Thursday, January 23, 2014

House Beautiful Magazine's Next Wave of American Designers

The Next Wave of American interior designers with House Beautiful's Shax Riegler, Kate Kelly Smith and Newell Turner.  

I had the pleasure last week of attending a luncheon hosted by House Beautiful magazine at the Hearst Tower on 8th Avenue at 57th Street. The event was held to celebrate the interior designers who have been spotlighted on the magazine's popular "Next Wave" page which identifies emerging talent all over the country. In this month's issue, for example, young designer Patrick Mele is profiled –

House Beautiful, which is 118 years old this year, has been celebrating emerging talent since 1998 when then-editor Lou Gropp started a feature with a round-up which included, among others, Thomas Jayne, William Sofield and Barbara Barry, who, of course, have gone on to become well-recognized American designers. At the luncheon on the 44th floor of the Hearst Tower, 19 recent New Wave designers were in attendance along with a congenial crowd of the magazine's friends.

A trip to the Hearst Tower is always a treat. The views of the city from the 44th floor dining room are truly breathtaking.
Looking north with Central Park below –

Guests sat down to a lovely lunch of pumpkin and goat cheese croquettes with roasted baby beets and ruby grapefruit –

followed by pan-seared cod with spaghetti squash and roasted brussel sprouts –

Hearst Design Group Editorial Director Newell Turner took to the podium to welcome guests and introduce the Next Wave designers who had traveled from across the country to attend. He spoke about his passion for American decorating and the history of American decorating, and how House Beautiful was committed to nurturing rising talent. "And always bring your new projects to us first!" he said to laughter across the room.
Yours truly with Design Group Publishing Director Kate Kelly Smith –

When the luncheon was over, on the way out I marveled again at the Hearst Tower which is a stunning building. The original six floor building was constructed in 1928 by William Randolph Hearst. Architect Norman Foster added a 46 floor tower on top which was completed in 2006. Here you can see, in this picture of the company cafeteria, how the tower ingeniously rises over the original six story facade. An escalator goes down to the street level –

Here is the escalator going up. It's surrounded on both sides by a waterfall, which offers a quiet, peaceful way to enter a corporate office building –

It's great design. And here's to the future of American decorating!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Visit to the Yale University Art Gallery

(this photo courtesy of Yale)
Over the holidays TD and I visited my father in Guilford and we had an outing to nearby New Haven to take in the newly renovated and expanded Yale University Art Gallery. We love the museums at Yale, which are beautiful and free! The Yale Art Gallery is the oldest university art museum in America, and houses 200,000 works of art from ancient times to the present day. For years, the Art Gallery was been undergoing a major renovation, and it reopened in 2012 so this was our first visit back in awhile. The renovation cost $135 million which was raised by the Gallery's indefatigable director, Jock Reynolds, who gathered that amount during a recession, no less. The expansion linked three buildings together, and the architects in charge, Ennead Architects in New York, did a brilliant job fusing the disparate buildings and departments seamlessly. "Gallery" is a misleading misnomer for this institution because it really is a major American art museum.

Within the three buildings, there is a lot to see including Asian, African, and Ancient art plus temporary exhibits. Throughout the exploration, there are wonderful things to discover around every corner. There also is a constant mix of old and new – old buildings, new renovation, old art, new design.
For example: A view down stairs to a nineteenth century John LaFarge stained glass window adjacent to a new elevator - going up!

There are secret nooks around every bend –

I am always drawn to nineteenth century European paintings, like this Vuillard – 

Tropical Gauguin always makes me happy

as does joyful Monet.

All of the galleries are painted different colors, but they all go together. Early Italian art is housed is rooms that are a deep midnight blue with light grey molding.

It really was quite striking. I've never seen gallery walls that color before.

The Yale Art Gallery is renowned for its collection of American art and decorative arts. The big windows in this decorative arts gallery reveal the buildings of Yale beyond.

Ancient art is found in a light-filled Gothic gallery. 

More treasures around every turn – 

A peak into a classroom – a nice place to go to school.

You can really wander for hours in this museum and not see everything. By the time we were done we were hungry so we repaired to Christie's Irish pub (thank you, Google search) for a proper pint and a hamburger lunch at the bar. It was a lovely afternoon in New Haven.