Thursday, February 26, 2009

International Paper.

We just got back from a mesmerizing exhibition that opened this evening at the Friedman Benda Gallery over in Chelsea. Titled Ghost Stories, the installation was conceived and executed by the Tokyo-based architecture and design group nendo and features forty sculptural works known as Cabbage Chairs scattered beneath a virtual rainfall of black and white string. Originally conceptualized as a possible solution to a challenge posed by fashion designer Issey Miyake on how "man will live in the 21st century," the Cabbage Chair is hand crafted from the folded paper rolls used in the fashion designer's own pleat-making process. In accepting the challenge, nendo has not only fashioned a chair using unconventional chair-manufacturing methods, they've also managed to create a stunning form that recycles what would otherwise have been a waste product. We must say the chairs are quite comfortable and the exhibition itself is pretty remarkable. Encouraged to walk through the "shower of strings", we found it to be both a sensory-altering and tactile experience. If you live in the city, we highly recommend you check out this extraordinary exhibition. In the meantime, you can see more of nendo's smart, elegantly designed products below available through Cappellini and De Padova. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What Would Jesus droog?

We were asked to attend the preview party this evening for the new droog store here in New York, and we can only describe the experience as Heavenly! We love beautiful design and we especially love clever design. Combine the two and it's almost like an out of body experience. By the time we left this new Soho outpost we were practically speaking in tongues. Although, the generous servings of Ketel One might have played a part as well as the tequila shots served in custom made, porcelain shot glasses decanted from a DIY-looking, margarita-keg-contraption. Whoa! Located at 76 Greene Street between Spring and Broome, droog New York is only the third showroom to open to the public featuring some of the design world's most novel creations. This Amsterdam based company was set up in 1993 as a statement of design. Operating worldwide together with partners, clients, manufacturers, designers, artists and architects in all areas of design, their aim is to create innovative concepts that change perspective and substantially contribute to the international design debate. This new showroom has a raw sensibility about it with two floors of exposed brick walls and rough hewn, wood-beamed ceilings which serve as the perfect backdrop for droog's phenomenal products. We especially love the iconic red-blue chair designed by Gerrit Rietveld made of Legos! If you get a chance, make sure you stop by this new showroom for a little spiritual design healing. Can I get an Amen up in here! (if you can't wait and want to see a short video showing droog's exhibition at Milan's 2008 furniture fair click here ).
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Stephen Shadley! Yes, thanks to our friends over at 1stdibs we found out that Mr. Shadley won the honor of designing this year's Architecural Digest Green Room at the 81st Annual Academy Awards airing this Sunday on ABC (see last photo above courtesy of Architectural Digest). Other interior designers who've had this honor in the past include Carleton Varney and White Webb whom we greatly respect, but we've always been huge fans of Mr. Shadley personally and professionally. We first met Stephen years ago through Thad Hayes and have followed his career intensely, ripping out every published project we can get our hands on and adding it to our inspiration file. Not only is Shadley incredibly talented, he's one of the most well-adjusted designers I know in the business and just an all around nice guy. When talking about design in the past he's said, “Each new project can paint a visual story about someone’s life. People, especially creative people, like to express themselves in terms of how they dress and how they live.” As an interior designer, “you’re trying to create an extension of who they are and I love the challenge of expanding on that, of trying to bring what I know but not impose myself.” Job well done, especially considering his list of high profile clients such as Diane Keaton, Woody Allen, Matthew Modine and most recently Jennifer Aniston, whom he just helped complete her 10,000 square foot home (wonder if Stephen will give us the real dirt on Maniston or Branjelina?). In other Oscar news another one of our favorites, architect David Rockwell, was asked to design the sets for this year's award ceremony (please see rendering below). The first architect ever to be asked to design the sets, Rockwell took his creative cue from the Kodak Theater (which he also designed) to craft an environment evocative on an intimate club. Working with the show's producers Rockwell developed sets that create the atmosphere of an elegant party rather than a formal gathering. He said, "We created a spatial and architectural solution for the 2009 Oscars that is based on storytelling, spectacle, and community. We wanted to use a surprising and dramatic integration of technology and movement to celebrate the awards ceremony, which has become one of the greatest shared rituals of our time." We can't wait to tune in! This is always such a fun evening and we're especially excited this year since two of our favorite designers were involved in the awards show. (click here to see a list of this year's nominees.)

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy (Belated) President's Day.

We hope everyone had a fantastic President's Day Weekend. We apologize for being M.I.A. the past few days, but things have been a bit hectic here at the design studio which is certainly a good thing! And speaking of good things, a client just introduced us to the work of artist Titus Kaphar (above photos) and we're eager to share. Kaphar, who was born in Kalamzoo, Michigan but currently lives here in New York, is described by the New York Times as a classicist: taking as his starting point European and American portrait paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, making oil-on-canvas copies and then reconfiguring them in strategic ways to create a dialogue about race, art and representation. While obtaining a Masters in Fine Arts from Yale, Kaphar also became an artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem and has since had a number of group and solo exhibitions across the country. Up next is probably his biggest show to date at the Seattle Art Museum in April entitled: Titus Kaphar-History in the Making. The museum describes his work as both "beautiful and halting as he dances between fictional narrative and history" creating work that is a timely display of what he sees as an alternative history. He sees his work as "the first sentence in a longer paragraph that the viewer completes." Hmmm .... perhaps we should help finish that paragraph and simply say we think his work is brilliant and have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more from this talented artist. To see more of his work click here!
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Who Says It Ain't Easy Being Green?

Try not to be green with envy, but we just got back from a fantastic evening that included a sneak peak of the new Green Depot Flagship Store here in Manhattan. Founded in 2005, Green Depot's mission has always been to make green building products and services readily accessible so that green construction can be easily adopted into standard building operations. Their goal has been to help establish sustainable construction as cost competitive and provide products of the highest quality that are certified green. Their goods range from cleaning agents to furniture and tabletop accessories to paint, rugs and more. Each is displayed with an eco-report card - part of the store’s proprietary “icon” labeling system - that is designed to educate consumers. The labels explain how and why a product is green and assesses it in the areas of air quality, conservation, energy use, local origins and responsibility. With showrooms in Brooklyn, Newark, Philadelphia, Boston, Greenport, Chicago, Albany (2009) and Newark, DE (2009) and 10 additional distribution centers spanning the Northeast, this environmentally-minded company is excited to open it's first store in Manhattan. The space is warm, inviting and beautifully designed and the inventory is equally impressive. Our favorite feature was actually right at the front door. From a display set up like a bar with beer taps (we love a bar), customers can bring in an empty container and have it filled up with Green Depot's signature, eco-friendly cleaning solutions. “Our goal is to make the Green Depot store experience engaging, informative and fun, and empower everyday consumers who are trying to make the smartest choices for themselves and their families,” said Sarah Beatty, founder and president of Green Depot. After tonight's preview party...we say mission accomplished! The Manhattan store opens it's doors to the public today, February 12th. Green means go!
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

An Industrial Revolution.

We've been a huge fan of Jim Zivic's work almost from day one when he started his original company, Burning Relic, back in 1993. Now known simply as Jim Zivic Design, this studio manages to bridge an industrial edge with a sophisticated elegance by combining smart design with an eclectic mix of materials both familiar and unexpected. These materials, which include hand forged steel, bridle leather, suede, shearling and anthracite coal, are used to create everything from seating, to beds, to tables, as well as an assortment of rugs. Born and raised in a small Ohio steel town, Zivic's vision was formed at an early age. Surrounded by Amish wood-workers, strip mining, dairy farms and his family's steel trucking business, the designer was inspired to create things both useful and artistic. His work is collected by private and commercial clients such as Lou Reed, Yves Saint Laurent, Yoji Yamamoto and Tom Ford. Frequent work has also included designing for Studio Soffield, John Saladino, and The Rockwell Group. You can find part of the collection now, through the Ralph Pucci Showroom here in New York, where the rest of the collection will be available in the coming months. Or you can see more of his work at his new studio located at 377 Broome Street down in Soho (make sure you call first .... this location is by appointment only). Jim contacted us last week and asked us to stop by the new studio to see what he's been working on and once again, we were beyond impressed. Not only do the original designs seem as fresh as the day we first saw them almost 15 years ago, the new work is just as smart and inspiring with the same level of craftsmanship that one longs for now that "Design's Within Reach". Do yourself a favor and check out Jim's new website here and if you live in New York, stop by Ralph Pucci or make your way down to his new studio to see it in person. We can assure you, you won't be disappointed.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sounds Like Love!

As we mentioned in the post below, we were asked to design a Valentine based on our favorite love song for Alpha Workshop's Annual Valentine Event. Well, we love music and we love Love songs, and there was no way we could pick just one. So we created a pair of hand crafted, heart shaped speakers made of reclaimed bamboo that plug into any iPod letting you listen to all the music YOU love! In addition to the speakers we're including a brand new iPod shuffle filled with our favorite love songs of all times. Again-check out the post below for more details about tomorrow night's event. These "Love Speakers" could be yours if the price is right!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Love Is In The Air!

Alpha Workshops is a fantastic organization based here in New York that teaches people with HIV/AIDS skills in the decorative arts, ranging from decorative painting and faux finishing to wallpaper design and production (see above image for some of their work, including the handcast lamp...then click here to see even more of their incredible creations!). Founded by Ken Wampler in 1995 to improve the quality of life for people living longer, healthier lives with HIV/AIDS, Alpha has grown from two employees with an earned income of $7,000 to a current staff of 35 and an earned income of over $600K. They've done work for major corporations from Benjamin Moore paints to Origins cosmetics as well as created installations for the New York mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion and the ballroom at the Prince George Hotel. They've also been featured in a number of highly regarded shelter magazines including Metropolitan Home and Interior Design and in 2002 they were the recipient of the Elle Deco International Design Award.

As part of their fund-raising efforts, every year Alpha celebrates Valentine's day with a silent auction of one-of-a-kind Valentines created by some of the design industry's top talent. This year's line-up includes Bradley Thiergartner Interiors, Christopher Coleman, Jamie Drake, Matthew Patrick Smyth, and Vicente Wolf just to name a few,! In conjunction with New York Spaces Magazine and Robert Allen-Beacon Hill, Alpha's theme for this year's event is "Love is in the Air" with Valentines inspired by favorite love songs. We've been working hard on our idea and are very excited about the way it's turning out. We might even be able to give you a sneak peak a little later (check back this afternoon). The event is this Thursday, February 5th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Robert Allen-Beacon Hill showroom at 979 Third Avenue, Ste. 301 here in New York. Tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased in advance by calling 212-594-7320 or e-mailing This is not only a great party, it's an incredible cause that deserves to be recognized and widely supported. So even if you can't be there, why not buy a ticket to show your support. We hope you can make it and look forward to seeing you.

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