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COSE DA BOCIA: DELIGHTFUL SUSTAINABLE FURNITURE FOR CHILDREN

I came across some of the most interesting children’s furniture I have seen in a very long time in an issue of Interior Design last month. Leave it to the brilliant Italians to finally come up with a cleverly designed suite of furnishing that is oriented towards kids but has a big grown up persona.

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The company I am talking about is called Cose da Bocia…literally , “things for kids.”  Actually bocia  means “kid” in the jargon of Turino, Italy, where the architecture firm that developed and designed all of this is located.  That firm, which is called UdA – Associated Architects, was started by Andrea Marcante in 1992 and  he is now partnered up with Adelaide Testa since 2004.

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The Cose da Bocia collection exemplifies  UdA’s commitment to blend the elements of seriousness and playfulness and practicality and elegance into their interiors for the home. The furnishings are not a first glance typical children’s furnishings.  One might actually say there is more of an adult attitude in the designs.

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However, this all goes along with UdA’s concept of not allowing the children’s spaces to be totally distinct from the adult spaces.  If you ask me, I think they have done this rather  successfully.  The firm believes that today’s family functions in a more communal way and interior spaces should reflect this reality.  I think you would have to agree that if you can introduce and expose  your children early on to the beauty of original design, this has to have a tremendously positive affect on their future life style.

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Their wonderful ad campaign features  comical photos of children from the 1920’s to the 1970’s standing next to the different pieces and looking at or interacting with the furnishings.  This, I must admit, is completely enchanting and was what originally caught my eye.

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IMPORTANT INFO: The furniture is constructed out of recycled wood, tubular metal, rope and cork and executed in playful colors. The collection is small but everything can be customized.  In other words, you can take their designs and make them work in your house= ++++!

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There is also a wonderful ‘sense of humor’ associated with the furniture that is very captivating and adds to the success of the designs.  I adore the mixing of colors and materials and really haven’t seen anything quite like it for children in the marketplace.  

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Once again I have to give it to the Italians when it comes to original design…Viva gli italiani!

Ciao, ciao ’til next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PHILIPPE STARCK’S ICONIC JUICY SALIF FROM ALESSI

If you like to cook you are probably very familiar with the products of Alessi. They are an Italian company that has been at the forefront of designer cookware and home accessories for more years than I can count.  I think just about everything they offer can be attributed to some famous product designer, most of which you probably will recognize if I were to list all of their names.

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Well, it turns out that this year is the 25th anniversary celebration of one of the most famous items from Alessi designed by Philippe Starck…now I know you recognize his name!  Twenty-five years ago he designed the iconic Juicy Salif, a product which is supposed to be used to gather juice from lemons, limes, oranges and the like. It is one sexy kitchen counter addition, tall and lean, with long legs that seem to make it balance almost precariously.

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The funny thing about the Juicy Salif is that many people purchase it ‘just because’ and never use it as a juicer.  According to Michael Cogo, who wrote a wonderful treatise called “Ten 25 years without squeezing a lemon” for Alessi, “…the primary function of the Juicy Salif is not to squeeze lemons but to stimulate conversation, as Starck  himself delineated  in a famous statement:

“It is not that it’s an excellent citrus squeezer, that isn’t its only function. I thought that when a couple marries, it is the type of thing they might receive as a wedding present. So, when the parents of the groom go to see him, he and his father sit in the living room having a beer in front of the TV while the new mother-in-law and the bride sit in the kitchen and try and get to know each other better. ” Look at this present we were given, says the new bride. And so they start chatting away.”

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Besides, as Cogo excellently points out, you could actually squeeze a lemon on the edge of a table, or even the Statue of David in the Louvre Museum in Paris!

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The Juicy Salif has become an iconic example of excellent design and has been featured on everything including the covers of global design books for children as well as adults.  In one children’s book, they depict the Juicy Salef as something  akin to an alien spaceship firing yellow rays down to earth!

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You will also find it as a popular tattoo, on the cover of a CD, in street art, in photos with animals or with people themselves. It certainly seems that Starck has achieved his original goal of sparking conversation and discussion. And, it is undoubtedly one of his most successful design objects.

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If you live in New York City, you might be familiar with the Alessi store located at 30 East 60 Street.  It is a sweet little store packed with all of the fabulous Alessi products…literally a design-museum of products for the kitchen. I love wandering around just to re-look at some of the classical products and to see what is the latest and greatest Alessi has put out on the market.

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BTW, my next purchase there: the Juicy Salif .  I am too much a design-junky not to own one in my own home!

 

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Ciao, ciao ’til next time!

 

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NEUEHOUSE: CHIC URBAN WAY TO DO BUSINESS

When I say “Private Workspace Collective” what do you think of?  It doesn’t sound very cutting edge…maybe even sounds a little like the name of some socialistic organization in the old Soviet Union.  Well, please sit up and pay attention, for this is the absolute new and fashionable way to conduct business today, if your are a young entrepreneur.  Enter stage right, NeueHouse.

 

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As the NY Times put it: “NeueHouse,… in Manhattan, (is) a collective organization of work spaces and common spaces for entrepreneurs and “solopreneurs.” Think of a quasi-industrial cavernous work space designed by the talented David Rockwell…not too shabby, right? NeueHouse is the latest & greatest style of offices for the hip and connected and social media savvy generation that sees no need for renting and furnishing a stand alone office space in some isolated building . Personally,  I bit into this concept hook, line and sinker!

 

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Think of belonging to a club of like-minded people who are all working diligently to become successful but also get the cool concept of putting themselves in the right work environment.  Every day you go to “the office” you get to rub shoulders with other young entrepreneurs and network with people that very possibly could help you achieve your first million.

 

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These are not claustrophobic boxes, aka offices, lined up next to each other, which are typical of most large commercial spaces where they rent out individual offices the size of a large closet. This place is chic and sophisticated and has bathrooms you actually want to go into.   You might even feel like sitting on the huge ‘stairway to no place’ and hang out for awhile and shoot the breeze with a fellow worker.

 

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And, as for amenities, they abound galore. There are frequent social events planned for members, an in-house restaurant, cutting edge art hanging on the walls and numerous places to work if you feel the need to sit on a couch, sit at a table, or work in a opened space “private” office. You need not worry about bringing anything as they have all of the tech resources and conference space you might need.

 

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And, there is a definite social dimension to working at NeueHouse. The WSJ put it this way :“Still, avoiding people-watching at Neue House is nearly impossible… ‘It’s really a social space,’ said Alanna Heiss, the founder of MoMA PS1 … ‘Being…here seems to be conducive to people meeting. It’s a power strip where everyone can plug in.’”

 

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There is definitely a sexy, seductive feeling to the place.  The downstairs area is actually lowly lit and gives off a vibe similar to that of a lounge in a night club. Basically, I know this may sound somewhat shallow, but, there is no doubt to me, that you feel successful by just being there…ah, feel the electricity of other talented people trying to make money. Personally, if I would be starting out today, I’d want to work out of Neue House myself…wouldn’t you?

 

 

 

Oh, BTW, here is a picture of me with my dear friend, Noha Mohsen, at NeueHouse.  She is the owner of Enlighten Lighting Consultants,  and an Egyptian lighting designer who is now plying her trade in the Big Apple.  She’s the one I have to thank for introducing me to this fabulous place!

 

 

 

Ciao, Ciao ’til next time!