Unit #3 White suspends a soft,
cuddly material, down, uselessly
inside a cold, hard glass box.
San Francisco’s CITIZEN:Citizen is a fascinating group
of designers whose work may more closely resemble
conceptual art or art objects than conventional furniture
or housewares. In proper context their pieces could be
Unit Ice will have to be special
amazing conversation openers. In other cases, they’re ordered and set up by the
ridiculous extravagances that serve only to make a designers. Springtime installation
is not recommended.
thoughtful or humorous statement about consumer-
ism, consumption, and product value.
Take their coffee tables as an example. Unit #3
Monochrome is a glass box that looks like a paint
bomb exploded inside it. The duality here is probably
between the sloppy mess on the inside and the smooth,
clean, glossy surface of the glass on the outside. Unit
#3 White is the same glass table, but filled with down.
And the last one, Unit Ice, is the same table, but made
out of ice, which they sell in a
limited edition for $3,000. This
Unit #3 Monochrome is a
coffee table that contains
@home visits the international
a paint explosion inside a
clean glass surface.
nications technology very quickly shrinking our The Aalto Doorstop
contemporary furniture fair planet come new issues for commerce. Products requires the destruction
of one of the icons of
that can be laid flat can also be much more easily one has to be set up by C:C on a
by ryan witte shipped to all corners of the globe. custom, case-by-case basis.
to be manufactured.
Probably the most astonishing products I saw Their Aalto Doorstop is cast
Thousands of interiors manufacturers assembled to show their were using new technologies in the manufacture inside one of the pinnacles of 20th-
lines, introduce new products, and do their best to dazzle visitors and also their very form. It’s something of a sign Century design, the Savoy vase by
at an annual event. It’s the International Contemporary Furniture of our times, when technology in design stops Alvar Aalto. Unfortunately, in order
Fair (ICFF), and manufacturers of materials, fittings, textiles, and being just a gimmicky bell or whistle and can at to remove the cast cement from the
bathroom fixtures are all welcome to attend. last be incorporated seamlessly into new products. vase, the vase has to be completely
I noticed several trends this year. One of them seemed to be At the far end of the scale, new technologies can destroyed. Something tells me they’re
common to a lot of new furnishings coming onto the market lately, produce forms that were never even possible before not using original vases from 1936, but
and that’s the idea of Flexibility. In a show this large, one could and create products with uses that never existed even replicas of them go for around
notice products exploring flexibility not only in form, but also use before. $110.
and function, and in some cases all three. On the one hand, a single On the pages to follow are a few of what I humbly Making a similar statement about
product can reach a larger potential market, but it also means the consider to be some of the most exciting, beautiful, consumption and value are their candles. These consist of a classic
user can manipulate his/her furnishings according to whim or and interesting products shown at the ICFF. Keep candlestick and candle, all made of wax but sold for $72. The manu-
necessity. Filling a space with products like these, homeowners in mind, while the products here might not always facture of these pieces is somewhat intensive, but the price makes
Molded from a
could conceivably have an entirely different room altogether the have immediately apparent aesthetic value, many this interesting. At over four times the price of a typical candle, you’re
candlestick the designer
second time guests visit and not have to purchase anything new. were chosen because of the direction they point buying a fairly nice candlestick only to burn it down—consume it—
found in his grandmoth-
Another trend was designers playing with the duality of two- design in the years to come. New ideas sometimes with the candle it’s holding.
er’s house, this wax
version is burned down
and three-dimensionality. With the advent of sophisticated commu- take time to perfect. Just one more thing for the lovers that I truly thought was so roman-
along with the candle.
tic. Hidden Eternity is a gold ring with a single .75 karat diamond
hidden on the inside. Only you and your significant other will know
how much the ring is really worth.
CITIZEN:Citizen | 415.695.7748 | www.citizen-citizen.com
athomechannel.com spring 2007 @homeLI | 73
blades of grass cast a soft
ambient glow in Whisper.
peace oF design
SoHo’s Robert Rabinovitz Studio is a small opera-
tion producing designs with an easy, elegant grace.
Drawing on forms from nature but giving them a
whole new attitude, Rabinovitz ends up with
objects for your home that can inspire a sense of
serenity and even fun. No, they’re not outlets,
Most literally, his Meditation table has a circu- they’re lights: a playful
reinterpretation of the
lar indentation at the center with fine sand to play
with and contemplate. It’s like your own private
Like a group of wildflow-
little Zen garden. The sand I think this could create interesting moving patterns of light, too, if hit by the
ers, Symphony is actually
garden can be covered over afternoon sun. I also like how you could look at it and see yourself at seven
topped with picture frames
in standard sizes. with a glass top for regular years old in a photograph and yourself right now in one of the mirrors. The dark
dining. The accompanying wood picture frames can also accompany a really sleek, modern desk set, with
chairs were really intrigu- openings the precise size for business cards, Post-It Notes, and so on.
ing. Their form is no doubt Rabinovitz also offers a couple interesting lights. Whisper has a similar feel
majestic and regal while at to some of the pieces described above. From a dark wood base emerge what
the same time modern. But I have the appearance of tall blades of grass. Lit from underneath, the hand-
did wonder how they would sanded white acrylic “blades” give off a soft ambient glow. And if you’ve got
feel, so Rabinovitz asked me a spot for something a little more whimsical, he’s also taken metal industrial
to sit in one. The first surprise electrical outlets and turned them into little wall sconces called, appropriately,
is that the metal poles do Outlet.
actually have the strength to Robert Rabinovitz Studio | 212.431.7087 | www.robertrabinovitz.com
hold me leaning back with all
my weight without splitting
apart and letting me spill out backwards onto the
floor. The second is that, not only are the poles not
uncomfortable at all, but are actually quite sooth-
ing, like they were massaging my back.
Rabinovitz also does some quite nice sort of
kinetic art objects. Symphony has rectangular
frames holding orange glass on different lengths of
poles, allowing them to sway subtly back and forth
if caught in a breeze. I said to him, “Iit’s like a field
of wildflowers…in Mathematics Land.” Then I real-
ized how weird that sounded when it came out of my
mouth, but he said, “No, but you’re totally getting
what I’m going for!” And I could so easily imagine
this arrangement in front of an open window, the
sun caught by the colored glass and softly dancing
across the floor as a breeze blows through the room.
That’s an option, although the frames are in fact the
standard size and proportion for photographs. You
A smaller version of Symphony in dark
might even put pictures in some and leave others wood can join a refined desk set to
open, as you choose. combine the tools of business with
photos of loved ones.
A smaller version of Symphony is in natural
wood and has mirrors instead of the colored glass.
74 | @homeLI spring 2007 athomechannel.com athomechannel.com spring 2007 @homeLI | 75
On the floor, a mirror
shows one of an infi-
nite number of images
the owner of Stardust
could project through its
Cosmos 1 and 2 utilize Using lasers and a single
Mediterraneo is an elegant
the unconventional tech- giant Swarovski crystal,
sensory experience encor-
nology of electrolumi- designer Paul Cocksedge
porating light, color, move-
nescent film to produce created a chandelier essen-
ment, sound, and aroma.
its mystical glow. tially made out of light.
You could see Swarovski’s booth at the front of the exhibit hall glitter- dining room table. It’s a deliciously ostentatious Then I saw it on the DVD. Mediterraneo has motors in the top that
ing from several aisles away, sparkling, beckoning you to its delights show of luxury to have such a long chandelier that control the strands of crystals, so the whole shape of it is very slowly
like Odysseus to the Sirens. There were diamond and dust-sized crys- some of it has to just land on the table. Or Blossom changing, like a gorgeous jellyfish dancing through the ocean. The
tals everywhere. Crystal brooks bubbled through cracks in the marble by Tord Boontje, a fresh branch of flowers caught way the bottom of the fixture softly glitters in patterns as the strands
tile floor. A three-foot-square Lucite pan was filled with diamond-sized in an ice-storm. But the ways that others of their move is something you’d have to see in person. And it gets better.
crystals like a sandbox that visitors could run their hands through. designers are using technology is truly out of The light coming from this one is actually produced by LEDs, so as
“There must be thousands of dollars worth of crystals in here!” a control. the chandelier changes shape, it’s also very slowly, subtly changing
woman exclaimed while I was handling the diamonds. “Hundreds Naoto Fukasawa has used electroluminescent color. It also gives off sound, according to Swarovski representatives
of thousands of dollars,” the booth representative corrected. She said film for Cosmos 1 and 2 (the numbers designating something like a soothing whalesong. Overwhelmed yet? It gives off
they had to be careful of people wandering off with handfuls of them, two different sizes) to create his light fixture and the aromas of things like cherry blossom.
in fairness probably not realizing they weren’t a promotional gift or encrusted the strands with Swarovski crystals. The Tokujin Yoshioka’s Stardust can project an image across the
that they were in fact real lead crystal. technology was discovered in 1936, but this may be bottom surface of its 18800-crystal grid. It therefore acts like a chan-
As unbelievable as their presentation was at the ICFF, most incred- one of the first times it’s made an appearance in a delier and a television monitor, all at the same time.
ible was what I found when I started going through all the materials luxury-market fixture. My personal favorite has to be Lolita by designer, Ron Arad. This
and looking around their website. Their Crystal Palace line calls upon Paul Cocksedge used lasers and one enormous chandelier is a crystal pixel board, like the ones in Times Square,
a variety of well-known designers to create spectacular high-end crystal to make Crystallize. Because the chandelier for instance. Words in light swirl down its spiral shape, any text you
chandeliers that push every boundary of what it means to make a is made out of light, when it’s turned off, there might like. Wait, it gets better. Lolita has a phone number. You can
light fixture. essentially is no chandelier. call and text-message her from your cell phone, and those are the Ron Arad’s Lolita is
a crystal pixel board
Many chandeliers in the line are simply incredible in their form, Mediterraneo is an uncommonly elegant design words you’ll see spiraling down. Just…wow.
you can call and text
like Cascade by Vincent Van Duysen, where long strands of Swarovski by Gaetano Pesce. When I first saw this one in the Swarovski Sales Inquiries | 866.272.5423 | www.swarovskisparkles.com message from your
crystals fall in an enormous cylinder and land in a huge pile on your catalogue, I thought, “Hmm, that’s nice enough.” cell phone.
76 | @homeLI spring 2007 athomechannel.com
Hailing from Barcelona, Nani Marquina is doing some
truly interesting things with rugs. Her work ranges from
startling textures and subtly clever forms to unusual and
TOP: A highly flexible design,
Where textures are concerned, we can start with Cuks,
rugs can at times even
Crème-Yeras has panels
a wool and jute rug with long, thick yarns, almost like
defy gravity, as with
that can be reconfigured to
you’re looking at a normal rug very, very closely. Topissimo,
her Flying Carpet line.
suit your needs or tastes.
is a similar rug of 100% wool, but with short tufts like a field
of fuzzy, brightly-colored lichen. Another wool rug, Ovo,
has a somewhat organic pattern of circles hand-tufted and
raised up off the background. These pieces I felt would
be beautiful and interesting in a more modest home, but
Subtle but intriguing, Pull plays with the
there were others I found really astonishing. Instead of pile,
borders of the rug like Minimalist painting.
Roses is covered with soft wool felt petals, like a bed of
flowers. And for the really adventurous, Bicicleta is a rug
made of loops of recycled rubber but results in a surpris-
ingly beautiful floor covering.
Marquina also has offerings that explore interesting
shapes and arrangements. As an admirer of Minimalist
painting, I really liked Pull, which has a different-colored
stripe that appears to have been “pulled” an inch or two
out the side of an otherwise normal solid rug. She also has
a line called Fit, a group of different sizes of fun, circular
throw rugs with a foot-wide border. In a number of rich
hues, they could be arranged around the room for splashes
of color, or to highlight conversation areas and so on. The
Stone-Wool group takes a similar attitude toward throw
rugs, with a more natural than Pop look. This one allows
you to create a path, down a hallway for instance, out of Topissimo is as soft and inviting as a
throw-rug stepping-stones. field of fresh mosses.
An especially ingenious take on flexibility can be found
in Crema-Yeras, a highly customizable sort of rug system.
It’s a group of approximately two-foot-square wool felt
panels in beautiful earth tones: Terracotta, Mustard, Grey,
and Brown. Each panel has tiny clips on all four sides that
allow you to hook them together. So in whatever dimen-
sions, or whatever color combination you like, you can
arrange the panels to suit your needs.
And for the room with a sense of humor (or for
Steppenwolf fans), there’s her Flying Carpet, a line of rugs
with platforms making them appear to be floating around
the room. While I appreciate the surrealism, I definitely
think these would be a lot of fun in a kids’ playroom.
In the New York area, Marquina can be purchased through
the Terence Conran Shop. | 212.755.7249
Cuks uses unbelievably thick yarns to
create a startling texture.
78 | @homeLI spring 2007 athomechannel.com