Friday, December 10, 2004

What's After Modernism? [Metropolis]

According to author Karrie Jacobs, apparently, nothing - it's just an infinite loop.

One of the many faces of Manhattan Modernism, circa 2004. The view from the Hotel on Rivington. The slogan on the magazine ads for last month’s reopening of the Museum of Modern Art proclaimed, “Manhattan Is Modern Again.” MoMA has been enlarged by 252,000 square feet—that’s about five acres or one-and-a-quarter Wal-Mart supercenters—and remade in the spirit of Modernism’s past by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi.

Manhattan is modern again, but not just because of MoMA. Since the museum ran off to Queens two-and-a-half years ago, Manhattan has embarked on a building boom as ambitious as the one that transformed large portions of the city in the 1960s. And the present Modernist revival is not just about style; it brings with it a resurrected faith in the rightness of the new. The drive to rebuild the World Trade Center site and the excitement it engendered have restored the reputation of urban renewal and rejuvenated the political will to make—and attempt to execute—major plans for large swaths of the city. This too is a form of Modernism.
As it turns out, one of the best places to observe the transformation is the Hotel on Rivington, a 21-story glass tower designed by two young, largely unknown New York architects, Matthew Grzywinski and Amador Pons. As MoMA represents Modernism as ideology, the hotel is Modernism as trend. It started out as a collaboration with Surface magazine, a publication that makes no distinction between design and fashion.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Gift Guide: Food & Fancy

Dean & Deluca has a wide selection of fabulously designed holiday treats this year, as always.
Chocolat Modern
Joan Coukos' Chocolat Modern confections are made with six varieties of French dark chocolate. Intriguing centers of soft caramel, ganache, and homemade preserves.

$30 for 5.5 oz.

Working Class Hero

Filled with caviar, creme fraiche and the ever-important flask, Working Class Hero might make everyone want to join a union.


Tea Sampler

The Dean & Deluca Tea Sampler is year-round item that warms the coldest of days and looks great in any modern kitchen.


Spice Rack
Finally (something that has been on my personal wish list for many years now), the Dean & Deluca 40-tube Spice Rack is a great gift for a cook or for someone who simply needs a gastronomic objet d'art.


There are many more great things in the catalog, which you can download here.

Super Sunday Mid-Century Modern Auctions [LA Times]

For Gerard O'Brien, Super Sunday arrives this weekend, and it has nothing to do with football. The owner of a midcentury furniture gallery in Los Angeles is painstakingly preparing a playbook to help him score at three simultaneous modernist auctions.

Over the course of 10 hours, three houses in Los Angeles and Chicago will take bids on 1,800-plus works by hundreds of designers — including architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and decorator Dorothy Draper — in styles ranging from Mission to Memphis.

O'Brien, who will be manning a booth at an antiques show in San Francisco, can't make it to the Los Angeles Modern Auctions sale at the Pacific Design Center or to the two in Chicago, at the Wright and Treadway-Toomey galleries. So, by thumbing through hefty catalogs, he has narrowed his choices to 15 that he will bid on via cellphone.

The influence of home decor television shows and the accessibility of EBay are leading more buyers to participate in live auctions, even if the newbies show up by remote.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Why Luxe Went Online [NY Times]

Oscar de la Renta $40,000 sheared mink jackets. Georgio Armani suits. Tiffany engagement rings. Today's Internet shopper is no longer only interested in the possibility of an eBay bargain. As a little stock price research will reveal, the affluent online shopper has most definitely arrived.

It used to be one of the great free pleasures in New York to go into Tiffany & Company in the afternoon and hear the pens tapping on the counters. Each rap of a salesman's ballpoint signaled the sale of a diamond ring or a pair of cuff links. It intoned happiness and solvency, and, since Tiffany was not the sort of place to expose a customer to the indecency of baring his wallet in public, it summoned a manager, who performed the actual transaction at a discreet distance.

Tiffany stopped the practice of pen tapping almost 10 years ago; you probably didn't even notice. For one thing, people aren't embarrassed by the sight of money anymore and, for another, they don't have time to wait for the manager. They slap their credit cards on the counter, and there's no need to soften the blow with hushed voices. Today, in fact, the most persistent sound in luxury shopping is the mouse click. From now until the end of the holidays, will receive 100,000 hits a day, roughly equal to the number of people who will visit a Tiffany store.


The Gift Guide: Home

From Italian architect and designer Lucca Trazzi, this stainless steel espresso machine looks more like sculpture than kitchen equipment. A temperature gauge lets you know precisely when the machine is ready. The professional steam mechanism provides ample power for light, frothy milk. Includes ground coffee holder, coffee pod holder and one package of Illy® coffee pods. Removable 48-ounce water reservoir. 10" by 10" by 13". Made in Italy.


From the new Williams-Sonoma Home collection (re-branded from Chambers), the cashmere throw, pillow shams and slippers are available in a range of colors.

$295 - Throw
$98 - Sham
$98 - Slippers

A must for any modern kitchen, this Global Knife Set is the perfect starter set - actually, you don't need much more than these three anyway.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Event: Luxury Kitchen & Bath Show (12/8-12/10)

If you'll be in Southern California and want to inspect a Sub-Zero up close, the Luxury Kitchen & Bath Collection will be held at the Century Plaza Hotel in L.A. beginning this Friday.


Herman Miller Sale at DWR

Save 10% on Herman Miller for the Home® at Design Within Reach until Wednesday, December 8, at 7am PT.

Herman Miller Sale

The Gift Guide: For Him

Cashmere Scarf
Bundle him up in the Columbo Cashmere Scarf.

• Multicolor striped cashmere with velvet whipstitched border.
• 8" x 80".
• Made in Italy.


Ralph Lauren Leather Flask
The Ralph Lauren Purple Label leather flask is certainly for the guy who has everything.

It features sterling silver accents and can hold 3 1/2 ounces.


Kiehl's Men's Gift Set
Pamper him with Kiehl's Ultimate Men's Collection.

Includes White Eagle Shave Cream, Multi-Purpose Facial Formula, Amino Acid Shampoo, Solid Grooming Aid,Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, Unscented Hand and Body Lotion Deluxe Sample and a tube of Lip Balm SPF 15.


Ugg Bomber
Fortunately, Ugg Australia went beyond their boot line and gave us something else to wish for this year.

This antique leather bomber is perfect for the upcoming weather.


Friday, December 03, 2004

Designer Living [NY Metro]

Will architect names like Gwathmey and Gehry sell apartments like Gucci and Prada sell clothes? Charles Gwathmey’s fashion-forward glass tower at Astor Place is at the center of a booming new building trend.

Condo CoutureWhile almost everything in New York used to be something else—it remains a badge of endurance to say this restaurant, this bar, this nightclub used to be this and that or this—the Astor Place parking lot had been a parking lot for as long as anyone can remember. But after Cooper Union, the art school whose vast 1850s brownstone pile is across the street, bought the site for $677,000 in 1966, the stretch of asphalt has had more suitors than a baby socialite. It has also been the subject of more architecture-student theses than almost any other site in the world. Cooper Union made architectural excellence a precondition for developers interested in the site, and lured some of the skyline’s most influential sculptors eager to develop the next Flatiron building on the last triangular site in Manhattan. Ian Schrager hired Rem Koolhaas and, later, Frank Gehry to design hotels there (critics compared Koolhaas’s design to a “cheese grater”), though neither one got close to breaking ground. Robert De Niro wanted it for a Tribeca Film Festival flagship. In the mid-nineties, the Resnicks, one of the city’s most powerful real-estate families, tried to develop it in concert with the International Center of Photography.

What has landed there, however, is not the kind of structure usually associated with architectural excellence, like a museum or a hotel, but rather an apartment building. During the summer, a 21-story steel frame suddenly rose in that triangular spot, where Lafayette Street meets Fourth Avenue. Soon, passersby could see the zinc fittings and reflective green glass rising over a wraparound billboard spelling the new building’s architectural virtues: CURVACEOUS, UNDULATING, PROVOCATIVE. And affixed to the billboard like a designer label is the phrase ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN BY GWATHMEY SIEGEL.


The Gift Guide: For Her

Jo Malone Cologne Jo Malone's colognes are unrivaled and a perfect holiday gift for any woman.

Amazing scents. Stunning packaging. Be sure to consider Orange Blossom, Wild Fig & Cassis, Ginger & Nutmeg and 154.

Also, for a great design experience, visit a Jo Malone store - you can try all the scents, or mix them, before you buy.

$80 for 100ml

Marc Jacobs Venetia

Really, any Marc Jacobs bag would create a happy holiday for most. The new Metallic Venetia is extra special, though.


La Mer Gift SetThe Lambertson Truex La Mer Gift Set combines a great leather handbag with all the La Mer skin care a woman ever needs.

This set includes:

• Crème de la Mer, 1-ounce jar.
• The Moisturizing Lotion, 1-ounce pump-top bottle.
• The Eye Balm, 0.1-ounce tube.
• The Mist, 4.2-ounce pump-top bottle.
• The Hand Treatment, 3.4-ounce tube.
• The Body Lotion, 3.4-ounce pump-top bottle.


Designer Bio: Poul Kjærholm, 1929-1980 [Fritz Hansen]

PK24 Chaise

Danish designer Poul Kjærholm is most known for his leather, sisal and steel chairs. Common in all of his work is a certain low-profile and timeless minimalism.
Poul Kjærholm was originally trained as a carpenter and continued his studies at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts.

He showed an interest in other construction materials; in particular steel which he considered a natural material with the same artistic fineness as other natural materials.

Poul Kjærholm worked for
Fritz Hansen for about a year, where he designed a number of noteworthy chair prototypes.

In 1955 Poul Kjærholm initiated his productive collaboration with manufacturer Ejvind Kold Christensen, which lasted until Poul Kjærholm's death in 1980. In 1982, Fritz Hansen took over the production and sales of "The Kjærholm Collection", developed from 1951 to 1967, designs, which are logical to the minute detail with by an aura of exclusivity.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Serious Fan

With names like industry, halo and ufo, The Modern Fan Company has solved the serious design flaw inherent in traditional ceiling fans - in the past, form definitely followed function. Quite simply, these are gorgeous.

Favorite Things: Chilewich Rugs

Chilewich Rugs

Chilewich rugs, tiles or wall-to-wall floor coverings are fantastic.

Washable, comfortable to walk on and stylishly muted, they are available in a variety of sizes and patterns.

Buy here or here.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Count Sheep...or Threadcount

Wild Frette is well-known for its fabulous bed threads, but this is definitely over the top.

Known as 'Wild', this luxury bedding is made of deerskin and silk.

For more basic linens, yet no less luxurious, check out Frette's classic 'Hotel' sheets here.

The Modern Nursery [NY Times]

You're never too young for style. Designers bring modern sensibility to the nursery.

Rocker Several Sundays ago, behind their vintage 1950's open-plan modernist house tucked into the hills of Oakland, Calif., the Pfeiffer family sat on their back stairs -- modern jungle gym in front of them, Eames chairs behind, no molded plastic in sight -- planning a new treehouse. Melissa Pfeiffer, 33, is the founder of Modernseed, a year-old store selling modern furniture, fashions and accessories for kids, and Eric Pfeiffer, 35, is a contemporary-furniture designer, and theirs is the kind of home that inspires house envy, particularly if you're one of those parents who vowed not to let the house fill up with plastic junk and then saw exactly that situation come to pass, first with the musical vibrating bouncy seat, and then the doorjamb Bumper Jumper and then a gift of a multicolored plastic Fisher-Price train set that became your daughter's absolute favorite possession.

Some parents do better at holding off the mass-market blitz than others, either by virtue of caring more about good taste, or having better taste, or having more will power, or having a steel-fabricating shop. Melissa and Eric Pfeiffer are in an elite group of Americans raising children surrounded by good (read: contemporary) design. Members of this group typically have a 2-year-old child and a one-year-old business. For instance, Michael Ryan and Sophie Demenge, a Brooklyn husband-and-wife design team -- formerly the proprietors of R+D Design, now the owners of the uberhip nursery outfitter Oeuf -- found themselves reupholstering bouncers and making cribs upon the birth of their daughter, so toxic did they find the aesthetics of the products in stores. David Netto, also a father of a 2-year-old, sidelined his substantial Manhattan interior-decorating career (featured in Vogue; clients like Mark and Renee Rockefeller) upon becoming a parent. He started his Loft and Moderne lines of sleek
NettoCollection cribs, bureaus and changing tables (each piece is about $1,400), some of which now anchor the baby rooms of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jerry Seinfeld.

It was a fairly safe assumption that on this Sunday, the Pfeiffers were the only family in America holding a design review with their 5-year-old on the question of a playhouse to sit upon a huge eucalyptus stump. The rule in the Pfeiffer home is that their daughter, Keegan, and her brother, Luke, 2, are allowed to do what they please to their play spaces as long as it's filtered through a parental design review first. Luke had not yet tested this particular aspect of his family culture, but Keegan was an old hand. A few years ago she entered into heated negotiations with her mother over the subject of bedding -- Keegan wanted, in her mother's words, ''a crazy print with flowers and fluff''; they ended up with solid pink and contrast pillows -- and now equipped with pad and crayons, she sat on the back steps with her father, ready to present her vision of her treehouse.

Contemporary design for kids is really contemporary design for adults who have procreated. In choosing juvenile products that are less babylike, you could even say that adults not only shift focus away from the youngster as dependent child but also from themselves as parents, playing out the fantasy that Mom, Dad, plus Junior are just cool cats sharing a pad. This illusion is not necessarily bad, and Keegan's father, Eric, was spending his Sunday being a dad extraordinaire, conspiring with his daughter about how to build the coolest play structure ever. Outwardly relaxed, in long shorts and a T-shirt, he sat down with pad, pencil and tall glass of water, fully aware this would not be as simple as the bedding review. For one, the stakes were higher, in that the treehouse would be in the center of their yard and thus visible from their shag-rugged living room. Second, Eric would need to take the results of today's meeting and turn them first into computer-generated calculations and then into recycled redwood. And third, Eric was coming into this negotiation with a good-faith handicap. A few months back he built Keegan a treehouse and, unhappy with the scale -- the roof looked oversize -- he tore it down.


The Airstream - Retro Modern Transport or NYC Apartment Alternative?

Feel like chucking your daily grind, mortgage and utility bills and living life on the lam? You'll want to do that stylishly, of course - can't think of a better way than hitching up this silver bullet to a late model European car.

Airstream Safari

The Airstream, showcased in recent years by Ralph Lauren and on primetime, has endured the general demise of 'road travel'. Classic, yet thoroughly modern, it can be customized to meet any design buff's requirements.

Airstream Safari

At around $50,000 for the size of a NYC apartment, the price is right when compared to coastal real estate or the price of a vacation home. Of course, vinyl flooring won't do - surely that can be swapped for bamboo or wall-to-wall Chilewich.

Airstream Safari