Last week, at our Potrero Studio in San Francisco, we threw an event to celebrate Readymade magazine’s fashion issue launch. The party was a huge success, packed full with glamour guys and gals in blue suede stilettos (which I coveted). Our intrepid proprietor, Eric Hildebrandt, made a catwalk out of tape on the floor, and Readymade had the models walk between the crowd and the furniture. Many of the clothing designers were in attendance, and they used the same models from the cover of that issue. I can’t say I remember everything about the evening (which may or may not be due to the vodka luge, courtesy of Hangar One). Thanks to Readymade and the great folks at the Potrero Studio for throwing such a fun event.
May 30, 2007
Paul Poiret was an artist who used fabric as his medium and in doing so saved women from corsets and the overly the constructed garments of Paris before the First World War. How he did this was to elevate draping, the process of hanging fabric on the body to create garments, to its current day popularity. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating the work of Poiret with the exhibit "Poiret: King of Fashion."
The exhibit's title comes from Poiret's own declaration of his royal artistry. And it is hard to argue with the man after seeing the exhibit. His work is beautiful, detailed and thoroughly original. If you cannot make it to the Met swing by Bergdorf Goodman. Their windows are also displaying Poiret's creations. "Poiret: King of Fashion" runs through August 5th.
May 29, 2007
Many of New York's DWR peeps ventured to the east side last week to see the annual Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse, a traditional showcase that is getting more and more modern with each passing year. The showhouse is a charity event for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club and features many of New York's top interior design firms. Sadly, the show ended this week but I'd be remiss to not mention a few highlights. The design duo of Randall Beale and Carl Lana created the entryway to dramatic effect, complete with a pair of silver leather Egg chairs. Warhol would be proud. Speaking of Warhol, a pair of his paintings hung in the one of the bedrooms designed by Jed Johnson Associates. Johnson was a onetime lover of Warhol’s and, though he died in 1996, his namesake design house created a pristine bedroom suite filled with understated designs and a perfectly curated show of remarkable art. However, it was Amy Lau's room that seemed to get the most DWR praise. She uses modern in a way that remains clean yet warm, colorful yet calm. Her citron and turquoise room was a perfect match for a warm spring day in Manhattan.
May 25, 2007
AAA estimates that that 38.3 million Americans will be hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend. As summer begins, it’s hard to resist the lure of the open road (well, gas prices notwithstanding…). Which is why now is a great time to introduce the first ever Design Within Reach Airstream travel trailer. It’s sleek, it’s silver and it’s stocked with some very slick accoutrements for the modern traveler. Tom Dixon’s Wire Coatrack, Heller Dinnerware, two Tripolina Chairs and George Nelson’s Ball Clock all come with it. Even a pillow covered in Paul Smith’s Modulating Stripe fabric from Maharam. But that’s only the beginning. Get the whole story here. Designer Chris Deam did such a stunning job in pulling it together, the DWR Airstream probably could have won the Apartment Therapy Smallest, Coolest Contest. Huh. I wonder if they would have let us enter.
May 24, 2007
Last week the New York Times ran a story on the despair of owing a 2nd home and, as someone who recently purchased one, I can easily see where things could go wrong quickly. My partner and I are currently renovating a second home in upstate New York and it’s been quite a hit to the old pocketbook. New siding, floors, windows and kitchens all begin to add up. But we (and by we I mean mostly him) have decided to do a lot of these things ourselves, saving costs and allowing us complete creative control. Some expenses have been unexpected (a new water filtration system, ridiculous gas heating costs during winter), but by and large the experience has been positive.
As most Manhattanites can attest just the fact that having a place to put our things is calming. And we’ve found ways to save here and there. A few ways we’ve cut costs have been to shop on eBay (where we got our Viking Stove), do many of the projects ourselves and to outfit the space at DWR’s Annex. Seriously, even if I did not work for DWR it would be the best place to outfit a modern house on a budget. Now if only they could help me wallpaper.
May 23, 2007
The New York Times has a piece this week about Christoph Buchel, a Swiss artist best known for his conceptual pieces and large-scale installations. Collaborating with Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachussetts, the installation has been going on since last fall. Roughly nine months of work and still the entire installation is not finished! In fact the process has been halted due to increasing budgets and increasingly complex demands from the artist. (Like burning, and then hanging, a fuselage from a 767 from the ceiling. How on earth does one “plan” for something like that?)
So, what to do about an installation that’s close to done and taking up the museums largest exhibit space? Well, Mass MoCA has figured that out (maybe). They’re opening up the doors to share the unfinished show, but they have decided to cover it up with tarps. Viewers will be allowed to wander amongst the art, but will have to rely on their imagination to fully appreciate the show. Their intention is to show the public how museums work with artists as well as to show their risky nature. It all sounds way cooler than my desk job. Such a unique dilemma, I’d really love to see the show for myself.
May 22, 2007
Congratulations to Mia Sorgi, the 1st place winner of the Apartment Therapy Smallest, Coolest contest! The past month has been so much fun to see all the photos of the entrants homes. It felt like a mix of being a peeping tom and a design critic rolled into one, all from the comfort of my Aeron task chair. Thanks as well to the judges, including our own Michael Sainato, Art Director at Design Within Reach. Big thanks to Apartment Therapy for hosting such an engaging, fun contest. We can't wait for the next one. In the meantime, see all four winners here.
May 21, 2007
When I heard earlier this week that Isabella Blow died my heart sunk a little. She was the English fashion muse who discovered John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. She was the woman who actually wore Philip Treacy hats. And shockingly, she pulled them off. McQueen called her "the most interesting person I ever met." I bet. I had no clue of the depression she was plagued with. Today the New York Times delved into her life and set the record straight. Ms. Blow felt left behind by Mr. McQueen, financially she was a mess and she attempted suicide twice this year. One of those attempts left her with broken legs after jumping from an overpass. Outside the world of fashion insiders Ms. Blow's name would most likely go unnoticed. But to those of us that eat, breathe and sleep clothing she was an icon and a true individual. In hindsight you could say she hid behind those monstrous hats, their size matching her sadness. She'll be missed.
May 17, 2007
The Cooper-Hewitt has just announced the winners of their eighth annual National Design Awards. Meant to promote innovation, they manage to find the best and the brightest across a wide range of design disciplines – you can see the esteemed list of winners here. In particular, we’d like to extend congratulations to Maharam. A fourth generation, family-run textile company, they were honored as a Design Patron. (What is a Design Patron, you ask? It recognizes outstanding support and patronage within the design community.) And we would have to agree. This year, DWR and Maharam have partnered to offer an expanded assortment of innovative upholstery options for some of our most popular sofa collections. Looking to learn more about design? Cooper-Hewitt’s a great place to start. The Awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including lectures, roundtable discussions and workshops. Plus, they’re planning a National Design Week in October. Spend some time on their website, there’s so much there.
May 16, 2007
A few weeks before ICFF Barcelona textile designer and DWR favorite Nani Marquina chatted with Bradford Shellhammer about her latest designs, ICFF and her favorite color. Nani will be at DWR's Upper West Side showroom on May 18th for a cocktail party celebrating her work.
Hello Nani. I am excited to be hosting you during ICFF. What do you have in store for us during the party? We will introduce our last novelties and most innovative collections: Little Field of Flowers, Seagrass, Roses, Noodles and Flying Carpet.
What new products will you be showing that week? We'll be exhibiting at ICFF (Hall 1C Stand nº 932), where we will present the entire new collections for 2007 including the Tapete side-table and Déploye blankets. These two collections are the first step to a new range of home objects that we will launch next year 2008.
The party at Design Within Reach will not only showcase your products but Camper's new line of shoes. How did you get involved with Camper? We've had a very good relationship with Camper for such a long time. Camper is a Spanish brand from Mallorca, which is very close to us, and they are also very innovative. They have a very clear philosophy about well-being and they have a very close relationship with flooring and stepping too! Camper strongly bets on sustainability and innovation. We also love the brand because of its amazing communication image.
I am a huge fan of Tord Boontje. Can you describe the new rug he's designed for you? How did this collaboration come about? We also love Tord Boontje! His designs are very close to nature and the organic world. We were tempted to put these magnificent floral compositions over the floor. We worked so hard together to find the best way to enhance his floral graphic concept. We used a manufacturing technique that we employed for our Roses rug. This handmade technique is called hand loomed. So, we proposed to Boontje this type of craftwork allowing the use of die-cut felt flowers. Then the flowers are knitted onto the rug.
You're known for your use of color. If you had to choose, what would be your favorite color? Well, I think all colors are nice. The point is to mix them properly. If I have to choose just one color I guess all things done in red do improve so much.
Barcelona is such a hotbed for design: furniture, textiles, fashion. Are there any Barcelona-based designers we should know about? I guess you know Javier Mariscal; he's a must! Concerning new hot designers I really recommend Ana Mir and Emili Padrós, from Emiliana Design Studio.
I always feel the need to ask designers the clichéd question of what inspires them as I really do wonder about others' inspirations. So I am sure you've been asked before, but what inspires you? My job is chasing beauty. The fullest place where you can find beauty is in nature. I love to stare at spectacular landscapes, but this does not necessarily mean that my products directly remind one of these sceneries.
Where do you stay when you're in NYC? I love to walk all over Manhattan. I like going to the MoMA and seeing how the city changes every time I come. It is in a continual transformation and every time I visit the city I discover new places and images. I love the movement you can feel in every quarter and see how new quarters arouse!
Concerning your textiles: Where does the wool come from and where are the rugs manufactured? Our wool comes from India, New Zealand and, sometimes, from Morocco. Our main production is in India and Morocco.
You're fond of felted wools. How does this process differ from traditional piled rugs? Felt gives volume and movement to the rug and defines shapes. It basically invites people to touch our rugs.
One last question, what's been your favorite creation to date? I've been designing rugs for 20 years...so, there are lots! If I have to choose just one, it would be my last creation: Roses. This collection was brand new for its manufacturing process, which was very innovative, and its new material.
May 15, 2007
Uberstyle hightlighted the most amazing church last week. Designed by Qubus Studio out of the Czech Republic, the church does not feature pews but rather rows and rows of white Panton chairs. An eclectic mix of crystal chandeliers and Persian rugs round out the space, but it's the Panton chairs that have me most excited. The designers Maxim Velcovsky and Jakub Berdych cut crosses out of the chairs' backs elevating an already worshipped design to, shall I say, heavenly levels.
May 14, 2007
In the two weeks that the DWR photo team spent in Palm Springs last January, we sure made some nice new friends. Clothing designer Trina Turk took the time to meet with me and Aaron Hom, our stylist. Trina’s clothing is available in high-end boutiques all over. What I like about her work is that it clearly reflects style a specific period in time (late ’60s, early ’70s), but without being retro. It's like the new versions of the Beetle or the Mini: clearly an update on classic designs, while still feeling current. The Airstream trailer of clothing, if you will.
Trina and her husband, photographer Jonathan Skow, own an historic home in Palm Springs known as the Ship of the Desert. They’ve done a meticulous job of restoring and preserving this piece of West Coast modernism. Perhaps one day they’ll let us do a shoot there.
Trina and Jonathan were very gracious and welcoming, directing us to other homes for potential locations, second hand stores for propping and let us use anything we wanted from Trina’s store in Palm Springs. She even sent down an entire box of samples from her headquarters in L.A. We hope to get the opportunity to return the favor, should they find themselves in the Bay Area.
Posted by Michael Sainato, DWR art director
May 11, 2007
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the typeface Helvetica, which was designed in Switzerland by Max Miedinger and Edouard Hoffmann. The Los Angles Times addresses its significance here, and MoMA found the anniversary so impressive they’ve staged an exhibition called "50 Years of Helvetica." Their website calls the font "well-proportioned letterforms that convey an aesthetic clarity that is at once universal, neutral, and undeniably modern." Tonight when I hop on the 1 train downtown I can look up at one of NYC’s subway signs and sing "Happy Birthday" to the letters I read everyday.
The MoMA exhibit features posters, signs and various graphic materials utilizing Helvetica. Also featured will be Gary Hustwit's documentary Helvetica. "50 Years of Helvetica" runs through March 31, 2008 at MoMA’s Philip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries, third floor.
May 09, 2007
Please join author Lisa Roberts at DWR Beverly Hills tomorrow night (6:30-9pm) for a conversation on her book Antiques of the Future. Roberts is an expert on the products and value of today's modern design. She'll be on hand to give a slide presentation about the provenance, scale and impact of objects produced for today's market and their long-term value. Her book addresses the aesthetic and social importance that today's products will hold in the future. She'll be available for book-signing following the presentation. RSVP to email@example.com.
Many women, and more and more men, have bag fetishes. We’ve all heard of months-long wait lists for Hermes and Louis Vuitton bags. Here in NYC I know girls who pay their rent late due to splurges on Marc Jacobs purses. I used to laugh at them, but now I’ve become one of them.
It all started with my marathon training. Schlepping all my gear (running sneakers, iPod, Kiehl's bottles and the New York Times) was taking its toll. I went out looking for the perfectly designed bag. And I found it. Goyard’s classic tote first caught my eye while in Europe last year. They were everywhere and were being carried by everyone regardless of age, sex, or look.
The reason I dare call it the perfect design lies in the bag’s simplicity and function. It is big enough to hold gym clothes, magazines and schoolbooks. Plus, the painted canvas tote is hand-stenciled, waterproof and reversible. Goyard doesn’t change out its styles each season, and since 1853 (they’re the oldest luggage maker in the world) the company has made simple trunks, bags and luggage. One person makes each bag from beginning to end. Yes I am sucker for a sale's pitch, but the Goyard tote lives up to the hype. It proves Mies van der Rohe’s notion that “less is more.” Unless, of course, you’re talking about price. And, yes, that's me. Maybe I have a possible new career in the modeling biz.
May 08, 2007
While everyone is in New York for ICFF, DWR Studios throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn will be hosting events where you can mingle with like minded design fans and enjoy a few bevs. For full rundowns on all events, visit the web pages for the individual studios. Here's a brief recap:
Thursday, May 11, 8-10:30pm
DWR Brooklyn Heights
BKLYN Deisgns, the three-day long design show, is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, and DWR is thrilled to host a party on the opening day. As part of BKLYN Designs, Pratt College's Industrial Design students will display their work, which will be judged by a jury of design editors. The five best entries will be on display for a month following the event. Cocktails from Hangar One vodka and chilled swing-tops from Grolsch.
Wednesday, May 16, 7-9pm
DWR Flatiron Studio
We're proud to support HauteGREEN, a show of contemporary design that is modern in aesthetic and eco-friendly in materials and manufacturing processes. HauteGREEN 2007 will feature sustainable designs from emerging and established designers working in New York and around the world. Join us for the preview reception and throughout the ICFF weekend, when a HauteGREEN satellite installation will be displayed in the windows of the Flatiron studio. Cocktails provided by Reyka Vodka.
Thursday, May 17, 7-9pm
DWR SoHo Studio
Join us at the SoHo Studio, as we announce the winners of the Apartment Therapy Smallest, Coolest contest. The contest sought the best-designed space under 650 square feet. Come down to see photos of the winning entries, meet the judges, get some small-space design tips and enjoy some refreshments with like-minded design fans. Wine provided by Wines of Germany.
Friday, May 18, 6:30-10pm
DWR Upper West Side Studio
Nani Marquina's rug designs combine simple patterns and arresting colors. Based in Barcelona, her work is known internationally. Camper Shoes, also based in Barcelona, combine style and comfort to create some of the best-designed shoes available. Join us welcoming these two for a uniquely Spanish event. Marquina's rugs will be on display alongside Camper's newest line and Marquina will be available to answer any questions. Cocktails provided by Reyka Vodka.
Sunday, May 20, 6-9pm
DWR Meatpacking Studio
DuPont Corian® is celebrating their 40th anniversary with a unique exhibit, to be on display at the Meatpacking Studio May 19-31. DuPont asked 40 international designers to create a genuinely functional object that reflects the ingenuity of the designers as well as the design possibilities of Corian®. Featured designers include, among others, Werner Aisslinger, Laura Aquili and Ergian Alberg, Harry Allen, Matali Crasset, Jeffrey Bernett, Christian Ghion, Arik Levy and Ximo Roca. Cocktails provided by Belvedere Vodka and beer by Peroni.
May 04, 2007
Dutch designer Tord Boontje’s career is celebrated in the new coffee table topper Tord Boontje published by Rizzoli. The book is a fitting tribute to the man who has designed for Moroso, Swarovski and Artecnica. The book features sketches, design renderings, and text written by former Craft editor Martina Margetts. Boontje’s work is always a tactile experience and the book is a testament to his history of working with cut paper. As described by Rizzoli, the book is “an art object in itself, featuring a number of custom printing effects—stencils, perforated and die-cut pages, and textured and woven details—that capture the intricacy of Boontje's approach to pattern-making.” We’re excited as Boontje has recently collaborated on a new rug with Nani Marquina that will be available via DWR in the near future.
May 03, 2007
In my daily internet wanderings, most of it work related, some of it not, I stumbled on the latest work by filmmaker, performing artist and writer, Miranda July. She has a new book, a collection of stories, coming out in May. If you don’t know of her, she also wrote, directed and starred in the feature-length film, Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005), which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and four prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Camera d’Or. If you haven’t seen it, add it to your Netflix queue now. I really love her work, but what made me think about things differently, was the website supporting her new book. Its design is completely simple, relying mostly on text. Its message is totally clear, here’s my book, buy it now. And best of all it does it in a unique, compelling way (she probably wouldn’t want me to say cute, but it is). I think much of what I see being designed for the web is overly complicated. I appreciate how July goes utterly simple. See what I mean here. She’s coming to Modern Times bookstore in San Francisco on May 18th. I’ll be there, first in line I hope.
May 02, 2007
Tomorrow evening, DWR's Georgetown Studio will host John Small of Foster & Partners who will discuss his collaboration with Emeco. The result of their collaboration is the 20-06 Collection. He will discuss the collection, the sustainability minded collaboration of designer and manufacturer and what it's like to be on the forefront of cutting-edge international architecture.
Foster & Partners at DWR Georgetown
Thursday, May 3, 6:30-8:30pm
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re lucky enough to live in San Francisco, like the good folks at DWR corporate, then you still have a month to get over to the de Young museum to see "Vivienne Westwood: 36 Years in Fashion." Organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, the exhibit’s lone American stop is in SF. Westwood emerged from the worlds of punk and went mainstream oddly enough by defying fashion’s conventional logic. She never followed trends. She only starts them.
Her work takes traditional elements like tartans and tweed suiting and mashes them together with punk styling. It is the most perfect fusion of stuffy English tradition and London’s youth culture. And she’s also know for her expert tailoring, cementing her reputation as a fashion designer’s designer.
Included in the show are garments spanning her nearly 40 years of influence, including the infamous platform shoes that Naomi Campbell took a spill on the runway wearing in 1993.