Shops with designs — and designers — for your living.
BY JOSEPH GIOVANNI
Common-sense modernism with a dash of eccentricity
Terence Conran Shop
407 East 59th Street
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
463 Amsterdam Avenue
At 82nd Street
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
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
146 Greene Street
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
101 Crosby Street
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.
45 Greene Street
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
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
132 Spring Street
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).
333 West 39th Street
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).