Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Fashion, Art and Culture Meet
With jewelry designer extraordinaire and cultural philanthropist Ann Ziff.
I was very happy recently to go with my nephew Aaron to Ann Ziff's jewelry store on Madison Avenue for a party celebrating a new book – Diller, Scofidio + Renfro: Lincoln Center Inside Out. You may remember Ann Ziff on the blog - she is a wonderful jewelry designer and was in the news when she donated $30 million to the Metropolitan Opera.
Ann's jewelry collection is called Tamsen Z, and her Tamsen Z store on Madison is a polished jewel box where Ann offers her beautiful, artistic designs which combine unusual colors and textures and gems. "I make every piece myself by hand," she told me. "It's my own little sweat shop." At the party, she was wearing glittery platform shoes, a hot pink silk blouse, and layers of her own golden necklaces inspired by faraway places. On her wrist twinkled a stack of thin jeweled bracelets. "If one is good, twenty one is better," she cracked.
As a major supporter of the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center, Ann was celebrating the new book by the design firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, who rose to renown when they created the wonderful High Line park. Now they have breathed new life into Lincoln Center with a ten year renovation which has greatly improved the campus which many saw as an unsuccessful example of brutalist 60's architecture. Coincidentally, TD and I had just seen a very interesting documentary on PBS about how Diller, Scofidio + Renfro merge art and architecture. "They have changed the mood of Lincoln Center," Ann Ziff said to me. "They have made it very inviting and turned it into something beautiful. It's just genius what they did. I don't know anyone else who could have done it."
In the back of the store, Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro where greeting friends and signing their book about Lincoln Center. I had the chance to meet and talk with Elizabeth. "At Lincoln Center, we wanted to bring the vitality of the concert halls out into the public, and turn it inside out," she told me. They certainly successfully did that by designing a new plaza, refurbishing Alice Tully Hall, transforming the West 65th Street block, and more (don't miss the new restaurant with the green grass lawn on top of it).
Elizabeth told me that one of the most sensitive and controversial aspects of the project was renovating the iconic fountain at the center of the plaza. But her firm did a beautiful job, installing new nozzles and lighting, and replacing the circular perimeter with a polished granite surface that seems to float in the air. I took this picture of the fountain when we went to the Metropolitan Opera in January.
On the way out of Tamsen Z, I looked up and noticed the store's light fixtures. They are miniature versions of the huge crystal chandeliers at the Metropolitan Opera house which famously ascend before a performance begins. I love a New York City party that rolls up style, art, and culture in one event.