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 BEST OF NEW YORK 2001

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Glass menagerie: Avventura's ethereal dinnerware.
Best Furniture & Housewares

Shops with designs — and designers — for your living.
BY JOSEPH GIOVANNI

Common-sense modernism with a dash of eccentricity
The Terence Conran Shop

407 East 59th Street
212-755-9079
Modernist classics here include chairs by Charles and Ray Eames and Isamu Noguchi's famous rice-paper lamps. But slide into the captivity of the swoopy leather Loge club chair ($2,285) and its cousin, the Balzac ($3,250), and switch on the luminous stretch-fabric pillows called Light Volumes ($220 to $475) in the well-stocked lighting gallery.

Color, color, color
Avventura

463 Amsterdam Avenue
At 82nd Street
212-769-2510
Carlo Moretti’s champagne flutes are joyous confections of wit, frivolity, and color. These and other marvels of Venetian craft, including Renaissance-inspired goblets and harlequin vases by Salviati, are here; also check out the ethereal opal glass dinnerware and the stylish couture vases by American glass artists Young & Constantine.

Halfway between traditional and contemporary
Mariette Himes Gomez

506 East 74th Street
212-288-6856
Gomez culls antiques from London, Paris, and New York, and she has developed her own extensive line of "transitional" furniture equally at home in classical and modern spaces. A stretch recamier sofa, with its long, thin fruitwood carriage, is $10,800; the solid mahogany I-beam table is $3,200; and a charming stool with twisting bobbin legs is $2,200.

State-of-the-art design and cutting-edge attitude
Moss

146 Greene Street
212-204-7100
Murray Moss arguably displaced MoMA's design department as New York's arbiter of fabulousness, not to mention snobbishness: You not only can't touch but also aren't allowed to take notes. The tumbling chest of strapped-together drawers, "You Can't Lay Down Your Memories," is priced like art at $16,074, and the gold-plated Rosenthal dinner service (five-piece setting, $1,375) is a surreal misfit in the ascetic setting. But then Moss curates everything here to provoke a wry smile. The painted resin lamps by Gaetano Pesce quiver (from $200 to $4,000).

Modernist home furnishings and fun shopping
The Apartment

101 Crosby Street
212-219-3661
Furnished like a SoHo loftment, this ground-floor store puts buzz into shopping and livability into modernism. Everything in this two-story abode is for sale. Those chairs hanging upside down from the ceiling are lamps by Hidden (and real chairs, for that matter: $520). The Summer Cloud lamp ($280, with adjustable squares of burn-proof paper) can be clipped into an infinite number of cumulus configurations.

Plastics
Kartell

45 Greene Street
212-966-6665
Designers such as Ron Arad and Vico Magistretti heed the Bauhaus ideal of making more from less for the least. Simple, everyday kitchen ladders, indoor-outdoor chairs, and storage systems here foretell a nomadic future. Stackable containers made of translucent plastics in vaporous colors are easily portable. Philippe Starck casts recyclable plastic into a lightweight cartoonish sofa ($495) and reading chair ($365) in his Bubble Club collection.

Inspired contemporary lighting
Ingo Maurer LLC: Making Light

89 Grand Street
212-965-8817
The exploding porcelain chandelier at the front, Porca Miseria!, is $44,000, but don't let that deter you from venturing toward other pieces, like the hanging lamp in the spinning skirt, Willydilly ($130), and the charmingly behatted Don Quixote table lamp ($550). Maurer's experiments in pleated Japanese papers have produced a new Isse Miyake–like fantasy series (from $850 to $1,160).

Sepia-toned modernism, with echoes of the past
Aero

132 Spring Street
212-966-1500
With vintage pieces from 1900 through the seventies, Aero specializes in a sensible modernism rooted somewhere in the square-jawed thirties and forties, like Thomas O'Brien's two-tone, leather-and-linen Alston sofa ($8,500) and Geneva club chair ($5,200). Aero also carries pieces by other designers, like a chrome desk lamp with a dome top on an adjustable arm ($375).

Livable minimalism
VW Home

333 West 39th Street
212-244-5008
You can tell Vicente Wolf's just been to Asia because his spare, white floor-through loft is populated with Thai dragons, Chinese coral, Indian dowry chests, antique saris, and lingams. The African body masks and eighteenth-century Swedish chairs recall other trips. In support roles are his own handsome pieces, including dining chairs, outside mirrors, dressers, and a very handsome leather lounge chair ($1,411).


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