May 2012

Design Notebook

The latest dispatches on fabrics, furniture, shops and interiors from the front lines of L.A. style  by MALLERY ROBERTS MORGAN

The most intoxicating design book for spring is Interiors (Hardie Grant), a compendium of stunning images by photographer Martyn Thompson. Spanning two decades, the monograph features the homes of such international tastemakers as Elsa Peretti, Achille Castiglioni, Francisco Costa and Thomas O'Brien. But the real star here is Thompson himself, whose mastery of light and painterly images is an invitation to dream.

Native Angeleno Scotti Sitz, a veteran of the fashion demimonde who has worked for Calvin Klein, Valentino, Givenchy and Armani, has brought her personal brand of stylish savoir faire to life at Garde, a Beverly Boulevard boutique focusing on new artists and designers of home furnishings, jewelry and accessories. The look of the shop alone—restrained, thoughtful, refined—says it all.

Fabio Micucci, dapper don of Italian glass and silver, has opened an intimate gallery next to his Pacific Design Center showroom that furthers his mission of feting the richness of Italian culture in all forms. Micucci Arte's inaugural exhibition, Landing, is a one-man show of strangely compelling canine sculptures by Velasco Vitali.

Walter Lowry's mecca of tabletop delights, TableArt, has moved into bigger digs down the street from its original Melrose location. And more space means more fabulous stuff. Additions include chandeliers by Viennese glassmaker Lobmeyr and glazed porcelain beetle vases by German artists Beate Reinheimer and Ulrike Rehm for Thomas Eyck.

Englishman Tim Gledhill, formerly of the Rug Company, has launched Huddleson Linens, a collection of digitally printed and machine-washable Italian tablecloths, runners, placemats and napkins. Patterns range from dainty flowers and birds to striking brushstrokes reminiscent of Mark Rothko—because, really, every meal should be a special occasion.

Eccola, L.A.'s fertile resource for antique and modern Italian furniture, is now the exclusive West Coast representative of the Airline 009 chair and ottoman. The two recent designs by Cory Grosser for Walt Disney Signature are based on the original 1934 Airline chair Disney himself commissioned for his animation studio. Made of walnut and leather, the pieces have a sleek modern silhouette ready for liftoff.

After years of working for furniture and fabric titans Knoll and Maharam, Silver Lake–based Tracey Reinberg has laid the foundation for her own design dynasty with Kismet, a gorgeous line of Moroccan-made cement tiles that fuse traditional materials and fabrication methods with bold, modern motifs. Size, color, pattern, layout—Reinberg will gladly tailor all to suit any project.

In little more than a year, Jorge L. Cruzata's Melrose shop, Siglo Moderno, has become a destination for design aficionados seeking extraordinary furnishings and art. Recent additions include whimsical marble furniture by James Irvine for Italian stone carvers Marsotto Edizioni and Frédérique Morrel's taxidermy-esque sculptures covered in vintage needlepoint.

A new edition of William Haines' fanciful 1950 brass and acrylic cigarette holder can be used for candy, flowers or other noncarcinogenic pleasures. The prototype is in LACMA's California Design survey, while the reissued piece is on display at a PDC showroom dedicated to the actor turned decorator, whose clients included Joan Crawford and the Annenbergs.

Joel Chen, L.A.'s grand vizier of gorgeous things, has expanded his empire of antiques and contemporary furnishings with C Project, a 5,600-square-foot showroom on the increasingly fashionable Highland corridor between Santa Monica and Melrose. As this venture isn't restricted to the trade, mere mortals can now shop his enormous cache of wonders.

Acclaimed East Coast apothecary and purveyor of luxurious lotions and potions Malin + Goetz has opened it first West Coast boutique on Larchmont Boulevard. Designed by Andrew Bernheimer, it's a marvel of restrained chic, with Mondrian-like shelving and a lighting installation by David Weeks. Come for the architecture, stay for the eucalyptus shower gel—heaven!

Australian import Deus Ex Machina parks in Venice with the company's signature array of custom motorcycles, surfboards and clothing. The SoCal branch, ponderously called the Emporium of Postmodern Activities, boasts a Handsome Coffee bar for hipsters who love their beans as much as their bikes.

Duke & Duke is hosting the first West Coast solo show for Brooklyn-based glass master Jeff Zimmerman. The seemingly liquescent biomorphic forms of the artist's alluring sculptures and lighting fixtures strike that rare balance between nature and glamour. Through June 15.

Fabio Micucci: Donato Sardella