Archtober is nearly upon us, and the designtastic autumnal fun gets off to an urbane start with City Modern, celebrating the best in New York design and architecture. Now in its second year, the collaboration between Dwell Media and New York magazine kicks off next Friday with a Meet the Architects celebration, followed by a weekend of City Modern home tours in Manhattan and Brooklyn (the one pictured at right is “Skyhouse,” a project by architect David Hotson and interior designer Ghislaine Viñas that occupies a previously vacant four-story space at the tippy-top of one of the oldest surviving skyscrapers in NYC). The week continues with programming led by New York design editor Wendy Goodman and Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron, including a sure-to-be-stimulating conversation among Paola Antonelli of MoMA, the one and only Michael Bierut, and architecture critic Justin Davidson about “What Design can Do For New York City.” Get the full scoop on all eight event-packed days here.
Shanan Campanaro brings the soul of an artist and the sharp eye of a fashion-savvy graphic designer to Eskayel, a collection of custom wallcoverings that has rapidly expanded into fabrics, rugs, and decorative products such as enchanting pillows, scarves, and stationery. Educated at Central St Martins, Brooklyn-based Campanaro developed Eskayel’s distinctive style—painterly and organic yet contemporary and at times downright futuristic—by mixing the handmade and the digitally manipulated. She uses watercolors and soluble watercolor pens to create paintings, scans them, and then plays around with their pixels. This week marks the launch of “Cosmos” (pictured below), a collection of starry, outer space-inspired patterned pillows made in collaboration with ABC Home. She talked with us about the out-of-this-world pillows, the origins of Eskayel, and how she keeps the company’s products eco-friendly.
How did you begin Eskayel?
I made some wallpaper for my house out of a design from one of my paintings, and then decided to try and make a whole collection and enter into a design show in Brooklyn.
Environmental responsibility is an important aspect of Eskayel—has that commitment been challenging to sustain as your business has grown?
Well, we are so committed to staying as green as possible that it just means certain things that might make our product less expensive or more commercially viable are off-limits. For example, producing overseas or using vinyl. There are a ton of innovations in technology that have come along that have made things easier for us. Because of these innovations, our contract paper is recycled and the paper substrate with the contract requirements is a relatively new product. Also, the latex digital printers which use water-based inks and have the durability of solvent printers (which off-gas, and have not been an option for us in the past) have really expanded our capabilities.
How did the collaboration with ABC Home come about?
We met buyers from ABC several years ago at ICFF [the International Contemporary Furniture Fair], but it really all started when Paulette Cole, the owner, saw our Poolside collection at ICFF in 2012. The standard Eskayel line was selling well, so they wanted some exclusive patterns for ABC from us, so we designed the Cosmos collection for them and collaborated on furniture. The Cosmos collection ships today, so it should be in stores any moment!
Are even tinier apartments the answer to better accommodating the emerging housing needs of major cities? An exhibition at the Museum of City of New York suggests as much, and the “live smarter and smaller” theme seems to be resonating—the popular show on new housing models has been extended to September 15. We asked writer Nancy Lazarus to head over to the museum’s fully built “micro unit” and make herself at home.
About thirty curious visitors filed into a 325-square-foot full-scale studio apartment model on a recent Friday afternoon. The occasion wasn’t a real estate open house, but a chance to experience a highly touted micro-unit called “The Launch Pad.”
The furnished model (pictured above) serves as the centerpiece of “Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers,” an exhibition on view through September 15 at the Museum of the City of New York. Amie Gross Architects and interior designer Pierluigi Colombo, founder of Resource Furniture, collaborated on the unit’s design.
Architectural models and design solutions from New York and selected cities worldwide are also showcased. These coincide with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiative to offer more affordable, though smaller-scale, housing options for the growing ranks of single city residents.
An open ambience prevailed inside the micro-unit, not claustrophobia, as skeptical attendees may have expected. They soon learned key elements for optimizing space from Jeffrey Phillip, an organizing pro who specializes in blending style and efficiency.
“We all struggle with living in small spaces, but small spaces are also grand spaces,” Phillip said. He showed visuals to illustrate the advice he offers to space-challenged clients. While a few concepts were conventional, others were counterintuitive. Some mini spaces benefit more from design makeovers.
Slumbering Lepidoptera for the win! A vaguely ectoplasmic, creamed pistachio hue known as “Chrysalis” has triumphed over a highly pigmented field of finalists to win Farrow & Ball’s “My Colour” contest, in which fans of the quirky-luxe purveyor of paint and wallcoverings submitted inspired and inspirational colors that would play nice with the likes of F&B’s “Elephant’s Breath” and “Churlish Green.”
The celadon-meets-Slimer shade emerged at the top of a field of some 800 entries, narrowed to 20 impressive finalists that included colors such as “Jodhpur Blue” (think Yves Klein goes to India!) and “Federal Pink,” a complexion-enhancing match for the rosy newsprint favored by the Financial Times. “It is a beautiful grey/green shade, almost shagreen, which makes a lovely modern neutral,” says winner Samantha Mansell, who will receive 10 gallons of paint in Chrysalis, inspired by the pupa casing of the monarch butterfly. “The sculptural shape of the chrysalis with its gold details also makes it look like a precious piece of jewelry. Natural, stunning, and simple.”
“The Wrights preached practicality over the ‘total absurdity of the Old Dream,’ and no place was riper for implementing their vision than ‘The Vanishing Dining Room.’ Conceding that, to ‘a reader accustomed to a room devoted only to dining, with fixed and formal furniture, we may seem to have done frightening and unstabilizing things,’ the Wrights’ iconoclastic solutions included placing the dining table on lockable casters, so that it could be rolled next to the sink for clearing after the meal; using disposable paper plates and cups to eliminate part of the dishwashing chores, upholstering chairs in plasticized materials, and streamlining meals to limit the number of dishes and utensils needed—no more soup to open dinner, followed by salad, a garnished roast, and dessert; the one-dish, freezer-to-oven-to-table-casserole was king. Some of these suggestions have stood the test of time. Others have been dropped or modified to marry convenience with convention and aesthetics, although the rolling dining table, however intelligent, will always evoke images of Marx Brothers mishaps.”
-Culinary historian Cathy Kaufman on Russel and Mary Wright‘s 1950 Guide to Easier Living in “The Vanishing Dining Room,” an article that appears in the latest issue of Vintage Magazine
Up with upholstery! In a move that makes us want to recover all of our furniture in a hazy wool that is simultaneously ethereal and sweatshirtesque, Design Within Reach has launched a proprietary textile program. The nine textiles in 42 colorways, which debuted online and in DWR studios this week, range from a creamy cotton twill and a broad weave that plays well with saturated brights to a moody ducale wool and a textured, tiger lily-toned take on post-industrial recycled polyester. Seven of the fabrics, including a smart lama tweed, come from a family-run mill in Italy, while the aforementioned dreamy wool melange and eco-friendly textiles are all-American, made by Maharam, which was acquired by Herman Miller in April.
The crew at mediabistroTV took their cameras inside the multiple-floored space occupied by Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal in Midtown Manhattan’s News Corporation building.
Hosted by Wendy Bounds,Wall Street Journal editor and host of WSJ’s video offering “Lunch Break,” the guys were greeted by one of the legendary standing receptionists, got as close to a Pulitzer Prize as they’re ever going to get, took a color-toned glimpse into the paper’s past with wall sized silkscreens of old newsroom photos and managed not to end up as gossip fodder on the twitter page of the lobby’s chandelier.
You can view our other MediabistroTV productions on our YouTube Channel.
Architectural Digest recently took over the New York Design Center for “AD Loves,” a celebration of favorite finds from the 16-story, 500,000-square-foot to-the-trade design mecca. We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to scout the showrooms for some standout pieces.
Philip Nimmo’s Mattonella Fire Screen, available through Profiles at the New York Design Center.
Decorative screens provide high visual appeal and a measure of privacy in an era when the verb ‘screen’ is more commonly associated with preventing unwanted phone calls, emails, online, and TV ads. Whether one, two, or three panels, screens serve those living in tight spaces and others with open lofts to partition—and fireplaces aren’t required. At a recent event showcasing Architectural Digest’s favorite finds from the New York Design Center, we spotted a few notable screens perched in the showrooms.
Mattonella Fire Screen (Profiles showroom)
Philip Nimmo designed this single-panel fire screen that stands three feet high. Made of wrought iron with an array of optional finishes, it features a pomegranate-shaped design with tempered glass globs that resemble large seeds.
Philip Nimmo’s Goccia Fire Screen, available through Profiles at the New York Design Center.
Goccia Fire Screen (Profiles)
This double-panel fire screen is another Nimmo creation. The abstract design is highlighted with glass rondels in the shapes and colors of citrus fruits.
“They kind of exist at the spiritual center of our lives, really,” says Dave Kapell of refrigerator magnets. And he should know. The Minneapolis-based musician-slash-inventor is the founder of Magnetic Poetry, which has sold over three million kits (that’s more than a billion word tiles) worldwide. Faith Salie chatted up Kapell and more magnet magnates–including Louise Greenfarb, who made the Guinness Book of Records for owning the most refrigerator magnets in the world (45,000, but who’s counting?)–for this recent CBS Sunday Morning segment, which concludes by considering the bane of magnet lovers everywhere: the stainless steel fridge.
David Rockwell has parlayed a knack for creating “immersive environments” into a discipline-shattering firm that can move seamlessly from designing luxury hotels and the set for the Academy Awards to reinventing playgrounds and dreaming up some damn fine rugs. We asked writer Nancy Lazarus to immerse herself in all things Rockwell when the man himself took the stage last week as a keynoter at Internet Week New York.
Treading the boards, on treadmills. The “abstracted collage of a factory” created by Rockwell Group for the musical adaptation of the 2005 British film Kinky Boots.
David Rockwell gave a whirlwind tour of selected design projects during a session at Internet Week in New York. The Rockwell Group founder offered insight into how his firm’s interactive design LAB operates as they solve design dilemmas for clients in the worlds of hospitality, travel, and theatre. He also previewed pending assignments.
Rockwell observed that as his career progressed, technology has taken center stage. “The technology lab is embedded in my firm, and my work now with the lab is the most exciting. It engages technology to connect people more in real-time.” From the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas to the JetBlue terminal at New York’s JFK airport to the set design for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, Rockwell has incorporated technology and choreography-focused designs. Below are his comments on selected projects.
On the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas:
“The promise of Las Vegas is of a place that reinvents itself, but in reality that’s not true, since visitors can’t move freely,” said Rockwell. “The hotel lobby was fourteen feet high and had massive Egyptian-style columns. Our designers worked to dematerialize the walls in an open-source way so people would have a different experience each time they entered. The casino, unlike others in Vegas, was vertical, so we blew a forty-square-foot hole through the podium.”
Rockwell Group used an “environmental choreography system and created a hall of images in the hotel lobby, to allow more personal interaction.” The effect has been “somewhat hypnotic”, though the hotel would prefer visitors to linger in the casino, he noted.