We're proud to announce this year's 2012 Design Showcase judges, a distinguished panel of influential figures from the world of design, brought together to help determine the best of independent design and craft. Alicia Rosauer and Robert Segal of Unison (left), specializing in offering environmentally conscious bedding, pillows, linens, and accessories for the home in a modern classic style; Fab.com founder, Bradford Shellhammer (upper right), is committed to bringing the best of home accessories, fashion, art, and everything inbetween for an addictively attainable price, and was also named one of the '100 Most Creative People in Business'; design bon vivant, Jaime Derringer (bottom right), founded Design Milk and Dog Milk to share her expertise on modern design trends for both humans and canines alike, and is recognized as an influential figure in the design blogging world. Together, these four have come together to choose their favorites from the multitudes of entries from this year's Design Showcase! Our four judges will be determining the best of the best, crowning the 2012 Judges' Choice Winner. We'll also be announcing a Readers' Choice Winner, the design that gathers the most votes from readers. But for now, why not get to know a little more about our judges and their personal favorite designs below...
Alicia Rosauer and Robert Segal
TITLE: Unison Co-Founders and Designers LINK: Unison BIO: Unison began in 2006 when husband and wife team Robert Segal and Alicia Rosauer returned to the States after four years designing in Finland at Marimekko. The two worked to establish a product line that would bring modern design into practical daily life with a mix of organic and graphic inspired motifs with their bedding, throw pillows and table linens. The line expanded in 2011 with a full selection of baby and kids bedding and decor as their own family grew. Robert and Alicia also share a strong passion for collecting modern glassware and ceramics which has translated into Unison showcasing other designers on their site and in their Chicago store, rounding out a full collection of modern home furnishings. → MORE
Alicia's Favorite Design: Flag Halyard Chair by Hans Wegner, 1950This is my favorite design because for me it encapsulates a lot of things I love: extreme comfort, a strong structure, natural materials and pop of color. I know a lot of people have a favorite chair, or car, or material, but many have favorite chairs so I feel like sharing mine. It's a very expensive chair, but this is not why it's my favorite. It merely conveys what I think the designer was promising in the final product: major relaxation in a very clever way. He uses the principles of simple structure and simple materials (steel tubing and a single piece of flag halyard) along with the right angles that meet the body's proportions when in recline - all without hardly any cushions. It all comes together in perfection for me, topped off with a cozy sheepskin throw and colorful neck pillow. The pillow incidently was a major inspiration for me when creating the first line of pillows for Unison. The original Flag Halyard chairs had a canvas pillow, the newer reproductions use leather. As a designer and company owner, this is the thing I would want to spend some time in, especially when I need to free my mind. There is an interesting back story to this chair as well: the designer developed the idea while on family vacation to a beach area in Denmark. He spent time nesting in and shaping the sand as part of his research. I love that part because it shows the designer was always thinking and playing with ideas that interested him.
Robert's Favorite Design: Kaj Franck Teema Dinnerware, 1952I love several of Kaj Franck's designs, but the Kilta ceramic line, later called Teema, is perhaps my favorite. In part because I have very fond memories of my childhood country home where it has been in use since the 70's. The home is both modern and rustic, both qualities I feel exist in the Kilta plates, cups and bowls. All of the items in the range feel very natural and the design does not overpower. The space saving functionality and multiple uses for each piece further extends the design's life beyond a minimal or simple aesthetic. Further, I have heard from Franck's close friend Fujiwo Ishimoto that Kaj's hidden talent was really understanding proportion and the user interaction with the object. It was the user giving the design a life, not just the designer. Touching and using the object was the most critical exercise in his final products. (Photo Credit: Arabia Museum)
TITLE: Design Milk Founder and Executive Editor LINK: Design Milk and Dog Milk BIO: Jaime Derringer is founder and editor of modern design blog Design Milk, which has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Time Out New York, San Francisco Chronicle, Singapore Home & Decor magazine, and Real Simple magazine. Design Milk is one of the Google Engineers' Staff Picks and a Twitter influencer in Art & Design. Inspired by her love for dogs, in 2010 Jaime launched modern design blog Dog Milk to expose dog lovers to pet design that fits their uniquely modern sense of style. In addition, Jaime has been noted as an expert on design trends, speaks on design and design blogging, contributes to a multitude of design blogs and acts as a consultant. She proudly lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter and their dog, Lulu. → MORE
Jaime's Favorite Design: Urbio, 2012As someone who looks at design all day every day, it's impossible to choose a favorite; it changes on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. So I thought I'd just share with you one of my current favorite designs. The Urbio modular storage unit is so much fun. Used as wall storage for doodads, stationery, crafting supplies or just general storage, it can also be used as a vertical garden. I think it's very versatile and meets multiple needs at once. The fact that you can build on to it is a plus - and it's all magnetic, so moving it around is a breeze. I have my hands on a Big Happy Family right now and I'm trying to decide what to use it for - so many options!
TITLE: Fab founder and Chief Design Officer LINK: Fab BIO: I've been named one of the '100 Most Creative People in Business' by Fast Company and coined the 'King of Quirk' by Forbes Magazine and the 'Eames of E-Commerce' by USA Today. I am a graduate of Goucher College and Parsons The New School For Design. At Fab I oversee all merchandising for the company. I grew up in Baltimore, own over 200 pairs of shoes, and I have a weakness for Scandinavian electro-pop, paisley print, and all things Eames. My byline has appeared in Full Frontal Fashion, Dwell, Huffington Post, and the Sundance Channel, and my homes have been featured in Dwell, The New York Times and Time Out New York. I am a Webby, Crunchie, and Bloggie award winner. I live in New York City and spend weekends traveling the world or relaxing at my rainbow-hued home in Sparrowbush, New York.
Bradford's Favorite Design: "I Heart NY" by Milton Glaser, 1977My life has been dedicated to finding many favorite designs and it's a very difficult thing to pick just one. I use a backpack every day, so I'm almost inclined to say that (current one is a multi-compartmented navy Nylon Prada one). Part of me wants to say my Nikes, of which I own dozens, as I walk and run in them in equal measure and they're candy-colored which makes me smile. Then there are the obvious choices: my Eames Aluminum Lounge (perfect for reading in), my Stelton coffee carafe, my Nespresso machine, Dyson vacuum, Warhol prints...there are too many. But as I have to pick one I'd say Milton Glaser "I Heart NY." I've befriended Milton and we sold his work on Fab's first day, so there is something sentimental to my pick. It's been copied and altered around the world, showing its influence. But mostly because it's just simple, great design, taking a very complex thing (mine, Milton's, millions of other's deep love for NYC) and turning it into a powerful visual. Taking the complex and making it simple, that's not easy.