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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Archive for the Design Category

The Escape Collective: Exploring the Other Side of Ordinary

Posted by leighann | January 15th, 2014 | Filed under Art, Design, Travel


Four friends. Four days. No limits. What would you create? That’s what a group of friends had in mind when they set out to build a Geodesic dome. Two months later, their passion-fueled venture landed them a coveted spot at Summit, a Davos-meets-Ted conference for young thought leaders. Self-named the Escape Collective, this fledging group of makers, creators and designers are our third portrait in the Uncommoners—our blog series dedicated to exploring the other side of ordinary.

But this isn’t a story about how to build a 30-foot, low-frequency geodesic dome or how to sew a massive waterproof cover composed of 256 panels of unused material from Nike golf bags (yes, that did happen). This isn’t even a story about the Escape Collective and the other 800-or-so entrepreneurs, artists and leaders they joined at Summit’s newly acquired Powder Mountain Resort last July. No. This is a story about freedom, creativity, and the ideas born out of unencumbered space and time. Because as Einstein once said, “Creativity is the residue of time wasted.” And in a world punctuated by deadlines and deliverables, no one embraces this lost maxim more than The Escape Collective.

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Behind the Scenes with Emancipator on his latest video, Minor Cause

Posted by Alison Wu | December 5th, 2013 | Filed under Design, Music, Photography

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

Portland-based music producer, Douglas Appling, better known as Emancipator, enlisted the help of one of our favorite photographers, Ben Moon to direct his recent music video, Minor Cause. Shot on the Oregon Coast, the video uses natural imagery in an abstract way to capture the dreamy, ethereal feeling of Emancipator’s music. The stunning aerial shots were captured using a Sony FS700 which shoots at 240 frames per second. The highspeed camera was attached to an eight-bladed “octocopter,” allowing the story to be told from many perspectives. A collaboration of creative minds, the blend of melodic electronic sounds with breathtaking visuals certainly caught our attention  Check out the video, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Minor Cause.

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

The Uncommoners: Exploring the Other Side of Ordinary

Posted by leighann | October 29th, 2013 | Filed under Design, Partnerships, Who We Are


We all know them, those friends who work behind-the-scenes, who fly under the radar while doing extraordinary things. They build stuff. They make things. They grow goods. And they do it quietly without the need for accolades or recognition. They’re our friends and neighbors. They’re the humble warriors who live their passion everyday and create positive change. They’re people like Katy Anderson. Known by some as the Lady Carpenter, Katy—as her moniker suggests—is a skilled craftswoman in a man’s world. She’s also the first portrait in The Uncommoners, our new Off-The-Grid series dedicated to exploring the other side of ordinary.
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Design Eye: Introducing the Fall Collection

Posted by leighann | August 20th, 2013 | Filed under Design, Design Eye, Who We Are

This week in the Thought Kitchen, Peter Kallen‚ Senior Designer, talks inspiration behind our new fall collection and why we believe good design is efficiency and beauty in its purest form. No accidents. No distractions. Just simple, effortless, uncompromising design. It’s something the natural world has been doing right for some 4.5 billion years. That’s why our fall line-up draws inspiration from the world around us—how we move within it, how we interact with it, how we perceive it—to create timeless, intuitive apparel for real life.

Shop the collection on

Fall 2013 Collection: A Sneak Peek

Posted by leighann | July 30th, 2013 | Filed under Design, Photography, Sustainability, Who We Are

This fall, our collection takes inspiration from the greatest source of design excellence. We harnessed the most efficient, intuitive and effortless force that has ever existed and transformed it into an apparel line that fuses the natural and the manmade. This means sustainable luxe fabrics, intuitive construction, and minimalist silhouettes. It means more refined style and foolproof technical performance. It means blending the tailored and the technical to create a sophisticated line of apparel that can not be defined by landscape or geography.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come.

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The Best of Instagram

Posted by Bryanna | March 11th, 2013 | Filed under Art, Design, Photography

Here at Nau we’ve developed a minor obsession with Instagram, the online photo-sharing service. What we love about it: sharing our daily adventures; and following some of our favorite photographers influencers, and everyday friends who have a phone and an excellent eye.

We figured we would spread the love and share our favorite Instagrammers. From urban ballerinas to traveling musicians, we are thoroughly entertained and often obsessed with checking our phones.

@ben_moon – Ben is a photographer based here Portland who has helped us on numerous shoots, including  some of our Spring 13 location photography. His adventurous spirit shines through in the photos of all the places his work takes him.

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Lost in Fiber: Musings from an Environmental Textile Artist

Posted by Guest | March 1st, 2013 | Filed under Art, Design

(Nested) Flotsam Fiber Form (photo: Abigail Doan)

This week in the Thought Kitchen, environmental fiber artist, writer, and Nau ambassador Abigail Doan shares her unique perspective on the intersection of natural fibers, culture, sustainability, and the beauty of art in the everyday landscape. 

Performance fabrics and fiber have had a long love affair. The earliest Paleolithic string skirts were essentially mini-aprons with seductive fringes of twined fiber strands that served as fashion. We now rely on both engineered and natural fibers to keep us ventilated and warm when we venture out for work and play, and the thoughtful crafting of our personal garments continues to demonstrate what makes us attractive and uniquely human.

This is why I chose fiber as an art medium and vehicle for expression. Even though I had previously worked in documentary film and explored a range of more traditional studio methods, I ultimately opted to work with fiber and textiles because of their versatile nature and the low-impact/non-toxic possibilities. As an environmental artist, I am an advocate for slow crafting methods, the advancement of sustainable design strategies, and the preservation of wide open spaces. I use simple strands of spun or delicately crocheted fiber to draw on the land for site-specific installations that are carefully deconstructed after documentation.

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Spring 2013: Sneak Peek

Posted by leighann | February 5th, 2013 | Filed under Design, Nau Events, Who We Are

Pared-down blazers, lightweight shells and new skin-soft, eco-friendly fabrics converge in our most extensive spring offering yet. Introducing our 2013 Spring Collection—an exploration into the beauty of minimalism and the sweet intersection of freedom and movement. Here’s a glimpse of what’s to come.



Engineering the Perfect Ski: An Interview with Pete Wagner

Posted by leighann | January 8th, 2013 | Filed under Design, Outdoor Sport, Partnerships

Courtesy of Wagner Custom Skis

How do you build the perfect ski? All you need is some sugar maple, Kevlar and the world’s most badass computer algorithm. Oh, and you need Pete Wagner, too. The computer-nerd turned ski-craftsman who started Wagner Custom Skis is single-handedly changing the way an industry makes skis. This week in the Thought Kitchen, we sit down with the man behind the planks to learn more about the number cruncher and his coveted custom boards.

OTG: It’s a bluebird day in Telluride and you’re on the phone talking to me. I’m honored.
Pete: (Laugh) That’s alright, I got out this morning.

OTG: You moved to Telluride in 1998 with a mechanical engineering degree and an impressive career customizing high-end golf clubs. So how does one make the leap from computer nerd to ski-maker?
Pete: Well I bought a pair of telemark skis that I couldn’t demo. But they were the right size, length, width, and they were from a good company, so I bought them anyways. I skied on them for about 70 days, then tried another set and realized I had been crippling myself. At the time, I was working as an engineer developing software for design analysis and manufacturing of golf equipment and I thought, why wasn’t anyone doing this type of fitting technology for skiers? I was spending my energy trying to figure this out in a parallel industry. So that’s what inspired me to create the software for fitting people into the right ski.

OTG: Funny, when I think of making skis, I don’t think of software. And the few boutique ski-makers which do exist in the country mostly rely on precast molds, but you don’t use molds, you use—as you said— software. How’s that possible?
Pete: Our software designs the skis and programs our manufacturing equipment to fabricate all of our parts for the skis. Using high tech machinery, we fabricate all of the components of the skis—the base, bending the steel edges, the wood core, sidewalls, structural layers. Then we use the scrap material from cutting out these different parts—along with our computer-controlled milling equipment—to create the molds for our skis. So every ski gets a unique mold which allows us to go through the same steps each time we build a product, but build a completely unique product every time. It’s a mass customization manufacturing model.

Pete putting the final finish on a pair of Wagner Custom Skis. Image courtesy of Wagner Custom Skis.

OTG: So would you say Wagner Custom Skis are the most customized ski on the market?
Pete: As far as we know. Because every ski we design is uniquely optimized for the individual skier based on length, width, side cut, tail shapes, camber, and rocker. We calibrate the stiffness and flex pattern based on a person’s size and skier preferences. We choose the perfect set of materials, and they get to choose their own graphics.

OTG: You also use Kevlar and Carbon wraps with a traditional wood core. Why do you choose these materials?
Pete: The way we build our skis is the way they built World Cup skis back in the 70’s, and that technology hasn’t changed that much. We take proven materials that work well for ski construction, performance and longevity and we focus on the fit. That way, we can create a design that can help improve someone’s balance, comfort, control, efficiency and power. Ultimately, we create a product that makes skiing easier and more fun for people, and we do that by focusing on the fit rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with materials.

OTG: I think you just answered my next question, but I’ll ask it anyways: How is a Wagner Custom Ski going to change my experience?
Pete: It’s going to help your balance, comfort, control, improve your efficiency, allow you to conserve your leg strength and energy so you can ski longer in the day. It also improves your power, so you can ski with better control and more fluidity. If you look at the best skiers in the world like Bode Miller and Ted Legity, you realize that they aren’t skiing in off-the-shelf skis. They’re sponsored by a company which has a small prototyping shop with a team of dedicated engineers which are making sure that they are on the perfect equipment that will allow them to ski at their absolute highest potential. That’s what Wagner Custom Skis does for recreational skiers. We’re a team of engineers and craftsmen who help people ski their best by making sure they are on their perfect fit equipment.

Courtesy of Wagner Custom Skis

OTG: Well, I’m sold. At Nau, sustainability and performance are two of our core values. And you already touched upon performance as your core value, but how is sustainability reflected in your business?
Pete: We focus on two things: energy and conservation. From an energy perspective, we have a solar thermal system that is on the roof of our building which supplies all of the heat and hot water for our shop. We buy wind energy to run our computers and factory equipment. From a conservation approach, we try and minimize our energy usage by using programmable thermostats and energy efficient lights and work stations to conserving the materials we use and minimizing our waste stream.

OTG: Many people don’t realize that there’s a personal component to sustainability which involves maintaining a sustainable work/life balance, something that’s hard to do as you become more successful. Obviously, you’ve done just that, so how do you strike a balance?
Pete: One thing that we do to help us stay focused on that balance is that we have a Powder Day Clause. So if the snow report for the Telluride Ski Resort shows five inches or more, we work from 1pm to 9pm so that we can get out and take advantage of the best skiing.

OTG: Excuse me, I think I need to go convince our GM to include a Powder Day Clause.

Winter Respite: Oh, The Places We’ll Go

Posted by leighann | December 20th, 2012 | Filed under Design, Outdoor Sport, Travel

It’s dumping in the Cascades and there’s a blizzard heading for the midwest. Winter is here, my friends. And it’s a perfect time for our seasonal nod to cabin porn and the snowy escapes that help us find respite during the insanity of the holidays (and the end of the Mayan Calendar). Here’s a compilation of our favorite winter refuges. First stop: the Tin Hat Cabin.

Weekend Cabin: Tin Hat Cabin, British Columbia. Located on the midpoint of the Sunshine Coast Trail, a 180-kilometer route that runs roughly northwest-southeast along the Straight of Georgia (west of Whistler, people, east of Vancouver Island), and it was built just last year by a large and extended family of volunteers who make up the Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society. Courtesy of Adventure Journal


Built by hand using trees within walking distance in the Adirondack mountains, New York. Submitted by Zach Kolodziejski to

The timmelsjoch experience by werner tscholl architects, from

Cottage on an island near Nora, Sweden. Submitted by Jonas Loiske to

Cabin near Mazama, Wa. Built by Olson Kundig Architects. This 1,000 square-foot weekend cabin, basically a steel box on stilts, can be completely shuttered when the owner is away. Situated near a river in a floodplain, the 20’ x 20’ square footprint rises three stories and is topped by the living room/kitchen. Large, 10’ x 18’ steel shutters can be closed simultaneously using a hand crank.

Weekend Cabin in La Clusaz, France, Courtesy of