6 Ways Tetra is the Future of the Smoking Experience

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Photography by:  Charlie Shuck

Tetra is a new online retail project and lifestyle brand dedicated to elevating the aesthetics of the smoking experience. Founded by three prestigious design journalists and curators (Monica Khemsurov, Su Wu, and Eviana Hartman) Tetra sets out to offer a collection of commissioned smoking accessories created by some of the design and fashion world’s most influential artists. This includes a brand new collaboration with Opening Ceremony, a fashion set favorite Bellocq, Miwak Junior, Otaat, Leah Ball and Brooklyn darling Helen Levi.

The concept of Tetra was born from the desire to tap into the ritual of pause that smoking provides from our constantly connected lives and look at this moment as an opportunity to infuse great design. According to Tetra’s founders, in the mid-century period, before smoking was considered taboo, design luminaries of the era like Dieter Rams, Marianne Brandt, and Enzo Mari, created iconic home accessories for smokers to enjoy while engaging in company and conversation. Tetra brings this thought to the present day with their curated collection of contemporary pipes, ashtrays, snuff boxes, lighters, storage pouches, and hand selected vintage accouterments.

Here are six pieces from Tetra’s shop that will elevate both your ritual and home aesthetics.


1.) Marbled Pipe Pink by Leah Ball. $90.


2.) The Balance Pipe designed for Tetra by Jamie Wolfond in collaboration with Opening Ceremony. $65.



3.) Copper Rolling Tray by Matthias Kaiser. $330.


4.) Andu Box Moss Agate by Anna NY. $310.

©2012 John Muggenborg / muggphoto

5.) Octahedron Table Lighter and Ashtray Set by Andrew O. Hughes. $1,250.




6.) Voltaire Pipe by The Pursuits of Happiness. $75.00


Make Time Last Longer with Scott Thrift’s 24-Hour Gradient Clock

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Scott Thrift “wants to make time last longer”—a daunting task he’s distilled into the more simpler project of designing a 24-hour clock without numbers. Aptly titled, Today, Thrift’s kickstarted pursuit was designed with a stunning color gradient to reflect the changing sky outside during a 24-hour period.

The result “simplifies the day into a perfect balance of dawn, noon, dusk and midnight,” which Thrift promises will take the edge off time. So rather than sitting at your office desk every day, anxiously watching the seconds, minutes and hours pass by, Today highlights the “spectrum of time,” recreating the limitless feeling of watching clouds pass by.

More time is certainly the solution to Monday stress, even if it’s all in your head.



Chicago Students Bring 1866 into the Future at Milan’s Annual Furniture Fair

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A global leader in art and design education, Chicago’s School of the Art Institute is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a range of student-made designs inspired by 1866. After analyzing the people, their beliefs, available technology and fleeting fads, SAIC’s students dove deeper into the distant culture, researching everything from Victorian mourning rituals to hypnosis and prostitution, imperialism to solar-powered engines and the mandate of an eight-hour work day.

These ideas were then processed and reimagined in a contemporary context, making their official debut this week at Spazio Rossana during the Milan Furniture Fair.

“For nine years, students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have had the unique opportunity to design, produce and show their objects next to some of the world’s most renowned designers during the Milan Furniture Fair,” said SAIC Professor Helen Maria Nugent. “Going through the process of concept to creation and having this type of exposure to design professionals and buyers allows our students to gain significant, invaluable real-world experience over the course of just two semesters.”

Of the 15 exhibited student designs, standouts include a “Crylus” pen that writes with tears (or water), a paper-made clock with movements that reference the migration of global refugees and a double-lensed condiment container that magnifies its contents and ultimately becomes functional, countertop art. Scroll through more of our favorites from SAIC’s 2016 whatnot collection, below:


“Yi-Rack” by Ying Cui (MDes 2016)

“Inspired by the coexistence of the Chinese and British in Hong Kong in 1866, as exemplified by the double-sided 1866 coin, this clothes rack integrates the different approaches each culture takes to hanging clothes.” (Materials: Patinated steel)


“Solar Sonnet” by Alice Gong (BFA 2016)

“A curiosity-inspiring set of nesting glass objects which change color via solar-to-thermal conversion. Inspired by Augustin Mouchot’s solar experiments.” (Materials: Borosilicate lab glass and thermochromic netting)


“Allele” by Shau Heng Li (MDes 2017)

“A stapled plywood table, inspired by Mendel’s Law, in which functional elements mutate into decorative abnormalities. Staples and plywood were commercialized in 1866.” (Materials: Plywood and metal staples)


“Passage” by Jackie Jeong (BFA 2016)

“A large paper clock that captures the constant migration of refugees through the slow movements of its minute hand.” (Materials: Washi pulp, plywood and clock mechanisms)


“Jacks-Up” by Sung Jun Kim (MDes 2017)

“An array of turned wooden architectural legs form a small stool, embodying the collective efforts taken to raise the Briggs Hotel in downtown Chicago in 1866.” (Materials: Poplar wood)


“A Dash” by Charmaine Da Costa (BFA 2016)

“Inspired by the act of gift giving in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, The Porter’s Son, ‘A Dash’ is a lensed condiment container which reflects the taste of the receiver.” (Materials: Brass, two convex glass lenses and stained walnut)


“Crylus” by Chang Liu (MDes 2016)

“A glass stylus that catches tears to moisten ink when writing letters to lost loved ones. It is inspired by the elaborate mourning ceremonies of the Victorian era.” (Materials: Hand-blown glass, wax, dye, walnut and white oak)

Belgian Designer Walter Van Beirendonck Launches Colorful Home Collection

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Walter Van Beirendonck

A pioneering designer in Belgium’s fashion community, Royal Academy of Fine Arts alumnus Walter Van Beirendonck is a venerated member of the Antwerp Six—that avant-garde brat pack of sorts, which redefined the local look and carved out a promising fashion capital during the early ’80s. Revered for his colorful palettes and playful use of patterns, Van Beirendonck’s aesthetic has attracted Swedish home stalwarts Ikea, who’ve since collaborated on an exclusive collection, GLÖDANDE, launching June 1.


Fall ’16 Menswear

The designer developed this range like he develops fashion, first collecting inspirational images and words, and reflecting on his own home’s eclectic paintings and collectibles. GLÖDANDE, or “glowing,” will feature everything from paper stationery to shopping bags, rugs to porcelain and pillows—all products, of course, imbued with Van Beirendonck’s signature whimsy.

Designs are built around a gang of otherworldly characters, whom appear through the collection like protagonists in a fairytale. Van Beirendonck calls these creatures “WONDERMOOI,” a community faced with holes forming in their beloved cloud home, as they watch earthly wars rage on, below—a relevant conflict, touching on peace and environmental issues, which they help solve by spreading cloud dust.

GLÖDANDE’s thematic undertones align with Van Beirendonck’s fashion collections, most of which have centered on world issues throughout his career. The designer’s fall ’16 lineup, called “WOEST” or “furious” in flemish, reflected his anti-establishment perspective—one that’s inspired ranges about everything from safe sex to warfare. “I’m a pacifist,” he told Vogue. “But really, I want to punch someone in the face,” that “someone,” likely referring to a political leader.

Despite such serious (and admirable) intentions, Van Beirendonck’s work is always marked by a cartoonish look, as shown through GLÖDANDE’s wondrous, childlike appeal. See a preview, below: 





Japanese Design Legend Issey Miyake Unveils Harmonious Home Collection

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Pause for Harmony

Issey Miyake, the fashion legend famous for his angular silhouettes and innovative pleats, has teamed up with Finnish design house Iittala for a 30-piece collection of home goods, all of which are now available in the MoMA Design Store. “Design is not for philosophy, it’s for life,” Miyake once profoundly stated, and what better way to implement this notion than with a beautiful body of work accessible to the everyday consumer? Luxury is arguably worthless if it’s untouchable to the majority.

The collaboration is a marriage of Miyake’s graphic aesthetic with Iittala’s signature Scandinavian simplicity, manifesting into everything from subtle ceramic tea light holders to bold pentagonal table mats. There’s a clear sense of serenity throughout the collection, something echoed by the website’s fixation with harmony. If you’re a self-proclaimed minimalist on a budget, the days of salivating over Miyake’s work, but never pulling the trigger are over. Learn more about the timeless project, below:






(h/t DesignMilk)


A Rare Tour of Donald Judd’s Home, the Judd Foundation in Soho

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An exclusive photo tour of the Judd Foundation in Soho, just above ‘Make art, not pipelines, Get in on the Ground Floor’ open now for limited public viewing.

Studio space featuring two works by Dan Flavin (and a few permanent Donald Judd installations) opened to the public on Friday and Saturday last weekend, available for free viewing for the first time. Make art, not pipelines, Get in on the Ground Floor is on view as the first part of the series of temporary installations at 101 Spring Street, the Judd Foundation in Soho. Just upstairs from the ground floor is the rest of the Judd Foundation, the site of the late artist Donald Judd’s New York home. Everything there is exactly as Judd lived and left it, from kitchen utensils to early Dan Flavin works (the artists were friends) to a personal library to bedding. Get an inside look at Donald Judd’s Soho home below, and get some minimal home design inspiration while you’re at it.

101 Spring Street, New York, 1st Floor, 1974, courtesy Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Barbara Quinn, Licensed by VAGA
(Note: Whitney Independent Study Program Seminar with artist Donald Judd at his studio in 1974. On Judd’s left is Ron Clark, and on his right is artist Julian Schnabel.)

101 Spring Street, New York, 2nd Floor. Photo credit: Mauricio Alejo-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA

101 Spring Street, New York, 2nd Floor. Photo credit: Mauricio Alejo-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA.

101 Spring Street, New York, 3nd Floor, Library. Photo credit: Joshua White-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA.

101 Spring Street, New York, 3nd Floor, Library. Photo credit: Mauricio Alejo-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA.

101 Spring Street, New York, 4th Floor. Photo credit: Joshua White-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA.


101 Spring Street, New York, 5th Floor. Photo credit: Joshua White-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd FoundationFlavin artwork © 2012 Stephen Flavin/(ARS), © Chamberlain artwork/(ARS), © Claes Oldenburg. Licensed by VAGA.

Second Floor, 101 Spring Street, New York, NY. Photo: Joshua White.

Second Floor, 101 Spring Street, New York, NY. Photo: Joshua White.


101 Spring Street, New York, Exterior. Photo credit: Joshua White-Judd Foundation Archives. Image © Judd Foundation. Courtesy Judd Foundation Archives. Licensed by VAGA.

Donald Judd Portrait, 1991. Image © Judd Foundation. Courtesy Judd Foundation Archives. Licensed by VAGA.

Chicago Athletic Association Reemerges as Luxury Hotel

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Restored ballroom

Travelers heading to the windy city (and local Chicagoans looking for a a place to throw a knockout event) will have a new place to stay starting May 27, when the storied Chicago Athletic Association reopens its doors as a 241-room luxury hotel.

Travelers heading to the windy city (and Chicagoans looking for a a place to throw a knockout event) will have a new place to play starting May 27 when the storied Chicago Athletic Association reopens its doors as a 241-room luxury hotel. The restoration, which involved a collaboration among design firm Roman and WilliamsHartshorne Plunkard Architecture, Geolo Capital, and Agman partners, took two years to complete.

The historic building and its gorgeous architectural details were brought to life in 1890 as a place for the storied families of Chicago — think names like Wrigley and Spalding — to socialize and enjoy sport. Roman and Williams preserved the details, which included bas-relief woodcarving fireplaces, 19th-century stained glass windows, and marble staircases, as part of their restorative process.

Beyond the guest rooms and suites, the luxury hotel will boast 17,000 square feet of event space, a rooftop bar, retail space in Madison Hall, and multiple restaurants, including a Shake Shack.

Chicago Athletic Association

A room at the restored hotel

A suite at the restored hotel

Chicago Athletic Association exterior

Images courtesy of Commune Hotels and Resorts

Celebrating Downtown’s Brand New Max Mara Whitney Bag

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View of the new Whitney Museum. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

Downtown’s got a brand new bag. Along with a new museum (hello, Whitney, opening in May), a new skyline (what’s up 1WTC), and a plethora of restaurants and attractions that are bound to pop up around them, we’ve got a new accessory with which to carry our essentials below 14th Street. Renzo Piano, the starchitect for the Whitney Museum, also had a hand in the Max Mara Whitney bag, an homage to the building itself.

On Wednesday evening, the chic  (Pari Ehsan, DJ Harley Viera-NewtonLauren Remington Platt, Claire Distenfeld, Genevieve Jones, Natalie JoosJohn Buffalo Mailer, Nicolas Niarchos) gathered at the Boom Boom Room atop the Standard hotel to fete the new bag — the purse and the view of the new museum both on view for revelers to enjoy.

The limited edition bag (carried by Milly Piano) comes in a light blue to reflect the color of the new Whitney building, and only 250 are available. The bag, proceeds of which go to the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, will also come in three sizes and three colors: black, tan, and bordeaux. The bag is a tribute to the Whitney building, also designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

Rachelle Hruska and Pari Ehsan. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com


Maria Giulia Maramotti and Harley Viera-Newton (wearing Max Mara) next to the “Whitney” bag designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop for Max Mara. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

Renzo Piano, Milly Piano (with the “Whitney” bag), and Luigi Maramotti. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

The Creators: Roman and Williams

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Roman and Williams (Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch) photographed by Nigel Parry for BlackBook.

When you walk into a room that Roman and Williams has designed, you will feel something. You will discern texture, notice scale, and you may even feel warm or cool. “There’s an amateurism we love to maintain so we don’t end up too professional or too polished.… It’s a lot of emotion, a lot of passion,” says Stephen Alesch, half of the design duo (and husband to his counterpart, Robin Standefer). To them that’s more important than staying true to one particular aesthetic. It’s why visitors will develop an attachment to the glittering, Champagne-filled Boom Boom Room, and the casually bohemian Ace Hotel lobby, worlds apart and brimming with particulars. One is where you dance till dawn looking out at the city lights, and the other is where you take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and get your work done. Same goes for the spaces they’ve created at the Viceroy, Royalton, and Highline hotels, and restaurants like John Dory Oyster Bar and The Dutch.

“Our starting point is love: loving an object, loving a space, thinking of an experience we want to have,” Standefer says. It’s not just about what’s new or in fashion; the two have a humility that allows them to comb over memories and the familiar, searching for aesthetic details and ideas that will make you experience emotions. It’s just going to be a different emotion depending on where you are. Guests at the Freehand in Miami, Chicago, and soon Los Angeles will pick up more on the handcrafted, homey sparseness of the hostel/hotels, while the rarified Chicago Athletic Association, a historic landmark and soon-to-be-hotel, will attract a ritzier crowd. Each project inhabits its proper space. Filled with all the right particulars, they become fully developed worlds of their own.


This article appears in the spring 2015 issue of BlackBook on stands now.