Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When is Too Much…Too Much? & Annual Salone Restaurant Guide!

Here we are preparing for Salone del Mobile, Milan, Italy 2011 once again. HappilyI  Who doesn’t want to be in Italy in April?

And we’re thrilled to be representing Alessi (; Artek (; Flos (; Fritz Hansen (; Humanscale ( and Moleskine (

That’s the great news.

But in its 50th presentation, with so many outside areas (though fun) cropping up and

E V E R Y O N E having a press preview, exhibiting S O M E W H E R E, and at least one or two parties and events, is it too much?

I know from my editor friends, they are truly put upon where to go and with limited staff, how to cover it all. I know from other visitors, designers, retailers and the “just-interested”, it will take Russell Crowe’s “brilliant mind” to organize their time.

We’ll all make it through and I know will find a few things that dazzle (see above client list!)…but wonder how much more can this event grow?

Is it better to curate and define? Is it possible?

As always, I’m excited to go. To represent and spread the word on I.C.F.F.® (

And, of course, beyond Tortona, and Lambrete there’s another new neighborhood to explore,

Would love to hear from you on the above. And for those of you who have asked for my annual Salone restaurant guide (I’ve made my reservations, so I’m good to release this), here ya go!

Restaurants in Milan 2010:

Il Bolognese

Corso Genova, 3


Try the risotto!

Nobu @ Armani

Via Gastone Pisoni 1


Was renovated

Da Giacomo

Via Pasquale Sottocorno 6


Charming, unstuffy


Via Borgospesso 12



10 Corso Como

Via Corso Como 10 (duh)


Lunch or drinks best


Via Cerisio 9


Friendly; big with TV folks

Osteria del Sognatore

Via Mormondo 1



Maxela (Macarelli)

Via Eugenio Villoreni 10


Meat, meat, meat

Giulio Pane e Ojo

Via Ludovico Muratori 10


Local recommendation

Pane e Acqua

Via Matteo Bandello 14


Rossana Orlandi's - expensive but good

Da Illia

Via Lecco 1


Local recommendation


Via San Marco 38


Brera area - Miuccia eats here, too!

Antica Trattoria della Pesa

Via Pasubio 10


Great reviews by all

Tano Passami L'Olio

Via Eugenio Villoresi 16


Great wine list

Cucina Delle Langhe

Corso Como 6


Low-key; have to say I was not impressed

Piccola Cucina

Viale Piave 17


Tiny – hence the name

Premiata Pizzeria

Via E. De Amicis, 24


Best for lunch

Alla Collina Pistoiese

Via degli Amedei 1


A Milanese classic!

Ristorante La Scaletta

Piazzale Stazione Genova, 3


Local fav.


Via Filippo Lippi, 7


Native Milanese says so


Via Carlo Goldoni, 3


Native Milanese says so

Ristorante Rigolo

Via Solferino 11


"Refined" = not-so-friendly; but I love the food


Via Monte Napolene 6 (It's really on Via Bagutta)


Service can be dicey but a must for me!

Giacomo Arengario

Atop Museo del Novecento


Local recommendation

So, Mangia.  Grazie.  Ciao (the extent of my Italian).

Monday, October 4, 2010

60 Years of Greatness

On Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, employees (and salespeople) and friends of Carnegie Fabrics celebrated the firm’s 60th Anniversary at The Robert, atop the Museum of Art and Design in New York City.

First – what firm TODAY celebrates their employees in such style???

Secondly, I know this was a “work” event for me – but oh, it was so much more.

From the first day I met Mr. Bob Goldman, founder of Carnegie Fabrics some 20 years ago - I was trying to sell him advertising and he was trying to get me to contribute to the United Jewish Appeal – I knew I was with one sharp guy.

Over the years, Mr. Goldman (Mr. G to everyone), slowly gave the reins of the company over to Cliff, his son. Cliff and I always had great conversations (though I continued to try to sell him advertising – he never asked me for contributions!).

When I started BDE in 1996, he hired me for various projects until in 2000, Cliff hired BDE as his P.R. and marketing consultant. Then I really got to see the machine at work!

With Heather Bush and Mary Holt in design and creative, Cliff has scripted an amazing fabric and wallcovering firm – that is so much more. It is a firm that is design forward, progressive in material usage and exploration, has successfully produced marketing concepts and builds long lasting relationships with A N Y O N E they work with. But the more, is the heart and soul of this firm.

The growth and success has done nothing to change nor impact the sincerity and concern they show to each and every employee, salesperson, and yes, consultant. The firm, led by Cliff (with Mr. G still keeping an eye on the bottom line!), leads by example. I heard the word “ethical” more times than I could count that night (between my dancing). I heard the word “thoughtful”, “warm” and “pride” more times than I could count that night (between the great wine and food).

BDE has grown with Carnegie – or maybe because of it.

Thanks, Cliff.

Friday, August 13, 2010

An American Woman in Britain

With multiple goals and many meetings and visits, I headed for London last Sunday. I know many of you probably travel first class all the time – not me.  Always looking to be cost conscious for my clients, coach is where I fly.  Not this time!   Using mileage, American put me in “seat” 4J.  More like “bed” 4J. From the warm nuts (my favorite) to the champagne, real plates and flatware, I had a fantastic flight. And, to beat a dead horse…American Airlines found me an earlier flight and were so kind and efficient. Just like United when I flew to Montreal and Lufthansa when I flew to Italy for vacation. NOT LIKE CONTINENTAL!!!  Check my Tweets and FB re THAT!

Anyway, all my meetings – both business and those more personal – were not only successful but truly enjoyable.  People were genuinely interested, interesting and oh, so nice! Also, still not totally a food town, I experienced such great meals (or was it the company?) at Wilton's (oh so British),  Momo's (oh so North African in London), and The Wolsley.

Some things truly stuck out this time in London: one was the amount of construction.  Locals told me that they are getting ready for the Olympics and doing a lot of repairs and infrastructure improvements. Another observation was the number of Middle Eastern women (in traditional garb and facial coverings) and men (less noticeable) both as visitors before Ramadan and those living in London.  Press friends and locals confirmed that the population has grown significantly spurring the election of David Cameron. They have Cycle Hire and it seems to be very popular – like in Paris.  Is New York ready for this? For design, the London Design Festival is the “next coming” as 100% Design declines.  Still a very local event, with few new introductions, many were looking for the festival to grow. 
Massive amounts of construction on the London roadways

Cycle Hire! Next stop...NYC!

Some personal highlights and er….low lights:  My hotel (a low light) – Park Lane.  Not really glorious anymore.  First night I had a smoke filled room – and the next day sounded like Harvey Fierstein most of the day.  Luckily, they changed me the next day and all was well. I had to keep my closet with mirror door open with the luggage rack.  I had to plug the hair dryer in near the bedroom chair as there were no plugs in the bathroom, except for shavers!
My bathroom door prop - less than glamorous.

My hairdryer...on the purple sofa...

But there were tons more pluses!  On my second day, I hailed a black taxi and met Robert!  He was friendly, informative and, well, became my driver for the entire day.  Never charged me waiting time (took short rides while I was in my appointments) and was totally engaging, professional and ready!  I was SOOOOOOOOO lucky.  Here’s his info for anyone going to or living in London.  He was terrific.  Robert:  Mobile:  07985272023
Just a little retail research.

Met with old friends, nurtured new ones and did some great business. Did some retail research (!) – Harrods, Conran’s, Harvey Nichols….and did a very quick but truly pleasurable time at the Tate Modern. All in all – I just want to thank everyone I came in contact with.  As a “jaded” New Yorker, I have to say it was “first class” all the way!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bonjour, Montreal!

Alessi, purveyors of cult design objects of our most prized clients...has recently opened a Montreal outpost! Never ones to miss out on a travel opportunity, BDE's Team Alessi made the journey to visit our neighbors to the's what we found:
Alessi Montreal: 2085 rue Crescent
First stop: Alessi Montreal located at 2085 rue Crescent, in the heart of Montreal. Housed in a classic row-house style building, we were struck by the stairs leading up to the shop. Almost all of the shops on rue Crescent have staircases leading to the front doors, with other stores located beneath them - it reminded us of Newbury Street in Boston. 
The moveable display units can be configured in multiple different ways.
A di Alessi's "Poplike" collection's bright colors are the first thing you see as you walk in the door.
Inside the store, Alessi products abound. The shop's walls are lined with shelves where everything from A di Alessi's cheerful Banana Boys to Officina Alessi's exquisite La Cintura di Orione pots and pans are impeccably displayed. There are also rolling table units in the center of the store for movable displays. We loved the miniatures that rested in their own glass case near the back of the shop. Next door to the shop was the Nespresso coffee bar - the coolest place we'd ever gotten our caffeine fix!
Enjoying our delicious coffee!
Each flavor is represented by a different color, ranging from mild to bold. The sugar packets are designed to match the color of the K Cup!  
The coffee bar (we snuck photos - no pictures allowed!)
Eager to check out the neighborhood around the shop, we lunched at the Newtown with Flare Magazine's Montreal correspondent. A lovely, open-air spot by day and a rockin' nightclub by night, the Newtown did not disappoint. And, for all of our Canadian friends, be sure to check out Alessi Montreal in the August issue of Flare!
The Newtown - restaurant, bar, club and general hot spot.
Post-lunch we took a little tour around the city - since we had to fly from New York to Montreal and back in a day, our limited time was precious. We loved the old architecture of the city, and the cool public bike rentals throughout the streets! Look for more from Alessi Montreal in the coming months, BDE is so excited about this new venture!
Public bike rentals line the city streets - but no helmet laws are in effect!
A classic example of Montreal's stunning architecture, this building is a banquet hall and restaurant rolled into one. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tobias Wong

Many of us New Yorkers in the design community were shocked and saddened to hear about the death of Tobias Wong, the "enfant terrible" of the modern design world. This New York Times article, while certainly not offering an explanation, aims to shed light on the situation. We may be a bit late to the game, but if you've not seen this article, please do take the time to read it:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

10 Questions For...Laura Guido-Clark, LG-C Design

Laura Guido-Clark's firm works with the "skin" of things - color, texture, exterior - but she says she's more interested in the human experience. In other words, how does an object make you feel? Laura has consulted for companies ranging from Godiva to Samsung, and everything in between to help inspire their creations. Below, in the second installment of A Modern Eye's "10 Questions For..." series, we find out what inspires her:

1. Who is your inspiration?

I don’t believe it is a “who” - but rather a “what”, a state of mind. What inspires me is discovering potential , the “what if.”

2. Who is your favorite designer? Why?

Maison Martin Margiela.

Because their studio innovates, questions and provokes – all the while providing joy and surprise.

3. Where is your favorite place on earth?

Anyplace where I am with my family.

4. What words do you try to live by?

Love deeply, be grateful, do unto others, see the beauty in all, laugh and then laugh harder.

5 .If you could choose a different career, what would it be?

A writer stringing words together like pearls…..

6. What is one thing you would like to do before you die?

To know I made a difference and left the world better.

7. What is the most challenging thing you have ever done?

Accepting death and moving forward to live life fully.

8. What is your favorite book?

The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner

9. What is currently playing on your iPod?

Stevie Wonder, Coldplay, John Legend, old Motown.

10. What do you wish you had invented?

The whoopee cushion…no seriously, a cure, a vaccination, something that has helped humanity.

 Laura's super-cool camera for Kodak

And in keeping with our inability to be satisfied with just ten questions - we couldn't resist throwing Laura a few more:

11. What is a skill that you wish you possessed?

Singing with rapture.

12. What quality do you most admire in others?

Curiosity and the ability to forgive.

13. What is your greatest strength?

Seeing the beauty in everyone and everything.

14. What is your greatest fault?

Never feeling like I am finished, like I should or could do more.

15. If a movie were made of your life, who would play you?

In my dreams, Sophia Loren; but in reality, Tina Fey.

16. What’s your favorite color?

It is ever-changing, whatever momentarily captures my eye deliciously becomes my favorite.

Above, the chair Laura created with Coca-Cola and Emeco

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BDE at the NSS

Sure, everyone who reads this blog knows that BDE does "design". But what you didn't know is that as of May, we do conferences, too! BDE was asked to put together a conference for the National Stationery Show about the future of brick-and-mortar stationery stores vs. the quickly-growing etailers that kids these days seem to prefer. We rounded up a keynote speaker, two lively and informative panels, and had a fantastic end-of-program presentation  by Hallmark to boot. Check out images of the event below:

Keynote speaker Paco Underhill captivating the crowd
The audience's delighted response to Mr. Underhill's speech
Panel One discussed The Issues, Solutions, and the Next 5 Years. Adam Glassman of O, The Oprah Magazine acted as moderator, and panelists included major retailers such as Kate's Paperie and William Arthur.
Panel Two discussed Connecting with Tomorrow's Customer, and the One Ten Years from Now. Dan Rubinstein of Surface Magazine moderated panelists from, Teen Vogue, and a couple of very knowledgeable trend forecasters including Laura Guido-Clark.
Moderator Dan Rubinstein and panelist Laura Guido-Clark post-conference.
Hallmark's award celebrating their 100th birthday!