Anyone who has ever walked through Luminaire or Orange Skin is familiar with the Italian furniture maker Moroso’s look, whether they realize it or not, I’m certamente of that. The company collaborates with such internationally acclaimed designers as Ron Arad, Patricia Urquiola, Tord Boontje, and Konstantin Grcic to produce teeth-clenchingly-chic space-age chairs, sofas, and accessories that it sells through high-end dealers around the world — quite a leap from when it was founded in 1952 as an upholstery workshop in Udine, Italy. To celebrate the 60-year journey, current art director Patrizia Moroso (responsible for shaking things up style-wise when she joined the firm in the mid-1980s) called on her longtime amico David Rockwell and his Rockwell Group, an award-winning hospitality and retail design firm with occasional forays into Broadway (Hairspray!) and Hollywood (The Academy Awards!) set design, to design a traveling anniversary exhibition. (Rockwell is also developing a Moroso line, set to debut in Milan in 2012.) Chicago’s on the tour schedule, and the Italo-pop-up debuts at the Sax hotel December 7 and 8. Stop by the free exhibit of more than 25 significant pieces and an abbondanza of drawings, photos, and histories, 12–4:30 both days, or do it up La Dolce Vita style at prosecco and antipasti evening receptions, 6–9 (also free, but RSVP to email@example.com, with your choice of Wednesday or Thursday night, per favore).
Unwrap Wicker Park Bucktown
The Wicker Park and Bucktown Chamber of Commerce have a December passport savings promotion going on this month called Unwrap WPB, and it’s kicking off tomorrow night with a 6–8 p.m. party at the Flat Iron Arts Building (1579 North Milwaukee Avenue) as part of the First Friday events. Here’s the dealio: Pick up a free passport of coupons at the reception, any of the 56 participating stores, spas, and restos, or online, and cash them in through December 24. Some players homies might want to visit include Stitch, Pistil & Vine florists, the Jackson Junge Gallery, and Goddess & Grocer.
With all the events going on there this weekend, West Town is going to be wild fun for all ages, from baby hipsters to octogenarian insiders. The majority of the action is happening on Division Street between Leavitt and Milwaukee, from 11–6 on Saturday and Sunday. For Do Division there will be free horse-drawn carriages carting visitors around to local businesses, where discounts, deals, musical and theatrical performances, and hot cocoa will be doled out liberally. Oh and don’t avoid eye contact with all the strolling elves and Santas — if you say hello, they’ll give you coupons. The other big element of the weekend is the 6th annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale, with more than 150 artists selling wares at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse (1419 West Blackhawk Street). I’m not a bit afraid of these skeletons on No Tengo Miedo’s ceramic pieces—I’ve seen Amanda Barr’s elegant and minimal work at Renegade exhibits before, and I dig the Ames, Iowa, potter a lot.
For holiday decorating inspiration, head over the river and through the woods to Sawbridge Studios this Saturday, December 3, from noon till four. Designers have created five themed tablescapes (Hanukkah, Christmas, NYE, etc.) using basic Sawbridge furniture staples embellished with easy-to-find items, and each display will be paired with gratis sweets including triple chocolate brownies, glazed macaroons, chocolate chip banana bread, and carrot cake from Lake Forest’s Hungry Monkey Baking Company. (Don’t worry, PajamaJeans go up to 3X these days!) Tableaux remain up through the end of the year.
Griffins & Gargoyles Knocks It Off
It’s always fun to poke around the maze of rooms and two floors at Kelly Donovan’s Lincoln Square antiques store, Griffins & Gargoyles (2140 West Lawrence Avenue). Since 1975, the shop’s been bringing the European furniture, the custom pine reproductions, and the quirky (think rocking horses, Egyptian windows, and rustic carpenter’s benches…funny, I’ve yet to see a griffin or a gargoyle there…). Through December everything in the store is discounted 20%.
If you want it to look a lot like Christmas, drop by the holiday open house at Honquest’s flagship store in Barrington Saturday, December 3, from 1–4. Interior designer Linda Wencek from Bountiful Home is schlepping in elaborately dressed life-sized Santas and a collection of other Xmas embellishments, and there will be a wreath raffle (say that fast ten times!) and light snacks.
Photograph: (West Town Unwrapped) Courtesy of rep3.com