Karen D. Singh and Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 4/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
Feel the Burn
It was during the fitness craze of the 1970's that Ralph Pucci launched Workout, his first line of action mannequins. But it was intuition, not nostalgia, that brought Ralph Pucci International back to the dummy game. "I saw people getting more active again," Ralph Pucci says. "I looked at Bruce Weber ads and Herb Ritts photos and said, 'It's time.'" Molded from fiberglass and sprayed with a black foundry finish, the male mannequins of Sport strike seven poses, from a show-off doing handstands to a champ assuming the victory stance. Macy's has already picked up the collection—not just for active wear but also for suits. 212-633-0452; ralphpucci.net. circle 406
Tailored for the Interior
Just a few miles from London's Savile Row, decor-minded Beau Brummells will find a worthy equivalent in the studio of Catherine Hammerton. In 2006, Hammerton leveraged her Royal College of Art master's in mixed-media textile design to launch a signature series of what she describes as "printed and embroidered textiles for the fabulous." The cross-pollination of motifs and constructions between her made-to-order wall coverings, fabrics, and pillows brings to mind a smartly coordinated suit, shirt, and tie.
Her main theme is texture, tactile or visual. Perforations in hand-dyed, hand-stitched Blossom waxed-paper panels cast abstract shadows on the wall behind. Return to Sender, a wallpaper, features digitally printed vintage stamps. Fabrics called Feather are actually hand-dyed, digitally printed layers of silk chiffon. Fly Away is aflutter with bird silhouettes, cut out of vintage wallpaper and applied to a vintage background. Also in the decoupage tradition, Collection wallpaper is embellished with vintage fabric and trim. Lolita wall coverings blend printed floral imagery and stitched detail. Flutter Leather Cloth is composed of hand-cut, digitally embroidered leather and suede. And Peacock Ditzy throw pillows boast digitally printed linen fronts hand-finished with linen patchwork. 44-20-7603-8851; catherinehammerton.com. circle 407
To experience the undiluted genius of textile designer Eugène van Veldhoven, dig into his portfolio of experimental projects. There, prints layer onto wovens made from luxury fibers, transformed almost beyond recognition. Back in school, he says, his teachers "almost started crying" at his hubris. Today, he's a teacher at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague. He also consults for fashion designers such as Christian Lacroix, who might ask for transparent silicone-rubber coatings on, say, cashmere—along with iridescent pigments, glitter prints, shrunken wools, and burned-out cottons. In addition, textile manufacturers such as Larsen buy Van Veldhoven's experimental swatches, then modify or simplify them in deference to market forces. He's eager to turn some swatches into undiluted, if very short, production runs. Perhaps to cover a bracingly experimental sofa or two. 31-70-365-52-37; dutchtextiledesign.com. circle 408 —Craig Kellogg
The Director's Cut
Rarely is a director's chair ready for its close-up. But François Russo's Helleu indisputably is.
A tribute to Russo's deceased friend Jacques Helleu, art director for Chanel perfume, beauty, watches, and jewelry during more than four decades, this Poltrona Frau chair is slightly formal and even delicate in appearance— but is actually constructed from materials much sturdier than your average wood and canvas. The white Corian on the crossed legs conceals a steel frame, the armrests and stretcher are polished steel, and the seat and back are saddle leather, offered in coffee, Conero red, Dove gray, blue, and olive. 212-777-7592; frauusa.com. circle 409
manufacturer: Fabrice Covelli.
product: Soft Gem panel.
standout: This cheerful ode to urethane comprises three distinct types, one for the backing, another for the clear round shells scattered on top, and the last for the colorful gel inside them.
After designing Soft Gems as squishy "stones" for costume jewelry, sculptor Fabrice Covelli realized that they had ornamental potential for interiors, too. "I discovered that the myriad vibrant, translucent gems create a mesmerizing panel," he says. "The most spectacular effect comes when light shines through." That revelation led him to make column lamps out of the material. You can also find it in partition form at Philadelphia's Pod restaurant by the Rockwell Group. 917-202-2349; fproduct.net. circle 410
A Horse of a Different Color
The story of horsehair reads like a cross between an Émile Zola novel and Marco Polo's travel journal. Since 1814, the fibers used for French horsehair textiles have been cropped from the tails of free-roaming horses, first in Australia and Argentina and later in Mongolia, where no fences equals no snags. The tail hair is then shipped to the town of Challes-les-Eaux to be handwoven on antique looms designed specially for rigid fibers. The results of this labor-intensive process, which yields no more than 3 ½ yards a day, are some of the most durable, elaborate, and pricey jacquards around—exactly what one expects from a textile found at both the Musée du Louvre and the White House.
Now the CEO and art director of Le Crin—the horsehair maker owned by Hermès—Olivier Nourry has childhood memories of a drugstore in Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside Paris, where the owners provided a Napoléon III chair, upholstered in horsehair, for the convenience of customers waiting for their prescriptions to be filled. "About a hundred people would sit in that chair every day," Nourry says. And it never needed to be reupholstered. Créations-Métaphores, 914-699-7800; creations-metaphores.com. circle 411
Large repeats and quirky colors are just two reasons you'll be glued to these wallpapers. Atria's wintry trees and Ursa's seashells are available in five combinations of black, white, off-white, gray, lavender, and blue. Need more reasons? Both are made from recycled paper and water-based ink, and both have washable surfaces. 212-268-2046; troveline.com. circle 412
ABC Carpet & Home
Already missing the snuggle of your shearling coat? This shearling rug solves those seasonal issues. To create pattern and depth, Thorvid is made from hides that have been oxidized and stenciled. A full range of neutrals is offered in the standard size, 6 by 8 feet. Both size and color can be customized, too. 212-473-3000; abchome.com. circle 413
Todd Bracher Studio
Sate your inner Homer Simpson with doughnut-shape Boom cocktail tables. Hollow centers allow these glossy lacquered fiberglass pieces to nest inside one another. The smallest, Simply Boom, is 37 inches in diameter, medium Very Boom is 53 inches, and the largest, Super Boom, measures a whopping 69 inches. 347-673-4011; toddbracher.net. circle 414
Arenal is eminently simple and adaptable, not to mention lightweight and lighthearted. These stacking chairs are offered in stainless steel or iron, which can be expoxy-finished in white, turquoise, or orange. For the woven seat and back, select natural or synthetic rattan. 34-66-176-03-86; bonestil.es. circle 415
Cate & Nelson Design
Indecisive types will thank the duo of Nelson Ruiz-Acal and Cate Högdahl for the Oz Lowchair, with its seat made from 15 layers of colorful wool felt. Simply flip to the one that matches your decor, outfit, or mood. The only constant is the aluminum frame. 46-76-882-39-25; catenelson.com. circle 416
To design the Steelwood chair, brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec channeled the spirit of Jean Prouvé via the hardworking combo of steel and beech. The metal can be painted in your choice of red, black, or white. The wood can be painted to match or left natural. 39-0422-862600; magisdesign.com. circle 417
Luján + Sicilia
The lighting designs in Zona's posse combine acrylic bodies with polypropylene shades, available in seven slick colors including black, orange, and red. The table lamp comes in two sizes, 11 and 21 ¾ inches tall, the sconce and pendant fixtures in three. Basic Source, 707-586-5483; thebasicsource.com. circle 418
Part bench, part table, Sonofa is a comprehensive exploration of negative space—at 54 inches wide by 16 high by 15 deep. The steel substructure is dipped in black rubber, perfect for outdoor use as well. 612-782-1844; bludot.com. circle 419
With the environmentally conscious Zulu Mama stacking café chair for Swala Line, Haldane Martin mingles traditional South African basket crafts with industrial materials. The seats, constructed of ultraviolet-resistant extruded plastic made from recycled milk bottles, are handwoven in the Limpopo region, where jobs are scarce. The stainless-steel frame is fully recyclable. 34-91-663-7038; swalaline.com. circle 420