Thursday, June 30, 2011

High Life

If you have not seen the Highline, ignore me and go. It is an amazing new addition to New York. I am however a bit conflicted about it.

John and I, and our friends Cathy and Jeff went to visit the newly opened section on Tuesday evening. It was busy, a freeway of sorts. Beautiful planting and views of the City, but I have yet to relax up there. Maybe if I wasn't so hungry, it was way past dinnertime for me.

It seems more promenade than park to me. 

And dare I say the design feels a little self-conscious. I don't love all of the swooshes, and references to movement. 

I do love all of the remnants of NYC history, and the new views of West side architecture that it provides. 

The new "lawn," is tiny. Not sure why they even tried.

And the birdhouses ... not a bird in sight. 

Hey, I'm a critical New Yorker, and a design snob. The plantings steal the show. 

I cant wait for it to settle in, to see what it becomes, how it really contributes to the City. 

Starving, we ended the evening at the Fatty Crab. 

Oy. Too cool for me. Loud music, small plates, and "... you are going to want to share everything (we will?), and all of the plates will come as the chef makes them in no particular order..." etc, etc. 

I feel like my mother, but do you mean that you won't serve me a normal meal or you can't. Interesting Malaysian flavors, but I am yelling at my friends and making a mess. Eating with my hands, and the waiter could at least learn to pour water in the glass without spilling. Oh, and it was $80 a head.

Live and learn.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Our LOT collection for NDT Brazil is featured in the Home section of the NY Times today. Read the story here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Core 77 Design Awards

A lot of interesting conversation went down while judging the Product and Equipment category of the Core77 Design Awards.

These awards pick up where the ID Design Awards left off when ID Magazine folded. My fellow judges and I, (below L to R) Zoe Coombes, Rama Chorpash, Maria Popova, and Julie Lasky, took all day to wade through the many entries. 

There were some amazing and beautiful entries, and discussing the ever-changing boundaries of design was fun and challenging.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Beyond Design

On Wednesday and Thursday I participated in a design conference called DesignBoost. I didn't know much about it except that it was curated by a friend of mine, David Carlsson of David Design and more recently the DavidReport. He is a multi-disciplinarian design impresario and I like what he does so I agreed to participate in his program at the Cooper Hewitt Museum and it proved interesting.

In general there is a lot of metal masturbation around the design community. We like to debate our role in the world, and critique ourselves. It can be fun; it can be an eye roll, but this conference had an interesting format.

First, on Wednesday afternoon, I participated in a group discussion around the theme of how designers can be more proactive when it come to social responsibility. Many of us acknowledged that ultimately many of the decisions to be more socially responsible were not up to us. We all agreed to do our best. Davin Stowell of Smart Design spoke about trying to frame the context of the design work. Involvement in the planning stages obviously provides more opportunity to do good - make products greener, more efficiently, etc etc. This of course requires that clients ask you to do the framing, and more often than not I am not involved in that part of the process.

In the evening I attended the "speed dating" dinner. A networking dinner that took its format from speed dating. It was lively because a) it started with a whiskey tasting, b) everyone moved one seat to the right every four minutes, and c) they served a lot of wine. It was more of a drunk dating dinner - a pretty good way meet new people, and David had assembled and interesting group of participants. Unfortunately it seemed every time I moved they served a plate of calamari two places to the left. Just out of reach. 

The "dating" begins:

And then we got down to business. I met some nice people.

And finally on Thursday I spoke to the group, presenting my work in the context of "Design Beyond Design," or the future of design. The future as I see it anyway. I think at some point it may be posted on their web site. Unfortunately I missed all of the other presentations because I had double booked - in addition to DesignBoost, I was judging the Core 77 Design Awards and I had to run back to finish up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Or at least part of it. Check out the interview Harry did with Living Etc.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Color Report

I was inspired by the mounds of fresh strawberries at the farmers market yesterday. Red is delicious.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hand of the Designer

The Hand Hooks, from our REALITY line, were cast from Harry's hands, so it is fun to see where they end up. They were recently spotted in the home of Anthony Almaguer and Steven Burgert, owners of I.D. Chicago.

Harry's hands are all around the world - offering, grabbing, holding, beckoning, and making themselves useful where ever they go. Check out the frosted Offer Hook used as a soap dish, right below the My Brothers Mirror! These guys have amazing taste.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rhodie Warriors

Last weekend John and I decided to add some large Rhododendron Maximum to the border around our yard - for privacy sake. On Thursday morning I used the truck - one of its few useful missions so far this summer - to pick up three 7-8' tall native Rhodies.

Please note the new wooden rails on the truck bed, they are another small design project a long time coming, but they look great and are very useful when carting large plants around.

The atmospheric photos are thanks to dirt on my iphone lens.

Here is John with one of the new additions.

The first planting presented the biggest struggle. We discovered three large rocks right where we wanted the shrub - strategically placed to block out the neighbor's driveway. We wrestled the rocks and won. Ben obviously does not see what all the fuss was about.

And those three big, flat rocks that we removed will turn into next weekend's project, as we expand the rock garden that runs along the base of our rock wall...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Suite Friday

I have been working on a few residential projects - I know, yikes - it involves a lot of specifying and shopping, but I am enjoying the research. Last Friday, late in the afternoon I swung by Suite NY to see what they have. They carry some of the best European furniture brands, from Alper to Foscarini to dePadova, and the new showroom at 419 Park Ave is incredible, up on the 17th Floor with views of the Empire State Building.

Kris Fuchs and Maria Sepulveda who own the place are friends and since it was the most amazing Friday, after I saw all I needed to see, we hung out on their balcony for a bit. Right across from them is this amazing new glass-balcony bar in the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel. Looks like a great place to visit.

I have the greatest respect for anyone in the front trenches selling design, and Kris and Maria are two of the hardest working gals in the business, but we were not working very hard on Friday afternoon.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shiro Kuramata

Harry's piece on a forgotten icon for W Magazine - "Design Hits, Revisited".

Designer Harry Allen believes that Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata (1934–91)—who in reality was more unloved than merely forgotten—has been overlooked because his favored mediums (mostly wire and Lucite) are out of fashion. “He had a great sense of experimentation and playfulness, and was a master of rethinking materials,” says Allen. “Why shouldn’t a chair [above] be made out of metal mesh?” Allen also cherishes his Kuramata acrylic vases, which he bought late one night at a museum in Tokyo. “I’ve only put flowers in them a couple of times,” he says. “They really don’t need to be accessorized.

By Mark Ellwood
May 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spasso Mascot

Our blue-chrome Bank in the Form of a Pig is frequently at risk of theft by customers at one of the "impossible-to-get table" restaurants in New York City, Spasso! Read the article here!