Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cat (alogue) Call: Whoot Whoot! Design Within Reach's Latest

I actually hate almost all catalogues. Forgive me as I take a seldom-used opportunity to voice what I see as earth-abuse, at least mail-box abuse. I also hate the prolific use of acronyms, so you could say the deck was stacked against Design Within Reach, or DWR, as it's known by the design elite, or those who choose friends based on what chairs people have in their homes. I also find the name to be a bit of a misnomer - their wares are hardly within in my reach, nor the reach of my clients. But they sure do make a pretty catalogue. And unlike their completely whorish cataloguing retail counterparts, they only send one or two a year, max. I like that in a company.

And, I almost passed out, from love, at first sight of the most recent catalogue. Another thing I like about DWR (sorry - feeling lazy) is that it sells objects - not rooms. What I hate about the catalogue-ization of our design economy is that stores like Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware try to sell entire rooms and looks - they invite is to put our innate curatorial sense to sleep and simply "buy the room." DWR doesn't do that - it shows off it's wares like museum pieces. And they pretty much are - they each have a completely transparent and much-touted design story. (They should, considering their price tag.) If we all connected to the who-what-where of the design of our objects - we'd have less, and what we had would mean more to us. Less landfills, smaller craigslist-for-sale sections, etc. But I digress.

What captured my eye this time was the new Scoop Chaise Longue, designed by Mark Gabbertas, produced by Gloster, Scandis I'm sure. It looks an awful lot like rattan - but it's not - it's Textiline, which is basically vinyl. It looks an awful lot like rattan, but it gives more - no need for cushions. Love that comfortable minimalism. And no more mildew cushions or running out in the rain, cursing the damn summer cushions. Most of all - I love when modern meets feminine - when simple shapes retain curvature, movement and a liquid quality. Lastly, I like things that wear well - that's always worth paying for in my book.
I don't exactly have the limestone pool surround, nor a pool, in which to lounge on such a chair. DWR is most certainly aspirational -but it's also smart design. It's not superfluous - nothing extra, and nothing, we hope, that will end up in the trash because it can't be used for daily use.

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