THE BEE’S KNEES: For many, Murray Moss is the godfather of undiscovered design talent, always fishing around for the next big thing. These days he is jazzed about Tomas Libertiny, whose honeycomb vases are front and center in his downtown design emporium, Moss. The end result is not your average undertaking. The Slovakian-born designer sets up Ming vase-shaped scaffolding in beehives and then waits seven to 12 days for the beeswax to take hold.
Moss first bought one of Libertiny’s pieces a few years ago in a group show in Milan, and spoke with him about his design process. “The first thing I look for is a person who thinks. I wanted to know what Tomas was thinking [when he designed the piece I bought] and to know how he was going about his work,” Moss said of the Design Academy in Eindhoven grad. “Generally, I do like to stay with people for a very long time and not constantly be bouncing and bouncing around for new people.”
This story first appeared in the June 27, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Tomas is really like an engineer that follows a very natural process of manufacturing. He has a very sophisticated and very engineered way of making something that just happens to be manufactured by bees,” said Moss, adding that the Netherlands-based designer’s work is very close to what was done in the 16th century in a similar vein to the old royal Cabinet of Curiosities.
Moss is busy with his own time travel of sorts, on behalf of the forthcoming SLS at Beverly Hills Hotel, by designing 35 vitrines for The Bazaar, an open area for lounging, drinking, eating and shopping in the highly stylized Philippe Starck-designed space. The Scandinavian bicycles, Camper patent leather shoes and other sundries will only be available at the hotel.
Involved as all this is, it’s still window-dressing at this point. “It’s like an opera: You can go play the violin every day, but until it comes together in that real moment, it’s all just imagined. It doesn’t really happen until it’s live and people are there. And then it’s too late to do anything about it.”
CLIMBING THE WALLS: Manhattan’s East 86th Street doesn’t scream green, but Pure Yoga is offering a touch of nature in the form of the city’s first exterior vertical living wall. Nine species of plants were used for the initial planting. Earlier this week, commuters paused en route to the subway to have a gander. Some were so inquisitive that construction workers prepping for Wednesday’s opening put up a sign that read, “Yes, the grass is real.”
For the first American outpost of Asia’s premier yoga studios, Equinox Holdings Inc. kept things clean in the 20,000-square-foot space at 203 East 86th Street. “Usually you think of 86th Street as a cacophony of glass bus stops, stores and souvlaki stands,” said Paul Boardman, chief design officer, who, in his previous architectural career, helped design spaces for Chanel and Frédéric Fekkai.
Indoors there are water walls, circular lighting and even an elongated front desk from an old sycamore that had fallen and was not cut down for this purpose. Should members need a quick fashion fix, they can always borrow programming director Michelle Demus’ ear. She used to work for Prada.