Monday, July 30, 2012

The Wild Rabbit

After years of student competitions and sitting on design juries, I have become pretty good at it, and when my alma mater calls, I try to show up.

The Pratt Henessy Challenge last week was a challenge for the judges as well as the students. A variety of students were involved, artists, designers, and fashion students, so there were no apple-to- apple comparisons to be made.

Hennessy sponsored the project and was looking for a piece that embodied their brand message of "Chasing the Wild Rabbit." I love the phrase as it is all about embracing your creativity and going for it. So students could design pieces that spoke to the theme, or they could actually embrace their own wild rabbit.

Here I am with, Michael Cook, the winner and the other judges, Billy Paretti, Vice President of Marketing, Moet Hennessy USA; Yours Truly; Jennifer Yu, Director of Communications, Moet Hennessy USA; The Winner; Futura 2000; and Jeff Bellantoni, chair, Graduate Communications Design.

Michael crafted a rabbit out of art materials and also produced an incredible video about its making. I LOVED the video, rabbit was OK, but thematically it was all there and it was the perfect project to win. As we have all learned on RuPaul's Drag Race, the jurying process is complex.

There were two runners up. Felix Aarts (an apt name if there ever was one), who I was championing in the jury session, created a crazy piece of art that was mounted on the floor. It was a photograph of the very colorful paintings in his studio, produced as lit signage. He told us a story of walking past a signage place in Brooklyn and being struck by the idea of producing his work as a lit sign. To me he was pushing his boundaries, and the boundaries of art. He was really chasing the wild rabbit.

The third winner was Natalie Sims who taught herself to crochet and made a rug out of plastic bags that she had received in stores over the course of a period (I cannot remember, a month or three months or something like that). It was a great project, similar in many ways to some of my reuse projects - my can clusters and cocktail tables - in that they are all commentaries on recycling, reuse, and waste. I wanted to see it huge, installed in Grand Central Terminal so everyone could see how many goddamned plastic bags we use. I hate plastic bags.

All in all, it was a very interesting day with the students.

All photos by Rene Perez.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

FRAME Lighting Reports

Check out FRAME #87 to see the latest lighting designs, including Paperwork Table Lamp for Hive.

We are happy to announce that Hive will be launching a new lighting design as part of the Paperwork series at Maison Objet in September. We'll keep you posted!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Our final stop in Norway is Tysnes.

Tysnes, an island off the coast of Bergen, is the home of my in-laws, and although it's not a design capitol, there was lots to see and do. The traditional buildings yield some modern details, like this mossy slate roof.

And this last weekend, Tysnes was home to Tysnesfest, a music festival that attracts some impressive talent. On our way to a blues cruise we stumbled upon this display set up by Ingunn Undrum, one of the last traditional ropemakers in Scandinavia.

In light of my recent work with rope, her work peaked my interest, and her tool bag was a hand-made thing of beauty.

We fly back to NYC tomorrow, refreshed, and looking forward to some summer heat.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


We had a moment between the rain showers to take a walking tour today.

One sees these great little electric Buddy cars all over. They are made right in Oslo, and are the best looking electric car I've ever seen.

I also love the Funkis (Functionalist Period) buildings.

Aker Brygge, an entire neighborhood on the waterfront that has been built in the last few years, is pretty impressive. Development on this scale is not something you would see in NYC. Among its many, many new buildings are a few gems. Like this office building.

And the soon-to-be-finished, Renzo Piano-designed, art museum.

We ate at Onda, a sleek restaurant on the water.

And finished our tour at the fantastic Snohetta-designed Opera House.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Butterfly Lady with Bank in the Form of a Pig


We made a pilgrimage yesterday to the Stockholm Public Library. The Gunnar Asplund designed building is a major piece of Premodernism architecture. It's simple form is smart and functional.

The main room is circular and breathtaking in its scale and interior volume. It is a true architectural experience.

The circular racks are innovative and functional.

The guy in the bookstore took us for a little tour behind the scenes where we saw the conference room. The circular lighting is perfect with the curved-back chairs.

All of the furnishings are by Asplund also. It is a capsule from a very important time in design history. It marks a move away from classicism, towards the more functional, unadorned modernism of the 20th century, but it still has one foot in the past which helps you see what a visionary Asplund was. This little water fountain is a gem.

The hallways are filled with art, architecture and students drawing. I wasn't the only one taking pictures. It is still a functioning library. Definitely put it on your list if and when you visit Stockholm.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


It's so easy to find beauty in Stockholm.

Our first stop was lunch at Mattias Dahlgren, interior design by Ilse Crawford. The food was fresh and delicious!

Svensk Tenn, a shop right down the street from our hotel, features the work of Joseph Hoffman.

On a bike trip around Djurgärden we found the Rosendahl garden. The whole place was so pretty and vital. Many people were eating and reading out in the sun. This display of glass vases in the window of the garden shop caught my eye.

We ended the day in Sodermälm with our friends Monica Förster and Staffan Hellstrom at an old-world Swedish restaurant called the Pelikan. Very cool.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th

Representing ... at the Hotel Diplomat in Stockholm ... a gorgeous day ... our 12th anniversary ... Happy Independence Day everyone! More to come from Scandinavia.