Industry Insiders: Bobby Green, Designer of L.A.’s Top Themed Bars

When Bobby Green (center) transformed a space in Los Angeles into a log cabin-inspired bar in 1998, and quickly saw lines form to get inside, he knew he had hit on something huge.

“I realized that people don’t just want a cool bar with red lights and velvet chairs; they want more,” says Green, the man responsible for transforming L.A. nightlife into a highly thematic, immersive experience into another era. As the creative director of nightlife company 1933 Group, and a self-professed “old soul,” Green has since opened, among others, the Mexican grotto-inspired bar La Cuevita, the post-Prohibition Thirsty Crow, and most recently, the Savannah townhouse Sassafras Saloon, trucked in straight from Georgia.

“Sassafras is our biggest and grandest spot so far,” Green says. “We had more money and time to make the place perfect, so we shopped around Savannah to buy bits and pieces that really capture that lazy, relaxed Southern feeling.”

While Green is inspired by the movie set that is the city of Los Angeles, most of his ideas come straight from his favorite memories of growing up in Oklahoma, and skiing in New Mexico and Colorado every year. “I live in another era,” Green says. “There are so many places I’ve gone to and love, and all I want to do is recreate them, and let others have those incredible experiences.”

Industry Insiders: Lyz Olko, Co-Founder of Obesity & Speed

After Gwen Stefani wore one of the first shirts Lyz Olko designed, the demand for Olko’s homemade apparel soared. Her response: Olko and her partner Josh Conner created the New York-based clothing line Obesity & Speed in 2003.

With a name inspired by an obscure Huggy Bear song and a style that’s both dark and humor-filled, the line has debuted in Japan, LA, NY, and such recognizable stores as Urban Outfitters. Other celebrities that have worn the brand  include Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, and Jared Leto. With its bold embroidered statements and edgy casual wear, Obesity & Speed’s collection continues to grow. “Go hard or go home," Olko says.

London Preview: Dorset Square Hotel

And they say you can’t go home again. But London’s boutique hotel virtuosos Firmdale (Haymarket HotelCrosby Street Hotel, etc.) have gone back to their first property, the Dorset Square Hotel, and revived it for the 21st Century. What has emerged, unsurprisingly, is a hotel-in-a-townhouse brimming with 38 rooms inspired by designer Kit Kemp’s signature bold and playful colors and textures.

Situated in Marylebone, Dorset Square is one of the early beneficiaries of Kemp’s buzzed about new fabric and rug collection with Christopher Farr. The rooms are flanked with oak and marble, and there’s an opulent, fireplace-adorned drawing room (this is England, after all). The sexy Potting Shed restaurant and bar is set to become one of the capital’s buzziest new scenes. Another winner from Firmdale. 

Hamptons Opening: Everything But Water

No, it’s not an ominous headline for the latest threat of drought. Rather, prodigious providers of chic swimwear and accessories Everything But Water have finally made a home in the chicest beach town of all, joining the summer celeb-chasing parade that is East Hampton.

And aesthetically, they’ve gone charmingly local, with design elements including reclaimed boardwalk wood and sand-colored flax linen curtains adoring the cabana-style fitting rooms. Labels abound, from Marc by Marc Jacobs to Nanette Lepore to Betsey Johnson to Trina Turk to the retailer’s own eye-poppingly colorful new label EBW Pareos. Splish splash!

New York Opening: Dior Homme

With devoted Dior gents sartorially stranded by the ongoing renovation of the Madison Avenue flagship, this stopgap Soho store comes with a certain exigency. Located in a rather epic, neoclassical-looking building on Greene Street, Dior Homme stocks the full Dior arsenal, from accessories to fragrance to footwear to ready-to-wear.

Unsurprisingly for the neighborhood, interiors feature skylights, soaring ceilings, and exposed brick. The space’s art – a neon text piece by Scottish situationist artist Robert Montgomery – cleverly contrasts the offerings of this luxury brand. 

New York Opening: Angelo Galasso

Not many designers (er, actually probably no others) can say they’ve dressed Pacino, Jay-Z and Morrissey. But Italian fashion legend Angelo Galasso’s “Tradition in Evolution” philosophy has an appeal that apparently crosses not just a few cultural divides.

His tres elegan-tay new boutique, installed in the Plaza Hotel’s storied Edwardian Room, is his Stateside debut, and oh what an entrance he makes. Galasso’s modern-classical, masculine luxe looks are right at home amongst the space’s magnificent architectural details, including oak wainscoting, opulent chandeliers and a dramatically beamed ceiling. A seriously classy affair.

Celebrate NYC: Mia Fonssagrives Solow’s New York-Inspired Design Collection Opens March 28th

Sure, summer in the city might be so good it warrants a song (and a whole lot of tourists), but true New Yorkers know the city is in its prime during the spring; happy hours move outside, picnics replace nights in on Netflix, and the underground subways don’t yet feel like a urine-saturated, scalding underworld.

So when the city is at its best, why not celebrate it! On March 28th, artist and designer Mia Fonssagrives Solow launches her New York-inspired collection at The Museum of the City of New York. A testament to the beauty, brilliance, and eccentricity of NYC, the collection showcases a sundry array of home goods, fashion pieces, and jewelry. Trace the skyline and towering skyscrapers gleaming in the scarves, vases, and cuff links; follow the city’s grid fashioned on a fashionable dress. When you’re done, try to piece together NYC with a wooden puzzle.
 
Gleaming with the skyline, crystalline city lights, and even its signature sports colors, Fonssagrives honors the city and the people who have helped shape it. In a way, its almost like celebrating yourself – so, why not?
 
Mia Fonssagrives Dress

The Eames

Lovers, collaborators, creators of the modern world.

Charles and Ray Eames were not only one of this century’s most creative power couples, they were the most creatively promiscuous. Together, they leapt from one project to another, transcending the rules of architecture, design, filmmaking and branding.

The husband and wife team created a diverse body of work, from their eponymous, modernist chairs and mid-century furniture to ingenious kids toys, experimental films and iconic Los Angeles buildings such as the Eames House and Entenza House in Pacific Palisades.

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The Eames approached problem solving as an adventure, radically combining work with play. The rigid titles of architect, painter or designer were not as important as being able to look at a problem with an open ‘beginners mind’. In the Eames’s worldview, everything was connected, if you looked closely enough. (Or far away enough, as demonstrated in their film, Powers of 10.)

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects… the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se… I don’t believe in this ‘gifted few’ concept, just in people doing things they are really interested in doing. They have a way of getting good at whatever it is.”Charles Eames.

The Eameses embraced their era’s (1950s-70s) visionary concept of modern design as an agent of social change, elevating it to a national agenda. Their evolution from furniture designers to cultural ambassadors demonstrated their boundless talents and the overlap of their interests with those of their country. In a rare period of shared objectives, the Eameses partnered with the US government and the country’s top businesses to lead the charge to modernize post-war America.

The Eameses were the Jay-Z and Beyonce of their time, mastering the art of branding and self-promotion long before they became 21st century buzzwords. Their work/play ethic was the centre of the Eames’s life – with typical days running from 9am to 10pm, and a full-time cook on staff so they could work and play without interruption. After Charles’s death in 1978, Ray devoted the rest of her life to archiving the vast body of work they had created, as well as communicating their ideas through talks and writing. Ray Eames died of cancer on 21 August 1988, ten years to the day after Charles.

Text by Howard Collinge- The Unique Creatures 

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Karim Rashid

Industrial Poet of our Age and dreamer of great Toilets

In his own words, Karim Rashid was “a strange little boy,” entering the world feet-first with his mother’s umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Deprived of oxygen, doctors told his parents he would be retarded for life. The young Karim didn’t speak until he was almost five and when he did, he spoke with a speech impediment. On top of this difficult start to life, Karim developed the habit of eating only mashed bananas for a whole year. Little did his parents know, but this would turn out to be the formula for success.

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The result was a strapping 6 ft 4, creative whiz with boundless energy and world-class optimism. The grown-up Rashid went on to become one of the most prolific and eclectic designers of our time, with his unique stamp on over 3000 designs, with projects ranging from interiors, fashion, furniture, lighting, art and music to installations.

But his real ambition lies in the egalitarian realm of the everyday: designing beautiful yet highly functional stilettos, vacuum cleaners, and computer hard drives. In fact, he’s designed a best-selling garbage bin for an Italian designer and elegant manhole covers for the sewers of New York City. Rashid sees beauty in the banal. He even harbors ambitions to create a range of the most stylish toilets for The American Standard Company.

Karim Rashid’s designs are coming to an everyday object near you. If you can’t wait, you can see his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York or the Design Museum in London. Or you can check out his book: Design Your Self: Rethinking the Way You Live, Love, Work, and Play.

http://www.karimrashid.com

 Text by Howard Collinge- The Unique Creatures 

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