While I continue to digest the various highlights of this year’s International Furniture Fair and its satellite events — for starters: broom lamps, recycled sawdust chairs, nacho cheese-scented post-it notes, motion sensor-controlled air purifiers, and enough innovative, energy-saving lighting options to give Michele Bachmann a massive panic attack — I thought I’d kick off this year’s coverage with a new line from an old ICFF favorite: Jaime and Isaac Salm’s Philadelphia-based green product design firm, MIO.
I’m always excited to see what “Beautiful, Affordable, Sustainable” products the Colombia-born brothers Salm will return with each year (last year it was these recycled cork beauties and, in 2010, felt laptop sleeves and flat-packed bike baskets). For this year's show, they decided to resurrect an older MIO line, Naked modular cabinetry, that was originally launched at ICFF four years ago.
While the original Naked Cabinet Line was a rather stripped down, no-frills affair (thus the “Naked” moniker) and made from 100 percent pre-consumer waste wood, the re-tooled version is all gussied up in a big way. The new line offers limitless configurations — boasting removable legs, you can stack and expand individual units while adding drawers, shelves, and doors to your liking — and this time around, each individual unit sports eye-catching original artwork by three different artists: Jonathan Bartlett, David Galletly, and Danielle Rizzolo.
And get this: In addition to being able to select from a sizeable amount of lovely designs from Bartlett, Galletly, and Rizzolo, you can opt to customize each Naked Cabinet unit — available as a single cubby starting at $115 or as a double cubby starting at $180 — so that the faces of the doors and drawers are adorned with your very own photo, illustration, or artwork (or corporate logo). Simply upload the image of your choice to the MIO website after finalizing your configuration options and they’ll take care of the rest.
While I’m loving the designs by the three artists that MIO collaborated with for the line, going the customization route is a great option for those who really enjoyed that trip to Niagara Falls, those who are looking for unique way to display their six-year-old’s artistic masterpieces, or those have long been searching for a way to incorporate 1980s shopping mall glamour photography into their home décor.
The Naked Cabinet Line was designed by Jaime Salm and Alex Undi. Each piece is made in the U.S. from FSC-certified, low-VOC maple plywood and, like all MIO creations, were designed with the firm’s founding principle of “Green Desire” in mind: “Green Desire occurs when consumers actually crave products that are sustainable and responsible. This natural demand could ultimately drive the cultural shift necessary to align consumer desires with what is good for the environment.”
In addition to the Naked Cabinet Line, MIO has also launched a line of Naked Art Panels (available in four sizes starting at $25) that are also made from sustainable plywood and boast the designs of Bartlett, Galletly, and Rizzolo. Or, like the furniture line, you can opt to upload your very own imagery and have it printed on the panels. What's more, two existing MIO product lines, the Nomad modular architectural system (super-cool partitions made from recycled cardboard) and FoldScape Square drop ceiling tiles, are also available in the same custom or art options.
Says Jamie Salm, whom I had the pleasure of chatting with during my visit to ICFF, in a press release: "My job is to make customers happy. The best way for me to do that is to design discrete and useful modules for customers to express themselves." Adds Isaac: "One day our entire collection will be about customer directed design. We will just be managing the design process behind the scenes."