Earlier this month at Southern Florida’s flamboyant DesignMiami and Art Basel, Studio Dror had a red-carpet premiere for one fantastic, futuristic armchair inspired by the sci-fi flick TRON: Legacy, which opens in 3-D wide release tomorrow. The limited edition chair was commissioned by Italian furniture maker Cappellini and Walt Disney studios, and designed by Dror Benshetrit (pictured here). There are only five hand-painted and signed prototype models available at the moment, which justifies its $14,500 sticker price, but the regular production perch will be available this spring at Cappellini showrooms and reps, including the River North bastion of modernist furniture and accessories, Luminaire (where you can also order one of the fancy five, should you be feeling flush). Stop by Luminaire this Saturday afternoon, 2–6 p.m., for a prosecco-powered shopping event and free wrapping. They’ve stocked an exceptional selection of (considerably less pricey) gifts for the season. (My colleagues featured one idea here.)
Finds of the Zodiac
Another fun and welcoming holiday retail experience is to be had at Golden Triangle, where they’ve decorated the shop to the nines and set up bazaar-like offerings of giftables (or “smalls,” as they’re known in the trade). I don’t put much stock in daily horoscopes, but that doesn’t squelch my appreciation of these carved Asian astrological figures. The market and sale continue through 2010.
Chicago-based chocolatier Vosges Haut-Chocolat is constantly impressing me with unexpected new flavors of truffles, top-shelf candy bar “libraries,” and diet-daunting baking and beverage mixes such as bacon-chocolate-chip pancakes and lemon-lavender-white-chocolate cocoa. Owner Katrina Markoff trots the globe for inspiration for new ideas and tastes, and those very travels have led to one of her most indulgent, extravagant products to date—a $1,045 collection of assorted sweets and savories from all of the different Vosges varieties, packed into a vintage steamer trunk that she has personally selected. You or a very fortunate friend will get a Wonka’s world of truffles, caramel toffees, chocolate bars, spiced nuts, and other treats, accompanied by Katrina’s travel notes and maps, and the added benefit of having a handsome chest to use as a side table or for storage once the contents of this sweet steamer have been polished off. All are different (most measure about 30 by 15 by 11 inches), so you’ll have to call customer service to get photos and further details on styles and shipping charges.
Grace Under Pressure
There are only nine more days until Christmas, and Lincoln Park’s Elizabeth Grace Paperie and Gift Shop is doing everything in its power to help with the hassles of this oft-stressful pre-holiday period. The charming little shop is offering free gift-wrapping services for anything you’ve purchased here or elsewhere (choose from their extensive collection of papers and trimmings), and will even stash presents safely away from snooping eyes until Christmas Eve. Bring the kids in this Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. for a free crafting session, where they’ll make cute clothespin reindeer ornaments, and help yourself to a $15 gift card with every $100 purchase you make. The store is located at 2438 North Clark Street, and will be open every day until the 25th.
Farmers markets are few and far between in Chicago’s winter months, which makes the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce’s production a true seasonal treat. You’ve probably seen the spring and summer bounty set up at tables and booths along the boulevard while driving over for brunch at Lula Café, but did you know the chamber has organized a smaller version that takes place every Sunday from 10 a.m.–2p.m., through March 28 at the Congress Theater, 2135 North Milwaukee Avenue? That’s right, neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night stays these courageous vendors from schlepping their artisanal wares from all over the Middle West, every week, with the exception of December 26 and January 2. It’s not as focused on fresh produce, obviously (although you’ll likely still find crisp Michigan apples, mushrooms, onions, and squash), and instead skews toward prepared products such as smoked meats and craft cheeses (with a “c” not a “K”), salsas, syrups, and sauces, and baked goods. This Sunday you can also purchase freshly cut Michigan evergreen branches and trees for decorating, crates of frozen blueberries from Roedger Bros. (is that pie I smell?), and these nostalgic woodblock notecards depicting a Milwaukee Avenue of yesteryear, by Logan Square artist Vicky Logan (yep—real name). And after recently hacking through a roast turkey with the savoir faire of a chuckleheaded grizzly bear, I’m hoping to get over and take advantage of Dave Nells’s knife sharpening service, Sharpening by Dave, a farmers market fan favorite.