It seems like only yesterday that we introduced y’all to Brad Rowley and Ty Best’s West Town home design boutique Caste, but it’s actually been 17 months since these Montana boys hung their shingle up at 521 North Halsted Street. We checked in with Brad to see how the yearling’s doing, and were happy to hear things are going swimmingly.
D: Happy anniversary—how has business been this first year?
BR: The work has been more well-received than I ever imagined, and our first year exceeded all expectations, largely due to the exposure from local publications and Chicago designers who have been very supportive—Kara Mann, Jordana Joseph, Shelly Handman, and Jennifer Sweas, especially.
D: What are some highlights?
BR: We had a table selected for the ELLE Decoration U.K. Collections book; [the world’s best new designs of 2008] that’s quite an honor. We have two new lines in the works—one is a production line, and the other will be extremely high end, limited editions with a couture/fashion sensibility. And we’re collaborating with a very special Chicago-based retailer to renovate some of their boutiques—it’s not a done deal yet, but we are very excited and inspired.
D: It’s a tough economy—have you changed or adapted your mission at all?
BR: Not really…our goal is to just keep the offerings new and interesting. There is an amazing opportunity with one-offs to create and maintain a continuous dialogue with the design community, and we always have something new to share with those who keep tabs on us.
This Thursday, Feb. 26, from 5 to 9 p.m., Thos. Moser is hosting a “Kindred Spirits” event in their River North furniture showroom to showcase the artwork of the late Maine painter and sculptor Bernard Langlais and introduce new pieces from the Kinesis collection of handcrafted wood and bronze furniture designed by David Moser. Moser, the son of the company’s founders, will be on hand to talk about his sleek new pieces, and Langlais curator Andres Verzosa will give a talk on his efforts to preserve the artist’s home, studio, and sculpture garden on 85 acres of land in Cushing, Maine. Thos. Moser shot their last catalogue at the Langlais estate, and felt a special connection with the artist, which led to organizing these nationwide events at their stores. As Tom put it: “We are kindred spirits, he and I, through our love of wood, our love of fashioning it with our hands, our love of the human spirit made real, and our love of Maine.” That’s one of Langlais’s wood assemblages in the photo, at left, and the show will be up through March.
The slushy gray streets of Chicago can really get a kid down this time of year, so why not take a little staycation and sprout over to the open house and sale at Hausermann’s in Villa Park this (or next) weekend? They’re having daylong floral design demos, door prizes, refreshments, special sales, and debuts of new orchids on the block, but the most appealing aspect might be simply walking around a 160,000-square-foot hothouse with thousands of blooming, odorous orchids. Bring a camera, wear some puka shells, and tell your pals you went to Maui. Flower fans in the know have been turning to Hausermann for high-quality buds since 1935, and I’ll vouch for the goods—I was fortunate enough to get a basket of blooms delivered from them a few years ago, and the orchids stayed fresh and fragrant for months.
Lots of news from our friends at FLOR these days. The eco-responsible Elmhurst carpet-tile company just kicked off an online outlet section of discounted, first-quality products with all styles under $10 per 19.7” square. They are available in limited quantities, which suits the mix-and-match appeal of FLOR products—design your own patterns, and replace tiles that get stained or worn-out. They’ve also introduced a couple of outdoor lines that are made with 100% vinyl in a single polymer (that’s fancy talk that means the face and backing materials are the same, so it’s energy efficient to make and totally recyclable). And I love the crunchy new Yard Work series of rugs, with photo-realist patterns like Roll in the Grass, Against the Grain, and Skipping Stones (pictured). Carpets that looks like nature but go indoors, and plush high-design tiles that are meant for al fresco? Oh FLOR, you’re such a tease! If you’re a Twitterer or Facebooker, sign up/link in/friend-poke/whatever and you’ll get special deals and offers.