Episode 6. Bernard Brucha of MASHstudios

Design In Conversation

My guest on this episode is Bernard Brucha, founder of MASHstudios.

Bernard Brucha of MASHstudios Bernard Brucha of MASHstudios

MASHstudios founder Bernard Brucha leads the Los Angeles-based creative studio, overseeing all projects from concept through fabrication. A Chicago native with a background in industrial design and a penchant for simple, beautiful details, Bernard’s goal for every MASHstudios environment is to help people function. The highest compliment he could receive? A pat on the back by a client and the words, “Great job.”

Download the episode HERE. Listen to Bernard as he describes his early influencers and the evolution of MASHstudios into a go-to design firm providing furniture design, manufacturing craftsmanship and interior design expertise to a wide array of clients.

MASHstudios “Craftsmanship in the Digital Age” event featured the debut of new metal finishes and new shapes from both the LAX and PCH series.

LAX Special Edition 3X Shelf, polished brass LAX Special Edition 3X Shelf in polished brass

The 3X…

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Episode 5. Mary Ta | Minotti Los Angeles

Design In Conversation

My guest on this episode is Mary Ta, founder and chief curator of the flagship Minotti monobrand showroom located in Los Angeles, CA.

Mary Ta (photo credit: Mark Hanauer) Mary Ta (photo credit: Mark Hanauer)

Download the episode HERE and listen to Mary Ta describe Minotti’s place in the larger world of design, both internationally and locally in California.

About Minotti:

In February 2004, Minotti Los Angeles opened in the heart of the West Hollywood Design District, making history as the first Minotti flagship showroom in the world. With architecture reminiscent of the display stands featured in the renowned furniture fair Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Minotti Los Angeles offers a comprehensive showroom for the Minotti collection and lifestyle.

The name Minotti is synonymous with the words contemporary, elegance and quality. For over 50 years, Minotti S.p.A., an Italian furniture design and manufacturing company, has created furnishings for a discerning global market. In collaboration with…

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Episode 4. Jessica Marx + Ginna Christensen #OneLove

Design In Conversation

My guests on this episode are Jessica Marx, of J. Marx Atelier, and Ginna Christensen, founder of 27ground and creative director at Woven Accents.

Interior Designer Jessica Marx Interior Designer Jessica Marx

Ginna Christensen, founder 27ground Ginna Christensen, founder 27ground + creative director at Woven Accents

Download the episode HERE to listen to the three of us discuss the convergence of interior design with street art and how they combine together in the current installation and all new product line dubbed One Love.

Woven Accents in West Hollywood Woven Accents in West Hollywood

One Love at Woven Accents One Love at Woven Accents; limited edition rug by Gregory Siff

One Love at Woven Accents One Love at Woven Accents; limited edition rugs by Gregory Siff, This Means Mar, Kenny Scharf

One Love at Woven Accents One Love at Woven Accents; limited edition rug by Defer

The Soldier (blue) by Quim Tarrida The Soldier (blue) by Quim Tarrida

One Love interior by Jessica Marx One Love interior by Jessica Marx

One Love living room, interior design by Jessica Marx One Love living room, interior design by Jessica Marx

One Love interior by Jessica Marx One Love interior by Jessica Marx

Can Love spray can flowers CanLove spray can…

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Episode 3. Joshua Rose + Rafael Kalichstein of FORM

Design In Conversation

My guests on this episode are Joshua Rose and Rafael Kalichstein of FORM Los Angeles.

Rafi & Josh Rafi & Josh

Josh and Rafi are designers based in LA, with backgrounds outside the industry of interior design: Josh in creating visual effects for movies and television and Rafi in traditional Eastern healing and Chinese medicine.

Download the episode HERE to hear from Josh and Rafi as we discuss their approach of “design diagnosis”, the cumulative effect of many considered design decisions and more.

Links from Episode 3:


formlosangeles.com/ formlosangeles.com

Interiors by FORM:

Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles

Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles

Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles

Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles

Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles Interior Design by FORM Los Angeles

Exteriors by FORM:

Exterior Design by FORM Los Angeles Exterior Design by FORM Los Angeles

Exterior Design by FORM Los Angeles Exterior Design by FORM Los Angeles

Digital dispatches from the world of FORM:

@FORM_LA on twitter

@form_la on instagram

@formlosangeles on pinterest

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…a round up of what I’ve been up to since my last post…

I swam, biked, and ran in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, besting my personal record time by thirteen minutes! Thanks to everyone who donated to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles!! But the highlight of my day was an acoustic performance by Bret Michaels: Star-Spangled Banner followed by Every Rose Has Its Thorn. Epic.

It’s been that trade show time of year. We saw lots of great stuff at the first ever WestEdge Design Fair in Los Angeles

WestEdge Design Fair

WestEdge Design Fair

(favorites include BDDW, DLV, whyrHymer, Wilcox, and Zia-Priven) and we saw even more at High Point Market in North Carolina.

I may have bordered on overuse of the #hpmkt hashtag on my instagram; you be the judge. Favorites seen in NC include these fine Italian stools,

Italian Brass Stools

Italian Brass Stools

this Vernor Panton mirror (how facet-nating),

Vernor Panton Mirror

Vernor Panton Mirror

and this lacquered goatskin ice bucket by Gucci (what!?!)

Gucci Ice Bucket

Gucci Ice Bucket

all at 214 Modern Vintage (see this post, courtesy maison21),

the wallpaper installation by Tracy Hiner of Black Crow Studios at CR Laine

Black Crow Studios @ CR Laine

Black Crow Studios @ CR Laine

(more here and here), antiques from Bobo Intriguing Objects,

this folding chair by Brown Jordan

Cricket II Folding Chair

Cricket II Folding Chair

(plus this and this too), and this otomi pendant by Stray Dog Designs.

Otomi Pendant

Otomi Pendant

I’m still bummed I didn’t buy this vintage brass armadillo when I had the chance. Alas, je regrette.

Another #hpmkt favorite (oops, I did it again) was the Heritage Collection from Stanley Furniture. Inspired by the Ferrari Classiche program, Stanley’s marketing & brand development VP Randy Wells spent much of the last eight months searching for and buying vintage (40’s, 50’s and 60’s era) Stanley-made furniture pieces from antique dealers, etsy shops and even craigslist sellers. These mid-century pieces were taken back through the Stanley factory, disassembled and refurbished. Given new life, these items were featured on display and made available for purchase as one-of-a-kind antiques. But antiques that were restored to their original luster by the factory that originally produced them! This is recycling of the highest order – and a great example of enduring style from an American manufacturer.

This cabinet,

Stanley Heritage cabinet

Stanley Heritage cabinet

this dresser,

Stanley Heritage wide dresser

Stanley Heritage wide dresser

these chairs,

Stanley Heritage lounge chairs

Stanley Heritage lounge chairs

this chest with awesome Aspen leaf-inspired hardware,

Stanley Heritage 5-drawer chest

Stanley Heritage 5-drawer chest

and especially this cabinet.

Stanley Heritage office cabinet

Stanley Heritage office cabinet


Shifting gears a bit, LA Opera’s mammoth undertaking and production of Einstein On the Beach was quite a treat.

Einstein On The Beach album art

Einstein On The Beach album art

Having listened to Philip Glass since 1995 (gasp!), and even writing a research paper about the opera in college (it’s in a box somewhere), I had not ever seen a complete live performance of Einstein. Viewing only the fourth production staged by collaborators Glass, Robert Wilson and Lucinda Childs since its debut in 1976, I feel rather privileged to have been in attendance for the final performance in the States. Though a four-plus-hour opera without a linear narrative to follow proved a bit much for some, I enjoyed the visuals and movement in conjunction with the music I’ve heard so many times and studied for so many combined hours. 

Just two days later, I went to Royce Hall at UCLA for Robert Wilson performing John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing“. It was good, but in comparison to Einstein? Meh. I recommend the book or the archival footage of Cage himself reading the lecture.

Pivoting focus again, friends Sharon Fain and KC Cooper Sears, founders of the Academy of Handmade, invited me to be on a panel for their Next Level Business Workshop.

Next Level Business Workshop

Next Level Business Workshop

The workshop was a chance for makers, artists and crafters to learn more about best business practices, see display and merchandising tips, hear and share advice from industry experts and with colleagues. It was a great experience and I was pleased to share my perspective on branding and licensing with fellow panelists Dave Conrey of Fresh Rag and Delilah Snell of Patchwork. It was my first appearance on an expert panel. Next stop TED Talk, baby!!

I volunteer on two committees for the Architecture + Design Museum of Los Angeles and was in attendance at the closing event for the Never Built Los Angeles exhibit.

Never Built Los Angeles

Never Built Los Angeles

Never Built explores many of the “what-ifs” in the 20th century architectural history of Los Angeles. Featuring unbuilt projects of Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lautner, even Walt Disney and Frank Gehry, the exhibit highlighted buildings, master plans, parks and proposals that were killed in committee or abandoned on the drawing board for myriad reasons. If you did not see the exhibit, you can order the book, and see a few of my snaps here, here and here. Special thanks to Whit & Julie of Bon Melange (and Muddy Leek, their excellent restaurant in Culver City) for catering the closing event! Check out A+D next time you are in the Museum District on Wilshire, follow @AplusD_LA to see what’s coming next, and become a member of the A+D Museum here

Keeping me busy in a very different way is my newest collaborative project, Design In Conversation. That’s right, I launched a new podcast!

Design In Conversation Podcast

Design In Conversation Podcast

Design In Conversation is an interview and talk series, hosted by yours truly, bringing you conversations with designers, artists and creative personalities from throughout the design industry. By tuning in to each new episode, you’ll hear designers share their creative inspiration; most importantly, you’ll be hearing from designers themselves and in their own words as we bring you the voice behind the designs

My first guest was interior designer Tobi Fairley.

Tobi Fairley

Tobi Fairley

If you do not yet know Tobi, this conversation is a great way to learn more about her and her business. Download the episode in iTunes, have a listen, then give us a rating and a review. Let us know what you think!

You can hear more episodes coming soon, so subscribe in iTunes and keep up with the show at designinconversation.com, on twitter @DesignInConvo, and on facebook at facebook.com/DesignInConversation

That’s what I’ve been up to lately. In case you were wondering.  😉

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…and we’re live! …almost…

Design In Conversation

“Hello, and thank you for downloading this episode of Design In Conversation. I’m Zak Graff, your host, welcoming you to our first episode….”

That’s how it’s supposed to start, anyway.

Download the demo mix!

But I’ve stumbled onto some technical difficulties. Maybe it’s a loose wire or a muted microphone, but it’s getting worked out. So, Episode 1 is not quite ready just yet. It needs that finishing touch, that final layer, that….je ne sais quoi.

The good news is we are live in iTunes! Find us in the Podcasts directory of the iTunes store by searching “Design In Conversation” and we should come right up. You can download or stream the demo mix, a short three-and-a-half minute excerpt from our first three episodes:

Episode 1. Tobi Fairley

Episode 2. Ron Woodson & Jaime Rummerfield

Episode 3. Joshua Rose & Rafael Kalichstein of FORM


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A Big Thank You!

This is a quick post to say THANK YOU to all those who posted about and shared their love for the Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios wallpaper collection.

Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios logo

Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios

Pay it forward and show these kind folks some love too!

Gray Malin Wallpaper on Kelly Golightly and Lucky Mag by contributor Kelly Lee

Our New Favorite Wallpaper by Lonny Mag‘s Sarah Storms

Summer in the House by Alissa Swedlow of The Goods Design

Pretty Papers by Kelly Ottinger

Snap Happy Pattern Marvels by Flicky on Darling Violets

Current Obsessions from For the Love of Awesome

Worth Noting on Note To Self

Hang Unique Wallpaper by I’d Absolutely Love To

Style Plan: Beachy Bathroom by Effortless Style

Even this from House Beautiful, courtesy of Danika Herrick at Gorgeous Shiny Things and her post Beach Bomb Walls

Many thanks to each of you! Your support helps to spread the word about the collection and is very much appreciated!!

Merci, Danke, Grazie, Salamat, Obrigado, Tak, Gracias, and of course, Thanks! 😉

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Press Release: Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios



Media Contact:

Tracy Hiner





Boutique Wallpaper Designer Teams Up With Lifestyle Photographer for

Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios Collection

Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios logo

Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios logo

July 23, 2013

Los Angeles, California – Lifestyle photographer Gray Malin and custom wallpaper designer Tracy Hiner, owner of Black Crow Studios, have joined forces to create a brand new signature collection of designer wallpapers inspired by Malin’s A la Plage series of photographs. Shot from a high vantage point while leaning out of helicopters, Malin’s overhead perspectives of beaches, resorts and destinations from around the globe provided myriad inspiration for the collection of brightly-colored wallcoverings.

Beachscapes from Portugal, Dubai, and Africa are interpreted into photo-realistic scenes, while shapes and colors inspired by beachgoers and their umbrellas in St. Tropez, Kauai, Sydney, the Hamptons and Miami’s South Beach are translated into patterns and stripes that are at once traditional and fresh. A sunny palette of watery blues, bright corals, sea greens, and crisp whites all layered on top of beach sand imparts a bright, summery feel to the collection.

Known for large-scale watercolor images and custom wall murals, Black Crow Studios’ growing artist collaboration series adds a photographer for the first time. “Working with Gray was a no-brainer. I have been a fan of his work and of Gray as a person for a long time,” says Hiner. “His photography makes for stunning wallcovering and his take on translating different patterns found on beaches all around the world into graphic designs is brilliant.”

“Shooting beaches across six continents I have found umbrellas to be universal and a staple of any beach scene. Their array of organic patterns, lines, shapes and colors influenced the creation of the collection,” says Malin. “Working with wallpaper as a medium allows me to share my images on a larger scale to collectors who can now display them on an entire wall in their home, or even in a whole room.”

“Designers and design consumers alike will see value in this creative collaboration of Gray’s style and vision teamed up with Tracy’s expertise and reputation for excellence in the industry,” adds Zak Graff, director of Ensemble ZKG, a consulting agency for creative professionals. “It has been exciting to see this collection come to life.”

The Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios collection will launch with an exclusive preview on One Kings Lane, in conjunction with Malin’s summer-focused event, July 24-26. The full collection will be available at www.shopblackcrow.com/collections/xo-gray-malin and www.maisongray.com/blackcrowstudios.


Lisbon Umbrellas Wallpaper (detail) Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios

Lisbon Umbrellas Wallpaper (detail)

Lisbon Umbrellas

Dubai Umbrellas (detail) Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios

Dubai Umbrellas Wallpaper (detail)

Dubai Umbrellas

Hamptons Stripe Wallpaper (detail) Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios

Hamptons Stripe Wallpaper (detail)

Hamptons Stripe

St. Tropez Wallpaper (detail) Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios

St. Tropez Wallpaper (detail)

St. Tropez

Additional images available. 

About Black Crow Studios: Black Crow Studios is a custom wallpaper company that pushes the traditional idea of wallpaper into the realm of art. Offering a selection of artistic wallpapers by the roll and custom wall murals, this is not your average wallpaper! Black Crow Studios creates large wall murals without a repeating pattern designed beautifully to work perfectly within your space and style. Select designs, including the most requested watercolor designs, are available printed on canvas. www.blackcrowstudios.com

About Gray Malin: Hunting the globe for unusual beauty, Los Angeles-based photographer Gray Malin captures stunning, unforgettable imagery. Aiming to create work that can be easily stylized into collectors’ homes, each body of work begins with the end product in mind: one’s walls. A Dallas native born in 1986, Malin graduated from Emerson College in 2007, majoring in photography and marketing. His work is currently on exhibit at various galleries around the country and has been published around the world, most recently in Details Magazine and The Huffington Post. For more on Maison Gray, The House of Gray Malin Photography, visit www.maisongray.com.

About Ensemble ZKG: Ensemble ZKG is a consulting agency providing product development, licensing and brand management services for creative professionals in the home decor, interior design and manufacturing industries. Inspired by groups of artists and performers – musicians, actors, dancers – breathing, moving and playing together, Ensemble is built on the idea that creative partners become something else entirely when they combine efforts in a united performance.

For more information on the Gray Malin XO Black Crow Studios collection, or to schedule an interview, please contact Black Crow Studios at 310.266.7819 or email info@blackcrowstudios.com.

# # #

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Gray Malin + Orlebar Brown = Endless Summer Love

Client: Gray Malin

If you have ever seen classic surf film The Endless Summer you know about the pursuit of perfection: chasing waves and summer weather around the globe. Photographer Gray Malin knows of this global pursuit, but not just for riding waves. Rather, his search is to capture water-worshipers of all types through his camera lens from high above, from the vantage point of a helicopter, that is!

Gray’s A La Plage series of photos are beachscapes shot from the air above beach and resort destinations on six continents including St. Tropez, Hawaii, San Francisco, Dubai, Lisbon, Cancun, South Africa, Miami, Sydney, Rio and the Caribbean. All capture the spirit of summer while still conveying a distinct sense of place.

Through a collaboration with UK-based swimwear purveyor Orlebar Brown, Gray’s photos have made the leap from your walls to your wardrobe.

Gray Malin + Orlebar Brown

Gray Malin + Orlebar Brown

This post from Gray’s blog describes how the collection came together, ultimately leading to these three styles of the classic Bulldog silhouette.










Enter to win a pair of your own by clicking here. And if you want all three designs, visit Orlebar Brown or a boutique worldwide to purchase. You can show some endless summer love at your local beach or next pool party!

Gray has been busy with recent projects including shoots in Bolivia, New York, Chicago and Italy, plus working on new product designs including wallpaper, rugs and pillows. Keep up with Gray and his adventures through his blog and on instagram.

Stay tuned here for more exciting announcements coming soon!

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That was refreshing…

…just back after a few days off the grid. Not too far, but just enough.

We went camping for three days at Point Mugu State Park, just north of Malibu and the LA/Ventura County line (Sycamore Canyon to be more specific).

Three days of no cell phone (gasp!), no email (double gasp!), no instagram, no twitter (yikes!), no blogs, no electronics at all to speak of. Just a tent, some sleeping bags, a campfire and a grill grate, a camp stove and a lantern, a pocket knife, a couple flashlights, some kitchen gear, a cooler full of groceries with as much ice as I could cram inside, and a Polaroid (OG instagram?) to capture candid moments for posterity. Three days and two nights of seeing stars by firelight, hiking along hillside trails and fire roads (actually most of the forestry and vegetation was depleted by a recent wildfire) within the canyons of the park grounds, beach visits and sun lounging, even an encounter with a raccoon!

Our camp cookery menu included eggs and bacon with coffee for breakfast, a simple packed lunch while hiking, campfire grilled carne asada fajitas for dinner, with cinnamon apple cobbler for dessert. (No boring, messy s’mores here!) Breakfast the next morning was oatmeal with blueberries and bananas topped with honey, another light lunch of fruit and a simple sandwich, then dinner of stuffed baked potatoes (with taco meat, beans, grilled peppers and plenty of additional fix’ins) and a fresh cucumber and tomato salad.

Now we’re back at it, renewed by the fresh air and sun-kissed skin that nature provides. A quick respite away to enjoy summer in southern California. I hope you have a chance soon to do the same!

Just a reminder… I’m raising money for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles through donations by racing in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. Read my original post and DONATE HERE. Thank you!

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