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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Community spaces in New York

New York has the most amazing public parks and integrated street furnture I have seen anywhere, and I am not simply referring to Central Park.

Public seating adjacent to the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan island was inspirational. Take a look at these beauties:

A most brilliant use of metal and timber! Much better than our run-of-the-mill boring park benches any day.

The High Line on Manhattan's West Side is incredible. You can experience nature strolling amongst high-rise buildings, sitting on a bench that appears to defy gravity or a comfy rolling-lounge chair. Re-built in 2009 from the site of an elevated disused rail structure, it now attracts millions of visitors (locals and tourists). It was my all-time favourite New York experience. 

The story of the two co-founders of Friends of the High Line, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, is a remarkable and encouraging story. The Friends Group maintains the High Line and provides more than 90% of the annual operating budget. Their self-titled book the High Line should be read by anyone who cares about green and urban life:

Our local park in New York, Bryant Park, is a great case study for integrating active and passive park experiences. Like the High Line, it too is managed by private citizens for use by the community.

Adjacent to the New York Public Library, Bryant Park contains a restaurant, several food kiosks and an outdoor bar. It also has areas for playing chess and table tennis, a small stage for bands, a large film screen for Monday night cinema showings and fold-out chairs you could move around at whim. Simply magical:

One more New York posting to come. And please don't forget, we are open this Sunday 2 September, Father's Day, from 10am.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Natural History in New York

There were three key amazing experiences that we took away from our New York trip. Interestingly, each is rooted in nature.

Firstly, the American Museum of Natural History located adjacent to Central Park was masterful. It contained the best examples of taxidermy in naturalised environments that I have ever seen:

The hall of biodiversity was simply awe inspiring, demonstrating a small snapshot of the range of species our earth supports:

Of course, it may be preferable if the hundreds of school children that were visiting the museum (on our day) were seeing these animals in a free range zoo. Or even better, in their natural habitat. But this is New York city, and just about every square inch is built upon.  

We did manage to find a zoo on the High Line (more of this great green linear space in another post). Although the Natural History Museum is more realistic, someone is having fun with a spare rooftop:

We have constantly debated the role taxidermy has in our little shop. Yes, it's hot right now and everyone seems to have a moose or a buck hanging on their wall. 

Yet we have opted to go with stylised versions, made of ceramic or resin. Even the very life-like raccoon skulls we brought back from NY are made of resin. 

And we are at peace with that decision. 
So too is 'Noodle':

Stay tuned for two other favourite NY experiences...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fresh from New York

Just recently, we took a quick trip to the US (namely New York). We are always looking for styling inspiration, as well as vintage and fresh pieces that are interesting and fit the feel of the manufactory

The good news is we managed to fit some great smaller items into our luggage! They are very limited in stock quantity, many are one-offs. They are also beautiful. 

We have labelled these vintage items (and some new pieces too) with a red ribbon and a red NY stamp. Most NY items are part of our new shop window display, on a pair of red ladders with baltic pine shelves.

In our next few blog posts, we will share photos taken in New York for great styling ideas.

Here's a peak at one of the gorgeous window displays of the exclusive department store, Bergdorf Goodman, on 5th Avenue New York: