terms of our process.  We used a program called 123DCatch (http://www.123dapp.com/).  It takes a series of digital photographs and stitches them together in order to make a 3d object.  It is a powerful, yet imperfect tool which is exactly why we used it.  Through the digitizing process, all sorts of weird things happen to the model that then inform how to create a new object.  

I chose to use the Eames LCW chair scale model that we used as our wedding cake topper as my starting object.  The goal was to take this beautiful chair that most designers revere and treat as a museum piece, chop it up, and create a piece of art that would really turn it into art rather than a chair that you sit in.  That was the goal.  The process and final object is something very different!  

After fighting with the program for two weeks with horrible results, I decided a new approach was needed.  I took a step back and looked at the essence of the Eames LCW.  There are two groups of components that make up the chair, the base and the seat.  Both are iconic shapes.  I spent some time exploring what happens when one of these components was reinterpreted. Taking an accurate 3D model of the LCW, I modeled a series of new bases for the seat.  This approach did not lead me very far either, but I realized the essence is really the seat component and not the base.  That is where the project diverged...again.  The LCW seat and seat back are bent plywood shapes that are easily recognizable, both in 3D and in plan.  My new goal was to break that component down and use it to create a new object that still was identifiable as the LCW.  What was not clear was what that new object would be.

The first move was to unfold the model and flatten each component.  I then took the seat and seat back and projected the outline onto a sphere to create a radiating image that could be tiled.  This was not particularly successful, but led to the next turn in the process.  The curved surface from the radiating projection interested me more than the pattern.  I took the curved surface, combined with the negative space from the radiating pattern, and ended up with two shapes almost cellular in shape.  It was an abstraction from the LCW seat in 3D, but it still held the image in plan.

The next step was to produce this new object.  I chose the Makerbot as my tool for reasons of time, cost and availability.  The Makerbot is a whole other blog post as well.  It is a very popular, but sort of crude machine that prints 3D objects from models.  It carries a success rate of about 32% and at a cost of $3,000, has probably led to many unhappy buyers.  But...I was determined to get something out of it.  After 3 or 4 failed attempts and some crazy partial prints, I got some good results. I took this time to create a laser cut version of the extruded shapes as well, as a study model.

This new object had led to a few paths of study that are still in progress.  I see two approaches to defining the new object.  The first is a product, in the form of a light fixture.  It could be a single hanging fixture or a grouping of the same object at different heights or scales.  Renderings to follow.  The other, more in depth approach is to examine this object as a building facade or tile.  If the object is arrayed on a surface, it can create a series of apertures that project out of that surface.  They could be openings in a building that are computer controlled to adjust the amount of daylighting in a space.  It could be an exhibition piece, where the object becomes a place for display, or reacts to movement by opening and closing.

Renderings of final object

The final object is a departure from the Eames LCW and from the original goal of creating art that reinterprets the cultural notions of the LCW.  But the circuitous path that was the process has opened the doors to exploring this object in many more ways that I ever thought of at the beginning.  Below is a slideshow of the process. Enjoy!



Gingham v2 - Pattern Contest

spoonflower pattern submission

spoonflower pattern submission

Spoonflower is an online fabric printing service where you can make and print custom designs on nearly everything from fabric to wallpaper to gift wrap.  Every week they hold a themed design contest which is open to the public for voting.  As part of a skillshare class I am taking on repeat patterns, I submitted an entry to this week's contest, themed "picnic".  

gingham v2 on cotton fabric.

gingham v2 on cotton fabric.

My entry is a reinterpretation of  traditional gingham, titled Gingham v2.  Inspired by the basic tri-colored gingham, I used overlapping stripes to create new shapes and patterns.  The end result is a fresh take a the classic pattern that still conveys the spirit of gingham and a good old fashioned picnic.

You can vote for this design and other favorites by the clicking the "vote for your favorites" button on the Spoonflower Contest Page.  Once you select your favorite designs, click through all the pages and at the end there will be a "submit" button.

Happy Picnicing! 


L.A. Architecture exhibits

Los Angeles museums are full of architecture related exhibits that can't be missed.  FACETLAB is planning a tour through the city to catch each exhibit.  Stay tuned for a complete rundown.  In the meantime, check them out for yourself

 A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California

     The work of 38 major and emerging practices in contemporary Los Angeles architecture of the past 25 years.  Showing at MOCA Geffen Contemporary until September 16.

NMDA house.jpg

How Small is Too Small and By-Right/By-Design 

   Two exhibits that examine current and future trends in housing for Los Angeles.  Showing at WUHO Gallery until August 4.

LA-Forum exhibit.jpg

The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA

  The proposed redesign of LACMA by Peter Zumthor as well as past projects undertaken by Zumthor.  Showing at LACMA until September 15.

Zumthor LACMA.jpg

CHICAGOgreenopolis documentary


Our friends and fellow designers at Wickfilms have created an amazing documentary tilted "CHICAGOgreenopolis" and have entered it into an online film festival hosted by CultureUnplugged.com.


This documentary is an intelligent and educational look at Chicago's effort to lead the nation in sustainable design.  It offers interviews with designers, case studies and beautiful imagery of projects that are examples of the success of the "greening" of Chicago.


Please watch, vote and share this with friends and family. 




Article: Top 10 lessons when searching for a job in architecture

We want to share this article because it strikes many chords with us.  This article is about finding a job in architecture, but more importantly it is about finding value in yourself, working with a purpose and then seeking out a job that embraces the same values.  The ideas here can be applied to any profession.  It is a must read for anyone pondering either their position in their profession or their next move. 

There are many topics in the article that are straightforward but rarely found in our profession.  Creating a place for creativity, defining a work-life balance and taking chances on employees with new ideas all seem like important and attainable principles to work by.  But more times than not this is lost to the "way of doing business" or demands to work "faster, cheaper, smarter."

One of the driving factors to building FACETLAB is to provide an opportunity for us to explore design and seek knowledge.  But it is also about finding value in our work, being creative and not being afraid to take chances on a new idea (we're still working on the last one!)

This article is timely and inspiring as we both are at a crossroads in our profession, largely because of the issues listed above.  The hope is that employers and employees alike read this and are inspired as well.  Enjoy!

  Top 10 lessons when searching for a job in architecture

Summer workshops

In our never ending quest for knowledge and skills we have signed up for a few classes this summer.  The first are classes through Skillshare that Kirsten has been hard at work on (when she gets away from the day job that is) .  One class focuses on digital pattern making and the other focuses on bringing a product to market, including sourcing, pricing and manufacturing.  The other class is part of the summer workshops titled RE:Work put on by Woodbury University here in San Diego.  The specific workshop is RE:Fab and will be teaching the hardware and software used for digital fabrication (CNC, laser, 3d printing). 

Check back throughout the summer for projects that we develop from these classes and click on the links above to find new resources for designers and thinkers!


Manufacturing and Design

We came across this video from one of our favorite websites Crane.TV that resonated loudly around FACETLAB.  The video is a compilation of interviews regarding the role, accessibility and future of manufacturing in design.  Our goal at FACETLAB is to build or manufacture every design.  The challenge for us is accomplishing this without having the manufacturing resources readily available. This means outsourcing, networking or relying on other manufacturers to build our projects.  All of these options are expensive, time consuming and disconnect us from the process.  But, as technologies become more accessible and the conversations continue about manufacturing at a small scale, we see opportunities to gain this access to the resources we need.  This video is a great catalyst to the conversations that all designers should be having and inspires us to keep asking questions and finding ways to design and manufacture.

It is an exciting time to be at the intersection of design and manufacturing!

Enjoy the video

Video: Future Focus

Chevron Earrings

Sometimes, ideas come out of nowhere.  Today, for example, over a grilled tomato and egg panini at one of our favorite brunch spots down the street, I had a jewelry idea pop into my head.  So hard to resist inspiration when it hits you and there's not much I love more than an impromptu design session!  Thus, my whole day was consumed with designing some simple chevron earrings.  

The two winning versions are below - what do you think?    _KB

chev earring 2.jpg


This post is a bit outdated but since we've got a bit of an Eames kick going on over at Pinterest and Facebook right now, it seemed fitting to complete the trifecta with a photo-recap of our trip to see the COLLECTING EAMES exhibition last year.  As part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time, J.F. Chen put his personal collection of over 450 pieces of Eames work on display - amounting to the largest showing of Eames, ever.  It was amazing to walk into and I could have spent hours walking the timeline and studying the small modifications in their pieces over the years.  To me this was the most powerful part of the exhibit.   An inherent reminder that while a great idea may happen in an instant, great design is most often the derivative of a process of refining and rethinking, modifying and improving that idea.   Patience and persistence... and passion.