Sunday, June 27, 2010

"I Think That I Shall Never See..."

"They took all the trees and put 'em in a tree museum"
Joni Mitchell / Big Yellow Taxi
Earlier this month Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea, along with Oppenheim Architecture & Design (OAD) joined forces to design and build a "Tree Museum" in Zurich, Switzerland.
The museum is part architectural wonder and part contemplative space. The project is the brainchild or Mr. Enea, who was searching for a showcase for some of the rare trees he has been collecting over the past 17 years. The site is situated on 2.5 acres, the former home of a monastery, and contains 2000 different trees complemented by several simple, but powerful architectural gestures.
Mr. Enea chose to work with OAD because the firm had designed his (sustainably built) headquarters which are located at the site.
The museum is open to the general public for a nominal fee.

David Hansen

* All photos: Enzo Enea / Oppenheim Architecture & Design.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Latest Turn-ons

Recently, when shopping for lighting accoutrements, I stumbled across Forbes & Lomax, a very posh English vendor of even more posh light switches and plates whose appearance can absolutely add to the quiet elegance of a room.
Their current collection includes such lux finishes as nickel, uncoated brass, frosted glass, stainless steel, bronze, and a clear glass “the invisible light switch” which just becomes invisible on a wall. I’ve spent enough time in years past just hating so many of those dreadful switch plate covers to seek out something different.
No need to look further, this is where it’s at…Note that they are available in the States!
There must be an invisible switch plate here no doubt. Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Annie Lebovitz (c).

Visit their site at

Barbara Ashfield

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peer Pleasure!

Running a business is always challenging, interesting and as many of us know, unpredictable. The latter became obvious to many of us back in 2008 when the business climate started to change drastically. It was at this point when the opportunity presented itself to look for a fresh idea. In retrospect, one of the smartest business decisions we made during that time was to join forces with other designers in San Francisco, and by that we mean getting together socially to talk about the industry and commiserate about our respective businesses.

Not long after that initial meeting, we realized that we had become a “group”; meeting regularly, once a month, usually taking turns in one another’s homes, where we would have a meeting first, then on to dinner and more conversation. We also concluded that every group deserves a name; hence Decorum was born.

Decorum is made up of 4 firms. The firms are: Ashfield Hansen Design. Adeeni Design Group, Sagrera-Brazil Design and Brian Dittmar Design.

So, where has Decorum taken us? Collectively, our businesses have thrived. Why? We think in part because of our willingness to be intimate with our peers, share resources and give input into each others business dilemmas. There is also a remarkable amount of trust that has evolved from this and the realization that there is enough business for us all to thrive.

This year we are particularly proud of our fellow Decorum members for their professional achievements. Claudia Juestel has established a feature on the SF Luxe and Reside SF web sites called “Tea with Claudia”. Brian of Brian Dittmar Design, and Cecilia and George of Sagrera-Brazil Design were chosen to design rooms in this year’s San Francisco Decorator Showcase.

To Claudia, (Principal, Adeeni Design Group) whose regular feature “Tea With Claudia” on SF Luxe’ has given her the enviable opportunity to interview notable personalities in the design arena, most recently Lord Wedgwood, John Saladino and Bunny Williams.

Claudia Juestel and John Saladino. Photograph by Moanalani Jeffrey.

Claudia Juestel with Lord Wedgewood. Photograph by Moanalani Jeffrey.

Claudia Juestel with design icon Bunny Williams. Photograph by Moanalani Jeffrey.

To Brian, (Principal, Brian Dittmar Design) who designed “Poetry In Time: The Horologist’s Labratory” on the third floor of this year’s Showcase house. The room itself was reviewed by Diane Dorrans Saeks and featured in The Style Saloniste prior to the unveiling.

Brian Dittmar of Brian Dittmar Design.

View of Brian Dittmar's room "Poetry In TIme: A Horologist's Labratory" with a floor lamp designed by Paul Benson. Photograph by David Duncan Livingston.

Detail of neoclassical chair used in Brian Dittmar's "Poetry In Time".

To Cecilia (who is a new mother) and George, (Sagrera-Brazil Design) who created “La Suite” at the San Francisco Showcase,designed “A Dressing Room and Bath designed for a young ’Fashionista’”.

George Brazil and Cecilia Sagrera-Hill in the bathroom they designed.

Bathroom from the San Francisco Decorator Showcase designed by Sagrera Brazil Design. Photograph by David Duncan Livingston.

Detail of "book-matched" stone in the bathroom designed by Sagrera Brazil Design. Photograph by David Duncan Livingston.

Both rooms were stunning and were very well received.

In closing, we too are proud of our achievement with our own blog, Design Squared, which has become an extension of our design personas. It continues to stimulate our creativity, as we are always searching for a topic that piques our interest while simultaneously expanding our horizons. We are proud to say that we have prospered in the blogosphere. Our clients seem to love it and it gives the potential client a chance to get to know us on a more personal level before engaging in a new endeavor. All in all, we believe that Design Squared has become synonymous with Ashfield Hansen Design, giving us a stronger voice in the design arena.

Our group is fortunate to have many of our sessions moderated by Lisa Boquiren, a marketing strategist and the former long-time Director of Marketing for the San Francisco Design Center. Lisa has helped us to stay focused and achieve our goals, not to mention becoming a friend and mentor as well.

More than anything we have prospered, both personally and professionally. We have made some incredible friends, some great business allies, and have enjoyed lots of laughter along the way.

See you in the blogosphere!

Barbara and David