Posts Tagged ‘ design ’

Things to do in Denver When your DEAD (from the August heat)

It’s been pretty warm lately, which has us at z diving for air conditioned pastures. But just because it’s hot, doesn’t mean there aren’t some COOL things to check out before summer is officially over in a month or so. Her’s what we’ve been up to at z…

Starlite, starbright, a true overnight stay delight!

Earlier this summer, the z|staff took a long vintage weekend in Canon City, to visit the famed Starlite Campground and RV park. Sounds pretty trailer trashy, huh? Well, if those trailers are restored and original vintage specimens, and themed to boot, then we love to be trailer trash! The Starlite is owned by a husband and wife team who eat, drink, and breathe vintage, and in their copious amounts of free time the renovate vintage trailers on the side. The park has a campy charm (ha ha) and is very family friendly, and once you’ve spent a day or so, you feel like family! They go over the top to make your stay super pleasant, and make sure that their visitors have peace and privacy in the park. Each of the vintage trailers has a picnic bench, chairs, a fire pit, and a charcoaler in addition to stoves, fridges, etc in the trailers (options vary per trailer based on year). The Starlite is perfectly set for a group stay for a family vacation, where you can still stay together but get some much needed alone time. And if you need a wedding plan, they do that too! Larry the owner is an ORdained Minister, so your wedding party can stay at the campground, then you can tie the knot on the Royal Gorge Bridge (talk about taking a leap!) The bridge is closed right now due to the fire, but things are looking good for a 2014 reopening. Oh, and they have regular RV hookups and parking as well, so if the grandparents want to come out in the motor home, everyone is a winner!

So if you are sick of the same old vacation, take a trip to the Starlite and indulge in a great past-time! visit them at

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CATALYST: Colorado sculpture at the Denver Botanic Gardens

In the spring, we got tickets to hear art experts Michael Paglia and Mary Chandler discuss the sculpture works at CATALYST at the Botanic Gardens. Michael’s event we attended, Mary’s was rained out in those crazy July storms we had. But even if you don’t have the opportunity to hear what the experts say, you should DEFINITELY head over to the Gardens and check out this installation! Most works are “larger than life”, and many incorporate water elements, multiple viewing angles or multiple pieces (think triptychs), and works you can “get into” to experience the world from the inside out. The pieces span the entirety of the gardens, so it’s like getting two shows in one. Perfect for a romantic date or a way to get the kids out of the house.

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Zoppe Family Circus

Lastly but by far not the least, be sure to check out the Zoppé Italian Family Circus for the last few days they are here in Denver. Zoppé (pronounced Zoh Pay) comes to Denver each year for the Carnation Festival in Wheat Ridge, and is the BEST circus performance you will ever see. It’s not big, it’s not glamorous, it’s not Cirque de Sole (they are proud of that, by the way!) What it IS… very much audience inclusive especially with kids, intimate, loving toward animals (no exotic stuff here, just some rescue dogs doing great tricks, Belgian horses and a Shetland pony), bonded by family, and truly talented performers. When you come to the Zoppé tent, you are welcomed into their home, and you feel it. They truly care about giving a fantastic performance and love what they do…smiles all around. The performers care for the animals, set up and tear down the tent, and travel in mobile homes which they stay in on site to make sure the animals are safe. You will laugh until your ribs hurt at the antics of Niño the clown, who shows you what a REAL clown should be like (not a bumbling baffoon in stupid makeup).

The show is only in town through this Sunday, so be sure to get over and experience what a family circus is, and you’ll never go back to those cold, commercial lightshows again.

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Tinsel Time!

It’s been a little while since our last posting, mostly due to the craziness of the fall season and our renovation of the new space (more info coming about that soon!). So now we find ourselves in the midst of the Holiday season with everything merry and bright, and an excuse to max out the credit card. Ok, ok, don’t do that, but if you just have to, come and do it here at z|modern!!

ImageWe strive to offer our customers the highest forms of design in the Denver area, and we work hard to bring you quality items that are second to none on the market. Whether it’s Colorado historic art, furnishings, or lighting, we at z| do our best to find you the best of the best. And with that in mind, we have stocked the store with some of the best vintage Aluminum Christmas trees we could get our hands on.

Aluminum Christmas trees? Did you just read that right? Yes, we have many sizes and shapes to illuminate your holidays with shiny boughs of twinkle. Tacky you say? Perhaps, but when you consider the history of the Aluminum Tree, you too will be a convert.

The following was excerpted from The Aluminum Association at

It was 50 years ago when a sales manager for an aluminum cookware company saw a hand-made aluminum Christmas tree. He took the idea back to his company, and in 1959, America saw the first commercial aluminum Christmas tree.

It was not billed as an artificial tree but instead was called a ”permanent” tree. Some people immediately embraced the new space age tree. Conservation of real trees was not a consideration, but the chance to have a new modern interpretation of an ornamental tree inspired some and dismayed others. Artificial trees of various kinds had been available in earlier years. There was even a base-metal tree available in 1950 along with feather trees and visca (straw-like rayon) trees in green or white.

Aluminum trees were first manufactured by the Aluminum Specialty Company in Manitowoc, Wis. It is estimated that this company made more than four million trees in a 10-year period. ”Shredded” aluminum strips were wrapped by hand around the wire branch and then fluffed to spread out the aluminum needles.

Each branch was then packed in a cardboard sleeve. Any branch could be put in any one of the holes in the pole that was the trunk because the branches were all the same length. This made the tree easy to assemble. The correct shape was attained because the holes in the pole that formed the trunk were drilled at different angles. The first trees had a folding tripod base to hold the tree trunk. Later, other stands became available that rotated the tree and played music.

It was recommended that electric lights should not be put on the trees because of the possibility of an electric shock. Color wheels, which had earlier been used to decorate in other ways, were used to illuminate the aluminum trees with different colors as the wheel with four or five colored transparent sections rotated past the light source. The branches were not strong enough to carry many ornaments. Usually the decorations on the trees were only glass balls and often of only one color.

Eventually many other companies manufactured their own version of an aluminum Christmas tree. Some later models had pompom ends on the branches to make the tree look fuller. Colors were introduced – gold, blue, green and even pink. Some models were only one foot high, while the tallest were seven feet. The more expensive models had more branches. Even half trees were made to put on the wall in small areas or an office. The interest in aluminum trees peaked about 1965 and by the end of the 1960s few were being manufactured.

So as you can see, the previous generation had a little “conservation” thing going long before it was considered necessary or even “in vogue” to do so! Not only are these stylish trees minimalistic in their presentation, but by purchasing one of these highly collectable beauties you are saving a real tree from an untimely demise. Form and function come together yet again at z|!

Veni, Vidi, Da Vinci

For those of you a little bit lax on your Latin…that would be “I came, I saw, Da Vinci”. And as far as cheap cool things to do in Denver are concerned, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better way to get your brainmatter going and be entertained.

As we’ve mentioned before (and preached, and chanted off rooftops, and considered painting on the side of our showroom) great design comes in many forms, and merges seamlessly with other forms of great design no matter the topic or era. If great design had a Godfather, it would be Leonardo Da Vinci. A true unmatched genius of his time (and perhaps of all time), Da Vinci sought out the mysteries of design and function like no other. He lived, breathed, and produced design in every aspect of his life, and made it possible for the world to learn it and apply it through his innovations and drawings.
Many know of Da Vinci for his incredible art, and some may even have studied his contributions to machinery and application of physics principles, but few realize his great contribution to medicine and the study of the human body. Everyone knows the following image for Grey’s Anatomy, but you should know it as “Opus of the Godfather of Design”.

This is Design, not a TV Series

The Da Vinci Machines Exhibit runs through September of 2012 at the Pavilions off the 16th street mall, and costs $15 for adults, $9 for kids, or save a couple bucks and get the family pack (up to 5 people) for $40. This educational, interactive exhibit has something for everyone, and with many hands-on displays to illustrate the functionality of Da Vinci’s designs, it’s great for kids young and old. Double thanks to my buddy Adam for scoring us cheap tix through Living Social, and maiking sure I didn’t miss this awesome display.
Visit today to plan your visit, or stop by on the fly. You need to leave about two hours of time to truly take in the full exhibit, and make sure to watch the video on Da Vinci’s life playing at the back of the display. It is both entertaining and educational. We did not follow the tour guides, but catching a bit of their spiel you may want to take the tour!
Great design comes in many forms, and if you truly love design, Vado, Visum, Da Vinci! (Go, view, Da Vinci!)

PS. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a street performer who weasels his way out of straight jackets! Watch the slideshow for a glimpse of some silly street entertainment after the Da Vinci pics!
If you have really sharp eyes, see if you can spot the typo in one of the exhibit texts! It’s a doozy!

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