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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!