Shopping provides great retail therapy for me. Anyone that has ever worked in retail knows that the design of the store is a major part of the experience. My new favorite is the Hugo Boss concept store, which opened in October 2008 in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. I spotted an article in Contract Magazine and immediately fell in love with the space. Architecture firm Callison and Matteo Thun Partners teamed up to design the 4,000 sq. ft space which brings both the women’s and men’s collection together under one roof for the first time. The design merges sophisticated and sleek furnishings with the rugged bones of the interior. The unfinished concrete floors, exposed brick walls, existing columns and even the graffiti remain while the casework and furniture are an elegant mix of bronzed metal and black leather displays. I may want to steal those tufted black leather wing chairs and ottomans. The star of the design is the wooden lattice that arches from one side of the space to the other. LED lights occur at each crossing for sparkle above.
I always find it interesting to see initial drawings of the designs I admire. The images above, a sketch and a rendering of the concept store illustrate the design process. Clearly the rendering resembles the final design but I enjoy that the sketch evokes the feel of the design as well. One of the major challenges of a designer (especially when considering the vision of our clients) is to make the translation from conceptual to real in design. I enjoy that the initial concept is preserved in the final design of the Hugo Boss store. While a new Hugo Boss anything may not be in the budget, this store is definitely on my list for my next trip to New York. And I suggest you check it out too, even if only to marvel at the beautiful space.
Halcyon is located in New York’s chic Dumbo area. My friend, Collin, New York DJ Curbmerchant informed me that this was the place to go in the city to grab records. I trust his taste as he has turned me on to some pretty awesome music over the years. First of all, I love the name as Halcyon by Orbital is one of my favorite songs, particularly the live version featuring Bon Jovi & Belinda Carlisle. (Yes that is a plug – check it out!) The design is best described as an urban forest. The shotgun lofty space features faux rubber bark clad walls and surfaces, custom wood cases and cases and shelves, and Astroturf floors with recessed areas filled with river rock pebbles. [....more]
F.Rock made its first impression when I spotted a plaid and leather messenger bag in a tent as I was leaving the SOWA antiques market. I have been on the hunt to replace my old Jack Spade bag. Upon taking a closer look, I was struck by the beautiful bags. And after speaking with owner and designer, Nicolé, I understand why. Nicolé is a passionate woman and I could tell that she infuses a large part of herself into her work. F.Rock, is Boston based and emerged from Nicolé’s desire to create stylish, eco-friendly bags for the guy on the go. The custom carryalls blend traditional and urban style flawlessy. The design is simple and masculine which appeals to me as my Jack Spade 2 has been glued to me since Jack Spade 1 was stolen 2 years ago. Named after Boston streets and landmarks, F.Rock designs vary in size and utility from the Brattle, perfect for a day on the town to the Harrison, more substantial, taking you from week to weekend with tons of flexibility. You can choose from an assortment of 100% recycled fabrics and leathers as well as the hardware which is sourced locally. F.Rock goes farther than most when it comes to sustainability. “2% of each F. Rock purchase goes directly to environmental initiatives and leadership programs benefiting urban youth in Massachusetts,” according to the website. F. Rock believes in 360 degree production, so all of the bags are “Locally made, sustainable, stylish, and give back to community.” They had me the moment I saw the bags in the tent but it certainly makes me feel better that this company really cares. So out with my Jack Spade, it is time for F. Rock! The company also has functionally designed wallets and laptop cases in the fabrics and leathers available for their bags, hmmm…it may be time to replace that Ralph Lauren wallet as well.
So here is what I am thinking for my bag: My Jack Spade is well huge and is perfect for carrying everything but I want to get away from the bulky look…I think it is time for something slim. I love the Franklin shown in the whiskey cream herringbone plaid with the medium brown leather. I am not crazy about gold hardware but it works on this bag. I saw this one on the site but the designer in me wants to design my own. I could play on their website for hours changing leathers, fabrics, and hardware – they’ve made it quite easy. Here are some combinations I like…what do you think?
Definitely check out F.Rock, Also at the SoWa Sundays Bazaar and online at Frockbag.com. And F.Rock is coming to stores near you, including Motley and Mr. Sid. Nicolé mentioned that they have received so many orders that it will take at least 4 weeks to get your bag, so get moving.
The following are other pieces of furniture from Ralph Lauren Home collections that I love.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, the youngest and last of the Kennedy brothers, passed away Tuesday at 77. Referred to as the “lion of the senate”, Kennedy was known for his approachability, his humor, and his ability to get things done in congress. Gloria Borger, CNN senior political analyst said “He was a rare politician who knew when to cut a deal. He knew when to compromise. He knew how to work with George Bush…He understood the power of personal relationships.” After reading so many articles, I thought this is certainly the end of an era. And then I remembered Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama in the presidential campaign last year. In his speech, Kennedy mentioned that Obama would continue the legacy of his fallen brothers and I believe that he will do just that. Last night, I received an email from President Obama, like many, many others with a statement about the death of Ted Kennedy. Obama, who will give the eulogy for Kennedy at his funeral said, “His fight has given us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you — and goodbye.” And fight, Kennedy did.
Although, Ted’s brother, John F. Kennedy, is often associated with style. After seeing some photographs from the 1960s, I couldn’t help but notice the attention all of the brothers had to their appearance. In an article on the Huffington Post, titled “Ted Kennedy’s “Mad Men”-Style Suits” looks at Kennedy’s 1960s style. The suit he is wearing looks dapper by todays standards. The look is classic and cool: the two button jacket, the subtle striped skinny tie, down to the brown shoes.
It will be hard to fill the shoes of Ted Kennedy and many are discussing who will take over for Senator Kennedy. Kennedy was an inspiration and his legacy will continue on in legislation and in the people that he inspired. Obama said, “Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.”
Recently I was looking through old magazines for a project and I happened upon fashion designer, Naeem Khan and his wife’s loft in SOHO freatured in Elle Decor, circa 2006. I am sure they have redesigned or moved since the feature came out. However, I tore out this image of their bedroom because I was fascinated by the mirrored sculpture Khan designed with interior designer Tom Scheerer. Recently, I was looking through the CB2 store catalog and noticed their Perspective Mirror (shown in room and detail shot below) which bears a striking resemblance to the Khan and Scheerer sculpture, yet on a much smaller scale and at significantly less cost. For those not in the know, CB2 is Crate & Barrel 2, a less expensive and more fun spin off of the father company. Stores are in New York and California, sorry Bostonians. I am not sure how much that custom mirrored headboard cost to make but I bet probably a pretty penny. My idea is to mount 3 of the mirrors together on the wall above my bed, they are 24-1/4″ sq and only $150 each, so ($450 total). If I had the ceiling height, I would do 6 of them which would give more of the effect in the image above. My bed is the tall wood bed frame from West Elm sans headboard. I have been waiting to find just the right headboard or the right solution, this could be it. And it is definitely a good habit, to tear out or tag images that you like and keep them for when you spot a cheaper alternative. I obsessively keep them organized in binders but you might prefer a cool box or something less anal.
Also the bedding situation above is not the most ideal for me…I prefer the bedding shown below from the Modern Metropolis collection by Ralph Lauren home. And I am in the process of re-bedding to acheive a similar look, so I will let you know how that goes. An aside, changing your bedding can drastically change the look and feel of your bedroom and it is very inexpensive. I recommend you shop stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx.
I have been obsessed with hand crafted wood furniture, since I designed and built my first piece of furniture a couple years ago. The construction, the joinery, the attention to detail. When I was in New York last week, I happened upon the store, From The Source in the Dumbo, Brooklyn (Dumbo = Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). The company is based in both the U.S. and Indonesia and houses products designed and hand made by artisans in Indonesia. I loved the above teak and steel shelf and immediately thought that I need to design furniture again. The design is simple and at the pretty hefty cost of $1050, I am considering making my own version – we’ll see. I also loved the box joined Ciao coffee table and nightstands also in solid teak . They remind me of the “C” table that I designed which has box joints at the Oak ”C” element. A box joint is similar to a dove tail, however dove tails are significantly more difficult to acheive as the cuts are angled and must fit perfectly. The box joint is not exactly a cop out. Although the cuts are straight (boxes), you still have to mirror your spacing. Yep, the top and bottom of my table are slightly smaller than designed because I messed that up.
The last piece, I wanted to walk out of there with was the Ligna chair, also teak, OK yes I really love teak…anyway, at least this one is in a dark brown lacquer, although a clear version is also available. I could see the clear ones as patio chairs. Check out the From the Source website for more information and their full furniture collections.
My two favorite companies that specialize in custom wood furniture are on the higher end side, Hudson furniture and BDDW. Here are some of my favorite pieces from Hudson. On a side note, if anyone wants to buy me the Atlantis chandelier – that would be fine by me. And I will work on getting the mansion to put it in.
While Hudson Furniture is elegant and sleek, there is something more rugged about the BDDW aesthetic. Although there are many options for beds with wood slab headboards, I love the BDDW slab bed the best. It features a sleek low slab of Live Edge Claro walnut and rests on the floor. And they couldn’t have shown the bed better than in this lofty space with exposed brick and paired with that quilted cowhide rug….I just want to walk right in to that space and relax.
OK, so I am becoming quite obsessed with retro stuff lately. A couple weekends ago, I went antiquing and found quite a few inspiring items. I could not stop thinking about the amazing black leather suitcase I found at the SOWA antiques market. After reading the blog, Antiquing for Men (yay, people are reading this thing), my friend wanted to check out the market. My friend spotted the molded plywood, mid-century modern chairs shown above. She asked if she should get them…I stopped dead in my tracks and said, ”absolutely”. They need to be reupholstered but otherwise are in great condition. West Elm carries their own almost identical version for 6 times the price. Now, technically, the West Elm chairs are on the low end. You are talking $679 to $1995 for an Eames molded plywood dining chair from Design Within Reach or Herman Miller. And original Eames and pieces from noted designers are even more up there considering their condition. So, needless to say, I am quite jealous that my friend saw those chairs first.
But the trip was not a loss for me…On our way out, I snagged the black suitcase, which I got for $50, originally priced at $68. I also picked up the “Fort Knox” tin bank, as I need to save my money these days. And it would be great to hand off to my kid some day. I am wondering, what I will use that suitcase for? I am still not sure…perhaps stacked with other trunks/suitcases as a coffee table. Or, I might take it on a short trip…it’s in great condition. Any ideas?
The P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, located in Long Island City, Queens hosts an annual competition for emerging architects to design a temporary installation in the courtyard. Programmatic requirements included providing areas for shade, use of water, and seating. MOS architects won this year for their entry, an urban shelter titled afterparty. I dragged my friend along to check out the installation and the P.S.1 galleries. While I must admit, I was not thrilled with the MOS entry, which my friend appropriately described as “furry mountains”. Sorry MOS. The plan was for the hut-like chimneys to create a cool breeze involving induction. I don’t recall feeling a breeze, only mist which just made me want to quickly leave the sheltered areas. While the exhibition didn’t take my breath away, the building, exhibits, and courtyard party definitely did.
Having never been to P.S.1 before I couldn’t wait to check out the space. P.S.1 or Public School No. 1 was originally built in 1893 and thrived as a school for decades before falling into disrepair in the 1960s. The Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc re-opened the building as an exhibition space in 1976. P.S.1 has undergone several renovations since its inception, the most major was in 1997. Despite the transformation of the interior spaces, the essence of the school it once was still remains. One of the most striking exhibits was Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool . Initially, one is lead to think that this is just an ordinary indoor pool. However when you look down, you can see other gallery visitors fully dressed in the pool. What I love is the simplicity of this illusion. The pool is empty with perhaps 2″ of water suspended at the top with a thin piece of acrylic. And from inside the pool, the experience is just as unsettling. The Leandro exhibit will be up through October 2009.
My friend and I spent quite some time meandering through the many galleries including ones in former classrooms. We unintentionally showed up at P.S.1 for Warm Up, their summer music series held on Saturdays. I loved that each time we emerged from an exhibit into the common areas, the silence was interrupted by the muffled pulsing beats of the DJ playing in the courtyard. Every space at P.S.1 was filled with some kind of activity. And there was something so wonderfully summer about people drinking beers, dancing, and enjoying the tunes. So stop in at P.S.1 while the summer lasts, the exhibition is up through September 14. For more information go to the P.S.1 website.
I was checking out one of favorite sites, Apartment Therapy for some inspiration for a project and what do I see? My roommate Emmy and I’s condo as an example for an article titled, “10 Tips: A Grown Up Home (for Less)” There are some of the same helpful hints I included in my article Small Space, Big Style including eliminating clutter and transforming the room with paint. I enjoyed other cost saving tips as well including shopping sales and creating decorative vignettes. And the tips on mixing it up were dead on - I detest spaces that resemble West Elm or IKEA catalogs. While their catalogs and showrooms can provide great inspiration, it is important to ensure that your space has an identity and reflects you and your sense of style. And never buy “sets” of furniture for the same reason. One of my clients is on a very strict budget and we purchased several things from IKEA but we are mixing it up with custom furniture and vintage finds. And my other favorite tip, is patience, I must admit that I am impatient myself – I have often caught myself saying, “I want it now!” However with home furnishings, I have learned that waiting can make a huge difference in grabbing a knock-off modern chair from Crate and Barrel to finding the real thing on craigslist, a yard sale, or at a antiques market. So, be patient with your space and make it reflect you. To see the full article on Apartment Therapy, click here.