Friday, December 30, 2011

Katonah in the City

My new years resolution is a no-brainer. More yoga.

Last year I had the privilege to design a studio for my yoga teacher Nevine Michaan, and her daughter Danielle. Katonah Yoga NYC is located at 17th Street and 8th Avenue.

Nevine synthesized a wide variety of thought, including a healthy portion of Taoism, to develop Katonah Yoga. She and Abbie Galvin, her second in command, break many of the rules of traditional yoga. When I first discovered them up in Westchester I was confused. No shavasana? No coddling? Dialogue all through class? Starting in Pigeon pose? It was not yoga as I knew it. Now I am addicted. They go deep and the effects are profound. 

Katonah Yoga is a hands-on practice. In the image below Nevine has strapped and blocked a student into reverse namaste. She breaks us down and rebuilds with precision. Please also note the morning light streaming through the shear blinds and reflecting off the pickled oak floors! 

I welcomed the challenge to design a yoga studio. For a long time the correlation between yoga and design eluded me. These two great interests of mine seemed far apart. Then, a couple of years ago during a yoga intensive (not at Katonah Yoga) the instructor asked the class where beauty comes from. I am not a huge fan of the soul-searching side of yoga, but I managed to blurt out "order." Which was correct! Suddenly, yoga, which is all about ordering the mind and body, and design which is all about ordering one's life did not seem so far apart.

Katonah Yoga is an exercise in restraint. It is a clean, well-lighted space, ordered down to the last details. There are, however, a few "design moments" in the space like the honeycomb cubbies in the hallway (below) and the tent-like dressing rooms.

I encourage everyone to visit in the New Year. 


Friday, December 23, 2011

MS Living

Making the holidays magical one chrome truck at a time ...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday! 2

My friend Roxanne just sent me these pictures of our holiday party.                                        
Nicole Renaud transfixed the crowd with a magical mix of opera and accordion. Nicole is both a musical and visual treat. Her  "constellation" dress and accordion light up to great effect.

Here I am with my new favorite moldmaker, Roxanne Mariniello (she took the pics). She and I have been working on a new series of REALITY products. I cannot wait to share our work, but right now it is top secret. She and her husband, Eric, live in Woodstock NY. 

Here Roxy and Eric hang with Harry Allen Design Studio Manager, Shirley Hong, who was looking radiant in her beautiful party dress.

I was too busy socializing to document the party happenings. If anyone else has pics, please send them along.

Friday, December 16, 2011


The Harry Allen Design Holiday Party is the highlight of our social calendar.                              
Much thanks to the Harry Allen Design staff for chipping in, to John for doing the lion's share of the cooking, and to all of our guests for giving it a reason to be. My main responsibility were the decorations. I settled on lots of silver, including my mother's punch bowl (thanks Mom), the original Gran's Candlesticks (all polished up), and some mercury glass fill-ins (from my least favorite store in the world, Pottery Barn, but they really did the trick). Two flying Christmas-ball-red pigs, executed with flair by our intern, Fumiko, took center stage, hovering above the rum punch.

I don't ever want the party to end, and there are always a few die-hards who linger and help ease me out of party mode. Michael Reynolds was one of the last to go, wearing some of the decorations - a boa of fragrant Jasmin flowers. I bet he turned a few heads on Avenue A.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Shopping

I've made pacts with all of the adults in my immediate family - no presents.

Which leaves almost only "ME" on my holiday shopping list. 

I saw these at Paul Smith the other day and could not resist.

Cast from plastic bottles in colorful unglazed ceramic, these vases by Foekje Fleur are right up my ally. John was with me, so I got instant approval. It looks great in our kitchen.

Only needs a flower.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thank You Mr. Cunningham

Last night John and I caught one of the last ever performance by The Merce Cunningham Dance Company at BAM.

Mr. Cunningham requested that upon his death that his troupe be disbanded. He died in 2009 and The Legacy Tour, the last tour, is wrapping up in NYC in the next couple of weeks. I think the performances are sold out.  I wish I had gotten more tickets.  It is a time of great intensity in the modern dance world and it was palpable at BAM last night.

I'm not sure what it is about modern dance that I love - its three-dimensionality, its humanity, its abstract nature, its physicality - somehow it all adds up for me, and Merce Cunningham embodied the best of it. Last night they performed two pieces. The first piece was called Second Hand, and honestly the atonal John Cage score based on a Satie work really grated on my nerves. There were some beautiful moments, and the Jasper Johns costumes were pretty, but it was a bit boring. The second piece, Biped, blew me away. Cunningham choreographed it in 1999, when he was 80. He was an early adopter of technology, and at this point he had been choreographing on the computer for ten years. Biped employs imagery, captured from his dancers, projected over the live dance. Of course now, the digital age is in full swing, but just contemplate for a moment what I just wrote. He was a pioneer.

The result was layered and beautiful. My mind raced with associations ... his vision of the future is beautiful, man set against a gridded, digital backdrop, the life of the biped still very free and asymmetrical. He was a master of asymmetry ... although there may have been much thought that went into every piece, Cunningham's approach was very aesthetic - moves, costumes, music and set elements exist only to be visually interesting. I have a hard time with that, I always need a reason to create. I therefore try to assign meaning to the elements on stage, but the beautiful reality is that Merce Cunningham employed many elements just because they looked good ... his embrace of technology at 80 astounds me, both artistically and from a personal standpoint. It reminds me of my friend Barney Brown who used and appreciated his iPhone at 90. There is a lesson in that ... the piece, like most great art was at once naive and visionary. Cunningham employed everything at his disposal. The costumes were some sort of holographic material, the projections simple and graphic, the dance rooted in the 20th century modern tradition, nothing exceptional by today standards, yet the the sum total of these parts was transcendent, even today ... the performing arts are fleeting. What change the dancers must be going through. How sad that this exciting era in dance is coming to a close. How sad it is that Mr. Cunningham is gone. I am getting so old. The dancers are so young. There is much promise in the Merce Cunningham legacy. I must go see more dance ... I have finally learned to embrace the wanderings of my mind during a dance performance. That is part of it, like meditation, you just bring your mind gently back to the mantra, to the dancers coming and going, creating beautiful forms, imitating life, relating to one another ... this is art for me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Goddess News

Our Goddess Adorned project made it onto the NY Times blog

Log onto to bid on these one-of-a-kind creations. A whole host of celebrities and designers decorated my Gaia vase, and all proceeds from the online auction will benefit Housing Works. 

Here are some pics from Tuesday night's party at Swarovski in Soho. Ali Tayar was in the house...

... as was John, and my studio manager, Shirley...

... and Gaye Cevikel, owner of Gaia&Gino, seen below with Gisue Hariri, one half of Hariri&Hariri Architects...

So many people were involved in bringing the Goddess project to fruition, but here are four of the main drivers: Vera Klotz of Swarovski, Myself, Gaye, and Jason Morrison of Swarovski.

Needless to say, it was a very glittery crowd...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Design Miami #2

Our first stop was Design Miami where we were very impressed with our own work on Mark McDonald's stand. He is carrying an impressive range of American Design from Frank Lloyd Wright to Ali Tayar, Lo-tek, and Harry Allen. Mark has one of HAD's clamp tables on display.


The constrained, organic showcases we designed for his jewelry collection are receiving rave reviews:

More reports to come.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BOY Book

Tonight are the Best Of Year (BOY) Awards!

My friend Cindy Allen, editor of Interior Design Magazine, is a powerhouse.

She cranks out a great product, Interior Design is one of the last design magazines left standing, and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. I cannot keep up with her whereabouts. Just last month we donated a table to her benefit for The Design Trust, and her two big award ceremonies are this week. 

As if the Interior Design Hall of Fame (Friday) was not enough Cindy invented the BOY Awards five years ago. And now she has turned the BOY Awards into a beautiful glossy book featuring the award, that we designed, prominently on the cover!

And if that was not enough, we won last year for our Pipeline Seating system and it is featured on page 295!