Sometimes, form suggests function, even when that form is broken.

In 2003, Adam Podlaski took his pile of damaged skateboards and brought them to his brother with a demand: make something of them!

With his degree in industrial design from Philadelphia University, Jason Podlaski saw quickly that all of the decks had snapped in one of two ways: either directly in half, or at the one-third mark.

These shapes suggested to him a seat and legs of a chair. And so deckstools were born.

Using an old skateboard truck — the part that holds the wheels — as a connector, Podlaski fashions a half-deck into the stool seat, and four of the longer pieces into legs.

Combined with the zealous effort skaters put into customizing their boards, this makes each piece of furniture completely unique.

You can select your one-of-a-kind stool from the website gallery and snag it for $199.

Recently, Jason and Adam teamed up with Victor Perez of sk8lamps, and show and offer their products at his Fishtown workshop and gallery.

Some new product offerings are on display there, such as the deckbench, and lid cushions that sit atop the wooden stool seats.

Additional collaborations with Perez, who specializes in lamps created from old boards, are forthcoming in 2011.

Summer Swing

It’s summer in the USA!

Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or just on the lawn, the Yosemite Valley Gear foldable hammock is bound to make you smile.

The steel frame is light but strong, and the nylon hammock attaches with easy-swinging hooks (touted as “high-grade Japanese bearings”) at each end.

Best of all, assembly is easy. And not “Ikea easy,” but actually simple.

If you can uncork a bottle of wine, you’ll be able to set this baby up in under 5 minutes.

This $60 accessory is perfect for carrying to the shore instead of a beach chair.

Great if you’re trapped indoors working and want to spend your lunch hour truly relaxing on your roof or deck.

Or maybe even — on late summer evenings when stomachs are full and brains are buzzing — for unexpected house guests.

h/t @toofeets, bottom photo by @phillygrrl

Art Cards

Artist Amy Orr works in a novel medium, one that only recently became readily available: plastic cards. She cuts them up, then rearranges the fragments into mosaic-like compositions.

Previously the exclusive realm of Visa, MasterCard and American Express, in the early 1990s plastic calling cards were introduced. Unlike traditional credit cards, these cards were relatively disposable. In the late 90s, the plastic gift card began replacing gift certificates, starting at McDonald’s and spreading rapidly through retailers everywhere. In the past decade, the plastic gift card has become the most popular present.

In 2006 alone, an estimated 17 billion of these cards were produced. There are a couple of companies that have popped up to either collect and recycle the cards, or to resell and exchange them. Orr’s decor pieces are aesthetically pleasing, but also a statement on the rise of consumerism across the globe.

Amy is one of several emerging crafters who will be featured along with established artisans at the Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show, opening this weekend at the Naval Yard.

Friday evening’s Preview Reception will benefit InLiquid, a Philadelphia-based non-profit that helps artists gain exposure and promote their work. The reception will feature Orr’s work, along with others who work with “recycled materials.”

As long as industry and science continue to find and develop new materials, craftspeople will find ways to make them into art!

Off the Lawn

strap chair 1Tim Lewis is a furniture and lighting designer with a studio in Philadelphia whose Strap Chairs & Stools were recently featured on the popular design blog Core 77.

The clean, elegant wood frame is offset by the fun colors of the nylon that creates checkered patterns for the seat and back.

Over on Apartment Therapy, Kristen points out that Tim’s beautiful, handcrafted work is not cheap ($700-$1,600), but that it looks entirely worth the price.

We caught up with Tim via email and he was kind enough to answer some questions.

Read on for Tim’s thoughts on these re-imagined lawn chairs, the Philly design scene, how we should embrace a push to “buy locally” in artisan crafts  (just like the current “buy local” trend for food & drink) and his love of the pencil. Continue reading Off the Lawn

Better Than a Window

sony oled tvWow. The new Sony OLED TV has impressive specs and garnered a lot of press, but you have to see it in person to really experience the jaw-dropping clarity of the moving image it displays.

It is currently on display (and available for purchase, just $2,499) at the Sony Style | Comcast Labs cool place (I mean, store) below the Comcast Center at 17th and JFK.

The Organic Light Emitting Diodes have a million-to-one contrast ratio and produce incredible color.

Looking at it is not like looking through a window. There is no glass in the way. Look through the little 12″  frame and you see what appears to be reality on the other side. Go check it out.