Friday, September 30, 2011


I attended the Pentawards ceremony last night at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square.                                                                                                                                         

The Pentawards is an award program for packaging design. We already knew we had won a Platinum Award, the best in the luxury packaging category, for our BANG bottle, but this was the actual ceremony where they hand out the awards. The reception featured a coffee service in the lobby. What, no bar? 

I had forgotten how cool the inside of the Marriot is with the elevators shooting up and down, and the lit hallways lining the atrium. After a coffee, the 200 or so winners filed into the conference room where awards were to be given. 


It wasn't the Oscars, but it was interesting. Lots of good work honored, and people had travelled far and wide to attend, 21 countries were represented. Afterwards they served drinks and food, and I hung out at a table full of Greeks. They were all feeling pretty bad about the economic situation back home, but happy to be recognized on the international stage by the Pentawards. From left to right below: Marina won an award and her husband Kostas is a TV star in Greece. Apparently he created quite a stir on the flight over. Andreas Kioroglou is also a designer, and his client Konstantinos Verdes, who makes a rubics-cube-like toy, wanted to know where to party in NYC. 

 The very trippy rug ...

And our Platinum award for the design of the Mark Jacobs BANG bottle ...

In addition to the award, we won a free booth at the Luxepack show in Shanghai in March 2012. Nice. Now we have to figure that one out.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Color Report: Chartreuse

Much of my color inspiration comes from John's garden. This chartreuse Kniphofia is having a second flush of blooms (because John is such an amazing dead header!) and it made me stop and contemplate its yellowish-green hue. Colors from nature are hard to incorporate into our lives, but Shirley's recent report on the colorful work of Luis Barragan made me realize that color can be a powerful tool. I'm growing bored of neutrals. Chartreuse bathroom anyone?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wave Hill

First, I'd like to thank Shirley for her last two posts on Mexico. I am encouraging the HAD team to weigh in with interesting things they see and do, and it looks like Shirley had an amazing trip to Mexico. I am jealous that she got to see all of the Luis Barragán architecture - that is something that has been on my list for a long time.

I've had blogging fatigue for the last few weeks, but I'm officially back at it. Fortunately the Wave Hill Gardener's Party supplied some great material last Thursday night. Wave Hill is a beautiful old estate in Riverdale, just north of NYC on the Hudson River, that has been preserved as a public garden.  The Gardener's party is their annual fundraiser that starts with cocktails and a plant sale.

The sun was going down, but I managed to explore the green house and the trough garden (with a vodka and tonic in hand). Trough gardening is a beautiful old tradition whereby alpine miniature plants are grown in cement troughs. I love the intersection of the geometric troughs and the organic plant material. In the picture below you can see the party underway in the background.

Dinner in the tent features a very generous auction to benefit the garden. Heavy hitters bid on unique plant specimens and boat cruises to benefit the garden. The rest of us bask in the glow of the philanthropy. Adam Rose and Peter McQuillen were our hosts, and our very-fun table table included from left to right: Peter McQuillan, myself, Colleen McQuillen, Jeff Waeschle, John Holm, Adam Rose, Cathy Deutsch (a graduate of the Wave Hill intern program that was being honored), Matt and Carleigh Farley, and Joanne Guzman.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mexico City: Food

Mexicans love to eat and drink, and they do it pretty well. I was surprised by the number of restaurants and food stands, way more than in New York City. Food is a big part of the culture and you see it everywhere. It's hard to walk by and not have a taste, especially when the smell and vibrant colors makes you hungry for more.

Making cotton candy on the streets
Flautas (taquitos) before you order
Flautas after
Candy stand (they love their sweets)
Poblanos for Chiles en Nogada (seasonal dish)

Tacos al Pastor
Churros in the making
$2 Torta

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mexico: Casa Luis Barragán

Harry recommended that I see Luis Barragán's work in Mexico. For those that don't know about Luis Barragán, he is considered the most important Mexican architect in the 20th century. His work was influenced by European modernism and often is quoted in reference to minimalist architecture.

So, I visited one of his important/personal works, Casa Luis Barragán. His house is really impressive and the tour was worthwhile. A must see when in Mexico City.

Entrance Hall

Living Room

Living Room
Guest Bedroom


This was the house that he built for himself towards the third decade of his life. He was influenced by the rural landscapes, towns, haciendas, and the heritage of Mexico's religious colonial architecture. The house proposes a new relation between interior space and landscape architecture, where house and garden are seen as one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mexico: Pig Spotting

Harry Allen Design studio manager, Shirley Hong, went to Mexico City last week and spotted a few REALITY products. The store manager of Mob mentioned that the Mexican people love our little Cerdito!

Look froward to posts by Shirley this week. She ate and saw some amazing things!

Friday, September 16, 2011

R.I.P. Steuben

Steuben, the beloved U.S. glassmaker and Harry Allen Design client will be closing down it's 108-year-old factory and all of its retail stores. A sad day for glassmaking in the USA.

"Steuben Glass Factory and Store to Close"
by Patrick Mcgeehan

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Penny Saved

Our new coin jar for Steuben featured in David Report.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Barney Brown

When I stumbled upon these pics they brightened a very rainy Monday.                                         
I met up with my friend Tanja Solci in LA a few weeks ago. She has a great eye, and I was happy she could meet my friend Edward James (aka Barney) Brown. One of the first things we did was join Barney at a show he was having at Ed's Coffee Shop on Robertson.

At 88, and despite more than a few ailments, he is still painting. I love his easy style. He started his career in the commercial arts doing illustration work for a company called "Timely Service," and spent many years working as an art restorer, and now he just speaks with his paintbrushes. When I visited a few days later he was capturing the sunflowers outside his window . 

I bought a few of his paintings - a blue elephant for my niece and a tall sunflower diptych that will go into my bedroom here in the City. Barney provides a lesson for all artists: if one immerses oneself in one's craft it will provide joy forever. He is a source of inspiration for everyone around him. Check out more of his work here: