edited by Alexa Yablonski -- Interior Design, 10/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
Yangki: Bay Area-artist Sondra Alexander creates wallpapers of unparalleled tactility and texture. Among the standouts in her latest collection are Moiré—a delicate waterprint pattern handpainted on foil and kraft papers—and Cloisonné, which was inspired by Old World enamel inlays. Each paper is class A-rated and available in a variety of colorways. Yangki, 1026 Masonic Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94117. www.yangki.com
Anya Larkin: Anya Larkin's latest wallpaper collection forms a loose, visual diary of her recent trip to Japan. Tatami features horizontal, painterly dashes (executed in Larkin's signature shimmer), which are reminiscent of native bamboo fences bound together by string. Japanese Plaid, a striking cross-hatch pattern, depicts bamboo shoots that Larkin admired in Kyoto. Both patterns are available in a selection of colors. Anya Larkin, 39 W. 28th Street, New York, NY 10001. www.anyalarkin.com.
Blumenthal: Urban Metal, one of Blumenthal's best sellers, has been re-colored for a fresher look. This vinyl surface with hand-leafed metal now ranges in color from airy celadon to weathered copper. Perennial favorites, like Florentine Silver, have been preserved. Blumenthal, 2002 Orville Drive North, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779. www.blumenthalwallcovering.com
KorQinc: Kevin Walz introduced four new designs for floor and wall tiles, including this striking ProntoKorQ Terrazzo pattern, available in two colorways. ProntoKorQ is a three-layer tile product. The bottom section is a soft insulating cork; the top portion is a high-density granulated cork; and sandwiched in between is a layer of non-formaldehyde MDF with tongue-and-groove assembly, which allows for easy installation with no need for glue. KorQinc, 155 East 56th Street, New York, NY 10022. www.korqinc.com.
Surfaces: Bamboo, Bamboo Leaves, and Kyoto Basket are part of David Bonk's latest Asian-inspired collection. The hand-painted designs are rendered on vinyl-coated cotton, but can also be depicted on true vinyl, type II, for high-traffic installations. Surfaces, 1942 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127.
Versa: We love the thickly textured and richly hued Bali—an embossed design inspired by primitive, handcrafted artifacts. It's great for a number of applications, but we envision it paired with tiki totems and plenty of rum drinks for a retro-chic bar area. Versa, 4700 Robards Lane, Louisville, KY 40218.
Style & Substance
"I love glamour and fashion," coos London-based artist Abigail Simpson, who looks every bit the bright young thing, wearing a blouse with slashed sleeves and a pair of kitten heels. But as Simpson snakes through the vessels that she created for Ralph Pucci International, it becomes clear that she is not a fashionista with a ceramic habit. Yes, the collection was inspired by last year's Giorgio Armani exhibition at the Guggenheim, but Simpson's main interest is in epic art making, not shopping.
"It's the bane of my life, really," says Simpson, referring to the scale of her hand-coiled ceramic vessels—which measure between three and five ft. in height and require a custom-made kiln for firing. But Simpson says she started small. Her first sale came ten years ago for a tiny mermaid jug priced at £50. She even photocopied the check, which, Simpson admits, she promptly left in the machine. But before long, she began to dream large—literally. "One night, I dreamt I passed a house with a jug in the window that was bigger than the people sitting around the table." Simpson readily embraced the idea of taking something utilitarian and blowing it up until its functionality becomes obsolete.
As Simpson talks about the individual pieces in the collection, she reveals that the markings on one pot were extrapolated from a pattern on an Armani tie and another vessel, whose delicate dots were hand-applied with her mother's cake icer, was inspired by a georgette blouse. Taking a moment to survey the installation in its entirety, Simpson sighs: "I've never worked so hard." Even though she laments the physical demands of creating on a grand scale, she doesn't hesitate when asked what's next. "I'd like to make pots three or four times as large," she replies, grinning. Pucci, 44 W. 18th Street, New York, NY 10011.
Teknion: Long-forgotten memos and bills you'd rather forget can be stowed stylishly with the Ledger storage system. The line includes lateral files, storage cabinets, and mobile or freestanding pedestals. Available in a variety of heights, depths, colors, and finishes. Teknion, 12000 Horizon Way, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054. www.teknion.com.
Bretford: Freeloader, created by Formway Design Studio of New Zealand, offers a fresh way to stash stuff at your work station. In addition to offering internal and external shelving, file drawers, pencil trays, and a waste bin, the unit encourages users to personalize their space with accessories like picture clips, vases, and mirrors. Bretford Manufacturing, 11000 Seymour Avenue, Franklin Park, IL 60131. www.bretford.com.
Vitra: Antonio Citterio designed the Ad Hoc office system back in 1996, but he's added pieces to the line over the years and kept it fresh. New introductions include these neo-geo mesh screens, which can be mounted on casters or glides. Vitra, 149 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10010. www.vitra.com.
Brueton: Designed by Stanley Jay Friedman, the Pavillion table is a striking combination of strength and delicacy. The table's wafer-thin, stainless-steel top hovers gracefully above a solidly constructed base. It measures 24 in. long by 48 in. wide by 16 in. high. Brueton, 145-68 228 Street, Springfield Gardens, NY 11413.
KI: The all Terrain Mobile Furniture system can best be described as eminently adaptable. To wit: the collection includes tables with pin-adjustable legs that can change height in moments within seven inches and stackable, mobile storage towers. KI, 1330 Bellevue Street, Green Bay, WI 54302. www.ki.com.
ICF Group: Designed by Johnny Sorenson, the Boomerang screen from Boisen will keep office buzz at a minimum. It's made of aluminum with a sound-absorbing internal baffle that can help diligent workers mask the conversations of coworkers. For ladder-climbers, there are models equipped with "vision portals" in slatted beech, cherry, or mahogany—perfect for keeping an eye on the competition. Available with wheels, feet, or adjustable legs. ICF Group, Clarkstown Executive Park, 704 Executive Boulevard, Valley Cottage, NY 10989. www.icfgroup.com.
Geiger: Made from aluminum components, the mobile easel from the Lumen series is streamlined, lightweight, and mounted on casters for easy shifting. Geiger International, 6095 Fulton Industrial Boulevard, SW, Atlanta, GA 30336. www.geigerbrickel.com.
The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Doris Leslie Blau never set out to become a preeminent source for antique Oriental and European rugs. "I married a gentleman in the business," she says. "The marriage died, but the business thrived." After 30 years of providing museums, royal collections, and countless architects and designers (including Mariette Himes Gomez and Thomas Jayne) with priceless antiques, Blau decided to try her hand at something different. At the age of 70, she is presenting a group of contemporary wool, silk, and wool-and-silk blend rugs of her own design. "Most of our clients always want a beautiful old rug for the living room and the dining room, but they'd sometimes say: 'We have these two small rooms and we'd love to have something very modern,'" she explains. "And I always had to tell them that we don't have that. But then I started to wonder why we don't. Why can't there be something new, different, and avant-garde?" Her premiere line—which comprises 15 rugs inspired by vintage textiles, works of art, and her own collection of antique carpets—definitely meets those requirements. The designs vary dramatically—ranging from bold geometrics with varying pile heights to delicate patterns that shimmer subtly—-but each rivals the quality and rarity of their antique counterparts. The collection gets pride of place in a new cutting-edge gallery designed by Richard Lee in the Fuller Building. Doris Leslie Blau Collection, 41 East 57th Street, Third Floor, New York, NY 10022. www.dlbcollection.com.
A good lamp is hard to find, especially for interior designers (a lot that tends to like things just so). When London-based Emily Todhunter had trouble locating lamps that "weren't reproduction or those modern, hard, steel type of things," she decided to design her own. "We wanted lighting that could work in a contemporary or traditional setting," explains Todhunter. "And we wanted it to have a bit of kick to it." Those guiding principles led to her premiere collection of 18 glass, crystal, and mirrored lamps. The shapes—ranging from simple candlestick to organic handblown orb—were inspired by the '20s and '30s glass designs that Todhunter was looking at last year, when she created her first collection of wallpapers and fabrics. The aforementioned "kick" comes courtesy of some very vibrant colors, including hot pink, chartreuse, and amber. Emily Todhunter Collection, Chelsea Reach, 79-89 Lots Road, London SW10 ORN.