Italian food+Italian kitchens+design+ fashion- the best of the best

Last week I went to a very cool event on the rooftop of one of those great old factory buildings on Manhattan’s west side, in the 30s. These days they are entertaining spaces, all white lofts, with candles everywhere and spectacular views of the city. Speaking – and cooking- was the esteemed architect Adam Tihany, known for his great design work in restaurants; Fern Mallis, the founder of Fashion Week; the chef Cesare Casella, formerly of  restaurant Beppe, now  in his Upper east side restaurant; and Dino Borri, who is Mr. Eataly. By that I mean, he is the person in charge of all Eataly stores around the world, and for bringing us all the fantastic products in the Eataly in NYC, on 23rd & Fifth ave.

This esteemed group had gathered to tell us about the upcoming 2014 Italian kitchen event in Milan.

Every April in Milan, the renowned ‘Salone de Mobile’ takes place. It’s like fashion week for the design and furniture industry; it’s that important!  Last year,  FederlegnoArredo, the Italian Federation of wood, cork, furniture and furnishing industries, presented “Kitchen, Soul, Design: L’Italia che Vive,” an effort to show the best designed kitchen companies in Italy. And now that I’ve seen some examples, I’m lusting after a new kitchen. We’re talking beauty and innovation.

The Eurocucina Show, in April, 2014, will exhibit a combination of the cutting edge and the traditional. The special show Made in Italy  reflects the everpresent  passion and spirit  that has, throughout history placed Italy at the forefront of art, creativity and culinary excellence.

The two kitchens shown here:  (upper image) Snaidero board Verde : Snaidero’s solution for apartments or limited space environments is tailored, flexible, yet its design concept is beautiful and doesn’t sacrifice on function. Scavolini Diesel: Scavolini has designed an extremely modern and modular kitchen, yet one featuring a distinctly vintage spirit in its materials, treatments and finishes. The result: an ambiance that blends modern with comfort.

At bottom left to right: Adam Tihany, Fern Mallis, Dino Bori, Cesare Casella.

Stay tuned, there will be more on this in April!



Exhibition not to be missed- Father & son Brazilian designers at Espasso

The renowned Brazilian furniture designer José Zanine Caldas, who died in 2001, worked as a furniture designer and self-taught architect for years. His expertise was in model making.  He was well known for making the models used for projects of Oscar Niemeyer and the other major modernists in Brazil. Caldas then pioneered the concept of sculpting furniture out of solid native Brazilian woods. His son, Zanini de Zanine, 35, today continues this legacy. In the new generation of furniture designers in Brazil, Zanini is considered among the most important. He has shown extensively in Europe and in LA, but now father and son are featured for the first time together in the USA, in a new exhibition at Espasso, the go to shop for all things Brazilian, in Tribeca. Featured are 18 pieces designed by  the son; one of which was designed exclusively  for Espasso. And, the special treat, are the five vintage works designed by his father.

Images at left: Upper image, current work by Zanini De Zanine. lower image: vintage work of José  Zanine Caldas, circa 1970, all at Espasso.

The exhibition is only on for two weeks, until October, 12, so get yourself on a downtown train and head to Espasso at 38 N. Moore st. 212-219-0017., for times and details.

Luxurious bathing in a traditional style bathroom in the film Blue Jasmine

imgres“Be sure to thoroughly vet your architect” advises Jasmine, (Cate Blanchett)to her potential husband/client, Dwight, (Peter Sarsgaard) in the new Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine. As the lead character, the line delivered in her delicious quasi-Brit- speak, sounded authoritative. And I couldn’t agree more.

The role, wonderfully acted by Blanchett, allows Jasmine to fake it pretty well as an interior designer. Prior to this point in the film, the apartment she shares with her husband, (Alec Baldwin), is a fabulous, sprawling Upper east side pre -war with lots of molding, marble, even columns ( a bit out of style).

One scene takes us into a plush library, painted in serious hues of a rich dark green. The production design, done by the always great Santo Loquasto is pitch perfect, setting up the backdrop for Jasmine’s life when she’s married to a rich player, and then, when she’s  living with her sister in a crammed and funky flat in San Francisco, where she is camping out to “get her life in order.”  This is where she comes up with her scheme for becoming an interior “decorator” as she calls it. Ironically, she was planning on learning these skills by taking an “online course.” I’m not aware of any online education in the field, but rather, I’d suggest to anyone needing the services of an interior designer or architect to view  and give me a call! Oh and don’t miss the film; Woody Allen is one of Designer Previews favorite film makers.