German Tea for Me

Wilhelm Wagenfeld, one of Germany's leading industrial designers of the 1930's, was commissioned by Jenaer Glaswerk to design some products created out of heat resistant glass. The Tea Service was first of several goods and consisted of a teapot, sugar bowl, creamer, cups / saucers, and a tray for all to rest upon. 

The thin glass set shined light on the designer due to its popularity and aesthetic. When the maker wanted to promote the set under his name, he later replied “In my opinion practical and rational considerations spoke against this idea. I recommended eliminating even the family name of the enterprise in a new trademark design. The consumer should remember merely the name of the place where the glass came from. This would increase his appreciation of the product itself.” And that lead to the pieces being marketed under the name Janaer. 

We can appreciate this anonymous standard, which he had learned while at the Bauhaus. He wrote in realtion to “this is perhaps the main difference between handcraft and industry, the former is still bound to the individual…..whereas the industrial product is the expression of collective work and collective execution. Only through the joint efforts of designer, technician, and craftsman does the product arrive at its final form.” This belief raised the quality level of consumer items of that time, which would not have happened with the the teaming up of designer and producer.

We applaud this forward thinking designer and his ideas of production, functionalism, and beauty. 

Tea Service / 1931 / Heat resistent glass


Woolrich Woolen Mills – An Extension of the Past

Woolrich has been making wearable goods for 180 years, starting with woolen fabrics, yarns, and socks being sold from a cart pulled by a mule. From there, a mill was built which is still amongst the cluster of other buildings, homes, and overall community of Woolrich, Pennsylvania. Woolrich changed with the times adding pieces to their line as needed. This included coats, knickers for golf, railroad vests, blankets, and the forever-famous Buffalo Check Shirt.

The company today has reached international status while holding true to its roots of quality, heritage, and the outdoor lifestyle. This brings us to the Woolen Woolrich Mills collection, which is an extension to the existing brand. This collection builds upon the history and production methods, while applying some modern details / forms to the mix.

These interpretations were initially creative directed by the Japanese designer, Daiki Suzuki, and are now being translated by the American designer, Mark McNairy.

Here we have some MGS favorites from the WWM / McNairy offerings >

Newspaper Pocket Shirt – a lightweight denim shirt that yes, has the ability to carry a folded newspaper in the front pocket.

Arak – a great denim pullover with cool leather details and a carryall pouch.

Mayo – a fleece parka that has visual texture and just enough details.

Elmer Vest / PPO Plaid Shirt / WWM Watch Cap – all evoke that timeless feeling.

MP Jacket / Biff BD Shirt / Mayo Pants – Back in Black, could blend in at the MGS office.


It's Not a Container - It's Mobile Architecture

This new(er) project caught our attention, created by a Japanese firm called Daiken Met Architects. It is their studio that is placed neatly within a three story frame. The projects exterior might juxtapoz with the surrounding architecture, but it has the the opportunity to be dismantled and moved as pleased. Some could even mistake it for a job site office. But, upon further investigation and interior inspection, one will see that this has been thought out aesthetically / structurally, with kitchen and all.

We embrace these kinds of projects due to their light footprint, modularity, and mobility factors. It has been interesting, for the past fifteen years, watching the scale of container projects that have surfaced globally. Small homes, surf shacks, cabins, large homes, this office in Japan, and more - all sharing the commonality of the shipping container.

The shipping container was first patented and invented in the 1950's by an American named Malcolm McLean. He owned a trucking company that was one of the largest in the United Stated during this time period. After years of observing how cargo was transported in varying sizes of wooden crates, he went into development. McLean came up with something that was stong, stackable, and storeable - this final design is what we now know as the "shipping container". These standardized continers were more efficient to load and off-load into trucks, ships, and rail cars. 

As we were going through the MGS "mobile architecture" files, these stood out as a few favorites that connect with this topic -


2012 Handmade Bike Show – Design, Craft, Materials, Brazing, Passion, Ride

MGS dropped in on the 2012 Handmade Bike Show for a tour. It is always great to see hands on what the smaller companies and individuals are making. The handmade process really shines through with some of these makers and it is more than evident that passion plays a key role in producing these machines. Some channel this passion into well-rounded bikes that include design details, fabrication quality, color schemes, creative logo placement, and proper components – all which in the end create a long lasting and safe bike.

The bikes we gravitated towards embraced traditional craftsmanship mixed with modern tweaks and details. We saw great examples of road, cruiser, commuter, track, townie, touring, single speed, fixed, mountain, and more.

MGS will be highlighting some makers in the near future. Below are some examples that caught our attention.

Rebolledo Cycles / Glen Ellan, Ca. - a great mix of crafsmanship, colors, and details.

Naked / British Columbia - They rode to the show! Innovative touches and details commanded several viewings of their booth.

Panda Bicycles / Fort Collins, Co. - unique designs that fuse steel and bamboo. 

Panda Bicycle detail >

Shamrock Cycles / Indy, Indiana - a proud builder that thrives on building the best products possible.

DeSalvo Custom Cycles / Ashland, Oregon - a single person operation producing 100 frames per year.

Ira Ryan Cycles / Portland, building bikes that are a true extension of the rider.

Independent Fabrication / Newmarket, New Hampshire. They seem to build it all with attention to detail and performance. 

Signal Cycles / Portland. These guys have a real feel for the combination of details that make the whole. And their booth design gets points too! More on these guys later.

One dude, one bike.

This bike caught our attention due to it evoking the feeling of a board tracker, bmx, cruiser, Stingray, commuter, and gravity bikes. It was built by Renold of YiPsan Bicycles out of Fort Collins. Most will not grasp it like we did here at MGS, but we could not help gravitating to see it more than a few times.


One Chair, Two Materials

The Ralph Rapson Lounge Chair by Blu Dot, both happen to be from Minnesota. This chair has a sense of lightness due to the thin synthetic mesh that stretches over the stainless steel, or black, frame. It’s overall look and scale set it apart from the sometimes-monotonous offerings for outdoor goods. And at 49” wide, it has the potential to seat two or allow one to lie down.

Ralph Rapson (1914-2008) had an architecture, design, and entrepreneur career that covered 70 years. His place in the Amercan Modernist happenings of the 20th century has been fully secured and will continue to influence. His talents with a pen and paper were hard to match and he pursued several areas within the design field. He designed residential and commercial structures as well as designing furniture and even had a shop that sold modern design goods of the time / 1950.



Ralph Rapson designed this chair in 2007, at the age of 92, as another addition to a lengthy career as an architect / designer. *Note the recently posted CSH #4 under Building.


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