I enjoy reading Sarah Elsie Baker's book "Retro Style: Class, Gender, and Design in the Home," which treats retro interiors with the integrity they deserve. As they have come to the fore in recent years as a highly desirable and valuable branch of interior design, the emergence of a need for decorative objects and vintage furniture has resurrected retro style and placed it firmly as a key trend of contemporary design. Baker uses original ethnographic research from retro retailers, enthusiasts, designers and media professionals when exploring the positive and negative side of the style.
At the upcoming Collecting Design Fair, Nick Kilner will be presenting this pair of chairs by Italian designer Nanda Vigo as well as other examples of objects created in mid-century Italy. Tomorrow, he will speak about Vigo and other Italian designers, highlighting the material he will be showing at Collective in my program Collecting Design at the NY School of Interior Design. Vigo, who opened her atelier in Milan in 1959 and who is active to this day, has exhibited her designs in many galleries and museums. She is particularly known for using glass, mirrors and neon lights and for her collaboration with Gio Ponti and Lucio Fontana.
I was thrilled to hear that Moderne, a design gallery specializing in Studio Furniture, is opening the first comprehensive overview show of designer/craftsman David Ebner, one of the most ambitious and accomplished figures of the Movement today. It was at Moderne Gallery, that I was first introduced to Ebner's work by its founder Bob Aibel whose commitment to promoting, preserving, and disseminating the knowledge on the Studio Furniture Movement I admire.
The large-scale steel sculptures of American sculptor Richard Serra is so architectural, that its not surprising that he has won the Architectural League of New York's 2014 President's Medal. It is the highest honor by the League, honoring extraordinary work in architecture, urbanism, art and design. Among recipients of the award in the past are Richard Meier, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Renzo Piano. Serra's latest work, "East-West/West-East" is consisted of four steel plates in the middle off the Qatari desert.
Scattered cushions have become key elements in sofa design in the past two years. They come in a variety of shapes, round, square, oval, but what defines the new direction, is certainly the way they appear in different sizes and colors, enable the consumer to arrange and rearrange them to optimize comfort.
Hans Hollein, who died this week in Vienna was one of the leading figures in the revolt against modernism in the 60s. He became internationally known with the Retti Candleshop, a small candle boutique in Vienna, but his Postmodernist buildings such as the Austrian Embassy in Berlin, the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and the Albertina Museum extension in Vienna brought him the Pritzker Prize in 1985. Hollein also designed products and furniture, including a tea and coffee service in the form of an aircraft carrier for Alessi, and furniture for the Memphis group.
"Be Original" is a non-profit organization committed to initiating discussion on the importance of preserving original design across North America through information, education and influence. It comes to instill the notion that knockoffs are nothing like the originals, that an original is worth much more than a copy, that those who really love design won’t live with copies, and that those creating design should be protected.
For us, New Yorkers, opportunities to see the art of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood are so rare. So I am excited about the upcoming show at the Metropolitan Museum that comes to showcase the work of those talented visionaries who sought to revitalize mid-nineteenth-century British painting by rejecting academic convention. This exhibition will highlight the second wave of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, lead by Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who created not only paintings and drawings, but also furniture, textiles, and illustrated books.
My visit to the Cassina showroom in SoHo yesterday could not have been more enjoyable, as I was generously hosted by the VP of Poltrona Frau Group North America, Federico Materazzi and the showroom’s director Gian Enduluz. I loved the new editions of furniture by Charlotte Perriand, the Franco Albini's Veliero bookcase and the story behind stabilizing this extraordinary piece of furniture, and the fantastic Doge table by Carlo Scarpa, which like all of the other designs by this mid-century Italian architect can be described as an expression of perfection.
What a magical night it was at the 42nd annual dinner of Kips Bay, celebrating its upcoming Decorator Show House at Cipriani last night. Thank you, Brian, J. McCarthy and Danny Sager, for including me in your table and for the great company that included ceramic dealer Jason Jacques, design editor Linda O'Keeffe, and decorators Michael Simon and Joanne DePalma. The award was given to Ralph Pucchi for his cutting edge design showrooms.