All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yeah glitter, glitter everywhere, like working in a goldmine...

I have to say, working at the day job has desensitized me to a lot of sticker shock over the past few months, but a little while ago I was slapped back into reality when I found out how much a piece of furniture(/art) could be worth.

These pieces were made by the same conceptual designer, each carved from a single piece of marble:

I found out one of theses pieces cost over $50,000.


Having worked at an educational nonprofit as well as a healthcare organization, I couldn't stop thinking about how that money could be someone's (or even two peoples') entire salary for a year. Heck, it was more than I used to make when I worked at the educational nonprofit six years ago!

(This week the record was blown by an antique folding table that was 140,000 Euros. Euros, people.)

Personally, I tell my Retrograde clients that their money and energy can go towards other things like family vacations, time with loved ones, or a memorable meal or event. If they ever want something pricey, I'm more than happy to get it for them...but let's face it, the dayjob can be unreal sometimes.

I dunno. Having studied art and having trained to be a Young British Artist, I think there's something to be said about conceptual pieces that make you do a double-take. It's a reaction--hopefully delight or something positive. But in interior design, I think there are tons of affordable, conceptual pieces out there.

Take the classic Togo sofa, for example:

Originally designed in the '70s, it still looks as hot as ever. (I know where to get a knockoff in SF, in case you think the $3K+ price is a bit much.)  It also reminds me of the modern sofa that caused Ted Knight so much mayhem in the wacky SF sitcom, Too Close For Comfort:

Even more affordable is the Hahn sofa at Room & Board, designed by Vladimir Kagan:

If I ever lost everything in a fire, this would be the first thing I bought with the insurance money. To me, it's like looking cream. Or a smile.

Something else more recently designed was the Ikea Vagoe chair, which is sadly no longer available. It was sleek with a deep-set seat to encourage lounging. Originally sold for about $20, it was a great example of affordable design:

In fact, I scored four of them second hand a while ago! The white ones look so sleek in my living room and are surprisingly ergonomic and comfortable:

I still have a pair of black ones up for grabs too...maybe I'll hold onto them a bit longer until they appreciate in value ;-)

Until then, I'll stick with the dayjob. Waitin' on the last train, flickin' through the highlights...

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Lately I've found myself hooked on a great graphic pattern--cane.

You've seen it before. In print, it looks kind of criss-crossy, like it wants to be a flag or a symbol or something. It's a great graphic representation of woven cane seating, which is itself pretty timeless. In a stroke of meta-genius or just plain ol' dumb luck, I recently scored a floor pillow covered in a cane-print fabric for $5. That particular client totally got a deal, in addition to the vintage wicker chair I sold her and a vintage rattan accent chair we found together at a thirft store--I'm on a natural furniture spree! (I'll post photos when the place is done.)

Anyhow, I've seen this pattern creep up a lot this summer, in pottery, lamps, and even in printed canvas wallets at Noo Works on Valencia.

Check out a few other cane pieces I've spied:

In the immortal words of Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, "And if you get hooked baby, it's nobody else's fault!"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Come together all over the world from the 'hoods of Japan, Harajuku Girls! What?!

So I found out through my old program director that another grad (this one in fashion) needed some help with a new boutique she, her partners, and their foreign investors were going to open. My previous retail project earlier this year fell flat (and didn't even bother to pay my invoice), so naturally I was wary and didn't respond right away.

But another request came, so I thought I'd drop this fellow alum an e-mail. Turns out she and her partners were gonig to import Japanese Lolita-style clothing as well as punk-rock inspired Harajuku wear from Japan. When I went to Japan a couple of years ago I loved seeing these extreme styles of clothing being worn regularly by young women--not necessarily just for special occasions. Over a later phone conversation I wondered how these new boutqiue owners would make their imported clothing appeal to mainstream American audiences (especially those who shop around Union Square in downtown SF.)

Here's the look, straight outta Japan:

On the phone they described how they wanted the boutique to look more high-fashion, but that they also needed to stick to the Lolita side's brand. The punk side could apparently have a little more creativity. They were really into checkerboard floors. My first thought was to have the two sides of the store be almost mirror images of each other, hard vs. soft. I thought that vintage/antique pieces could look good on either side: painted white or pastel, they'd definitely look like a Shabby Chic "Lolita"; if spray-painted and distressed, the same (or similar) pieces could definitely look edgier. The trick was to not look like a mash-up of Hello Kitty and Hot Topic. Except maybe in the middle of the shop. That could've been cool...;-)

With less than 24 hours' notice, I was asked to submit a quick sketch. Here's what I came up with:

I wish I could have at least colored it in, or done something digital. But in the end, with a full-time dayjob in design, there's only so much I can do at night after I've made dinner for the family and tried to regain some of my sanity and catch up on correspondence and blog once in a while. (Yes, "dinner for the family" usually means me, my partner, and our cat...but still.)

Never heard back from them, kind of like another project I did where I submitted a series of concepts. (I guess I learned my lesson about spending too much time and energy on pitches with that one.) But I don't know--did I do something wrong, something so bad as to not even receive an acknowledgment of my submission?

I'm still learning the ropes, I guess...

Love, angel, music, baby--hurry up and come and save me!