Covet This: Hand-Painted Folding Screens Inspired by Pompeii and Elsa Schiaparelli

London-based decorator Gergei Erdei’s new collection features six designs that stand at seven and a half feet tall.

Article by Kate Maxwell

Gergei Erdei’s hand-painted designs.Gergei Erdei’s hand-painted Peace (left) and Pompeii screens, which stand seven and a half feet tall. Photo courtesy of Wanda Martin.

“They’re movable pieces of art,” says Budapest-born, London-based decorator Gergei Erdei of his new collection of hand-painted folding pinewood screens. Part of his Objects of Desires series, the six designs include trompe l’oeil columns, wing-footed mythological figures and interlinked geometric shapes. Erdei found inspiration for his pieces, which are over seven feet tall, in a recent retrospective of the Italian couturier Elsa Schiaparelli’s works at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs and in the lacquered screens of multimedia Art Deco creator Jean Dunand; Pompeii’s crumbling frescoes and ancient mosaics informed the mythological design’s soft, ocher hues, which were achieved through multiple coats of acrylic paint. “I keep coming back to Pompeii in my work,” Erdei says. “I find the layers faded by time so beautiful, like veils of history.”

Thought to have originated during China’s Han dynasty, screens became popular decorative pieces in Europe in the 17th century, when they were used for privacy and to divide rooms and block drafts. A couple of centuries later, Coco Chanel lined her Paris apartment with black-and-gold lacquer Coromandel screens. Erdei, who once worked as a women’s wear designer at Gucci in Rome, also wants his screens to stand out. “I see them used as a theatrical background behind a bed or a sofa, or either side of a fireplace,” he says. A bespoke screen will also make an appearance, alongside his signature acrylic murals, in his next project, the interior design of a private riad turned hotel called Le M, opening in Marrakech’s medina this summer. Objects of Desire screens from $6,700, gergeierdei.com.

Gift This: Handmade Porcelain Painted With Brooklyn Blossoms

Former magazine photo editor Melissa Goldstein now creates dinnerware that brings the garden to the table.

Article by Nicole DeMarco

Ceramic pieces.Pieces from the ceramist Melissa Goldstein’s new collection featuring cherry blossoms and poppies. Photograph courtesy of Ngoc Minh Ngo.

For over 20 years, Melissa Goldstein worked as a magazine photo editor. While researching imagery, she developed a fascination with Scandinavian ceramics, 17th-century botanical illustrations and Japanese woodblock prints dating back to the 1500s. It wasn’t until she moved to Brooklyn and began rehabilitating the overgrown garden behind her brownstone that she began combining her interests: “[My brand MG by Hand] was the merging of my research, the garden and making things for my family,” Goldstein says of the fine English porcelain ceramics she now sells in select shops and online. In 2008, the artist began hand-making everyday dinnerware in her home studio in Carroll Gardens, decorating the pieces with floral motifs in a cobalt stain. Black irises, poppies and flowering quince from her garden adorned vases, shallow banchan dishes and scalloped serving trays. Her new Poppy and Cherry collections, which were fired in a gas kiln for 12 to 15 hours, channel Dutch Delftware while depicting local flora. “I have a wall that separates my garden from my neighbour’s, and I’ve interwoven quince in it,” Goldstein says. “I’m very into blooming trees.” From $65, mgbyhand.com.

A New York Apartment With a Garden in the Kitchen

When an Australian entrepreneur and their partner took over a SoHo loft, they were attracted to its classic stripped-back look, but they also aspired to make it their own.

Article by Max Berlinger

NYC Apartment with a gardenThe living room of Brock Forsblom and Jeremy Heimans’s New York apartment, renovated in collaboration with the firm Ideas of Order. The green-and-red sconce is by Gaetano Pesce, and the sculpture is a puppet from Mali wearing a gown made by Forsblom. Photograph by Blaine Davis.

When Brock Forsblom and Jeremy Heimans first saw their future apartment, “it was the SoHo loft fantasy,” says Heimans, 46, an Australian entrepreneur and nonfiction writer. With nine and a half-foot ceilings covered in mouldering pressed tin, exposed brick walls and 3,000 square feet of open living space, it evoked a bygone era in which the New York neighbourhood was a vibrant, if dilapidated, artists’ enclave. The previous owner had, in fact, lived in the apartment since 1979 and was a sculptor and, for a time, a curator at the Noguchi Museum in Queens. The rest of the former factory building, which was constructed in 1900 and at one time produced long underwear, is still inhabited by “septuagenarian artists,” Heimans says.

The couple, who met in line at an East Village coffee shop in 2009 and married six years ago, bought the place in early 2020. Though the space was “beautifully spare and minimalist” when they took it over, says Heimans, and they hoped to honor its heritage, they also wanted their new home to reflect their own personalities and preferences, which skew more maximalist. In the pair’s previous apartment, a West Village rental, almost every surface, including the curtains and bathroom ceiling, was decorated with a vibrant pattern. “The energy there was that I had a thousand ideas,” says Forsblom, 38, who until recently worked as an interior designer. To help realize their vision, Forsblom asked an old college friend, Henry Ng, 38, who was then working as an architect at the firm Foster + Partners, to oversee the renovation. Ng brought in his colleague Jacob Esocoff as a collaborator — eventually resulting in the launch of their own firm, Ideas of Order, in late 2021.

Not long after Forsblom and Heimans closed on the apartment, the pandemic hit, slowing the pace of the project. “We could really marinate in this beautiful way,” Heimans says. Forsblom and Ng would meet over Zoom to discuss their inspirations, which included the meditative feel of the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, Japan, and the colour-saturated simplicity of the Mexican architect Luis Barragán’s work. They also spent time considering the home’s spatial quirks. “It’s strange because it’s almost 200 feet long, and it was all open,” Ng says. The couple wanted some separation between different areas, while maintaining the unconventional spirit of the place. As a couple with no children, says Heimans, “We could make some decisions that were really cool and that you couldn’t make if you were being ruthlessly practical.”

That experimental approach is perhaps best expressed in the kitchen, which sits at the centre of the home. While it has elements of classic loft design — the brick walls have been painted white, brushed aluminium cabinets from the Danish company Reform highlight the apartment’s industrial past and exposed pipes run across the wood-beamed ceiling — at one end of the room is something far less expected: a small rock garden populated with moss, fluffy, low-lying ferns and a tall, slender Ming aralia tree. And above this is a large square window through which a person relaxing in the soaking tub of the primary bathroom next door can gaze at the greenery. (The couple share a love of bathing culture; Heimans, who is half-Lebanese, says it’s part of his Middle Eastern heritage, and Forsblom frequents the nearby Russian and Turkish Baths in the East Village.)

A GARDEN INSIDE A NY APT
In the kitchen, Azul Aran granite was used to create an indoor garden. Photograph by Blaine Davis.
The owners of the NYC apartment with a garden inside
Heimans, left, and Forsblom. Photograph by Blaine Davis.
Hidden behind a built-in couch made by Ideas of Order and Forsblom is a Murphy bed. A pair of 1970s Orlandini Paolo and Lucci Roberto for Elam armchairs are covered with leftover fabric from Marc Jacobs’s fall 2019 collection. Photograph by Blaine Davis.

At the east end of the apartment is a flexible dining room, office and guest room — decorated in shades of mint and bright yellow — that can be closed off by drawing a curtain that hangs across the hallway to the kitchen. A dark green marbled coffee table and a centuries-old Florentine planter have both been fitted with wheels so they can be rolled away, allowing a Murphy bed, hidden behind the built-in couch, to drop down and accommodate overnight guests. And a long wooden table can be used for work or a group dinner. In one corner, a seven-foot-tall traditional wooden sculpture from Vanuatu — Heimans’s father made a documentary about the South Pacific island nation in the 1970s — guards the door to a guest bathroom finished entirely in white tiles that suggests the interior of a space station.

The main bedroom, on the other side of the kitchen, is in a different register: decadent and moody. The walls and ceiling are covered in an emerald green wool twill salvaged from Marc Jacobs’s fall 2019 collection (most of the textiles in the home, Forsblom says, are leftovers from that collection discovered at the New York supplier Mood Fabrics). And a large rectangular window looks into the living room; with the pull of a sliding shutter — mirrored on the living room side and upholstered on the other to match the bedroom’s walls — the room becomes a dark, padded cocoon. “Given how open the rest of the apartment is,” says Heimans, “we needed at least one space that’s closed off and soft and safe.”

The NYC Apt with a garden inside.
The bedroom’s walls are upholstered in another Marc Jacobs fabric, while the headboard is covered in a textile from Dedar. The bed spread and rug were designed by Forsblom. Photography by Blain Davis.
The NYC Apt with a garden inside.
A mask by Elizabeth Garouste hangs in the hallway. The ceiling is painted in Ultramarine Blue Y3 from the Swiss company KT Color. Photography by Blaine Davis.
The NYC Apt with a garden inside.
The indoor garden, by Takata Nursery, fills the space between the kitchen and primary bathroom. Photograph by Blaine Davis.

The living room, at the home’s western end, is large and airy, bathed in shades of Barragán’s beloved vivid pink, which appears on the rug and upholstery. Wooden built-in units line the room’s perimeter, serving both as bookshelves and seating. When Forsblom and Heimans entertain, often hosting Sunday dinners for friends, the benches give the room the feeling of a 1970s conversation pit.

On the room’s south wall hangs the couple’s growing art collection, which features works by people in their social circle, including the painter Louis Fratino, Forsblom’s friend the painter Sophie Larrimore and Heimans’s brother, Ralph, a portraitist. An abstract cast-wax sculpture by the apartment’s previous owner, which she left behind as a gift, is also on display — a reminder of the home’s past. But this place is now unmistakably a testament to its current residents’ eclectic tastes and adventurous spirit: an ancient Roman mosaic welcomes guests in the small foyer, and handmade ceramics, wooden masks and other objects brought back from the pair’s travels are arranged across tables and surfaces, and even hidden among the rocks in the garden. Should they choose to leave a keepsake for a future owner one day, there’ll be no shortage of good options.

From The Archives: Inside Iris Apfel’s (Very, Very Busy) Week in Paris

On a weekend in 2016 Iris Apfel went to Paris, and quite honestly, the city was never the same.

Article by Dana Thomas

07-TMAG-INSIDE-IRIS-1Iris Apfel poses for photo near the showcase of her collection at Le Bon Marche in Paris on March 3, 2016. Photograph by Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times.

The 94-year-old New Yorker is the subject of “Iris in Paris,” a fashion exhibition and pop-up shop at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche department store that celebrates her famous, forthright style. And rightly so.

Apfel first saw Paris back in 1952 or ’53 — “I can’t quite remember,” she said over tea and oatmeal cookies at the store last Wednesday; for the chat, she was dressed in a grey and white “very old, very vintage” squirrel coat, loads of her signature big jewellery and a dash of tomato red lipstick. “We started in the South of Italy, went to Spain, and ended in Paris,” she recalled of a several week voyage with her parents. “Paris was all we expected it to be, and more.” After that, she went “twice a year for about 50 years,” with her beloved husband of 67 years, Carl Apfel, who died last August, three days shy of his 101st birthday. Their trips were usually for business: They founded Old World Weavers, a greatly respected textile and decorating firm that participated in White House renovations for nine presidents, from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton. Only the Bushes passed.

When in Paris, the Apfels would eat well (“We’d go to Maxim’s. It was very la-di-da”), and shop — she’d fill at least one 40-foot shipping container with finds, many from the flea market, to send back to New York for Old World Weavers as well as her own closets. She would stop by her favourite couturiers, including Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, Jean-Louis Scherrer and Lanvin, and buy samples from the haute couture collections at bargain prices “because,” she said, “they were my size. Sometimes I didn’t even have to redo the hem.”

Her last visit to Paris was back in 2005, when she and Carl hopped over after attending the British Fashion Awards at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. In the decade since, she’s been very busy. The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted a popular exhibition about her style entitled “Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel”; she launched an accessories line that she sells on the Home Shopping Network; and she starred in “Iris,” the Albert Maysles documentary about her life. She has also designed a collection for Happy Socks and a line of “expensive silver jewellery” for Tane of Mexico. “Oh, and I have more!” she said. “Toujours!”

So when the Bon Marché called, “I thought it was wonderful!” she said. “It gave me a reason to come back to Paris!” For the installation, she selected a handful of items the store could sell — she wanted useful things, not trinkets. So there is her signature cross-body Mongolian lamb handbag/muff; Iris-like pinball-sized bead necklaces; Iris-style big resin bangles; Iris in Paris notecards; Iris in Paris notebooks, totes and umbrellas — even an Iris in Paris coffee mug. The show is organised around 10 tableaux: “Iris at the Museum,” “Iris at the Flea Market,” “Iris on the Bateaux Mouches” and so on. The French illustrator Eric Giriat produced witty sketches of her dressed in each scene for the store’s windows, and the installation includes a short film of Apfel at home, talking about Paris, among other things.

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Exhibits of "Iris in Paris" ehibition are seen at Le Bon Marche in Paris on March 3, 2016. Photograph by Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times.

On Wednesday night, the Bon Marché threw a party to celebrate the opening of the exhibit, with a jazz trio and Champagne. Apfel held court on a modern velvet loveseat, dressed in orange Mongolian sheep fur and serious turquoise. More than 800 attended, and the fete raged on until after midnight — when Apfel left.

Otherwise, it’s been a busy week: On Tuesday she lunched at Les Soufflés du Récamier, a Left Bank soufflé bistro favored by President Obama when he’s in town. On Saturday night, the Tunisian-born designer Azzedine Alaïa cooked her dinner at his headquarters in the Marais. “I first met him back in the 1970s, but I’m sure he doesn’t remember,” she said. “I had Tunisian friends here, and when we’d go for dinner and he was cooking in the kitchen.”

She went vintage clothing shopping with her friend, the London-based designer Duro Olowu, who was in town presenting his collection to retailers, and to the Palais Galliera fashion museum to see “La Mode Retrouvée,” an exhibition of the Countess Greffulhe’s late-19th/early-20th century couture wardrobe. She attended a luncheon at the U.S. Embassy for the United Nations Foundation in honor of International Women’s Day. She caught the fashion shows of the designers Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten and Christian Dior. And on Friday night, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley hosted 40 of Apfel’s friends for a cocktail party in the ornate 19th-century mansion that serves as the official residence. Over Champagne and foie gras canapés in the candlelit salons, talk was all about Apfel.

“Everyone knows Iris,” said the actress Marisa Berenson, who is her neighbor on Park Avenue. “She inspires everybody. She has such incredible strength and vision, and the greatest style. She speaks her mind.”

“She’s a wonderful example of how fashion can be joyous and fun,” said the fashion designer Alber Elbaz. “How many people can you say that about today?”

“She’s one of the few women where you can say her first name, Iris. It’s a little like Beyoncé — there needs to be no last name,” Ambassador Hartley said in her remarks. “I think we forget the many things she has achieved in her life and really what she has done at times when no women were doing it. She’s an artist, a fashion designer, a businesswoman. And she has led the way for so many years … I can’t wait to see what you do over the next 10 years, and I hope you come back and we can celebrate you at 104.”

As the applause quieted down, Apfel has a few words to say.

“Thank you so, so much,” she effused. “You’ve made me feel so welcome, I just can’t believe it. I feel like some kind of a superannuated rock star.”

“You are!” Ambassador Hartley responded as everyone laughed.

“I hope I’m here in 10 years,” Apfel said. “We’re working on it.”

More laughs.

“So, Iris,” Elbaz asked. “What’s next?

Apfel looked at him through her great big spectacles.

“A nice nap!”

Can You Be Organised and Sexy? Bellroy Says Yes

The Melbourne-based carrier brand’s range of work organisation products are an artful marriage of utility and design.

Article by T Australia

bellroy-btya-deepplumb-web-09Photograph courtesy of Bellroy.

Humans have grappling with the pursuit of self-optimisation since the beginning of time. From the brain to the body to money to work to sex, it appears intrinsic to human existence to, in some form or another, generate preoccupation with doing better, being better, or being perceived as having control.

Organisation, and optimising our day-to-day potential, are other facets of this instinct. A recent survey released by the Melbourne-based carry brand Bellroy revealed that 46 per cent of respondents considered staying organised to be the single most crucial aspect of their workday.

Catering to this feedback, Bellroy is on a mission to redefine the narrative of organisational design, crafting products that are not only functional but are stylish as well. Embraced by notable personalities like the NBA star Patty Mills, comedian Ronny Chieng, artist Karan Singh, and Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, Bellroy has become synonymous with the intersection of utility and fashion.

bellroy-btya-deepplumb-web-03
Photograph courtesy of Bellroy.
bellroy-ence-everglade-web-06
Photograph courtesy of Bellroy.

With its origins in slim wallets, over the past decade Bellroy’s product offering has evolved into slings, work bags, and tech organisers. The brand’s designs feature clever pocketing, strategically placed to safeguard valuables and ensure easy access on the go, and its aesthetic is decidedly slick, conceived to seamlessly transition from the gym to work to evening events, with hidden external pockets, minimal branding, and durable fabrics that maintain a ‘like new’ appearance.

Central to Bellroy’s ethos is sustainability, with 100 per cent of woven products crafted from recycled materials, including plastic bottles and industrial nylon offcuts. The brand exclusively sources eco-tanned leather from Leather Working Group’s gold-rated tanneries.

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Photograph courtesy of Bellroy.

Amongst its standout work category products are the Tokyo Wonder Tote, a versatile work tote with multiple pockets; the Tokyo Totepack, a tote-backpack hybrid with protective compartments for gadgets and essentials; the Tokyo Crossbody, a modern small bag for office breaks and post-work events, and the Transit Workpack, a sleek clamshell backpack offering easy access and tech protection.

The Tech Kit is another popular design, billed as the ultimate solution for tech organisation, featuring loops and mesh pockets for cables, adaptors, headphones, and battery packs.

Tableware Inspired by Connection From Sarah Ellen and In The Roundhouse

The artist Sarah Ellen debuts a community-inspired range of puffy, glazed plates with In The Roundhouse.

Article by Victoria Pearson

sarah ellen in the roundhousePhotograph courtesy of In The Roundhouse.

Sarah Ellen, the Australian actress, artist and model, has debuted a limited run of puffy, glazed plate sets, each brought to life with unique artwork personally crafted by Ellen, in collaboration with homewares label In The Roundhouse.

The collection draws inspiration from the theme of connectivity, reflecting the joy of communal dining and the intricate networks formed during gatherings. The plates, numbered from 1-250 for exclusivity, are conceived as both a decorative and functional celebration of unity and shared experiences.

sarah ellen in the roundhouse_2
The artist and model Sarah Ellen holds a set of plates from her collaboration with In The Roundhouse. Photograph courtesy of In The Roundhouse.
In the roundhouse
Photograph courtesy of Sarah Ellen.

“Geometric shapes and lines symbolise the diverse elements converging harmoniously, creating a visual representation of the unity experienced at dinner parties,” says Ellen. “Vibrant colours add an extra layer of energy, enhancing the overall celebratory atmosphere. These plates are not just about aesthetics but also serve as a tangible expression of the love for connecting people around the table, making them a perfect addition to any host or hostess’ collection, fostering a sense of togetherness and shared experiences.”

The plates, suitable for both domestic and commercial use, are a new design style for In The Roundhouse, and bring a sophisticated perspective to any tabletop while fostering a sense of togetherness and shared experiences. From $120 per set of four. intheroundhouse.com.