Sunday, December 13, 2009

artful accents

Attica has just introduced a new line of beautifully handmade pillows from Brooklyn, New York. These signature down-filled pillows are made from velvet and silk.

The pillows are hand-dyed and painted in small batches. Actual objects and botanicals are used and embossed into the velvet. It's wonderful to run your hands over the pillows and feel the impressions of each nuance. You will feel how each branch, object and blossom is engraved with exquisite detail exactly as they are in nature.

Each of these pillows are each one-of-a-kind creations. No two are alike and each celebrates the objects of nature that inspired them. Come to Attica to see these award-winning pillows that are hand-printed, hand-sewn, silk-lined and backed in silk dupioni.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The way a bed is supposed to be...

Selling mattresses was a side of the furniture business that we had avoided for our fourteen years of business, because generally we felt that the mattress industry was designed to confuse the customer. Indeed, much of what was out there confused us; the way that mattresses were made and priced just didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. We started out as furniture designers and makers ourselves, so always want to know that we're offering value to our customers in everything we sell, including mattresses.

This fall, though, we had the exceptional opportunity to visit the factory of Vi-Spring, Europe's premier bed manufacturer in Plymouth, in the south of England. Each Vi-Spring bed is built individually, to order, entirely by hand, to create the one perfect bed for each customer. It's a bed with a lifetime warranty, that you will have for decades to come. It's a bed that will change the way that you sleep, which will change the way you live.

Vi-Spring beds managed to, over the past 100 years, gain an almost legendary reputation for quality, comfort and endurance. Vi-Spring was founded in 1901 and was the first company to produce 'pocketspring' mattresses, based on individually packaged springs.

This unique system caused a revolution in the way beds were made, and ensured a hitherto unheard of level of comfort, support, and durability, which today, too, guarantees quality of sleep for a lot of people.

Here's a picture of me holding the calico nested springs. Vi-Spring makes their own springs; each spring has six turns of high quality vanadium steel. Vi-Spring's unique close honeycomb buildup allows for the use of many more springs than usual and thus to guarantee exact support, in every spot. This buildup also makes for a smooth sleeping surface, by not leaving any room between springs, and so prevents shifting of the covering layers. A Vi-Spring mattress can contain up to thousands of spring in separate cotton pockets with, on average 30% more thread than the average bedspring. The Vi-Spring range of mattresses contains several spring options with different diametres and spring tensions, so that you can always find the mattress that fits you perfectly.

Here's Chris with lambswool and horsehair fibres that are about to be blended together. Synthetic materials simply do not breathe as cotton, lambswool and calico do. Where possible, costly natural materials are used to boost a refreshing sleep: pure cashmere, fine lambswool, manelong horsehair and soft cotton. This mixture continues to breathe timelessly. The finest Egyptian cotton, coated with wax, is called 'cambric' and forms a protective layer to prevent the hair from pricking through the mattress' surface.

Whilst some synthetic beds can make you uncomfortably hot, a natural Vi-Spring bed keeps you cool in Summer and snug in Winter. It’s why, unlike almost every other bed-maker in the world, Vi-Spring makes mattresses with 100% natural materials.

This picture shows a Vi-Spring employee side-stitching the mattress by hand. Each mattress within the range is typified by at least two rows of side-stitching, to fasten each external spring, by hand, to the mattress sides. Side-stitching is done by experienced upholsterers who use a traditional long needle and yarn for the fortification of the edges and seams. This improves the durability and preservation of shape. The springs are securely embedded, but can move freely and adapt quickly to every movement of the sleeper. In addition, the comfort of the sleeping area extends itself to the utter rim of the mattress, without any hindersome hard edges.

Vi-Spring's natural fillings include horsehair, cotton, coir, lambswool, cashmere, mohair, silk, blended lambswool and cotton and bonded lambswool and cotton. There are three different categories of mattress filling:
Comfort layers – providing fluffiness, softness, ventilation and moisture regulation, placed directly underneath the ticking of the mattress.
Insulators - should be strong and have some 'mass' to divide pressure or to protect the softer comfort layers/filling materials.
Filling materials – must be resilient to give support during sleep and, after a night’s sleep, to return mattress to its original shape. In general, the higher the grams per square metre (gsm), the more 'comfort' the product will offer.

Only damask of the finest quality is used to upholster these valuable mattresses. Boxsprings, upholstered divans, and headboards complete the perfect bedroom.

After seeing how Vi-Spring mattresses are made, we know that we are offering the best product for our customers to spend a third of their life on which to sleep.

Vi-Spring beds are distributed throughout boutique and specialty stores throughout Europe. Attica is proud to be the exclusive proprietor of Vi-Spring mattresses in Atlantic Canada.

Friday, October 23, 2009

small office home office

It's been really difficult to find a thoughtfully designed, contemporary office system for a small office or home office. That is, until now. Attica introduces the Sequel Office.

Designed with an emphasis on ergonomics and organization, Sequel Office is a versatile and beautiful component collection offering the ultimate in style, function and flexibility for any home or small office application. Everyone needs a workspace that is comfortable and inviting, and if it can be beautifully designed and neatly organized, all the better.

A versatile component system, Sequel can be configured for any home or small office application. Features include a unique wire management system that keeps all wires out of sight yet within easy reach, and an innovative system drawer that combines a charging station for portable electronics, a keyboard tray and mouse pad. Sequel is thoughtfully engineered from the inside out. Finished with satin nickel-plated steel, fingerprint-resistant glass work surfaces and the finest hardware, the Sequel Office collection looks as great as it functions.
Magnetically attached panels conceal power cords and cables, yet flip down for easy access to connections. The Return ships with a front panel only, while the Desk also includes a back panel that may be used with either the Desk or Return, depending on configuration.

Sequel's desk drawer combines a full featured keyboard tray with a unique deeper compartment engineered for charging cell phones, cameras, and other personal electronics. Cables are kept organized with Sequel's innovative wire management. Drawer bottom and keyboard tray are lined with black non-slip neoprene that also functions as a mouse pad.

We had the opportunity to meet the designer, Matthew Weatherly, of this office collection on a recent buying trip. He spent two years on the development of the Sequel collection, striving to work out every aspect of its functionality, yet not sacrificing any of its sleek design. We have to agree that he has been truly successful. Come visit us to learn more about the Sequel office collection.

Monday, September 7, 2009

designed in canada

When we go on furniture buying trips at U.S. international trade shows for Attica, we're asked where we're from by vendors. We tell them where our home is, and then we often hear the response, "Oh, Canadian - you're contemporary."

It wasn't always like this. For decades there was a general lack of identity in Canadian furniture design. I was once told many years ago that the research and development budget for Canadian manufacturers consisted of sending people to Italy to copy their designs. Now, though, through design, Canadian furniture manufacturers have emerged at the forefront, and a once staid international presence has evolved in to something that is exciting and dynamic.

Some would argue that the increase in Canada's cultural diversity, immigrants from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, has widened our design vocabulary and contributed to its vibrancy. While nationally we may be considered contemporary, within this culturally complex context there is many individual voices, many personal forms of expression. According to the Design Exchange in Toronto: "Each designer’s work constitutes a type of autobiographical text, where object made – while fitting, of course, into the standard categories that demarcate things – does not necessarily need to conform to any type of prevailing stylistic movement. Rather, the object’s manifest reference may have been drawn from cultural identity, prevailing aesthetic concerns and the ever-present awareness about the social role of design and the designer. In this way, contemporary design culture owes a debt to the legacies of postmodernity, insofar as postmodern culture rejected the idea of a master narrative or single way of doing something and encouraged – indeed demanded – the primacy of the person, particular and idiosyncratic vision. And this freedom can be found across all forms of cultural production. "

As Atlantic Canada's first contemporary home furnishings store, we have always promoted contemporary design. Increasingly, we are proudly promoting Canadian design, and the majority of what we feature is Canadian. It is now a source of pride to have something that is not only manufactured in Canada, but also designed in Canada.

Friday, September 4, 2009

eco conscious upholstery

We all want to feel better about the choices we make. Now more than ever we're very aware that things we buy have global consequences. In a small but real way, we can help by choosing quality products that reduce their impact on the environment.

Here's how the Dublin, Icon, Lennox and Hampton models from Attica do their part:
  • foam seats and padding: the seats and padding are manufactured using natural, seed based oils such as soy bean, and it significantly reduces the dependency on fossil fuels such as petroleum and lessens greenhouse emissions.
  • feather backs and seat cushions: 90% /10% feather and down blend in a 100% non bleached, down proof cotton casing. Seats are feather and down, with a soy foam core.
  • wood frame: the wood harvested for use in this furniture comes from forests managed in accordance with policies & regulations that meet the objectives of the Canadian Forest Strategy. All wood suppliers are FSC certified.
  • glue: all glues and adhesives involved are a Solvent-free, 100% waterborne system and conforms to changing environmental regulations.
  • fabric: Our growing selection of Eco-friendly fabrics includes luxurious natural fibres, recycled cotton, bamboo.
  • packaging: The packaging is largely made up of recyclable materials.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

rug style with a conscience

Some 300,000 children are illegally forced to work in the carpet industries in India, Nepal and Pakistan. Attica is carrying area rugs certified by the RugMark Foundation.

RugMark creates alternative avenues of opportunities for children who would otherwise be locked into lives without hope. Inspectors, teachers, labor right experts, loom owners, exporters, importers, designers and retailers work together to insure that no child works on a RugMark rug.

The most beautiful rugs are made with child-free labour.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

contemporary throws from austria

We're excited to bring back to Halifax a collection of modern blankets, throws and pillows from Austria for both adults and kids. Made from cotton and cotton blends, they come in a wide variety of colours and bold designs that surely will add a contemporary flair to any room.