Posts by: Stephanie Rossi, Contributing Writer

Fashion & design powerhouse Hermes is  gettin’ bizzay: through the 22nd of November they are teaming up with some well-known contemporary Dee-zigners to produce ‘Petit h’, a line of accessories, gifts, and just plain coolness made from leftover materials.

Here’s to making recycling even greater than it already was. Hippy never sounded sooooooo good.

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[Photographs by Marcus Gaab for the New York Times.]

Imagine coming home every single evening and casting your gaze upon this sucker in your dining room? Well one lucky couple in Munich can, and does. Suspended 25 feet in the air is a 12 foot amoebic creation designed by legendary lighting designer, Ingo Maurer. He calls it a Biotope.

Incidentally, a Biotope is an actual thang: a contemporary combination of the Greek terms Bio, for  life. and Topos, for Place.  In short, it’s a fancy word for habitat, and quite frankly, we should all start thinking more about our own Biotopes. Seriously, bitches.

Maurer was commissioned to create and design this masterpiece to illuminate and act as a sound barrier in a dining room whose previous life was a 19th Century chapel. He describes it as a ‘hybrid lighting and acoustical devise.’

In order to satisfy the ‘sound deadening’ challenge, he came up with quite the ingenious usage of sponges; yes, sponges. Farmed of course, because that’s what responsible Biotope developers would do. Each sponge was then sprayed with a specially formulated green pigment. L.E.D lamps, along with an integrated sound system are hidden throughout the structure. If Bach composed a Katydid Concerto in D Minor, this  chandelier would have it on repeat.

But it gets better: Maurer wanted “something artificial, something abstract” so his team of Creatives set forth to locate a Californian artist who makes insect replicas. Adding delicate butterflies, dragonflies & insects, this light fixture takes on a world of its own.

Breathtakingly brilliant. A Home Tree for the rest of us.

I call it as I see it: genius.

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I have an addiction and it involves electricity. It runs neck and neck with a similar addiction I have that involves shoes. But I like to refer to that as my ‘Sculptural Collection of Footwear’ on prominent display in my closet. I open it to the public twice a year and I do charge an admission.

This electrical addiction I have consists of collecting sources of light. Lamps, chandeliers, hanging pendants, etc. I refer to that collection as my ‘Sculptural Collection of Illumination’ and it is on display though out my office, client projects etc.  Eventually you have to come out of the closet.

Here is a look at what I would eventually like to curate for a show I would title: Dine-O-Mite: Lighting It Up, Like.

 

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September and subsequent months in Boston can, in many ways, be viewed as our ‘Social Spring’. We are all back from our island vacations, tanned, relaxed, ready for commitment all over again.  It is a month that launches the pre-new year in terms of major events in Fashion, Design, and Fundraising.  Bostonians are feeling the love for all things social, and who can blame them? Fashion Night Out this past week was an enormous success not only for our local economy but for our social egos as well.

Come October 1, 2011 Boston will be partying it up yet again at ARTcetera, a major fundraising event to help raise money for the AIDS Action Committee. If you haven’t already, get your ticket asap, as this will be a sold out event!

Twenty-five years ago, a group of Boston-area artists came together in response to the AIDS crisis, which was claiming the lives of so many of their friends, fellow artists and colleagues. They responded by creating and organizing the first ARTcetera, a contemporary art auction held at Boston City Hall, to raise money for AIDS Action Committee.

Over the years, ARTcetera has grown to become one of New England’s premier art auctions and an essential funding source for AIDS Action. And, while the AIDS epidemic looks nothing like it did 25 years ago, this epidemic and AIDS Action’s work are far from over.

This October, ARTcetera turns 25! Once again, the arts community and AIDS Action will celebrate our extraordinary partnership in this fight to stop the epidemic by preventing new infections and optimizing the health of those living with HIV.”

Chances are you know someone who has suffered from this disease and it is our responsibility to help educate and support such organizations in the flight to find a cure.

This year there are over 200 artists, both emerging and well established, along with local museums and private collectors, who have donated a plethora of works. To view the collection, and enter the online auction, please check out Bidding For Good.

Not only is it a great opportunity to bid on fabulous art for your own collection, for a client, or friend, but it can be used as an educational opportunity to introduce someone new to the art world. Not to mention raise money for an extraordinary cause.

You will not be disappointed.

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If the Boston Design Community can be proud of one single accomplishment, it is the ingenious talents and multiple successes of  Interior Designer Frank Roop.

This Thursday evening, Neiman Marcus is hosting the launch party celebration of Mr. Roop’s book,  The New Bespoke.   Not only is it an absolute honor to be invited to an event supporting such an amazing Designer, it also happens to be Fashion’s Night Out. What better way to spend a Thursday evening? I can think of no other!

Before I had the pleasure of running into Frank one evening outside his brownstone (and I literally ran into him), I have admired his unique, custom designed spaces from the get go. Originally hailing from California (see my previous post about where coolness hails……) and settling in Boston, Mr Roop has epitomized what high-end design can and should be.

An excerpt from the book’s Summary:

The New Bespoke is a compelling first monograph on the work of internationally recognized and published interior designer Frank Roop. A mastermind of original color palettes, Roop leaves his signature couture touch on each and every space that he creates. To create truly inspired spaces, the ingredients that go into his projects are unique: almost all of the furniture and furnishings he uses in his interiors are either vintage finds or custom made pieces of his own design. Roop began his design firm after a career in specialty menswear, where he acquired the principles of design that gave him a special and unexpected basis for formulating and conceptualizing his interior design schemes. For Roop, a room is not just a space to be inhabited: it is a garment to be worn, and an impeccably tailored garment at that.

I will also mention that Frank has paired up with photographer Eric Roth, a talent (and total ham) behind the camera, to create stunningly beautiful images showcasing the many spaces Frank has created over the years. Eric and I have worked on various photo shoots together and his eye for composition is second to none. What I love most about his Eric’s photographs is that he treats each space like a romantic still life. Each image  not only portrays the designer’s talents, but draws a secondary, yet equally important appreciation for the image itself.

Yes, I ‘heart” both Frank and Eric.

Here’s to you Frank Roop, for providing the world with uncompromisingly sophisticated spaces, and for an unwavering dedication to what truly good design is all about.

Looking forward to my signed copy of The New Bespoke. Hope to see you all on Thursday!

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One of my favorite things to do is drive around in my car between the hours of  noon and 1pm, and listen to “Back in the Day Buffet” on Jammin 94.5. On most days this is possible, as I’m usually be-boppin to client meetings or some other design-related fiasco, excursion, or spree. What I find myself doing is extrapolating any number of hip-hop song phrases and thinking to myself “How the hell can I turn that into a blog post for Style Boston?”  Cuz there’s nothing better than attributing Old School Hip Hop songs to any random facet of your life.

For example:

Something for the Travel Blog: Left Your Wallet In El Segundo? 5 Ways To Spend The Heck Out Of Your Paycheck, West Coast Style.

Something for the Dating Blog:  You Can Go With THIS……Or You Can Go With THAT: When To Be A Baller, And When To Be, Well, A LOSER.

For the Interior Design Blog: You Down With O.P.P? Opportunistic Paint Palettes That Will Get ……You …….Noticed.

So imagine my Deee-Lite when I walked into the Dessin  Fournir / Martin Group showroom at the Boston Design Center this week and cast my eyes upon the recently installed, custom painted, wallcover by artistic duo Kelly Porter & Bridgett Cochran, aka Porter Teleo.

Note: If the style looks vaguely familiar to you it’s because our beloved Executive Editor, JGC, posted on his “Hearting of Kelly Wearstler” on June 27.  (Alas, Porter Teleo paper graces the foyer walls of Ms. Wearstler’s manse. Not to mention that these gals have been around for a few years, been written about in numerous blogs, magazines, etc. etc., and are ever present in the homes of Cool Folks across America.)

All of sudden I was all…”California, knows how to party…California knows how to party…” in my head. (Insert wrist gesture and gangsta frowny face here) Oh yes indeed, it’s fun time, fun time.  Now, despite the fact that these lovelies are actually based in Kansas City, MO of all places, that song came to me because most cool things begin on the West Coast.

Why am I getting to this now? It’s because Boston has FINALLY gotten its ‘you know what’ together to rep such crazy cool-ness. I even heard a rumor from the showroom rep that their wallpapers have only been used by……….hold on a moment because I need to locate my inhaler…………….ONE OTHER DESIGNER ON THE ENTIRE EAST COAST. I nearly fainted from embarrassment.  Are you kidding me??? Someone please debunk that myth.  Because if it IS true, then I’m going to be the second Designer to use it.

Might I bring up that horrific list Boston just made it’s way to the top of? Here’s the dealio: word up to all you Bostonians,  get cooler, fast, and look these chicks up. Let’s show these fools how we do things on the East Side. Cuz you and I know it’s the best side……..

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I suppose this answers the question now, doesn't it?

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There is an architect out there who is near and dear to my heart: Robert Whitton.

I have never met the gentleman and probably never will, but I love him in the same way I love my four-year-old UGG slippers [editor's note: Stephanie, this is unacceptable], the same way I love the pre-dinner aromas in my Mom’s kitchen on a late Sunday afternoon. Comfort love.

Why? In the early 70s, he designed a very special home. The home in which my husband and I now live. It has had a few owners, one major renovation; but it will grow old with us.

Here’s to the person who made me appreciate the makings of a pretty cool-looking box.

It took me about 6 years to track the man down. When I finally did, through a writer in Arizona, it was an honor to speak to the man who 1. Designed something pretty cutting edge,  especially for this neck of the woods 2. Made me understand the spacial importance of the Golden Section and 3. Appreciate, yet again, the steadfast dedication of a true artist. I live within someone else’s sculpture.

And the Heavens aligned…

I found out that Mr. Whitton, not only an architect but an accomplished artist & furniture maker, designed a handful of houses similar to mine, randomly scattered across the country, from the East Coast to Arizona, where he now lives.

What at first appear to be a coincidental collection of boxes, arranged together to create solid looking yet unfixed dwellings, is subsequently a haven for the mathematically inclined. Every single wall, floating bookcase and window has been calculated to the n-th degree. For the ‘design-OCD mind’ (and really, I wouldn’t know), it really is heaven.

All of  Robert Whitton’s houses have similar details: enormous expanses of stucco wall, Mondrian-like splashes of color, Meier-esque cantilevers and roof lines and a Walter Gropius blend of traditional and modern materials.

Additionally, Mr.Whitton’s jewelry and one of a kind pieces of furniture are black and white versions of the collaborative mingling of Art Deco, Modern, and Memphis Design.

Thank you, Mr. Whitton, for providing shelter in the form of a grand scale sculpture and for reminding me each and every day that some things are better left untouched.

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Have you ever worked for a company who can’t seem to get their business strategy down pat? Like they are moving in a million different directions and the pathway to success seems long and harried at best?

Perhaps they should have taken tips from the Stockholm law offices of Hannes Snellman. A place where clarity and, at the same time, aggression, screams at you from every angle. In a lovely contemporary way of course. Hey, if you’re going to defend someone, you might as well be clear about it, right?

Artist Ulf Rollof teamed up with Swedish rug manufacturer, Kashtall, to weave together a hand-tufted wool and linen billboard, stating their main objective: fight with passion, strategy, and audacious commitment. And they did it in three pieces measuring 30.5 feet x 48 feet.

I wonder if these honchos have any specific reading requirements?

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Get the hell out of my way, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. brrrrring…..brrrringgggg! 

I am not doubting your abilities to perhaps outdo me in the household duties department, but I will, in fact, run you down with my very own Missoni for Target Bike that I will be purchasing on the eve of September 14 when the entire collection comes out. 

Your buddy Anne of Green Gables better watch her tail as well.

And if you are all wondering why I’m posting about a damn bike, as opposed to the household items Missoni will be designing for Target, then surely you’ve mistaken me for a decorator. Said bike will be pulling double duty as art, as I’ll be hanging it 12 feet up on my Living Room wall.

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Does the word tuft make you nervous? For example, is that a tuft in your pocket or are you just…?

Imagining your Grandmother’s little tufted tuffet sitting by its lonesome in the dark corner of her faded, floral-wallpaper covered living room while you wait patiently in your Sunday best for some of those cookies she promised you?

It’s time you reacquaint yourself with tufting, my friends. Here are a few of my favorite tufted numbers. Some will make you want to get your drink on. Some will make you want to get your… other things … on. Either way, tufting has never seen such a sleek silhouette.

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The world of Architecture and Interior Design may not have many rockstars, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Peter Marino, for example. A few reasons why Mr. Marino is cooler than the rest of us:

1. His firm is called Peter Marino Architect. Just in case you don’t know what he does. Being this direct requires chutzpah. He’s got it.
2. He looks like a cross between Karl Lagerfeld, a cleaner shaven Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, and my all-time flavor fave George “I Want Your Sex” Michael.
3. He designs like a mofo.

Not only has he created breathtakingly sophisticated spaces for the likes of Ermenegildo Zegna, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, but he’s also the man behind my two all-time favorites: the Zwinger Royal Porcelain Collection at the Oriental & Meissein Animal Galleries in Dresden, Germany, and the whimsical retrospective on the work of Claude & Francois-Xavier Lalanne at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, France.

Sophistication is paramount, but it’s also clear he has a well-developed sense of humour. There’s a playfulness to his work that is unparalleled.

Little surprise that he made the famed Architectural Digest Top 100 List in 2010. Needless to say, if there’s anyone to bow down to, it’s Mr. Marino. Just watch out for his spiked boots.

Not as familiar as you ought to be? Get to know his work via the gallery below.


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An Interior Designer must always try to approach ordinary scenarios and dilemmas with a new perspective, always try to create new ways of looking at things, objects, people, the spaces in which we live and work. The spaces in which we exist. Observation is the critical first step, to absorb and consider.

When I came across the most recent issue of W Magazine I immediately recognized why I love the enigmatic Tilda Swinton so much: she is a human form of architecture.

In this particular comparison, the alternating black and white of her sail-like collar mimic the shadowy interior levels of the Guggenheim in Bilbao. True to form, her lichen green eyes seem to look right through you, or you through them. This ephemeral moving through space, the openness of her frame, these are the goals of great architecture.

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Something has been stewing up inside of me for ages. It’s a mixed bag of frustration, pride, and down-right bitchiness: 

Contrary to what you have been told by the blogosphere, there is a difference between an Interior Designer and a Decorator. 

For those of you who claim to be Interior Designers, and by ‘those’ I mean the “I was once an assistant at a paint store for like, um, six months and now I have a blog and I love using words like ‘bananas’, ‘ridic’, and other assorted phrases that not only bastardize the English language but also, plainly put, sound stupid” listen up:

A professional Interior Designer is someone who went to school and received a degree in the subject. A Decorator, or Decorina as I am fond of calling them, is someone who did not, and who presumes that enjoying color play, accessorizing, and using such cutesy catch phrases as ‘I Die’ or ‘Swoon’ with respect to anything printed with a Greek Key pattern are all legitimate qualifications for design work.

Pssst, we Interior Designers would like to inform you that Kelly Wearstler’s Imperial Trellis wallpaper is, like, so, yesterday.

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