The already good selection of modern home furnishing stores in Austin just got a little bit better with the addition of Blu Dot. Last night was their big grand opening party, but before the crowd arrived I had a chance to take a tour of the space and chat with founder John Christakos about Blu Dot and the store.
First, it should be noted that Blu Dot is different from West Elm or CB2 and other modern design stores in one very specific way. Everything at Blu Dot is designed in house and manufactured by Blu Dot. John, and co founder Maurice Blanks first formed the company in 1997 because they could see the need for good affordable modern furniture. Speaking with John I definitely got the feeling that they have stayed true to themselves since then, designing furniture they would buy, not to meet some sort of market demand or trend. When commenting on the fact that they are based in Minneapolis John says "It's been a good thing for us not to be based out of New York City like so many other brands. We are able to just do our own thing instead of constantly looking over our shoulder to see what our competition is up to." He adds, "We have a certain pragmatic approach to design that is very midwestern, and we believe that good design endures."
Their singular focus on creating well designed furniture shows too. Their real good chair (above) is unique and timeless in form. I'm especially enamored with the latest rendition of it in raw copper. The inevitable patina that forms on the chair is gorgeous. John sites the Chicago shelving unit as one of his favorites, and despite the fact that it was one of their earliest designs, it still remains a best seller. My favorite? The Toro chair. I'm going to go ahead and say it's one of the most iconic and timeless pieces of furniture to come out in the last 5 years. If you haven't already, check out the video of how it was designed I strongly suggest you do.
Now it's your turn. Get on down there, check it out, and let me know what your favorite is.
Photography kindly provided by The Netted Pigeon.