This week, design editor Wendy Goodman previews the designs of rising star Joris Laarman, checks in with industry luminaries Bill Sofield and Richard Mishaan on their latest projects, talks Frank Lloyd Wright with architect Andre Kikoski, visits the detail-oriented artist Carlton Scott Sturgill, and forces herself to touch a giant snake.
This Is One Great Chair
Today, March 4, an exciting new show of Dutch designer Joris Laarman is opening at the Friedman Benda Gallery at 515 West 26th Street. It runs through April 10. Here's one of Laarman's designs.
And Here's the Designer
This is Joris himself, sitting in one of his "bone" chairs. He is a major talent to watch!
Yes, That Is a Python. An Albino Python.
Forget a horse's head on your bed. This is worse. Bill Sofield hosted an event a couple of weeks ago where the invitation promised "an albino python, a dancing parrot, and masses of free-roaming butterflies." Sure enough, he delivered on all fronts. Here's the albino python, for starters. The trainer made me touch him. "Break through your fear!" he said. I felt like I had to wash my hands for 50 hours afterward.
And Those Are Goldfish Up There
I forgot to mention the goldfish, which were hanging above our heads in a beautiful fixture. In real life, unless you have goldfish handlers, you can't try this at home.
Take a Deeeeep Breath
That is not my camera; it was really smoky. The air was scented with incense that made for a dramatic atmosphere, and gave Bill Sofield's new furniture for Baker (which is actually why we were there) a dramatic setting.
Sort of an Ottoman–Coffee Table Hybrid
This is another portion of the (smoky) showroom, with more of Bill's designs, including that giant white ottoman.
Ode on a Tom Ford Book
I was entranced by this display; at first I thought it was a little Chinese still life, but it's an installation Bill did based on Tom Ford's book (Tom is one of his clients).
Even the Dinner Table Has Some Drama
Here's another Sofield dramatic table setting, with his designs.
As Promised, the Dancing Parrot
This guy was right next to the bed with the albino python. He looks asleep in this photo, but he's actually mid-routine.
Richard Mishaan in His Office
Richard Mishaan did not promise any appearances by exotic fauna, which was fine with me. Instead, he showed the new lighting he's designed for Urban Electric in his gorgeous, very residential-looking office.
What You See When You Walk In
The entrance to his showroom and office is filled with art and his ongoing projects. Wouldn't you love to come to work here every morning?
A Little Hallway Drama
These niches are a wonderful idea in his showroom; contrasting colors to highlight objects and art.
The Venetian Lantern Reconsidered
Here's one of Mishaan's designs for Urban Electric; a lovely oversize lantern made in zinc with contrasting paint on the interior.
Nifty Customizable Lamps
The base of these little table lamps is nickel, and you can order the shades in all those colors you see on the table. For more information on these, call 843-723-8140.
More Art in the Workplace
Richard is a collector of Caio Fonseca's paintings; here's one hanging in his office.
From Jackie O., a Wallpaper Inspiration
Richard designed the wallpaper in his office bathroom after being inspired by one of Jackie Kennedy Onassis's Gucci belt buckles. He's got a pretty great-looking work environment.
The Wright at the Guggenheim
There's already been a lot of discussion about this restaurant, the Wright, at the Guggenheim Museum, so I'm a little late to this party. But I wanted to meet Andre Kikoski, the architect behind the design, so he and I had lunch recently. I arrived early so I could get a good look at the room.
The Interior Echoes the Exterior
I have followed Andre's work from the beginning, and I think he did a fantastic job. He kept the museum's spirit in a challenging space, and the result is really satisfying.
Frank Lloyd Would Have Approved
The architecture of the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed building is reflected here, and these painted slats add depth and texture.
And here is Andre, as we settle down to lunch.
The World of Artistic Tile
I went to the Artistic Tile showroom, where I had a full tour and realized that I know almost nothing about the state of tile today. This is their most high-end design; it has a striking, gorgeous metallic finish.
It's Not Just for the Bathroom
The floor tiles were as fantastically diverse as the wall tiles, and gave the space a real handcrafted feeling.
But You Can Have a Pretty Fabulous Bathroom
Anything you can dream up you can find here, no matter what direction your aesthetic compass points toward. Anybody can go to the showroom and feast their eyes; it's at 38 West 21st Street.
Speaking of Brilliant Things to Do With Tile
I went to the MadArts studios in Brooklyn to visit artist Carlton Scott Sturgill. He's been inspired by many things, including Venetian mosaics. Here are the postcards of it that he has pinned up in his studio. But what he does with the inspiration will blow your mind!
How Many X-Acto Knives Did This Take?
Sturgill's medium is Ralph Lauren paint chips — the small paper swatches you can find at Home Depot. He meticulously cuts and layers them to make his works of art. Here's a nude crafted from tiny pieces of paint chips.
It Looks Like an Ordinary Box, But ...
Sturgill also does what you might call "mini-installations" inside Ralph Lauren boxes and on hang tags. Here, for example, is a wallet box ...
Inside Is a Treasure
... which Scott has transformed into an artwork.
Insanely Meticulous, Isn't It?
This is not a painting. It's more paint chips, intricately layered.
The Artist's Medium
And here's his "palette," a notebook filled with every color of Ralph Lauren paint chips.
You Will Never Look at Hang Tags the Same Way
Here's one of Sturgill's hang-tag compositions.
Not Paint Chips, But Still Ralph Lauren
When he's not slicing paint chips into tiny slivers, Sturgill makes these wonderful flowers from Ralph Lauren fabric swatches. You might have seen these in the piece I did about the Keith Haring apartment, "In the House of the Radiant Baby." Sturgill is having a show soon at the Giacobetti Paul Gallery in Dumbo. Don't miss it!
Something for the Design Lover's Library
Last but not least: The husband-and-wife team of photographer Tim Street-Porter and writer Annie Kelly create wonderful design books. They showed me their latest, coming out in May, during a recent lunch. Bravo to both!
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