Real or fake? Appraisal being something of a way of life, this question is applied to almost everything nowadays from memoir writers, TV shows and handbags, along with its more traditional subjects like body parts, bacon bits, and bling. The understanding is always that real is better, preferred, and ideal. And, sometimes it is. But with the holiday season upon us, this seems a perfect time to celebrate an authenticity not of pretty objects and entertainment, but of feelings, words and actions. And conversely, to appreciate the sly value of the blatantly, shamelessly unreal, the charmingly sincere fake that does not seek to deceive. In that spirit, here’s the following fake trees, ranging from tabletop to full size, as an invitation to rethink what makes something “a good fake.”
In the words of the band Blonde Redhead: Fake can be just as good
Felt Trees from CB2
The clean lines and spare profile of these soft conical wonders from CB2 add a decorative touch without any fussiness.
Mini Ornament Tree from Crate and Barrel
If all you really want is to show off your ornament collection, then maybe all that greenery is just in the way. This tiny ornament tree with its scrolled hooks for ornaments is an ideal way to showcase beloved favorites so they don’t get lost in the branches.
This German import featuring a rendition of the humble bottle brush elevates the mundane to the celebratory and was designed by Kuno Prey, a professor at the Free University of Bolzano in Italy.
Why is it that so many trends in fashion can be traced back to starting in home interiors? We’ve seen it in the nautical/maritime trend: anchor andirons, blown glass buoys woven in rope, and porthole window mirrors all leading the way for pea coats and French sailor shirts.
Stores like Urban Outfitters and Topshop have taken the taxidermy trend of stag’s heads and horns and turned them into screen prints on t-shirts and button-fronts. Sheepskin rugs, first thrown over chair backs and on hardwood floors, have been transformed into puffy sheepskin vests and bolero jackets.
Given this tendency, it shouldn’t take a crystal ball or visit to the local psychic to have forecasted today’s Navajo textiles trend. This interiors trend was first revealed to me last year during my visit to HD Buttercup in LA’s Culver City region. These European, handcrafted trunks, upholstered in a woolen Navajo pattern, definitely stood out from the classic leather trunks and cases. (So much so that I was compelled to invest. The large trunk now resides in my living room as both coffee table and storage space!)
One year later, Navajo blanket ponchos and jackets are popping up all over the contemporary fashion market. Whether in the home or in your closet, one things is for certain: Navajo textiles and designs are a great way to add a little color and texture to your aesthetic!
With the countdown to Hanukkah already underway, what better time to look at some of the extraordinary ways the quintessential symbol of the Festival of Lights has been reimagined as an objet de art, at times playful, but always creative. If you have not yet found your own personal platonic ideal of a menorah, then look to our round-up below.
Michael Aram Lotus Blossom Menorah
This handcrafted nickel-plate menorah composed of graceful, intertwined lotus blossoms displays the nature motif so central to Aram’s work and would make a beautiful and elegant centerpiece. The delicate stems are reminiscent of Tim Burton’s artwork.
Bringing industrial style to the holiday, this menorah crafted from galvanized steel pipes comes to us from modern Renaissance man Joe Grand- an electrical engineer/hacker/inventor-cum-author/computer security guru/president of the San Francisco-based Grand Idea Studios.
The Jewish Museum Menorahmorph in Blue by Karim Rashid
The Jewish Museum in New York commissioned this appropriately titled silicone menorah in honor of its centennial in 2004. Also available in orange and lime, this signature piece will be immediately familiar to anyone acquainted with Rashid’s work.
Concrete Menorah from ceMMent Design
Israeli-born designer Marit Meisler founded ceMMent Design to showcase her innovative creations, which are made–intuitively enough–of cement. This adaptable cement and stainless steel menorah can be configured in any number of ways, making it an incredibly versatile choice.
Candorah Candle Holder by Michelle Ivankovic for Umbra
Menorah designed by Marilyn Davidson for Nambé
The clean lines of this simple and elegant menorah made of Nambé’s signature metal would complement any décor.
Jonathan Adler Utopia Man/Woman Menorah
Finally, a reversible menorah! This set of nine distinctive pieces made of high fired brown stoneware with a high gloss sheer white glaze can be turned to reveal either a passel of glasses-wearing hipsters accompanied by rosy cheeked lasses, or a bevy of mustachioed older gentlemen with their elegantly coiffed-and-necklaced female counterparts. Or, mix and match!
Posted by Jocelyn Kwiatkowski
In the style of beaux-arts architecture, the Cockcroft Building (today known as the Croft Building) was built in 1905 as office space. Nassau Street was a central hub for major headquarters such as, the New York Times, Western Union Telegraphs and most notably as the “Stamp District”. In the 1920s, stamp collecting became very popular and with dozens of stamp and coin dealers along its short length. The book titled Nassau Street written in the 1960’s by Hermain Herst Jr. also describes the “golden age” of stamp collecting during this time. The building remained an office space until 2004 when the Financial District became a residential destination. The building facade remained as originally built and the interior spaces were converted into lofts.
In comes Sarah Magness, the worldly interior designer behind the new Manhattan-based firm Magness Design. She and her husband, Rob Magness, designer and founder of Grown & Sewn, reside in this refurbished, light-filled space that they have appointed with a mix of modern furnishings and organic accessories. We love the subtle feminine touches like the white, lacy bedroom and delicate glass vases on the dining room table, juxtaposed with the industrial black column in the middle of the living room. The casually elegant space exemplifies nicely the livability of a commercial-to-residential conversion.
The Molteni Group and Archivia Books are joining forces to invite you to toast the holiday season with furnishings, kitchens, and books at Archivia Books’ pop-up bookstore, which opens tomorrow evening.
Co-founders Cynthia Conigliaro and Will Rogers opened the independent bookshop Archivia Books on New York’s Upper East Side in 2007 to specialize in illustrated books. The original Archivia: The Decorative Arts Book Shop was located on Madison Avenue across from the Whitney Museum from 1991-2001, and had established an international reputation. Now housed in a lovely, 800 square-foot space on Manhattan’s Lexington Avenue, Archivia Books features over three thousand titles on architecture, design, decorative arts, interiors, furniture, gardens, fine arts, fashion, and a miscellany of fiction and non-fiction. The store serves neighborhood clientele as well as a professional base of architects, designers, gardeners, collectors, museum curators and all those interested in the visual and applied arts. Designed by Cynthia Conigliaro herself, the shop also offers a physical space where customers seeking design inspiration, cultural exploration, and historical reference can discover and interact.
The Italian furnishing company Molteni Group opened the two-floor Molteni&C Dada Unifor Flagship Store in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan. The store features Molteni’s modern home furnishings, the Dada kitchen collections, doors by Citterio, and the contemporary furniture built for work environments by Unifor. The New York Flagship Store is the first example of integration not just of technology and style, but also of retail between all the firms in the Molteni Group.
We are excited to present the opening of their pop-up bookstore this season!
Details about the opening:
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 from 6-8 pm
Molteni&C Dada Unifor
New York Flagship Store
60 Greene Street
RSVP by phone at (212) 673-7106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Nicole Bruce
One of the things I’m asked most to do as an interior designer is to help couples merge their looks into one cohesive home that reflects both of them while still maintaining some semblance of style. Not always an easy task! But, when I saw this photograph taken by a new blogger that I stumbled on a few weeks ago, it instantly reminded me of one of my favorite spaces that I think perfectly projects a casual masculine look with a feminine touch…
It’s that little touch of pale aqua in the room that really does it for me. The sheets and the lamp (a very feminine choice) take the room from simple to interesting – especially in contrast with those rich wood tones! And, of course, a flannel blanket just adds that bit of classic masculinity. Rough textures like the wood nightstand give it a rugged feel, and the dark blue accents add the perfect final compliment. I know I’d happily call this a room of my own!
Well, the weather outside isn’t quite so frightful here in New York City just yet. But, rest assured, winter is on its way. Air conditioners have come out of windows, heaters might be on for portions of the evening, and radiators are kicking on and rattling/hissing/clanging their old, obnoxious tunes. But turning up your heater (if you even have that option) doesn’t exactly have the same appeal as sitting around a cozy fire. Not everyone has the pleasure of owning a traditional fireplace in their home, and for the most part they are found in the living room area anyway. Who would have thought there would be other options for watching the mesmerizing flames flicker? And in whatever room you choose no less.
Now there’s a wide range of portable fireplaces that burn eco-friendly ethanol to replace traditional fireplaces. They offer that same inviting vibe, but can be used in any home, in any room, and can be taken with you when you move. So you can keep warm wherever you are in your home with these innovative, portable or wall mountable fireplaces that are as functional as they are stylish. While you may not exactly welcome the wet feet and cold digits that winter brings, you will be longing to fire up one of these once you’re back inside while curling up on the couch with a book and mug of hot chocolate for a toasty evening indoors.
(Pictured above: Vauni Cupola)
Vauni’s Cupola is a wall-mountable fireplace made of light-weight aluminum, making it as easy to hang as a flat screen TV. Available in a black or white matte finish, the slender design looks like a modern sculpture even when it’s not lit. The Cupola is equipped with a bio-ethanol burner that allows for vent-less fires.
They also have a globe-shaped, free-standing hearth, powered by an advanced ethanol burner.
(Pictured above: Icoya Fireplace from Arkiane)
This steel fireplace from Arkiane can be wall-mounted or built into the wall, which is ideal for tight spaces. There are also many other modern designs worth exploring from Arkiane.
The Malle à Feu is a simple, white trunk that opens to reveal a two-flame ethanol fire inside. They also make a travel-size box, which might be nice for vacationing during cooler seasons.
(Pictured above: Zeta Portable Ventless Fireplace)
The Zeta Portable Ventless Fireplace is made of timber, leather and stainless steel with a stainless-steel swivel base. It burns denatured ethanol, an environmentally friendly, renewable biofuel.
(Pictured above: Ponton Fireplace)
The Ponton Fireplace has a glass cylinder body and is fueled with standard or bio alcohol and ethanol.
(Pictured above: Fredrik Hylten-Cavallius Piet)
Swedish designer Fredrik Hylten-Cavallius designed the Piet, a chimney-free indoor fireplace with a brass reflector that burns ethanol fuel instead of wood. Because it doesn’t give off smoke, there is no need for a chimney, making it versatile and portable. It also has a layer of rockwool fire insulation between the reflector and the outer shell, which keeps the outside ceramic body cool, so you can keep it close to walls and furniture without worrying.
Posted by Nicole Bruce
We decided the real sweet life resides not only in a European loft, but also in an old sugar warehouse nonetheless. So we had to share this loft that came to us by way of Uxus Design and the company’s (and the loft’s) owners and directors, George Gottl and Oliver Michell, who decided to keep the original wooden interior of this 18th century Amsterdam sugar warehouse.
Built in 1763 and located on the Bloemgracht canal and in the Jordaan district (the hot spot for lofts we’re beginning to realize) the loft also boasts a panoramic view overlooking the city. But an important note on the interior is it continued to remain in its original state for almost 250 years until the owners decided to add their own design tastes and choices. Uxus Design has this to say about the loft: “In keeping the original open-plan layout we created a series of dramatic curtain walls that could be opened and closed according to the needs of use. Made of luxurious Italian linen, the curtain walls are opaque when lit from the front yet transparent from behind. At night, the space becomes a series of glowing tents, creating the effect of a surreal interior landscape.”
We especially love all the natural elements that this loft oozes, what with the hard-to-miss wooden interior, animals, antlers, and coral (all found objects from markets around Europe) combined with the art collection and draped curtains gives it an overall unique cinematic and surreal gothic feel. But maybe what gets us most, is the clever way they’ve designed their master closet, scroll down to see the sweetest closet we’ve seen to date.
Posted by Kyra Shapurji
Photography by Dim Balem