The Design Mafia was out in full force for the recent opening of Sublime (26 Varick Street; 212-941-8888). It’s a tough crowd to impress, but everyone (even buyers at competing stores) was excited about this newcomer. Why? Because, believe it or not, there is no other venue in town dedicated solely to the work of American home-furnishings designers. More than 50 are represented in this slick tri-level space, including New Yorkers like Vladimir Kagan, Boym Partners, Harry Allen, Ali Tayar, and Gaston Marticorena, as well as many emerging ones whose work has had limited, if any, exposure in the past.
The products themselves are pretty fabulous, skewing toward minimally decorated modernism. Prices range from $40 for a salt-and-pepper-shaker set to $35,000 for a huge suede sectional sofa by Kagan. One of my favorites (and there were many) is the “Modern Tradition Astroturf Rug,” with a damask-like pattern cut into it for a tone-on-tone turf effect (four by six feet, $510). Worth noting from the newcomers: Hivemindesign’s Magnetic Woodgrain memo boards (small, $65, large, $185), and Jeff Miller’s Diaper Chair—a see-through polycarbonate swivel seat that’s wobbly at first but, once you relax, becomes as comfortable as a you-know-what.