Sunday, November 3, 2013

New Logo!

Picking a logo is a lot like picking out a band name. It has to be eye catching, creative, professional looking, and basically say what you do and who you are. It can be really hard to nail that down sometimes. I had really been thinking about this for a while, and I finally settled on one that I liked. I read an article a while ago, I wish I could find it again, but it was basically talking about how prevalent the use of the branding "X" has become in graphic design as a tool for creating a fake sense of being established and reputable. LOL I wanted to kind of poke fun at that notion and have a logo that was modern, yet colorful and not too sterile or too serious. Something professional and cross cultural. Many of my designs are sort of multi-functional, so If you didn't notice, it's an "O" and a "T" and you can turn it upside down too!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Black Lung!

"The Black Lung"

Having grown up 6 blocks from the beach, bicycles have always been a big part of my life. I grew up in Santa Monica, California, just a few blocks from where the "Chuck's Bike-O-rama scene was filmed in the movie "Pee Wee's Big Adventure". That movie changed my life forever.
Bicycles have always been a good source of fun, comradery and self expression for me. I can definitely say that tinkering with bikes paved the way for me to get into hot rods and old cars. Born from the gritty Streets and the Smog of Los Angeles, with an 1800's coal miner vibe...I present to you, "The Black Lung" Boneshaker!

While building my latest hot rod project (a '29 ford model A roadster which I'll do a separate post about eventually) I started to get a little discouraged since things weren't moving along as fast as I would have hoped. I literally started with a left over rim from my last hot rod and a dream! I've been collecting the parts piece by piece for the last few years, and I still have a long way to go. As you can imagine, it can get discouraging at times.

Since none of my projects are running yet, and summer was in full swing I decided to pick up this old Boneshaker, Penny Farthing Bicycle I found on Craigslist. I mostly just thought it looked cool, and I later found out it was made by a company in the Late 60's-Early 70's that was making these Boneshaker reproductions using modern type parts. Anyway, I figured it would be a good way to get something fun on the road pretty quickly, and I was right. This thing is a blast to ride once you get the hang of it, (if you don't fall on your face and give up). Your center of gravity is almost in the middle and you are pretty high up, so it definitely takes some getting used to!

It needed a lot of work, and since it wasn't an original from the 1800's, I didn't feel too bad about customizing it. The design is really straight forward. I started off by flipping the handle bars, I fixed the stem/forks which had cracked, and tightened the spokes. I also found a better seat for it from Rideable Replicas in Northern California, and some old pre 1920's style wood grips from eBay. I also found this neat old brass acetylene lamp that's over 100 years old! I welded some tabs on the front to mount it. I have an LED light inside the housing. I debuted it at the Ciclavia Ride two rides ago, at the one that took place on Wilshire Blvd., and it was a big hit even before it was finished. It had no brakes, so it was kind of sketchy going down hills and at stop lights. I almost ran over a cop that got in the way! haha.

I would have to slow down using the pedals and just jump off, or walk down the big hills. I decided it was time to add a rear brake to at least help me slow down, and I was glad I did that! I had an old lever and caliper off of an old 60's bike, and an old cable housing from the heater cable in my old '50 chevy that were in my junk pile so I was able to modify them to use on the Pennyfarthing. The local bike shop helped me with some of the little parts I needed to get it working good. I also found a cool little simple brass bell at the bike shop too. I also wanted to add something cool for a rear step plate, so I used the foot pedal from an old turn-of-the-century era sewing machine. The bike had a really cool looking rusty-patina from having been left outside for years, and I really debated on whether or not to paint it. I finally decided to just paint it flat black with a rattle can. It looks more sinister this way, like an old steam locomotive or something. So finally after adding the hot rod fox tail, I was ready to go! It was an even bigger hit at this latest Ciclavia ride in Downtown L.A. Lots of people were taking pictures and stopped to talk to me about it.

The only other plans I have are to maybe add a small leather tool pouch under the seat, and maybe a speedometer, but other than that. I think I'm done.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Snow Day!

I Found this picture in some dark corner of my hard drive. It was taken a while back by my good buddy Patrick Connor up in the mountains near Las Vegas New Mexico. Good times!

I've been really bad about posting regularly, but I have lots of things to post now :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Pope of Trash, The Sultan of Sleaze...

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So I'm not really one to get star-struck very easily, but I got a cool opportunity to meet Director John Waters and Tracy Lords in person the Sunday night at the Cinespia Cemetery Screenings. They do these every summer inside the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and they project movies onto the side of the Mausoleum.
A friend heard about it at the last minute and got us tickets. I'm glad because it turned out to be a pretty cool night. It was the 9th annual memorial for Johnny Ramone, the drummer of the punk band "The Ramones" and director John Waters was there to introduce the screening of "Cry Baby". One of my  personal favorite cult movies. The soundtrack is amazing, and the  rest of the movie is so bad that it's good.
The cemetery was packed with punk rockers and all sorts of characters, and they were blasting punk, garage, and rock n' roll music on the loudspeakers all night!
Dita Von Tease was there to introduce the question and answer panel, which included Tracy Lords, John Waters, James Intveld (who did the music), Ricky Lake, and Johnny Depp even made a surprise appearance. I got my photos signed, and these babies are getting framed and going in my hallway!

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Moth Chair, aka Flutterby Chair. Mid Century, Modern Inspired steel and Canvas Sling Chair!

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One day while staring at my vintage B.K.F. Hardoy (Butterfly) chairs that I'd owned for many years, I started to think about how I could cut them up, reconfigure them and make something new, yet that would still have a familiar vintage mid century vibe.
I sketched out the various configurations on paper, and eventually decided that the best way to truly know if it would work was to just start cutting! I didn't have the heart to cut up an original, but was able to find reproductions.

moth chair/aka flutterby chair. tm OtrujilloDesign2013 photo ollintrujillo-sketches1moth_zpsce864263.jpg
*Disclaimer: No real butterflies were harmed in the making of this chair!

The shape is a hyperbolic paraboloid, in which the user straddles the seat, almost like a
chopper motorcycle or vintage banana bicycle seat bicycle (which were major influences in the design) Anyone who's owned a BKF Hardoy butterfly chair can tell you that it's actually quite
comfortable to sit "crooked" in it. The pockets are great for storing books, magazines, newspapers, TV remotes, phones etc.

Check out a cool mpeg 360 view (Thanks Patrick!)

This chair is perfect for an industrial artist loft, Atomic mid-century house, outdoor lounge, or as a reading chair. Stay tuned for a matching lamp and a pillow attachment! Please let me know if you plan to use it outdoors, and we can do a powder coated finish and water resistant canvas.

I live in Los Angeles,CA near the garment district. I can basically make any color combo you would like. Please contact me and we can discuss it.

Available on Etsy, or contact me directly.      

Monday, June 3, 2013

Strut Coffee Table, my take.

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It's been a few weeks since I've posted, so I thought I would share this coffee table I made for a friend this last week. It's made of steel angle and square tubing with oil rubbed bronze painted finish, and walnut plywood with a clear satin finish. We were going for simple and clean, with a warm-modern feel.

Send an email if you want one built to suit you, thanks!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Finally joined Pinterest!

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So a friend of mine told me about Pinterest back when it first started getting popular, and I checked it out. At the time it seemed like more of a Soccer Mom website for pinning arts and crafts projects and recipes. I finally joined a few weeks ago, and I have to admit, I think I'm hooked now. My images saved on my computer were starting to get pretty crazy, and this seems like a good way to organize stuff and get inspired. It seems like its really taking off now, and I think the site can only get better from here!

Here's a link to my profile if anyone cares:

On a side note, I remember reading an article on about the co-founder Evan Sharp. Interestingly, he studied Architecture before founding the site, and ended up taking a different career path.

Here's the aticle:

Happy pinning!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair

Repost from Daily Icon:
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Wright has offered at auction several original drawings of the Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe.
When Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair was introduced in 1929 it was critically acclaimed but the cost and difficulty of chrome plating the frames limited production. By the early 1950s technology had caught up to Mies van der Rohe’s progressive furniture designs and both Knoll Associates and Gerald Griffith were producing his forms. Chairs produced by Knoll and Gerald Griffith can be distinguished by looking at the intersection of the base; works made by Gerald Griffith feature a crisp hard-edged intersection while versions by Knoll have a reinforced curved intersection.
The Mies van der Rohe office found Gerald Griffith in 1949. The challenge of creating the Barcelona chair in stainless steel – something engineers said could not be done – appealed to Griffith’s tenacious personality. After much experimentation and exploration, Griffith completed the task and he produced Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona and Tugendhat designs in stainless steel for a number of years.
Provenance: The Office of Mies van der Rohe, Chicago | Edward A. Duckett, Bowling Green | David Bryant, Bowling Green In celebration of Mies van der Rohe’s 125th birthday, Wright’s senior specialist Michael Jefferson presented the history of the Barcelona chair to The Mies van der Rohe Society.
Blueprint and Elevation of the Barcelona chair, 1950, Auction at Wright

Wow, they went for a lot! Very, very cool...

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These fabrication shots are amazing!

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mattel Children's Hospital Dollhouse Project

Sometimes I really love the fact that I don't always know what I'm going to be working on from one day to the next. This time was no exception. Since I've done a lot of architectural models in the past, I was referred by the friend of the wife of a good friend to help a Landscape Design office to build the front yard/landscaping of a Huge bright pink doll house that was going to be auctioned off for charity.

The whole undertaking was really impressive. So many different design firms were involved, and everyone had to do their piece of the puzzle. The houses (there were about 10 of them) were being manufactured in the Factory of a really well known high-end furniture manufacturer here in Los Angeles. They were all really impressive. The auction will be held this Wednesday, I hope they raise a ton of money!

here's a link to the LA times article:,0,4853777.story
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Abstract Organic Live Edge Burl Coffee Table-TAKE 2!

So after finishing the other table for my pal Glen, he nearly had to pry it from my hands. I had it in my living room for a while until we could finally find a time to meet up, and I really fell in love with it during that time.

It was a bit too big for my space though, so I've been keeping an eye out for another similar one ever since, and I finally found one at my super top secret thrift store location! I had to shoe away these two guys that were looking at it over my shoulder as I was looking at it, (poor thrifting etiquette tsk tsk). Even though I told them I was going to take it, those sneaky guys tried to go above my head and talk to the shop owner about buying it. Little did they know, I've been going there for over 15 years! So Ha! take that! Thrifting karma!

Since the owner hooked me up, I was in no position to haggle. Oh well! I still got a great deal though. A few weeks later, I dropped it off at my friend Fernando Garces' shop to have it refinished, I think it came out great!
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Isabel Marant Store, Los Angleles

I stumbled upon these photos somewhere on the internet of the new Isabel Marant store in LA. It looks like it's pretty closeby, near the Beverly Center. I'm really in love with the interior, I am going to have to make a point to go see it in person. I will try to find out the designer of this space, they really nailed it with this project. It's difficult sometimes to explain a design philosophy, and they say a picture is worth a thousand words. I feel like it is totally my "style". I love the raw concrete floors, the use of steel, the wood shipping crate coffee table, the burl wood chair,the BKF Hardoy (butterfly) chairs, the use of the natural plywood to create the sculptural niches, the Jean Prouve potence lamp, the use of the bold accent colors...I love everything about it! Photobucket Photobucket If anyone knows who to credit the photos to, please email me and Ill update the post. Thanks!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I must know!!

While working on another project, which I'll be posting pretty soon, I came across this vintage fiberglass modular booth thing-a-ma-jig, and I simply have to know more about it. It was sitting in a yard in an industrial area, and it really caught my interest. I don't know anything else about it, and I can't make out the name. It looks like maybe "INGRAE" or "INGRAO" or maybe even "IVGRAP"? I can't make out the logo, and nothing really comes up when I search any of those. I suppose it's probably some long defunct Scandinavian Modular start-up company from the 60's. It sort of reminds me of those "Futuro Houses" from the same era, when people were really experimenting with the use of fiberglass and modular concepts.

It's being used for storage presently, but it looks like some sort of concession stand. It has a little countertop ad sliding window on one side, a door on one face, and windows on either side. It may have been some sort of jobsite office or ticket booth as well. I really dig the look of it, and it totally inspires me, My senior project in Architecture school was a modular/panelized system as well. I was talking with a guy on the yard, and he said it was probably about 40 years old, and that it was for sale for only $800! (Like I need another project), I'll just keep driving by and obsessing over it for now I guess...It would be awesome as a little home office or pool cabana, I just don't have the space right now though. If I could find some use for it I'd be all over it!

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blu Dot

Blu Dot is a company that I have been following for the last few years. I really liked the story of how they got started, and their philosophy is pretty much the same way I feel. I have been mentally planning a sort of pilgrimage to meet and interview all of the designers that I am influenced by, and these guys are on my list. One of my goals is to be able to work with my friends and family, and it seems like that's just what they did. I would love to learn more about how they did it. I really like a lot of the designs, we have spec'd a few of their pieces through work. They seem pretty functional, versatile and well thought out. One can see that a lot of thought went into the production, or mass-production rather, and they really tried to keep the pieces affordable. Anyhow, here is their mission statement taken from the Blu Dot website:


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Millions of New Homes Needed!

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I just thought I would share this vintage WWII era propaganda poster I scored on eBay a little while back. I loved the artwork and colors, and especially the subject matter! I framed and matted it, and it's going in my bedroom...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dual-Purpose Dining


It's been a while since my last post, but I assure you, I've been hard at work!
A couple of months ago my friends Priya and Brendan (see my previous post Upcycled/recycled writer's desks ) contacted me about another possible project that was right up my alley.
They had aquired a neat vintage 60's sort of danish looking wood coffee table with what looked like 6 "petals" and it also had a neat gold inlay pattern on the top. They were using it in their dining area, and the scale and shape of the table were perfect for the room. They had plans to create some built-in banquette seating along the back wall, so Priya had the idea to create a table that could function not only as a coffee table, but as a dining table as well. She was very interested in the sort of "vintage-industrial-chic-look".

These last few years have really been a time of solidifying my design philosophy, and really getting a grip on the things that characterize my "style" so to speak. A lot of people label themselves as modernists, minimalists, traditionalists, classicists etc. but I suppose when it comes down to it, I'd like to think I am a pragmatist above all else.

Years ago, when I was really interested in vintage airstreams, I remember one trailerite in a video interview was explaining how "everything (in his trailer) has at least two functions". This has stuck with me ever since, and I suppose that statement plays into many of my designs today.

Anyway, back to the table :)
So I started with a few sketches in my sketchbook, and we talked/emailed back and forth. We eventually decided on one concept in which there were basically 6 legs when in coffee table mode, and three legs when in dining table mode.  This turned out to be ideal because the table had 6 petals, and also ideal because of the inherent stability of having the three legs.

I was lucky to score these metal stacking legs from the metal scap yard. They were used to store long pieces of metal around the yard. I snatched up 3 of them and soon the table started to take shape.


It actually turned out better than we expected, as it turned out it looked cool in several different configurations.


This last holiday weekend, Priya contacted me and informed me that they were going to have some friends and family over for dinner on Sunday night, and that they would like to have a dining table to eat on! So Saturday was the final push to get it finished. Sunday night, Priya made an amazing beef stew and we all got to enjoy dinner on the table. It was a great experience, and thank goodness the table didn't collapse or anything! I only had my cell phone, so I'll have to post a better final picture later, but I was pretty happy with the way it turned out...


Saturday, January 19, 2013

I thought I would repost this letter from a book I'm reading...

Pamela Slim (Escape From Cubicle Nation)

I am writing to you as a newly minted rebel. My main purpose in life is to take your best, your brightest, most creative, hard-working and passionate employees and sneak them out the hallways of your large corporation so that they are free of the yoke of lethargy, oppression and resentment.   It hasn’t always been this way. I tried for many years as a consultant to YOU to explain the importance of treating your employees with dignity and respect. I encouraged you to speak clearly and to the point, to avoid endless hours of PowerPoint, buzzwords and meaningless jargon like “our employees are our most valuable asset.” I was sincere in my efforts as I coached your managers and explained the importance of providing objective, developmental feedback to employees that was based on observable behavior, not personal generalizations. I encouraged you to be open with your business strategy so that your employees could contribute ideas to grow your company. After ten years, I give up. I was banging my head against the wall trying to find ethical, creative ways to train your employees on the merits of your forced ranking compensation plan. No amount of creativity could overcome the fact that it is a stupid idea and does nothing but create an environment of competition, politics and resentment. Whoever sold you on that idea was wrong. So now I want to help your employees leave and start their own business. Regain control of their life. Feel blood pumping in their veins and excitement in their chest as they wake up each day. I honestly wish that it were possible for them to feel that inside your company. But things have gotten so convoluted that I honestly don’t think it is possible unless you take some drastic steps:

1.Don’t spend millions of dollars to try and change your culture. Corporate culture is a natural thing that cannot be manufactured. No amount of posters, incentive programs, PowerPoint presentations or slogans on websites will affect the hearts and minds of your employees. If you want to see things change immediately, stop acting like an asshole. If you see one of your senior managers acting like an asshole, ask him to stop. If he doesn’t stop, fire him. You will be amazed at how fast the culture shifts.

2.Stop running your company like the mafia. By now, we are all aware that no job in any industry is secure. They can be re-scoped, eliminated or outsourced at any time. And that is the way it should be – no organization can be static in today’s environment. But despite this common knowledge, many of your managers act betrayed when their employees tell them they want to leave the company. This is an absolute double standard and should be stopped immediately. If you help your employees grow and develop in their career even if they plan to leave the company, you will create an extremely loyal workforce. You never know where that employee who leaves will go next. They could become an incredibly valuable strategic partner. Their golfing buddy could turn out to be your next huge customer.

3.Spend a moment walking around the halls of your company and look at your employees. I mean really look at them. Don’t just pat them on the back and pump their hand while looking over their head at the exit door. Look directly in their eyes. Imagine what their life is like. Who is waiting at home for them? What are the real consequences to their health, marriages and children when they have to work yet another 13 hour day? What kind of dreams do they have? What makes them really happy? What do their eyes tell you? Do they trust you? Resent you? Think you are full of it? I met precious few C-level executives in 10 years consulting that truly “saw” and cared about their employees. Those that did reaped gigantic mounds of good will and respect.

4.Teach people how to get rich like you. I don’t think there is anything inherently evil with money. It would be kind of fun to have my own jet and be able to pick up and fly to New York to watch the opening of a Broadway play or zip to Mexico for a long weekend. But the kind of disparity that exists right now between your employees who do the work and you and your senior team who reap the benefits is not only absurd, it is obscene. I know you work very hard and carry a lot of responsibility for your company. Instead of hoarding your wealth, teach your employees how to make money. Show them how you negotiate large deals. Explain investment vehicles. Explain how your business works and why it is so exciting for you to run. Make them into better businesspeople so that they can grow their opportunities and net worth. And for God’s sake share the profits. It is insulting to tell your managers to look a hard-working employee in the eye and say they only get a 3% raise when you take home more in a quarterly bonus than they make in 10 years.

5.Don’t ask for your employees’ input if you are not going to listen to it. I have facilitated offsite meetings that lasted for days where well-intentioned managers brainstormed and argued and edited and wrote flip charts until their hands turned blue. They sweated over creating something that was relevant and for a brief period of time actually were proud of what they accomplished. Until a month later when I heard that you scrapped the whole thing in favor of a plan cooked up by an outside consulting firm. This does not only completely waste smart people’s time, it guarantees that you will have hostility and resentment the next time you ask for creative input.

6.Don’t train people until you know what problem you are solving. I would be rich if I took up all the offers I got to “design and teach a 5-day course on people skills for all of our managers worldwide.” Most often, I would get the call from a VP of Human Resources that received the request from their pissed off CEO. And what were the pressing business problems that caused the request? Often it was the threat of a lawsuit based on one manager’s egregious behavior. Take the time to analyze what is causing the problems in your business such as high turnover, plunging sales or a huge increase in employee complaints. Usually it is something that will not be resolved by training everyone. Most often it involves firing a person or two who are causing havoc in a department. If you really want your managers to learn how to manage people, put them in tough situations with great mentors near by. Keep an eye on them. Provide feedback and coaching exactly at the moment that they need it (like before they have to fire someone for the first time and are scared to death). There is a time and a place for training, but it should not be your first course of action.

7.Ditch the PowerPoint when you have town hall meetings. No one is excited to see another boring graph or 20-part building slide that describes all the components of your new strategy. If they are interested, they can read the slides at their desk. Your employees want to hear your opinions on things that they think about all the time. Your PR team may have a heart attack, but invite tough questions about the things that you know are really on their mind. Are you going to take over another company? Outsource the Help Desk to the Philippines? Why did you get a huge bonus this quarter when the rest of the employees are on a salary freeze? Did the VP of Sales really get caught with his pants down at the the sales meeting in Vegas? Just because people ask the questions doesn’t mean you have to answer them all. Know what you can and can’t talk about and be direct about that (no, you can’t talk about the VP of Sales or you may get sued). You will do wonders for your credibility and I guarantee no one will be sleeping in the back of the room.

8.Focus on the work people do, not how or when they do it. Some positions require people to be at their desk at an appointed hour to answer customer calls or to participate in live meetings. But others can do their work from home, early in the morning, late in the evening or dialing in from the local Starbucks. The turnover magnet you have for losing great employees is not the competitor down the street, it is the idea of freedom and flexibility for the self-employed. Your employees have different biorhythms and working styles and activities going on in their lives. If you provide flexible work options and don’t make people sit unnecessarily at their desk, you will keep some great employees who would otherwise leave. A manager who is afraid to offer telecommuting to her employees because she thinks they will slack off is just showing her own weakness. Great managers build accountability into flexible work plans and manage performance aggressively.

9.Watch the burnout. Many companies measure an employee’s drive and dedication by the amount of hours they work each day. I have witnessed people playing video games at their desk until their manager leaves “just so they won’t think that I am slacker.” Huh? It is not a badge of honor to work 18 hours a day, it is a sure path to a heart attack or divorce. There are times when employees have to work around the clock to get critical projects done and that is part of doing business. But if they are working long hours just because “everyone does,” you are creating a culture of waste, inefficiency and ill health.

10.Forbid people to work while they are on vacation. Of all the pet peeves that I have accumulated over the years, this is perhaps the biggest. Your employees work like pack mules all year long. They send messages via Blackberry during dinner, take work calls during their kid’s basketball games and forgo rolling in the sheets with their spouse to finish a PowerPoint presentation on Saturday morning. When they go on vacation, let them relax. The only way to get the health and stress-relieving benefits of a vacation is to completely unplug from work. As long as they are checking email each morning from the hotel lobby or fielding “urgent” calls in the evening, they might as well be in the office. The worst thing is seeing their kid’s eyes as they observe once more that Dad or Mom values work more than family, even on vacation. Shame on you for making this acceptable behavior.

I won’t entice anyone out your door that does not want to come willingly. Many people will choose to stay in the comfort of your oppressive predictability. But if you lose some smart, creative, entrepreneurial and positive minds, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.