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What the flute did for champagne these glasses may do for cold soups. They're just the right size -- and have just the proper sparkle -- to show off, say, a gazpacho or pea soup to perfection. They were designed by Rise Dimson and Robert Homma and are hand-blown by Elliott Rosenstein, a local artist, who meticulously folds the molten glass to form the lip ($60 each).
DIMSON HOMMA/20 East 67th Street/212-439-7950
Determining the outside temperature from the fifteenth floor of a high-rise is a bit of a joke. Sure, the radio will give you the anticipated highs and lows -- maybe the current temperature in Central Park -- but how hot or cold it really is when you're trying to decide coat or no coat remains a mystery. This clever outdoor thermometer attaches to the window with a removable adhesive and was designed so dew doesn't collect on the face. It's the bright idea of Danish product designers Egeborg, Thing, and Weilborg ($40).
THE MOMA DESIGN STORE/44 West 53rd Street/212-767-1050
Knockdown furniture has never looked so stylish -- or so playful. The minimalist Ivo Bufalini, an Italian furniture designer, uses just four handcrafted birch circles and three stainless-steel pins to create his whimsical Ivo chair. It's a snap to put together -- and dismantle. Recently, Bufalini created this scaled-down kids' version, which he lacquers either a snappy red or a sedate blue ($300).
ZAO/175 Orchard Street 212-505-0500
In Praise of Snail Mail
Who would have thought that the computer would get us hooked on letter-writing again? In the hopes of making our newfound love of epistolary intercourse a tad more permanent, Crane -- a maker of fine papers since 1801 -- has opened a handsome outpost in Rockefeller Center and outfitted it with everything a scribe might need. There's engraved and thermographed stationery, personalized sheets, initialized thank-you notes, Christmas cards, inheritance albums, leather journals, party invitations, and, for kids, kits with animal-printed cards, colored pens, stickers, and a journal. There's a tempting array of pens, too, but for those who find such writing instruments anathema, Crane's papers are printer-friendly (from $9.50 for a box of note cards to $148 for 50 personalized correspondence cards and envelopes to $324 for 50 monogrammed sheets and envelopes engraved in gold ink).
CRANE & CO./59 West 49th Street, at Rockefeller Plaza/212-582-6829
This eighteenth-century American quilt design looks as good on the floor as it once did on a bed. Though the hourglass pattern is Early American, the hand-hooked eight-foot wool runner is so graphic it could pass for retro -- even modern -- and, given its broad mix of colors, there's no limit to the decorating possibilities ($275).
WILLIAM-WAYNE & CO./846 Lexington Avenue, at 64th Street/212-737-8934; and 40 University Place/212-533-4711
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