Someone (Barney’s) Got A Little Work Done

In case you hadn’t heard, our beloved Barney’s had a little something done at both the Beverly Hills and Madison Avenue locations. As if carrying some of the most amazing beauty products weren’t enough (hi Byredo candles… what’s up MAKE face gloss…) the department store beautified itself for our benefit. By reaching out to Steven Harris Architects to ensure optimal results, Barney’s really hit a home run. Steven Harris himself was kind enough to answer a few burning beauty questions (like, how did you manage to make it/us look so good?) See if you can finish clicking through before dashing across or uptown for a beauty splurge.

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“We sought to make the shopper look as beautiful as possible within the space by using ample ambient light and lighting from below,” said principal architect himself, Steven Harris. Must remember “lighting from below” for the next bathroom renovation…

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“Interior designer Eleanor Lemaire’s design for the original Bullocks Wilshire store was a guiding influence throughout. When designing the fixtures, we took major inspiration from Damien Hirst’s medicine cabinet series and Donald Judd ‘s steel boxes,” said Harris. (Donald Judd’s steel boxes are pictured.)

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Damien Hirst’s medicine cabinet.

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… and that all makes visual sense.

The lighting is all designed to emphasize the beautiful bottles and packaging. Harris told me “the perfume display lights all the bottles from below so that their intricacies emerge and they seem to glow from within. Our fixtures allow the beauty brands to be identified more by packaging than by the individual boutiques- brand identity rather than the approach.”

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Also, now you can get your spa on at Barney’s – see: this new treatment room. So zen. Say it with me… ohm.

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“We want the shopper to feel beautiful when they enter the space and throughout the shopping experience…” said Harris. “We also want them to feel pampered, an objective that we addressed [with] sumptuous finishes, special pieces of furniture, and moments of pause within the store’s circulation.” So if you’re jonesing for a beauty binge, get thee to a Barney’s, stat. The whole experience is bound to be gorgeous.

Dream Home: ABC Home’s Outlet Sale Is On

In the Tri-state area? Call a car, grab a friend with a car… however you get there, get there: ABC Home’s Outlet Sale starts today at the South Hackensack location.

If you’ve lived in or visited NYC, you’ve probably gotten lost in dreamland staring at the Broadway location’s windows. Faded or overdyed Persian rugs layered over top one another, a perfectly worn-in chaise lounge, modern floor lamps and lots of lucite litter the windows and floors of ABC. I find it hard not to mentally decorate my current and future home(s) when I’m nearby, pre-planning the antique cutlery I’ll set out at my next dinner party, and I trust I’m not alone.

Like with fashion, home accessories are the easiest way (and easiest to change) to spice up a home, so stocking up on pillows, throws, and tabletop accessories is one way to do the sale right. Or just throw caution to the wind and go with that sofa on impulse…

The sale goes on from October 10-19.

James Shaw: Experimental Design Gunslinger

A gun that shoots liquid metal may seem like something out of Iron Man, but it’s actually one piece of an impressive artistic arsenal recently unveiled by experimental furniture designer James Shaw at London’s Royal College of Art.

In addition to the metal-shooting gun, which emits a stream of molten malleable pewter, Shaw has created a gun that shoots papier-mâché and a third that extrudes plastic. All three "weapons of design" were presented to the public by Shaw as part of the 2013 Royal College of Art graduate exhibition in London. The project was the result of Shaw’s research into radical furniture design and inspired by an essay by Glasgow-based artist and author Jonathan Meuli.

Using these innovative design tools, Shaw has produced a variety of strange and utilitarian objects, such as a papier-mâché lamp and a "pewter squirt" table. The objects look functional, but also otherworldly. And it takes a totally different approach to design. "In work like his," notes Monica Khemsurov of Sight Unseen, "it’s about the journey, not just the destination."

“It discusses the pervading perception of artists, craftspeople and designers as these lone heroic figures,” Shaw told Luxury in Progress. “They struggle away for some spark of originality, for creative territory or simply for survival. It inspired me to create an arsenal of ‘weapons’ with which to equip myself for leaving the Royal College.”

"I have produced a set of weapons (guns of course) to become my arsenal, with these I will fight the fight," said Shaw, a graduate of RCA’s Design Products program in his artist statement.

"We are all fighting for creative territory, for novelty, for some spark of newness. We are fighting banality and the oppression of massive systems within which we are complicit and sometimes complacent. Each gun is an innovation in itself, and each gun shall be capable of producing further innovation. These guns are tools for making, for making images of possible new worlds."

"Often (power) ‘tools’’ seem to fall into the form of guns, think nail gun, spray gun, glue gun, tape gun, tufting gun even the handheld drill has a definite gun-like nature," he says. "This bears an interesting relation to the way in which making is about the human dominance over natural resources and obtaining mastery over materials, but also the notion of a gun fits into this received idea of the heroic nature of the artist in a cowboy gunslinger way."

As any tool-wielders worth their weight in smooth shank stainless steel nails knows, it’s not the tool, it’s how you use it. But it’s also true that a creative vision can best be expressed with the right tools to begin with. As Shaw has proven with his innovative new design "guns," sometimes, to build a different kind of house, you need a different kind of hammer.

World’s First Nobu Hotel Opens In Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace

The original Nobu, which opened in Tribeca in 1994, was perhaps the first celebrity destination restaurant where the quality of the food matched the blazing star power. Now with 22 outposts from Milan to Moscow, and Melbourne to Mexico City, it was inevitable that the empire would spawn its own hotel. And so the doors are at last opening on the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas—which stands athwart the strip’s gargantuan resorts. 

A genuine boutique hotel, built into Caesars’ Centurion Tower, its 181 rooms make it practically a B&B in Vegas. And forswearing indigenous flash, David Rockwell’s design is all low-key elegance and serenity, drawing inspiration from Japanese shodo (calligraphy) and origami. But the on-site 12,775 sq. ft. Nobu restaurant and lounge is anything but zen. With its eye-popping color schemes and gargantuan hanging light fixtures, it boasts a 327-seat bar, teppenyaki tables…and a private dining area that will be a perpetual celeb magnet. Nobu Hotels are also planned for London, Bahrain and Riyadh. 

Your Design Portfolio Looks Great, But How Are You At This iPhone App?

It’s almost time to head back-to-school, or in the case of you recent graduates, time to look for a job and/or unpaid internship to make you more employable. If you’re in any of the so-called "creative" professions, chances are you’ve worked your tail off for years to try to get ahead of an intensely competitive and narrow field. You’ve clawed and scratched and learned all the various expensive Adobe software programs. You’re ready to go out there and impress some firms, right? Well, in the case of Amsterdam design firm Muse, if you want a creative internship position, you’ll have to wow them with your skills on an iPhone game. This spring, the firm recruited prospective li’l worker bees by having them play the popular free app Draw Something and choosing the most unique and creative design made from their prompts.

Obviously there are some socioeconomic implications of relying on a smartphone app to choose your interns (and of internships in general), but some design firms and other creative types are probably going to see this and think, “That’s a great idea!” Forget those years of school or projects you spent weeks on without sleep. Looking for an editorial gig? How are you at Words With Friends? Want to pursue a career in physics and projectile defense? Let’s see you fling those angry birds. So many questions. Watch Muse’s recruitment video below.

Designer Marc Dizon on the Luxor’s Newest Hot Spot

My better half is a gal named Amanda, who my friends thank every day for calming me and for making me happy. Still, I have yet another half, and that is my design business partner, Marc Dizon. He is, in many ways, the Yin to my Yang. Whereas I talk a lot, Marc offers each word as if its use takes an hour off his life. Our firm, Lewis & Dizon, just finished Savile Row at the Luxor in Vegas. Marc did most of the day-to-day design and construction help, as I toiled with the local places. Although we sometimes disagree, we have found, over the years, a balance that helps us apply our experiences—though vastly different—to create spaces we are proud of. I caught up with Marc and asked him to tell you about himself and Savile Row.

We just finished Savile Row, which opened New Years Eve. Tell me about the design. The program was to create an environment that has the energy of a Las Vegas night club, with the comfort, ease, and elegance of private social clubs of London. The space, which is approx 3,000 feet, was created for 300 members and selected guests.

What particular challenges did you face? Certain elements needed to be considered when we developed the space; it had to have a substantial visual impact, as the space was pretty much an open shell with a bar. A certain amount of planning was involved in creating a proper flow to distribute the energy throughout the two rooms. The “Plan Parti” is broken down into four sections: the entry lounge, the alley, the rotunda room, and the drawing room.The entry lounge was designed to resemble a tailor’s fitting parlor, with bespoke wall coverings, antique industrial drafting tables, dramatic wing back chairs, private wooden lockers (for member’s personals). This room served as the main entrance into the club.

The Alley, which is the main passage through the Luxor, is dressed up in floor-to-ceiling reclaimed brick veneer. With a blacked out ceiling, and dim-pin spot lighting, the space is meant to take people through a short maze reminiscent of the secret alleyways of London.

Into the Rotunda Room you’ll find tufted oxblood banquets lining the circumference of the space, and a molding-encrusted dome, as well as a large circular communal lounge table in the center of the parlor, which is meant to create a more laid back atmosphere. With the help of an oversized dim-lit chandelier, and subtle details of Gargoyles and equestrian statues, the color palette of the room is a balance of pinks, oxblood, moss, and olive.

Through an open archway is the drawing room, which houses the main bar: a central railroad seating plan comprised of deep plush leather couches, and integrated curiosity cabinets filled with classic collars and trinkets found in a proper tailor’s shop. Vintage trundle sewing tables were re-appropriated to create cocktail tables, perimeter seating was developed as proper booths, and there is also a catwalk stage. The main walls of the room has been draped with fringe-lined garnet velvet, drawn back to expose moss colored bespoke wall coverings, and display plaques showcasing miniature tailor forms, top hats, and bowlers. The DJ booth is designed as an upholstered pedestal, as architectural artifacts frame out the mascot of the space: a life size bronze replica of a Rhino. The bar is a display of found objects, golden shears, hovering tailor forms, and sewing machines, creating a spatial collage of figures and negative space.

Although we work closely together, you did most of the heavy lifting on this project while I did other projects. Where do you and I differ as designers and where do we agree I feel that the differences are what make the ideas and spaces develop into a rich visual palette. I see things developing with a certain amount of rigor and discipline, where as you are a broad stroke visualist. There’s a certain amount of balancing that two people need to develop in creating spaces, and I believe we have accomplished that.

Saville row is part of a greater Las Vegas resurgence. What do you see happening there? Las Vegas is a funny town in the sense that there are a lot of great spaces with very little to offer. There are dozens of spaces that offer a high-end experience, however it’s somewhat of an oxymoron, as I don’t particularly associate high-end and exclusive with thousands of people cueing up and cramming themselves into a pretty room. I feel that we are going to see more micro-lounges popping up in Las Vegas, serving a more intimate experience: a level of service and detail that this town is famous for, although it’s not normally found in night clubs. Operators like AMG can certainly pave the way. They’ve drafted Mike Diamond as the face of the Savile Row: if he doesn’t know you, or you’re not a member, then there’s no admittance. It’s somewhat of a different take on door policies, as the norm is, if you stand in line long enough, you can probably get in. Anyway, I think its a bold move on AMG’s part to create a truly unique nightlife experience.

Daisy Lowe Will Design Clothes, Obviously

Model, former face of Marc Jacobs’ fragrance, daughter to Gavin Rossdale, and girl-who-loves-dancing-in-her-knickers Daisy Lowe, is the latest pretty face to try her hand at design. Joining the ranks of Kate Moss, Elle McPherson, Coco Rocha and countless other cover girls that have gone on to craft their own clothing collections, Lowe’s latest project has her following in her own mom’s footsteps (the former model has her own line of sleepwear).

Lowe will be working with French fashion label Morgan on her 15-piece collection that is slated to include “both apparel and accessories at an economical price point,” says Vogue UK. That means dresses and jewelry as well as footwear and bags that will hit stores in November. Considering the buzz surrounding fellow model-turned-trendsetter Alexa Chung’s collection for Madewell, the celebrity-as-capsule collection designer trend seems to be picking up yet again. Huzzah.

The Cost of Sustainable Fashion

This past week in NYC, The Washington Post‘s Robin Givhan hosted a panel discussion, called “Voices in American Fashion,” between Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa, Maria Cornejo and Yoehlee Teng. Fashionologie took notes of the conversation, which covered celebrity designers, real-sized women and the alienation women thanks to fashion magazines. (Cornejo herself admits to feeling this way, saying, “I don’t even want to look at them. Anybody can make a 15-year-old model look good. It takes a lot to make a 47-year-old look good. There’s just this really big disconnect.”). The discussion got more interesting when the topic moved to sustainable fabrics.

Or, more specifically, to their affordability. “Only big companies like Target and Wal-Mart could [make it more affordable]. And if they did it, it would trickle down to us,” Cornejo says of the high price tag attached to most sustainable fabrics. So, as long as independent designers are the majority of brand heads committing themselves to using solely locally grown or sustainable fabrics and forgoing cutting costs by utilizing cheap materials or means of labor, it’s an uphill battle. But, if demand is increased exponentially, price points drop and even more individuals involved in the fabric game may begin working towards a greener practice. Fashion may never be completely sustainable, but working to promote better, more ethical fabrics is surely one step every major retailer should be taking. While H&Ms newly launched organic line may have proven not totally ‘organic,’ its fabrics were grown without hazardous chemicals and uses recycled polyesters. It’s a move in the right direction.

Aggy’s New $307 Leggings For Barneys

Coco Rocha and Jessica Stam apparently aren’t the only mannequins to launch clothing lines in recent weeks. While Rocha debuted her first design at the Grammy’s last month, Stam will be putting her own touch on a handful of pieces for Rachel Roy’s line for Macy’s. And, sometime in between launching both her acting career and sorting out plans for a not yet up-and-running online magazine, model Agyness Deyn has successfully transitioned into fashion design as well. Deyn has created a total of 11 looks for Barneys, which will hit the retailer’s new shop in Kobe, Japan’s racks this Friday (a subsequent launch at Barneys’ Shinjuku outpost is slated for March 13).

The collection includes “dresses, knits, scarves, t-shirts and leggings,” says Women’s Wear Daily. The latter are said to cost anywhere from $212 to $307; but, hey, if Lindsay Lohan can sell out of her knee-pad embellished Mr. President pants alternative ($132), why not Aggy? Besides, also just like Lilo’s leggings as of late, there is a charity bend to the collection. “The initiative is part of Barneys’ environmental campaign Go Green Go and a portion of the proceeds will go towards the planting of trees in inner Mongolia,” says WWD. As for the styles? WWD has images of two looks including this light purple cowl neck number that definitely channels this season’s 90s obsession… and not in a good way. Sadly we’ll have to sit tight and wait to see what $300 leggings look like.