Mark Bazer (my husband) hosts a monthly live talk show at The Hideout the first Friday of every month, and this Friday, April 1, he’s got Larry Vodak, owner of the Andersonville vintage furniture shop Scout...
I can’t remember the last time a store opening has generated this much excitement in Chicago...
My husband sometimes accompanies me to showroom openings, various design events, and parties. So when he told me that the spouse of his haircutter was throwing a bash to celebrate the opening of his showroom, of course I was in. Trainor Design Center, located on Lake Street, focuses on all things glass—sliding doors, backsplashes, countertops, stairs, walls that kids can write on. I liked the colored glass-fronted cabinets like the red one shown here. It was fun to see all the applications for glass, and to finally meet the woman who helps make my curly-headed man so handsome.
This is your official warning never to trash a piece of furniture found in your basement or inherited from an elderly aunt. A new breed of designer is turning classic shapes into modern pieces by changing up the finishes and fabrics. Recovered Interior, an enterprise run by 7-year-old Harrington Design School grad Kylie Egge...
Last week we stopped by the grand opening of Ashley & Sloane, a new showroom just west of downtown packed with wonderful French and English antiques and reproductions. Betsy Karp, who started Vintage Pine years ago...
I was lucky enough to attend a lunch at
Luminaire with design royalty recently. The event was in honor of Naoto Fukasawa, one of the world’s most important designers of everyday objects. Luminaire was kicking off an exhibit of Fukasawa’s work. Seated next to me was the delightful Nargis Kassamali, who, with her husband, Nasir, founded Luminaire in 1974 in Miami in a 500-square-foot space. It grew to 4,500-square-feet within two years, and the couple has since opened other showrooms in Florida and Chicago. Fukasawa, who has worked with companies such as B&B Italia, Magis, Artemide, Boffi, and Vitra, and who has won scores of design awards, led a tour of the exhibit, which is on the third floor of Luminaire until the end of July. His elegant designs (my favorite is the elegant humidifier shown here) are based on his careful examination of how people use items. "Good design means not leaving traces of the designer and not overworking the design," he has said. The exhibit contains items representative of Fukasawa's work from the beginning of his studio in 2003. Luminaire sells many of his designs, including all of his work for Boffi, B&B Italia, Magis, Artek and more. Fukasawa's items for Boffi (the tub and basins pictured here) remain popular with Luminaire clients, as does his furniture for B&B Italia. If you haven’t been to Luminaire lately, here’s a good reason to stop by.
No self-respecting lover of fun and/or design would miss Morlen Sinoway’s annual truck fair, featuring U-Hauls backed up onto the loading docks surrounding
Sinoway’s gallery. The trucks are filled with furniture, accessories, and decorative objects by independent Chicago designers. There’s good (free!) beer and a deejay, and the whole thing turns into one big street party. This year several other groups are holding events the same evening in the area: Object Society, Strand Design, Object Design League, and Studio Murmur. We’ll see you there Tuesday, starting at 5:30!
Interiors and product designer and head of New York-based
Aero Studios Thomas O’Brien gave a great talk last Friday at the Merchandise Mart promoting his new book, . Jan Parr and I (along with one of our contributors, Tate Gunnerson who wrote a nice synopsis of the lecture American Modern here were all very taken with one line in particular: “Everything was modern in its own time.” This sort of historical perspective is what makes O’Brien such an interesting designer—and person. He talked a lot about contextualization, or thinking about a home’s age when decorating it. In his Long Island house, a converted boys’ academy that was built in the 1830s, he tried to create a kitchen that felt like it could have been around during the home’s younger years (say, in the ’20s) and he consciously collects artifacts from that era as well, such as books published the year the house was built. I also liked seeing how his personal decorating style has evolved. At one point, his Manhattan condo was pristine, cream, and rather minimal. Very sophisticated, but not particularly daring. Then, he decided to embrace clutter and non-conformity, moving his bed into the living room and covering every surface with art and memorabilia. It’s refreshing to see that designers, too, sometimes need time to come out of their shells and live in a way that feels true to them.
Photos courtesy of aerostudios.com.
Jonathan Adler, the king of happy chic, stopped by his eponymous Chicago shop and threw a swanky little soiree last week. He sold and signed 84 pieces of pottery and 10 books in two hours. He was wearing his new Jonathan Adler/7 Jeans collection, sipping a cocktail from his new line of paper goods, and shaking hands with his fans, including a few who drove in from Peoria. I caught up with him the morning after.
Welcome back to Chicago. What do you think of our city?
People are just nicer here. Seems like less stress. In New York everybody has an agenda, here they are just living life. The architecture is so groovy. I fantasize about a Mies apartment on a terrifyingly high floor with arresting views on the lake. Oh, and The Art Institute, please!
Are you monogram obsessed?
In this super-clutter mass world, everything that cranks up the personalization is alright with me. I strive to make memorable items that heirs with fight over. We’re special. I have a desire for specialness in what I make.
What’s with all the whales?
Who doesn’t love a whale? Such a beloved sea mammal with cultural resonance, and their shape is nifty. They evoke a preppy patrician too.
Are you preppy? Not authentically. I dig the look and accouterment of preppydom and old money W.A.S.P.s. But I am proud to be a nouveau-riche Jew.
The Union Jack gets saluted lots in your collections, what’s up with that?
I am a raging Anglophile. It’s a nifty, mod icon. Rare that you can find something so graphic and recognizable that you can play around with—I love toying with the colors graphically and culturally.
What’s new at JA?
Nifty new pots, pillows. The baby line, Jonathan Adler Junior. I have two new books coming out as part of a series: Happy Chic Color and Happy Chic Accessories. Neat how-to’s with nifty pics.
—Barri Leiner Grant
I had a lot of fun helping to judge
The Painted Lady’s design contest, in which customers entered photos of their living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. We saw some great stuff, and it’s inspiring to see how non-professionals take their homes seriously. Cindy Rand’s dining room, shown here, was a winner. See the others on The Painted Lady’s Facebook page.