The end of the hectic holiday shopping season and the start of a quieter time in retail provides an opportune moment to look at a select group of recent product launches that combine functionality and form showcasing the best in good design. Two of the four design firms featured – Connor Fine Engraver & Stationery and Bennett Bean Studio (BB&E) offer an artisan’s sensibility to individual creativity; while two furniture and design companies that have recently opened flagship stores in New York – Promemoria and Calligaris – are fine examples why Italy remains an innovator in ultra contemporary style.
Bennett Bean Studio (BB&E) – Collaborators Bennett Bean and Elizabeth Rand’s design concepts for rugs are derived from natural surroundings vividly demonstrated in the hand-woven “Aerial” (shown above), a visual taken from the landscape of Thailand as seen from a plane. Bennett and Rand use a diverse palette of color combinations featuring a variety of motifs – geometric abstractions, animals, and flower graphics – all to a client’s specificity. Rugs are hand woven in Kathmandu, Nepal. www.bennettbean.com, or 908-852-8935
Connor Fine Engraver & Stationer – Planning June nuptials? Add a touch of glamour and caché for an eye catching wedding announcement and invitation. Connor’s (www.connornyc.com) master engravers’ old world craftsmanship with a modern twist made them the perfect designers to produce the wedding announcement and invite (shown above) for Bella and Edward’s wedding in the latest installment of the multi-million dollar film franchise Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1. Hollywood converts include January Jones (Man Men), comedian Nick Cannon, Blake Lively, and Nate Berkus. Not bad for a year-old company. Available @ Barneys. www.barneys.com or 212-226-8900 x2708.
Calligaris – Devotees of high-performance furniture or those who live in small spaces will want to check out “Orbital,” a dining table with an automatic mechanism that slides out two extension leaves in a fluid circular motion. The simple lines of the metal arms do not disturb the sleekness of the base or glass top giving “Orbital” a look of being airborne. “Orbital” is produced in collaboration with Pininfarina. L: 5’4” (closed), 8’4” (open); W: 3’5” Seats 10 comfortably. Calligaris is located in Jensen-Lewis, 969 Third Avenue, 212-434-0990. www.calligaris.com
Promemoria – Young girls will be smitten with the colorful “Mini Bilou Bilou,” a chair made especially for children. The brainchild of Romeo Sozzi, patriarch and creative genius behind Promemoria who created a series of mini furniture, timeless pieces of household furnishings, is a bow to the 18th century tradition of meubles miniature and the Victorian tradition of doll’s house furniture. Available in seven colors and made in neoprene, a synthetic rubber used for flexibility. Promemoria has an international reputation for impeccable craftsmanship in producing handmade furnishings upholstered in luxurious fabrics. For a look at new inventory go to www.promemoria.com, 646-588-4409