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A September to remember: design is in the news

The Axor NYC Showroom unveiled the brand's fabulous products.
The Axor NYC Showroom unveiled the brand's fabulous products.
Various

No one would ever accuse the month of September of being boring, especially when it comes to “happening” design events—not only were major companies launching initiatives and opening showrooms during 2011, a hip magazine got in on the act by throwing a fantastic party.

Boston-based designer Andie Day strikes a pose during #BlogTour2011
BlogTour2011

I kicked the month off an evening early with said soiree, the Issue No. 90 Release Party for Surface Magazine held at Mister H in the Mondrian Soho. The hotel is the new darling of the south-of-Houston nabe, designed by the oh-so-chic Benjamin Noriega Ortiz. I saw a slew of design glitterati there, including Annie Block of Interior Design Magazine. It was wonderful to catch up with her and to (finally) meet design-writer extraordinaire Julie Taraska. Editor-in-Chief Dan Rubinstein was glowing—not just from the moody lighting of the bar but from the well-deserved praise for the edgy issue.

Any New Yorker unaware of the New York Fashion Week festivities taking over the town must have been living under a rock! With so many events and so little time, I put a BOFFO event at the top of my must-do’s because the Karkula showroom had always been high on my list of design destinations. I headed down to the Walker Street locale with Green Provocateuress Jade Dressler, making my way through the pulsing heartbeat of the first installation in a series of five collaborations celebrating architecture and fashion design that brought Nicola Formichetti + Gage/Clemenceau Architects to Karkula’s space. They had transformed its interiors into a mirrored prism and filled it with limited edition artifacts that included Thierry Mugler creations. Striking a model pose was part of the dress code, and Dressler rocked the internet with a head-swimming post on her blog.

Next up, Miele had invited me to the De Gustibus Cooking School, tucked into Macy’s in Heard Square, for the Kitchen Unveiling Party. It’s simply delicious what Salvatore Rizzo and Arlene Feltman-Sailhac have created in the state-of-the-art space filled with Snaidero USA, Miele and Caesarstone products. The tapas and Banfi wines were plentiful, and the crowd was uber-happy. I bumped into Richard Martin, EIC of FoodRepublic, there. Boy, he sure does get around! It was nice to see Michael Icovino of Miele once again, and to meet Lars Leicht of Banfi—compliments to the vintner and organizers on the wine and food pairings during the evening.

The week progressed with our adroyt tweetup in the brand spanking new Axor showroom, which opened above Vitra in the Meatpacking District. It was the perfect light-filled space to showcase the company’s sleek, finely designed products. Twitterati Tamara Stephenson Matthews, Tyler Wisler, Aston Smith, Roberta Kravett, and Jade Dressler joined us for a fantastic lunch prepared by German-born Chef Guenter Seeger. Rich Holschuh, my adroyt business partner, teased a wonderful story from Philippe Grohe, Axor’s Brand Manager, who was in attendance—not a surprise given the German goodwill that was flowing between the two of them! I will not be mentioning how much Russ Wheeler, president of Hansgrohe North America, looks like John Travolta, as I understand he hates that (whoops; I just did, didn’t I?)! Rima Suqi wrote a nice overview filled with pertinent information on the new showroom in her Currents piece for The New York Times (and that Patricia Urquiola bathtub—honed from marble—just happens to be one of my favorite products in the showroom). Rich and I met Kat and Jo from Vitra and were excited to hear that they are planning some cool events during the coming months in their newly redesigned space. Stay tuned design devotees!

There was no rest for the weary that day and a hop uptown to Lincoln Center was a necessity as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week called once again. The W Hotels’ Fashion Next shows were underway and we stopped in to see the unveiling of Juan Carlos Obando’s new collection. He was chosen by W’s new Global Fashion Director Jeanné Lombardo as one of six designers to watch. This season of Fashion Next brings a third group of emerging fashion talent to the global stage, and I’ll be interested to see if the jewel-tones and sleek lines of Obando’s collection translate to trends in interiors in the coming year (I’m betting they will). Lombardo said of Obando’s collection, “His clothes are elegant and edgy and beautiful. He is on a very focused and determined trajectory.”

They call it “the morning after” for a reason and the excitement of launching a new social media platform for our visionary client Global Lighting was the only task that could entice me to be up and on a train to Westchester County so early after an night of NYFW partying! The forward-thinking CEO of the company, Larry Lazin, never ceases to amaze me with his ability to think outside the box. How did we at adroyt get so lucky in having such a passionately engaged client? We’ll take the serendipity, as we are as enthralled with his attitude as we are the products the company distributes in North America, all European-made. We can’t wait to see where we are able to take the brand in our design-savvy corner of the social media universe! Are you following them on Twitter? Have you “liked” them on Facebook or checked out the Global Lighting blog? It would be terrific if you would!

As the month began to draw to a close, Rich and I hopped the Acela to Washington, D.C., to attend the opening ceremonies of the Solar Decathlon thanks to the generosity of Miele, whose environmentally astute appliances were part and parcel of the WaterShed house, designed and constructed by a team of students and professors at the University of Maryland. We headed back to New York City after a whirlwind day of seeing most of the avant-garde residences designed with sustainability in mind. We have posts on adroyt and Roaming by Design, and a selection of short videos on our YouTube channel, which offer a glance at the futuristic buildings the talented teams put together for this year’s competition. One of my favorite videos from the day is of the dapper Skyler Stevenson, who is such a knowledgeable and eloquent spokesperson for the Miele brand.

All of the above kept me from being a participant in BlogTour2011, which was excruciating considering all of the fun I saw my tweeps having in London during the British capital’s design week festivities. Get a load of the insanely pretty Andie Day (the head-lining photo for my slideshow) striking a pose for the cameras! If you don’t know about the BlogTour phenomenon, spearheaded by Modenus’ Veronika Miller, you should because it is definitely one effort to watch. V will be taking bloggers to some of the world’s top design fairs, and they will be gaining more internet impressions for sponsors than can be counted (seriously)! I hear Milan, Paris and New York are on the list for future tours. Hmmm: wonder what I’m going to have to do to get my foot in the door for the next one? Suggestions anyone?

Last but by no means least, I’ve been following an effort that proves generosity is still alive and well, even when talk of economic downturns and global recessions dominate the news. Mr. Steam—looking to make you think twice about ever leaving your bathroom if they get their SteamTherapy hands on it—is sponsoring Hank Darlington’s bicycle ride from Maine to Florida as he raises funds for the Decorative Plumbing Hardware Association (DPHA) Scholarship fund. The 76-year-young Darlington is posting his progress on his blog Cross Country Rider. There’s a wonderful audio clip of Alexandra and Kymberly Williams, the Misses Fun and Fit, interviewing the avid cyclist here. I’ve posted a few more details on my blog Roaming by Design.

In case you’re wondering whether October can possibly top this slew of design news, not to fear. Events with Global Lighting in Los Angeles and New York; Tile of Spain party news—have you entered their Facebook competition? It’s great fun; and a Drink.Think NYC event with the charismatic Warren Bobrow are in order. And that’s just what I know about as I click publish. Who knows what will pop up in my inbox as the days race by? Maybe a disco nap is in order so we can be ready for the onslaught!

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