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Season’s Greetings: Cards That Give Back

santa hat

Americans spend around $2 billion on Christmas holiday cards each year. Wouldn’t it be great if that amount could also go to help organizations ranging from animal shelters and art museums to international relief organizations and environmental groups? That’s where Cards That Give comes in. The site provides links to–and information about–more than 200 nonprofits that sell holiday cards to help fund their charitable work. Notes Houston-based founder Anne Furse, “If it were easy for individuals and businesses to buy their greeting cards from non-profit organizations, card sales could generate millions of dollars for worthy causes.”

Saks Fifth Avenue Decks the Halls with 3D-Printed Snowflakes by Marian Bantjes

printing snowflakesOh, the weather outside is frightful, but Saks Fifth Avenue’s latest holiday (and possibly last) collaboration with Marian Bantjes is so delightful. This year Makerbot and Mastercard join the mix, offering shoppers at Saks’ New York City flagship the chance to take home a 3D-printed snowflake.

Illustrated by Bantjes and printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 (pictured), the snowflakes are a gift with purchase for those who spend $150 on their Mastercard through December 24. Stop by to watch the Replicator work its magic Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Can’t make it to New York this holiday season? Bantjes’s work is just as entrancing in 2D. Pick up a copy of her stunning new monograph Pretty Pictures (Metropolis Books) and then buy five more as stocking stuffers.

Quote of Note | Will Cotton

cotton laduree“Macarons are the quintessential confectionery delight. In the macaron, the color, texture, and flavor become so much more than the sum of their parts. And since the flavors aren’t dictated by the cookies’ form, each one becomes a vessel of endless possibility for the most fantastic flavor imaginable.”

-Will Cotton, discussing his collaboration with Ladurée. The artist’s macaron flavor (think ginger-infused whipped cream) and box debuts this week in Miami at Art Basel Miami Beach.

A Polaroid a Day Keeps Your Schedule at Bay

polardarium

Give 2014 a retro twist with Poladarium, a tear-off calendar that offers a new Polaroid-snapped image every day. Flip over each page for the backstory: how the photo came about, what inspired it, and who the photographer is. The 365 Polaroids, printed with a glossy finish on special paper, were lovingly selected by the Karlsruhe, Germany-based Poladarium team from images submitted by photographers and friends of instant photography from around their world. Got Polaroids? They’re accepting entries for the 2015 calendar through December 19.

Swiss Spritz! Helvetica the Perfume ‘Smells Like Nothing’

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Now that the literal feasting of Thanksgiving is over, the retail gluttony can begin. We have a feeling that you’re eschewing “doorbuster deals” in favor of web-surfing your way to elegant gifts (that don’t require resorting to fisticuffs or even leaving your home), but what do you get for the design-minded person who has everything? The answer, of course, is nothing—in the form of Helvetica the Perfume.

Technically, it is two ounces of distilled water, but to the typographically savvy, it is the olfactory equivalent of Max Miedlinger and Eduard Hoffmann‘s sans-serif marvel: pure, modern, neutral, and profoundly Swiss. Decanted into a glass bottle labeled in 24-karat gold Helevtica Bold and tucked into a letterpressed box, the limited-edition fragrance is yours for $62 from Guts & Glory.
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It’s Here: Your 2014 Typography Calendar

2014typographycalendarOnly 60 calendar shopping days ’til 2014! Keeping track of time takes on a typographical twist with the 365 Typography Calendar, which sets each month in a different typeface. The calendar is the brainchild of Pentagram veteran Kit Hinrichs, who produces it through his San Francisco-based design office. “So many people, designers included, have no idea who designed the beautifully crafted typefaces that are very much a part of our everyday life,” he says. “I wanted to enable people to become more aware of type as a designed object.” The dozen typefaces celebrated in the 2014 edition were nominated by members of the illustrious Alliance Graphique Internationale, and in addition to holidays, the calendar notes the birthdays of the type designers along with their brief biographies or explanations of what inspired the design.

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Master Class: Seven Questions for Melanie Courbet, Founder of Atelier Courbet

Courbet Interior Shop
(Photos courtesy Atelier Courbet)

Melanie Courbet PortraitNew York’s latest design destination is Atelier Courbet, a new gallery and shop that brings together exquisite objects, furniture, textiles, and home accessories handpicked for their sublime old-school craftsmanship. In an age of touchscreens and disposable everything, many of these one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces combine traditional techniques with contemporary design. “Our intention is to highlight the revered talent behind every object,” says founder Melanie Courbet, who convinced renowned craftsmen Domeau & Pérès to make their stateside debut at Atelier Courbet. “We would like to inspire our clients to curate their home and their lifestyle based on the appreciation of the material and the details of their environment.” We asked Courbet to tell us more about the new venture, including its home in the historical Brewster Carriage House (located at the corner of Broome and Mott Streets) and some of her favorite straight-from-the-workshop pieces.

Why did you think that it was the right time to open this gallery and shop?
It was the right time in my life as I matured for seven years my relationships with most of the manufactures or craftsmen I represent today. On another note, I believe my desire to shift the focus to the master-craftsmanship over the design or creative aspects is a response to a context. Our market—like our global culture—shows a shift in the consumer’s behavior. There is a general trend at different levels of consumption that reflects a global desire to nurture a sense of community and connect with the makers behind our belongings or the goods we consume. Brand equity is now often built upon emotional connections with the provenance, a sense of cultural heritage and traditions. I hope for Atelier Courbet to convey that story and to allow for our clients to find that connect with each handmade piece presented.

What qualities unite the designers and companies represented at Atelier Courbet?
Atelier Courbet selects and represents master-craftsmen based on their abilities to fabricate for the contemporary art or design scene while carrying on a heritage, discipline and centuries-old techniques.

Atelier Courbet 1How did you come upon the Brewster Carriage House? Why did the building appeal to you?
It’s my friend’s building. He and I have similar visions and passions. It sounded natural and such a great fit for a gallery and shop focusing on master-craftsmanship and heritage to set the stage in a building that has that incarnation.

The Brewster Carriage Building goes back to the mid-nineteenth century when it used to house the famous carriage makers’ workshop. We kept the boilers doors as well as a carriage that was made here by the Brewster Company’s workers. Ross Morgan and I would like to make this corner a destination that stages both the heritage of the building, the neighborhood and selected centuries-old manufacturers from around the world. The Atelier Courbet and the Brewster Carriage Corner will become both a design gallery and a lifestyle shop.
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Andrew Galuppi and Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami ‘Bring the Globe Home’ in Online Tag Sale

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“I really got some crossed looks when I brought this Indonesian mask back from a trip overseas,” says Andrew Galuppi (at right). “I took up most of the overhead bins!”

CM_portraitsLooking to ward off the evil eye with a wedding Hamsa from North Africa, amass an instant collection of Japanese liquor bottles, or add a Moroccan Beni Ouran rug to your living room? These exotic treasures and many more are just a click away thanks to interior designer Andrew Galuppi and architect Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami. The pair have teamed up with flash sale site One Kings Lane for “Camera Mundi” an online tag sale that begins today.

The collection of homegoods, priced from $20 to $3,000, includes rugs, furniture, statuary, and other objects collected by Galuppi and Sardar-Afkhami during their travels around the world. “Every handcrafted item is infused with someone’s story—they probably were taught their skill by a long-lost relative and spent hours on each piece, and without the help of a machine,” says Galuppi, who travels to India every winter. “This is part of the world I like supporting, because each piece carries with it an energy and a real story that gets transferred to your home.” We asked the globe-trotting designers to tell us more about “Camera Mundi,” the objects in the sale, and where their worldly, contemporary aesthetic will take them next.

cm objects

How did you come to work with One King’s Lane?
Ahmad Sardar-Afkhani: One of my close friends, Nate Berkus, was doing a sale with another friend, Ethan Trask, who works at One Kings Lane. We began talking and he proposed I create a sale mostly with the rugs and textiles I have been collecting.

Andrew Galuppi: Ahmad didn’t want to do the sale all alone—it’s more fun with a friend—so he knew my apartment was stuffed to the rafters with bits and bobs and he thought the mixture of our two collections would create one great big exciting assortment…kinda like a crazy bazaar!

Tell us about the significance of the title, “Camera Mundi”?
Sardar-Afkhani: In Latin, it means “room of the world,” where objects from different historical and cultural backgrounds can be displayed next to each other. I’m all for this type of juxtaposition, where new meaning and beauty is derived from assemblages of objects that would otherwise have little in common.

Galuppi: In addition to what Ahmad has explained…I think that a lot of people have really well curated homes these days, and including an object from some far away place will add texture and personality to a space to make it really feel finished and unique. That’s where “camera mundi” comes into place: bringing the globe home.
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I Spy: New Museum Opens ‘Privacy Gift Shop’


An Anti-Drone Scarf, part of a collection of “stealth wear” by Adam Harvey in collaboration with Johanna Bloomfield.

A temporary store for stuff designed to help users evade detection? Such is the lowdown pop-up now operating at New York’s New Museum, which has given over its ground-level selling space to the Privacy Gift Shop. Stop in through September 22 to stock up on clothing and accessories that protect against various methods of surveillance.

Designed by artist Adam Harvey and fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield, the “stealth wear” on offer includes a metallized silk scarf (inspired by Muslim dress) that protects against thermal imaging surveillance, a dollar bill-sized wallet insert made of copper fabric to thwart would-be RFID skimmers, and an optical character recognition-resistant version of the iconic “I ♥ NY” t-shirt.
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Stylish Sleeping Bags for Urban Overnighters

Just in time for Labor Day weekend voyages, writer Nancy Lazarus surveyed the market for sleeping bags and got a sneak peek at the back-to-nature themes, trends, and colors that will be setting up camp come 2015.


Spoon-shaped sleeping bags from Dover, New Hampshire-based NEMO.

From the American Museum of Natural History’s Night at the Museum-fueled all-nighters to the recent “Citi Field Sleepover,” where 400 fans plopped down their tents and sleeping bags to watch a jumbotron broadcast of a New York Mets’ road-game, the sleepover isn’t just for middle schoolers anymore. Soon the age-old question of what to wear will be replaced by what sleeping bag to bring, so UnBeige went on a hunt for suitable choices.

While sleeping bag options for children abound, stylish adult sleeping bags for urban use are in short supply. Adult sleeping bags have mainly been designed for serious camping excursions. More innovations have been introduced in shapes and materials than in colors and technology, as detailed below. We’ve added a few suggestions regarding upcoming colors and patterns based on StyleSight’s spring and summer 2015 preview, to give enterprising designers something to sleep on.
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