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November 21, 2005

Color Your Kitchen

Alessi_corkskrew_2No, it's not part of your child's Fisher Price food 'n play set. It's Alessi’s colorful mix of kitchen products.

From the iconic Anna G. Corkscrew (also known as the wonder Alessi_magic_bunny_toothpick_holder_2woman of bottle openers) and her family of bright, modern kitchen aides, to the child-inspired Magic Bunny Toothpick Holder, these products prove that stainless isn't your only option for contemporary cooking.

Looking for a fun, colorful gift for the culinary genius in your life? Check out the Abs Kitchen Alessi_kitchen_time_1Timer.

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November 18, 2005

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Upside_down_christmas_tree_2Each year, as Christmas rolls around, do you find yourself saying "There's just no room for a tree"? Well worry no longer. Dating back to the 7th century Central European tradition of hanging your tree from the ceiling, a pre-lit fir is making it possible to pile mounds of presents in the tiniest of spaces.

Like a scene from Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, this upside down tree was originally manufactured for retail stores to display ornaments while minimizing floor space. Perfect for keeping children and pets from delicate tree decor, this twist on the traditional will surely add holiday cheer to your home or office. 

Ranging in size from 7 to 7.5 feet, and covered with hundreds of clear lights, this festive gem is quickly selling out. Shop Bizrate to order yours now!

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November 17, 2005

Disneyland, LegoLand, Mercedes-Benz World

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Ahh yes, Mercedes-Benz World is expected to open in Stuttgart in 2006. More than an ode to the Mercedes and its history, which the venerable company now has in its current museum, Mercedes-Benz World is so big, it must be considered as the sum of three parts: the New Mercedes-Benz Museum; the Mercedes-Benz Center; and the company’s original plant in Untertürkheim.

Designed by Amsterdam-based architects UN Studio van Berkel & Bos, Mercedes-Benz World will echo the shapes and undulations of the surrounding Stuttgart landscape in metallic form. The Museum’s helix shape will span nine levels and will create for the visitor a separate tour through each spiral. Visitors can roam the museum to discover great moments in Mercedes history or explore the five exhibition rooms dedicated to masterpieces of the automotive world.

Mercedes-Benz World is sure to be a destination for motor-heads and design aficionados who savor the links between a great design and its function.

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November 16, 2005

Here Comes the... Home Decor?

Known primarily for her modern take on sophisticated bridal apparel, Vera Wang is now conquering the Vera_wang_salad_bowl_4world of home decor with a line of China, stemware, barware, trays, bowls and more.

Created for the modern bride, Vera Wang's collection has become a staple of not only bridal registries [three of the top ten best-selling bridal registry China patterns are Vera_wang_martini_glass_4  from Vera Wang Home], but of wish lists for all who love clean, contemporary living.

In 2004, Vera Wang Home had yet another addition - Silver and Gifts - making silver more modern with flatware, coffee sets, frames, candlesticks and beyond.

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November 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Eva Zeisel

Possess1184Modern ceramicist Eva Zeisel turned 99 this week, and she is still regaled by the simple, useful, playful designs that have been with her since she was a little girl.

Zeisel still owns and still loves the Biedermeier spittoons that were "always filled with flowers" in her childhood home in Budapest. She displays them on doilies among a collection of her own curvaceous, cream-colored designs. Although they're wooden, the spittoons are a great example of Zeisel's own work. They're warm. curvy, and able to be used in a variety of ways. Zeisel's Town and Country and Classic Century collections are gravy boats, serving bowls, creamers, and sugar bowls as easily as they become vases and sculptural accessories.

As David Colman from "The New York Times" wrote:

That the unpretentious Biedermeier took the stuffing out of the severe and sophisticated Directoire and Empire styles forever endeared it to Ms. Zeisel. This is a woman, after all, whose graceful, playful china - perhaps the most beautiful done in the Modernist style - made good design democratic and knocked the uptight designs of Germany's Bauhaus off their cerebral pedestal.

Picture by Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times.

-Thanks to Kaitlin Palmieri

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Gift of Christmas Future?

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It seems more akin to Halloween than Christmas to tease you with a treat -- and then tell you it doesn't exist -- yet. But when this mobil-comm device does, chances are it will be on every teens wish list.

Tamer Nakisci, a 23-year old designer from Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, was the 1st place winner in the annual Nokia Benelux Design Awards. He conceptualized a phone that morphed into varying forms -- by "using" futuristic materials as liquid batteries, speech recognition, flexible touchscreen and touch-sensitive body cover. In addition to his winning design, Nakisci opined a winning designer's attitude: "'The perfect form' does not exist," he said. "We create a perfect form for every single function." Indeed.

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November 11, 2005

Design Mail

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Short of strutting around town with an iPod extremity and clutching, along with an Apple G5, a collegiate-league book on Dutch design, the only place to exhibit a refined modern sensibility is in the home. But, often, the expense of great design prohibits even modern's most ardent enthusiasts from owning their favorite pieces.

With the MoMA's Objects of Design postcards, though, showing and sharing a love for good design is as easy as a 23 cent stamp. The postcards revel in the genius of the Rubik's Cube and the wing-like design of the Eames La Chaise, and, they're on sale now at Crate and Barrel's offshoot CB2 for a mere $9.95. That's quite a deal for 50 examples of some of the world's best design from Art Nouveau to today.


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Ducduc Design

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The game Duck Duck goose has had generations of children shrieking in surprise and running in circles. We think the game's endurance has something to do with its simplicity and fun, two qualities we see in the children's furniture (soon textiles and accessories too) company ducduc.

And ducduc has a commitment to endurance that shows in the materials it uses for its furniture and its attitude. Ducduc uses hardwood and works with an environmentalist's eye toward sustainability and regrowth. This is a company with a conscious, (it’s donating 10% of its profits this year to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other Katrina relief efforts) and a sense of style with its childlike imagination.

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November 09, 2005

Sagaponac rising

This month Houses at Sagaponac is launching two new homes - the Cobb House from Pei Cobb Freed and Partners and the Selldorf House from Selldorf Architects.

Sagaponac_cobb_houseSituated on 1.3 acres of densely wooded land, the Cobb House is 3,600 square feet (plus 500 sq ft of basement) of modern tranquility. Constructed of two separate pavilions, a living/dining area with bedroom suites, and a studio with service quarters, the home is connected by a garden and enclosed walkway that allows the contents to flow into each other. The pool in this 3 bedroom, 3 bath home is overlooked by a wide veranda located in front of glass walls and a central fireplace.

The Selldorf House at 3,100 square feet (plus 700 sq ft ofSagaponac_sellorf_house basement) transformed an unattractive overgrown lot into a complex structure intertwining both the  exterior and interior elements. Composed of exterior rooms, the house's first story is situated around a courtyard to connect the foyer, kitchen, living and dining rooms, bringing the garden and home together as one.

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Nicole Miller Furniture for Excelsior

Nicole

Fashion designers bring their style and fan-base to modern furniture with surprising results.

At Excelsior, the much anticipated Nicole Miller line debuted at the Fall High Point Furniture Market under four huge, ceiling-mounted plasmas playing Miller's latest runway show. Press kits and marketing materials included Nicolemiller_1sleek glossy booklets of models strutting the catwalk in her newest designs. At the show, Miller wore a fitted amethyst colored print jacket she'd created from one of the over 300 swatches available for her designs (Pictured above with PURE CONTEMPORARY's Caroline Barry). Unfortunately, that's where the link between her fashion and her furniture ended.

The bold green on white batik prints that permeated Miller's runway line were nowhere to be seen in the more staid world of her furniture. Tailored, sophisticated shapes though, run through her furniture as well as they do her clothes.  The Accent chest (about $3,199) of two tiered layers in mocha colored lacquer sits atop curvaceous antique brass legs creating a look of Hollywood glamour. With feminine curves and rounded peg-like, fifties style legs, the dining room buffet (about $3,449 - $4,299) might be equally at home in a bedroom as a dressing table.

The collection is not, Miller told us, a true reflection of what is in her own home (she chooses French pieces from the 1950s), except when it comes to the hardware.

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