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The tree is the thing
For his “Big Woods” show, which opened January 27 at New York’s Cristina Grajales Gallery, Brooklyn-based designer Aaron Poritz went back to the source. “I wanted to go for a walk in the woods, find trees and imagine pieces that fit into its shape,” he says. “The tree is the starting point. I think that’s romantic.” The seven pieces he created for the show represent a stylistic departure for Poritz, who is best known for his masterfully crafted wooden furniture. “This was about exploring and being inspired by abstractions of the human form.” Two years in the making, “Big Woods” is a curvaceous collection that includes a vanity, desk, bar, coffee table, and floor lamp. Many of the pieces are made from hemlock spruce from his father’s land in Massachusetts, others from a huge 180-year-old fallen oak found in Connecticut. “Big Woods” is on display from January 27 to May 26 at Cristina Grajales Gallery, cristinagrajales.com.
Founded in 2020 by Emily Morrison, after a formative trip to Turkey in 2019, New Orleans-based fashion and lifestyle brand Elysian aims to blend age-old artisan techniques with a modern bohemian flair. While the line has focused primarily on textiles, offering everything from vibrantly patterned silk kaftans to hand-woven pillowcases and blankets made and sourced from faraway places like Istanbul and Kashmir, their recently launched tabletop collection marks Elysian’s first foray into ceramics. Sold individually or as a set, the dinner plates, dessert plates and bowls are available in four soft shades of blush, sage, tangerine and cornflower and are hand painted in Kütahya, Turkey, by a female artisan from her own studio. The design is a playful take on a traditional Turkish ikat with a blooming dahlia, a favorite flower of Morrison, in the center. Paired with one of Elysian’s cotton silk napkins, which are made in Uzbekistan by a family of weavers and display a Central Asian motif of ram’s horns (believed to have protective powers), these dishes make for a sunny tablescape, even in these gloomy months. from $60, elysianbyem.com. Custom orders may be placed through Elysian’s website or at their physical location at 3701 Magazine Street, New Orleans, La., 70115.
Fruits of an Egyptian idyll
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” It’s a saying that Marrakesh and Paris-based French designer and illustrator Louis Barthélemy lives by – and he believes it is particularly suited to life in Egypt, a country he fell in love with several years ago and was trapped in the spring of 2020. That turned out to be a blessing. Hidden in Siwa, an old oasis west of Cairo, Barthélemy was given five continuous months to devise a capsule collection for the furniture and fabric designer Pierre Frey. “I was surrounded by nature: lakes, mountains, palm groves,” recalls the 33-year-old designer, who has worked for Dior and Gucci. “So I drew trees, fish, birds, animals. It was something optimistic and joyful at a time when everything felt a little weird.” The resulting collection of panoramic and repeating wallpapers, embroidered linen textiles and carpets made to order that are crafted in Nepal, translate ancient Egyptian frescoes for contemporary interiors in Barthélemy’s whimsical style, and will be launched on January 20. pierrefrey.com.
Font of inspiration
That a punctuation mark can be a major design influence makes perfect sense in the universe of the Italian-made accessory line Pisani et al. “We were inspired by the literal text,” says creative director Mariza Scotch of Pietro Bembo’s late-15th-century humanist treatise “The Aetna,” which was published as a typeset book containing a graceful introduced a new typeface (predecessor to the current Bembo typeface) as well as a curious oval-shaped period that serves as the basic shape of the brand’s chain bracelets and lacquered treasure chests. Scotch, who, along with co-founder Daniela Pisani, spent decades developing relationships with suppliers and artisans to create accessories for 10 Corso Como, Devi Kroll, Mark Cross and Ferragamo, who eventually had enough of “the categorizations that feed the industry”, and instead decided to design Pisani et al’s satchels, wallets and scarves from the point of view of their own esoteric interests: Sicilian ceramics, Renaissance tarot cards, archival silks. “Fashion is fueled by temporality; something comes in and then out,” she says. “What we do is the exact opposite of that.” from $40, pisanietal.com.
Facial oils get a Gallic twist from makers representing legendary family businesses. Olivier Midy, the eponymous brand of the great-grandson of François Midy, founder of the oldest pharmacy in Paris in the 18th century, channels that ancestral knowledge into his Éclat Midy Face Oil, which improves elasticity and soothes inflammation via a 24-ingredient blend containing sea buckthorn , evening primrose and rooibos extract. The husband-and-wife team behind Maison/Made, Carolina Prioglio and Adrien de Bontin, began their skincare journey after inheriting a family farm in Burgundy that dates back to 1152 and contains most of the active ingredients in their Extrait de Maison Biodynamic Rejuvenating Face Oil, such as extract of elderberries, raspberries and lemon balm. And Parisian brand Amalthea’s Huile de Prune is cold-pressed in the south of France and rich in vitamin E – perfect for dry skin in winter months like this one.
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