2005 Holiday Host Guide: Set & Match

As these ensembles demonstrate,the juxtaposition of seemingly divergent elements—New World with Old World, classic with contemporary, wood with silver—can produce the most intriguing tableware. NEW ENGLAND MEETS OLD FRANCE The clean, simple lines of the Chino sterling flatware from Massachusetts silversmith Peter Erickson offset the intense patterns of Robert Haviland & C. Parlon’s porcelain Chateau […]

Pavilions of Pleasure

Ancient cultures elevated the ritual of bathing to a fine art. It was never merely about getting clean. The Romans struck business deals at their bathhouses. Odalisques alternated coffee and gossip with dips in the pool in Turkish harem baths. In central Europe, people visited opulent Hapsburg-era spas to take mineral baths for their health […]

Furnishings: Top of the Glass

When english glassmaker Frederick Carder established Steuben Glass in 1903 in Steuben County, N.Y., his main competitor was Louis Comfort Tiffany. Both men produced colored art glass in the Art Nouveau style, at first following the European fashions. When Corning—known initially for manufacturing glass lightbulbs, then for early television tubes, and today for fiber optics—purchased […]

Spirits: The Seduction of Absinthe

If spirits can be likened to nobles—if a Speyside malt is, say, a Scottish laird—then this infamous elixir is surely the de Sade of the still. Criminal, sensual, and enigmatic, its name evokes decadence, lurid nightlife, and dangerous intoxication. Its mystique has furnished inspiration for paintings and poems, and its hallucinatory allure has made disciples […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Check Mate

Some mind games—such as chess or backgammon—are eternally entertaining. Chess sets themselves are often treated as works of art. Meissen has produced sets for the past three centuries that intrigue and delight, and a limited-edition reintroduction of Sea World, one of the company’s most whimsical designs, is a standout this spring. Designed by Max Esser […]

Appliances: Clean Machines

If it seems too much of a stretch to consider the workhorse vacuum cleaner as an art object, a walk through the recent exhibition A Century of Design, Part IV: 1975–2000 at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art would have changed your mind. Amid the sleek art glass vessels and architectural coffeepots, the Dyson Dual […]