Retail on Opposite Sides of the Spectrum

Recently on a local exploring mission I encountered two radically different approaches to the retail medium. One, a treasure trove of found objects where the most rewarding discoveries come from not knowing what you’re looking for. The other, a meticulously organized creative playground for the minds of children and their parents. While both were certainly memorable they illustrated the drastically different mentality of two distinct groups of shoppers, people that believe great retail experiences come with hard work and dedication, and people that, well, want shopping to be easy.

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Start Spreading the News!

I am so excited to spread the news; Lonny has a new website and blog! We are huge fans of the online magazine, and their blog promises to be a valuable resource of furniture, pattern and color inspiration.

Be sure to meet their blog editors here!

Photos credit Isa Salazar for Lonny

Partners & Spade

Located in NoHo in NYC, Partners & Spade is a creative studio producing films, books, apparel, and products and well as marketing, branding and retail design. Andy Spade and Anthony Sperduti established the studio in 2008, and since have worked with brands ranging from Absolut Vodka to J. Crew to K-Swiss.

Be sure to check out their blog, not only is it a brilliant collection of inspiration, but there is a filter tool that allows you to sort posts by chroma.

Partners & Spade store design (with Rogers Marvel Architects)

J. Crew Liquor Store, mens store design

K-Swiss limited edition product collaboration

The New Normal – Value does not equal cheap

About a year back when I first heard the term “New Normal”, I thought it was a marketing pitch by an economist who was looking to score with a new book.  Don’t know how the book deal is going, but the term, and the idea, has certainly caught on.  Bling is out – Excess is excess, and we just aren’t looking for so much Stuff anymore.

So what does this mean to the design community and our customers?  The New Inquiry provides an academic discussion of how Ikea tells us how we are coming back to our roots; how we can enjoy the simple things.  While I think this is all true,  there is another thing going on.  Ikea is telling us that they provide cheap great design, not great design that happens to be cheap. The shift is subtle, but Ikea lovers will know that low-cost was considered The Bonus, rather than The Substance.

Restoration Hardware has gone down a different path; They touted their new reinvention this past summer.  Whether you like the new style or not (Rusty Lux?), it can’t be coincidence that the product line is monochromatic, well used, and familiar.  There seems to be no evidence of prices dropping, rather the Look at Me factor has been toned down several notches:

Another rather surprising development comes from our friends at Ligne Roset.  While some may argue that great Italian design transcends fashion, it’s usually not touted as such in ad copy.  Words like “classic”, and “functional” are normally not we would expect from the brand, but these are new times.  The style is something we have seen before, and comfort is definitely part of the equation:

How does this apply to the built environment, other than The Stuff We Buy goes into The Stuff We Build?  It’s a bit early to tell, but there are some lessons:

A:  Price may matter, but its not everything

B:  Fashion may be a bit less fashionable these days

C:  Familiar is the new Fresh

Over the next several months, I’ll be on the lookout for examples in the built environment. The New Normal is coming – we just need to figure out how.

Stylish Stina

Stina Persson is an illustrator based in Stockholm, Sweden. Combining digital and traditional techniques, Stina’s work mixes raw with glamour for a vibrant, luminous effect. Her portfolio is impressive, working with major retail and publishing brands from Macy’s to Nylon, and recently with Levis.

Patterned Tunic, watercolour (left) Picture of Lily, cut paper (right)

Stina was asked by Levis to create a series of illustrations for their new Curve ID line

Perfectly Flawed is on display at gallery hanahou through October 1. If you are in NY, be sure to stop by!

Riva 1920 in 2010

Italian furniture company Riva 1920 has created an exhibition of 29 designers in the world of architecture, art and fashion to reuse Briccole, the oak mooring posts used to dock Venetian gondolas.  

The ongoing Tra le Briccole di Venezia meaning ‘Among the posts in Venice’ project is on display through the Venice Architecture Biennale. Pieces will also be showcased at Selfridges in London September 9 through October 9.

Slice of Briccole, Slice of Venezia table mats by Philippe Starck (left) and L’Anima del Legno, l’Anima della Pietra by Pinuccio Sciola (right)

Touch by Carlo Colombo (left)

Via Dezeen

Fishs Eddy

On a recent trip to New York, I was thrilled to revisit one of my favorite stores, Fishs Eddy. Located at 889 Broadway, the retailer originated as a small shop near Gramercy Park. While on a buying trip nearly twenty five years ago, the owners passed a small town in Upstate New York called Fishs Eddy, and borrowed the name for their store. Original merchandise included dishes from roadside diners, hotels, and country clubs. 

The visual presentation in the store is nothing short of inspiring. Tables, buckets, and bins are abundant with terrific household merchandise, with clever signs perched above. It’s impossible to leave the store without purchasing something! 

The store is fun, funky, and quirky, with a great selection of both basic and unique items. Check out their website, or better yet, their store.