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We seem to be in the midst of some sort of Nordic craze not limited to the need to acquire lots of Alvar Aalto and Hans Wegner furniture. Boldly patterned products from Swedish company 10 gruppen have become international must-haves. The company was founded in 1970 by ten textile designers, whose number has since shrunk to three. Swedish folklore and contemporary art are the group's inspiration: This vinyl-coated dop kit that looks so familiar -- and yet so new -- is just a tease ($45).
TOTEM/71 FRANKLIN STREET/212-925-5506
Unlike Victorian times when shagreen was the rage, today even sharks and stingrays have their advocates. So it's nice to know that these frames are totally faux. They're made of resin, and though they look like the coveted shagreen ones of old, their gentle price tells
you they're not ($30).
WILLIAM-WAYNE & CO./846 LEXINGTON AVENUE, NEAR 64TH STREET/212-737-8934; AND 40 UNIVERSITY PLACE/212-533-4711
All in the Wrist
Watches with curved cases that sit on the edge of the wrist first surfaced in the thirties. They were created by Jaeger-LaCoultre for Cartier and designed for hands holding a steering wheel. André Le Marquand -- maker of the famous "spaceman" watch -- has devised a jazzier version. His Swiss-made Chronotimer Side Watch has a carbon-fiber case (the material used by NASA) and a leather band, and comes in colors that are far from classic. And Le Marquand's timepieces have proved as useful for cycling as for driving ($125).
KAMIA/424 WEST BROADWAY/212-334-6046
Fruit at the Bottom
Even an ordinary sliced apple will look special served on one of Love's glass plates. They come in sets of four, each plate a different fruity color. The German company makes them of translucent glass and then paints the backs in these luscious shades ($50; hand-wash only).
MOMA DESIGN STORE/44 WEST 53RD STREET/212-767-1050
Tucked away on the third floor of a nondescript office building is Rain or Shine, a mini-department store for kid stuff. Marion Sakow and Annette Tomlinson have filled it with just about anything a child might want or need -- from newborn to teen. There are things for them to sleep in (Moses baskets, hand-painted cribs, and Maine Cottage beds in child-pleasing colors), to play with (blocks, wood castles, dollhouses, and retro peddle cars), and to wear (Zutano onesies and Penny Candy sweaters). But there's more, like unusual musical instruments, crib linens, hooked and braided rugs, wicker and Windsor chairs, even armoires. (From 99 cents for a bubble set to $40 for a puppet theater to $495 for a hand-painted table-and-chair set to $1,500 for a bed frame with side rails.)
RAIN OR SHINE/202 EAST 29TH STREET/212-685-8556
Photograph by Joe Scafuro.