Bisha

I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City

I want - I got's Bisha Adventure in New York City

Oh my god, I better not miss this flight. I’m standing in line for security checks; it’s 7:30am. It’s Monday morning and I’m hoping to catch my 8am flight to New York. I’m impatient and freaking out. I clear security without much time to spare and I’m running to gate 151, hoping that boarding hasn’t closed yet. I didn’t even close the clasp on my bright pink sandals. Amazingly they don’t fly off my feet. I slow down a bit when I see a lineup of people at the gate. Thank god, still time. I laugh to myself. This is the start of an amazing day. I love my life.

I want - I got's Bisha Adventure in New York City

I’m going to New York City for the day. I leave Toronto at 8am and I the return flight is at 7:30pm. This trip is the product of a fucked up week, to put it mildly. The day after the earthquake I receive an email from Foujan at Matchstick. There may be the potential for a blogger to be sent out to NYC to join Charles Khabouth owner of Ink Entertainment and Alessandro Munge of Munge Lunge Design Associates for a part of their furniture shopping trip on Monday June 28th, the email reads. All expenses paid, of course. My eyes pop out of my head. Wow, wow, wow. What a great opportunity. I say yes before I even clear it with my boss. I know she’ll be cool since I would be working from home on the 28th due to G20 crap. If she’s not, well I’ll have to get inventive. It didn’t get to that point and I had my Boss’s blessing to have fun. Charles is working on his Bisha Hotel and Private Residences project and Munge Lunge are the interior designers.

I want - I got's Bisha Adventure in New York City

Real estate development leaders Sam Herzog and Mel Pearl (Lifetime Developments) and Nightlife impresario Charles Khabouth (INK Entertainment.) introduce a new private label hotel and residence brand that will redefine modern luxury. Named after Khabouth’s childhood nickname, Bisha represents that voice inside all of us that pushes us to do things differently and to live by our own rules.
Rising to 41 storeys and designed by award-winning Wallman Architects and Munge Leung Design Associates, Bisha will be a coveted new address in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District. Glamorously forward and seductive, Bisha will offer a unique medley of the best in design, art, food, music and culture. Located on Blue Jays Way, just south of King Street, Bisha will be tastefully modern, unapologetically free spirited and undeniably cool.(source)

Lifetime Developments are also behind the Four Seasons Private Residents, Liberty Market Lofts and M5V Condo projects.  At IDS10 Munge Leung & INK Entertainment  were part of  The Ultimate Space Designers installation.  This would be the world’s first look at the Bisha aesthetic.

I was extremely nervous about hanging out with Charles and Alessandro. It’s amazing how much Charles has indirectly been part of my youth. I’ve spent many hours in his clubs and restaurants. I have no idea what to expect from them. What if we don’t get along?   What if they think I’m annoying?  My heart was beating a mile a minute.

The day was jam-packed and we visited the following places: (Each link leads to a post on each location.  Read them all to get the full story)

I want - I got's Bisha Adventure in New York City

We also stopped for lunch at the famous Balthazar.  In true french bistro style I had a traditional ham and cheese sandwich and it was delicious.  The place was packed and I’m amazed we were able to get a table so quick.  Lunch was a total spur of the moment decision as we were driving by. We had a quick peek at Trump Soho Hotel in between visiting The Crosby Street Hotel and Todd Merrill Antiques.  I wasn’t all that jazzed about the decor but the front door made of leather was pretty.  There was one stop where I didn’t take any pictures or even write down the gallery’s name.  It was in your standard New York city warehouse but we had to check in with security first.  On the third floor was this gallery.  It consisted of a room with a giant glass box in the middle.  In the box were several chairs and tables on display.  It felt very clinic and strange.  We didn’t ask about prices here.

Trump Soho

Trump Soho

The last three stops of the day were the Ace Hotel, John Vavartos on Bowery and the Tom Ford store.  I was super excited about being in the exclusive Tom Ford store drooling over ultra lux menswear.

Ace Hotel New York

Ace Hotel Lobby and Stumptown Coffee

The Ace Hotel (20 West 29th Street) lobby reminded me more of a coffee shop than hotel.  There were a ton of people sitting around all staring at their laptops.  It was a bit bizarre as no one was really talking to each other.  Stumptown Coffee is the cutest little coffee shop I’ve ever seen.  I love the art deco light fixture that wraps around the bar.

Ace Hotel reinvents the urban hotel for the people who make cities interesting. We crave experience more than hospitality clichés. We are curious about the historic buildings we inhabit, and let them guide us to someplace both fresh and familiar. Our sensibility is democratic and inclusive. We appeal to a broad spectrum of travelers directly, without reducing everything to the lowest common denominator. Ace is built around collaborations and friendships with local designers, artists, and independent businesses.

Formerly the Breslin Hotel, the historic property that houses Ace Hotel New York has always been full of life. Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen were neighbors; “Diamond Jim” Brady (the inspiration for Marlon Brando’s Guys & Dolls character) was a regular; visionary filmmaker, musicologist and painter Harry Smith lived there, too.

The John Varvatos store was very cool. It was the legendary rock club CBGB. The store has kept the rock club aesthetic.

John Varvatos

John Varvatos at Bowery 315 Bowery New York

The Tom Ford store was beautiful.  Of course, I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside.  I’ve tried to track down a few shots for you online as they are very protective of their image.  There is an octagonal room in the back called the fragrance chamber.  The prices are crazy expensive in there.  However, watching the staff removing ties from their protective plastic layers takes away from some of the luxury.

Now, I worried that I it might be awkward hanging with Charles and Alessandro all day but it was really chill.  You could tell that they have been friends for a long time as they were all jokes, all day.  They have been friends/worked together for 15 years.  I easily fell into their joking manner and rolled with the punches.   There wasn’t any beating around the bush about prices and things were discussed openly.  After my first few heart attacks the talk about price didn’t faze me too much.   Well, that was until we hit up Flos.  I had a heart attack and almost died of laughter.I was associating with a different level of luxury and I had a lot of learn.  I managed to find myself talking with Charles and Alessandro about prices.  We mused about observations on how the length of the story a sale associate had about a piece was directly proportional to the price tag.  It was also interesting to talk about the huge price different between the same Paul Evans table at two different stores.  It was a difference of $30,000+.

After Tom Ford, I said my goodbyes to Charles and Alessandro. I had to catch my 7:30 flight and they had more exploring and shopping to do. I really wish I could have spent the night and saw some of the NYC nightlife. I hopped in a cab to LaGuardia and chuckled to myself. What a random and extremely fun day, how lucky I am.

I’d like to thank my hosts Charles and Alessandro for putting up with me on their shopping trip. I had an amazing opportunity to learn a little about their plans for Bisha and other upcoming projects in Toronto. Bisha is hoping to bring New York style hotel culture to Toronto. In New York, hotels attract locals for entertainment as well as tourists. The Standard and the Ace hotel are good examples of this. Most people’s ambitions I would write off, however Charles seems to have the magic touch and I believe there is some good stuff coming our way soon. I’m very excited about his Le Bistro project that will be open this fall. It’s a Parisian bistro that will open in Yorkville with a large streetside patio. Le Bistro will be taking over the spot occupied by Dynasty Chinese Cuisine on Bloor Street.

Random things I learned about Charles: He has the name of his kids tattooed on his arms. They are very tasteful and I like them. Charles takes his son to board meetings with him occasionally. He hates snakes and things shaped like them.

Random things I learned about Alessandro: He has an iPad. He travels extensively but loves Toronto and wouldn’t live anywhere else. He throws all eating rules out the window when he goes for his weekly dinner visits to mom.

Let me give you my outfit breakdown

I want - I got's Bisha Adventure in New York City

Black Dress courtesy of Spanner, Toy Watch courtesy of Toy Watch, Necklace by Aldo, Sandals by Marais from Chasse Gardee

This is the first post in the series called I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City. Be sure to read the I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City series. I want – I got would like to thank Matchstick and Bisha for providing for all travel expenses on this day trip to NYC.

The Standard New York

The Standard New York, 848 Washington Street

Our first stop was at The Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. This is where Charles and Alessandro were staying.

The Standard New York, 848 Washington Street

They enjoy The Standard and mentioned how busy the hotel usually is. The dinning rooms are packed and the patio is pretty busy. It’s the kind of hotel that attracts locals as well as tourists. I’m always hearing about this and that party at The Standard on the blogs.

The Standard New York, 848 Washington Street

Bottom: Charles and Alessandro prepping for the day

Charles took me on a little tour of the hotel, showing me the patio and restaurants.

The Standard New York, 848 Washington Street

Artwork on the walls

The Standard New York, 848 Washington Street

Right: the view of The High Line from the hotel room

The hotel room had the most incredible view of Hudson and the very cool High Line Park.

The High Line was originally constructed in the 1930s, to lift dangerous freight trains off Manhattan’s streets. Section 1 of the High Line is open as a public park, owned by the City of New York and operated under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Friends of the High Line is the conservancy charged with raising private funds for the park and overseeing its maintenance and operations, pursuant to an agreement with the Parks Department.

When all sections are complete, the High Line will be a mile-and-a-half-long elevated park, running through the West Side neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. It features an integrated landscape, designed by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, combining meandering concrete pathways with naturalistic plantings. Fixed and movable seating, lighting, and special features are also included in the park.

Access points from street level will be located every two to three blocks. Many of these access points will include elevators, and all will include stairs.(source)

The Standard New York, 848 Washington Street

Top: another view from the hotel room. Bottom: the large patio

Soon our driver in his black caddy picked us up and it was the beginning of the day’s adventure. The Standard looks so very cool and it’s on my list of hotels to check out in New York.

The Standard Hotel.
848 Washington Street
New York

This is one post in the series called I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City. Be sure to read the whole I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City series from the beginning. I want – I got would like to thank Matchstick and Bisha for providing for all travel expenses on this day trip to NYC.

R 20th Century Design

R 20th Century Design

Hugo França chairs in top left and bottom right photos

R 20th Century Design showroom was the first stop of the day.

R 20th Century represents a distinguished group of historical and contemporary designers whose work is among the most innovative and finely crafted of their time.

Zesty Meyers and Evan Snyderman founded R 20th Century in 1997 to realize their combined goal of promoting a closer study, appreciation and preservation of 20th and 21st century design.

R is currently developing exhibitions and publications on the designers it represents — a diverse program that includes work from North America, South America, Europe and Asia produced between 1945 and today.(source)

Evan walked us through the store and talked about some of the artists they represent. He was very friendly, knowledgeable and cute. I was really intrigued by artists Hugo França, Jeff Zimmerman and David Wiseman.

R 20th Century Design

Hugo França creates functional and sculptural work from discarded wood found in Brasil.

Finding wood left behind by deforestation requires constant scouting in the Trancoso, Bahia, area. Finding his way on foot, by donkey or canoe, he relies on the Pataxo Indians, local loggers and on his own knowledge of coastal southern Bahia, which he acquired during the fifteen years he lived there.

As long as the wood has not suffered irreversible damage, all parts of the tree may be utilized. Unearthed roots, trunks and branches are transformed by the artist into one-of-a-kind objects.

Due to the tremendous weight and difficulty in transporting the raw material, the first cuts are executed where the trees are found. And so begins the first signs of tables, benches, chairs and consoles.(source)

R 20th Century Design also publishes books.  I browsed through the book, Hugo França: The Story of the Tree which documents the process he goes through to create a piece.  You can order their books online.

R 20th Century Design

David Wiseman. top: raw materials

Sculptor, David Wiseman attracted my fashion side because of his work with Dior. The second floor ceiling in the Shanghai Dior store features 500 porcelain lily-of-the-valley blossoms handcrafted by David.  Bronze, glass and crystal are also incorporated into his work.

R 20th Century Design

David Wiseman

Wiseman, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate who majored in furniture design, started out with work that was often small in scale — porcelain pomegranates, anime-inspired deer hat hangers, resin castings of fallen branches and a series of off-kilter yet delicate faceted vases in bronze, porcelain and crystal. More recently (thanks to an ambitious ceiling installation, completed several years ago, of porcelain cherry blossoms and intertwined plaster branches), Wiseman has focused on larger-scale projects, including limited-edition chandeliers, for a range of clients from residential to retail. He painstakingly slip-casts the porcelain flowers and fruit himself and works closely with Zalman Aronow, a skilled metal worker, on the branches and blossoms for chandeliers, fireplace screens and wall pieces.(source)

R 20th Century Design

Jeff Zimmerman - right: Leaf cluster hanging lamp

Jeff Zimmerman’s handblown glass light fixtures are stunning. Words cannot describe the “Leaf” cluster hanging lamp. It’s just stunning and it should be when it comes in at around $80,000.  It’s also made to order.


R 20th Century Design

Jeff Zimmerman leaf cluster hanging lamp

His work evolves and involves idea-based design. His custom work encompasses sculptural chandeliers, lighting environments and glass wall interiors as well as abstract vases and mirrors. Through R 20th Century, Jeff creates site-specific commissions for an exclusive clientele.(source)

R 20th Century Design
82 Franklin Street
New York

This is one post in the series called I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City. Be sure to read the whole I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City series from the beginning. I want – I got would like to thank Matchstick and Bisha for providing for all travel expenses on this day trip to NYC.

Craig Van Den Brulle

Craig Van Den Brulle

The second stop was Craig Van Den Brulle.

Craig Van Den Brulle is the owner of the upscale Craig Van Den Brulle furniture store in the Nolita section of Manhattan, which opened in October 2007. Van Den Brulle has been in the home furnishings industry for over 10 years. In 1997 he opened Capitol Furnishings; the celebrated boutique featuring 20th Century home furnishings and his own “urban classic” designs. Capitol quickly became an essential shopping destination for the city’s most influential architects, interior designers and collectors.

Van Den Brulle has now expanded from the original Capitol Furnishings to a 3,000 square foot flagship store which is just one block away on Elizabeth Street. He is the designer of the VAN DEN BRULLE signature collection, a line of upscale furniture and home essentials inspired by clean lines and modern simplicity.

Craig Van Den Brulle

In addition to selling home furnishings, Craig Van Den Brulle buys modern designer pieces from the 1930’s to the 1980’s. They also have a rental service for the film, television, and magazine industries. To complete this total service shop, Craig Van Den Brulle also does design consulting and custom design work in upholstering, lighting, plating and restoration. Craig Van Den Brulle also has a small line of in house furnishings for sale.

Craig Van Den Brulle

Charles and Alessandro are customers of Craig Van Den Brulle so it wasn’t surprising that the young man remembered them as we walked in. It seems these stores attract cute young men as their employees. I wasn’t complaining.

Craig Van Den Brulle

The store was densely packed with an eclectic mix of 20th century furnishings.  It’s one of those stores that you can spend hours in discovering new things.  You can find artists like Paul Evans, John Widdicomb, Nils Landberg and de Majo IIluminazione.

Craig Van Den Brulle

Craig Van Den Brulle
192 Elizabeth Street
New York

This is one post in the series called I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City. Be sure to read the whole I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City series from the beginning. I want – I got would like to thank Matchstick and Bisha for providing for all travel expenses on this day trip to NYC.

Crosby Street Hotel

Crosby Street Hotel

The Crosby Street Hotel is an eclectic and quiet place with tucked away patios. During the day it’s cheerful and bright but I could see it being quite romantic in the evenings, especially on the huge back patio.

Crosby Street Hotel

Top: Back Patio, Bottom: Lobby

CROSBY STREET HOTEL is situated on a quiet cobbled street in the heart of New York’s vibrant SoHo neighbourhood. There are 86 bedrooms and suites over 11 floors. Each has high ceilings and full length windows. Interior design by Kit Kemp reflects a fresh, contemporary style. There is The Crosby Bar, a private leafy garden, guest drawing room, several stylish private event and meeting rooms, a luxurious 99 seat screening room and fully equipped gym(source).


Crosby Street Hotel

Top: Lobby, Bottom: Drawing Room

A short film by Jean Roman Seyfried called The Reconstruction Of My Views was made that chronicles the building of the Crosby Street Hotel over a 2.5 year period.

Crosby Street Hotel

The Crosby Bar

I learned the Crosby also has a state-of-the-art screening room with 99 seats. The setup uses the most advanced technologies with 3D capabilities. Of course there is a Sunday night film club too.


Crosby Street Hotel

Back Patio

We didn’t see the rooms but I really love the ambiance, decor and layout of this hotel. Photos on the website show floor to ceiling windows in the rooms and some suites that have terraces. I really want to stay here, it’s so lovely.

Crosby Street Hotel
79 Crosby Street
New York

This is one post in the series called I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City. Be sure to read the whole I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City series from the beginning. I want – I got would like to thank Matchstick and Bisha for providing for all travel expenses on this day trip to NYC.

Todd Merrill Antiques

Todd Merrill Antiques

Todd Merrill is located in a building with beautiful stone carvings.  It was another store that was packed to the gills with furnishings.   You always were discovering something new that was missed in this store.

Todd Merrill Antiques

Todd Merrill Antiques features American and European vintage furniture, antiques and lighting from the 1920′s to the 2000′s. Including rare and unique furniture by Paul Evans, Karl Springer, James Mont, Gio Ponti, Adnet, Fornasetti, Venini, Tommi Parzinger, LaVerne, Vladimir Kagan and many more.

Todd Merrill Antiques has opened a new 4000 square foot shop focusing on American and European designer furniture and lighting from the 1920s through the 1980s, at 65 Bleecker Street in New York City. The new showroom is on the ground floor of the Bayard-Condict Building, New York’s only building by esteemed architect Louis Sullivan. The historic landmark space is located at the top of Crosby Street at the intersection of Bleecker Street, and looks directly down into the heart of Soho.(source)

Todd Merrill Antiques

It was at Todd Merrill that I finally began to understand how important Paul Evans is.

Paul Evans (1931 – 1987)
Pennsylvanian Paul Evans studied sculpture and silversmithing at several institutions, including the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 1951, while working as an artist in residence as a silversmith at the working history museum Sturbridge Village near Springfield, Massachusetts, Evans frequented artisan Phillip Lloyd Powell’s shop in New Hope, PA and asked Powell if he could put a few of his own pieces on display. In 1956 Evans moved permanently to New Hope and his acquaintance with Powell turned into a business and creative partnership.
In the late 1950s Evans began making copper chests with decorative doors, followed by sculpted steel-front cabinets that revealed Evans’ unique way with welding. Evans and Powell had big break when they had a two-man show in 1961 at America House, an exhibition eld at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York, now named the Museum of Arts & Design. In 1964 Evans became the designer for furniture manufacturer Directional. With Directional, Paul Evans introduced his highly collectible editions such as the Argente series, Sculpted Bronze series, and the very popular Cityscape series.
Most Evans pieces were signed, and all of the custom items have a signature and a date. Paul Evans took a unique approach to furniture making, a combination of handcraft wedded to technology that anticipated the limited edition art furniture of today, such as the work of Ron Arad. More particularly, the artist’s relationship with Directional set a unique standard for creative manufacture by insisting every piece is made by hand, finished by hand, supervised by the artist at each step of production, one piece at a time.(source)

I understood that I was seeing his work in many of the stores we visited. I also immediately understood the appeal of his unique metal furniture.

Todd Merrill Antiques

Paul Evan table

Just like Craig Van Der Brulle, Todd Merrill Antiques is a full service shop. They purchase premium designer name furniture from the 1920′s through the 1980′s. Todd Merrill also offers customization and restoration services using their collection of master craftsmen in America on mirror or metal work, lacquering, gilding, wood refinishing and upholstery. Yup, they rent to film and television productions too.

Todd Merrill Antiques
65 Bleecker Street
New York

This is one post in the series called I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City. Be sure to read the whole I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City series from the beginning. I want – I got would like to thank Matchstick and Bisha for providing for all travel expenses on this day trip to NYC.

Moss

Moss, 150 Greene Street

Moss is one part of a space that holds three stores. The other two are Flos and Moroso. This trio of stores were my favourites on this trip.

In 1994, former fashion entrepreneur Murray Moss opened Moss in a small gallery space in Soho, with a determination to transform the public perception of industrial product design. The store quickly became internationally known for its product selection and presentation, with clients ranging from highly informed design professionals, to celebrities, students, and tourists with maps.

The shop grew and evolved — expanding to nearly 7000 square feet in late 1999 when Moss’s partner Franklin Getchell joined the company. Together they expanded the product base to include furniture, especially from Italian manufacturers, lighting, watches and jewelry, books, tabletop and a significantly increased focus on the studio work of the designers we offered(source).

Moss, 150 Greene Street

Moss also has a small section of unusual jewellery and watches. It’s just as eclectic as the other offerings in the store.  They aim to have more than just home furnishings for sale which attracts a diverse clientele.  Moss carries designers like Established & Sons, Tom Dixon and Studio Job.  I love the inflated metal stools by Oskar Zieta.

Moss, 150 Greene Street

Many of the stores we visited were small and jammed packed with furnishings. Moss felt like a museum. There was lot of space and plenty of things in glass cases.  I really liked the sparse white background in the store design.  It allowed the bright, crazy pieces stand out on their own.

I had a few mistakes with the video option on the Olympus E-PL1. However, I’ve posted that mistake because it gives you a bit of an idea of the store.

Moss
150 Greene street
New York

This is one post in the series called I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City. Be sure to read the whole I want – I got’s Bisha Adventure in New York City series from the beginning. I want – I got would like to thank Matchstick and Bisha for providing for all travel expenses on this day trip to NYC.