New York multidisciplinary designer Dror Benshetrit’s studio has created interiors for Kiehl’s and Levi’s, a chandelier for Swarovski, products for Alessi, Venini, and Rosenthal, and even an entire island in Dubai. He’s now partnered with Target to launch an exclusive line of limited-edition home and office designs that are crafted with economy of scale, affordability, and versatility in mind, making them smart options for students or anybody with a tight space and tighter budget. As Dror says, “We should not lack cheerfulness simply because we lack space.” Kudos to Minneapolis-based Target for continuing to find A-list, edgy designers and work with them to adapt their visions for the aisles and website of the big-box entity. These clever stacking, nesting shelves are only $90 for a set of four, and I also really like the patterned pillows that you can change by flip-flopping fabric bands. Watch a manic Dror show demo here, and get select items at area Targets or online.
Rudy’s Can’t Fail
The Wicker Park neighborhood has a fun, friendly new store called Rudy’s Roundup, with a little-bit-country, little-bit-rock’n’roll attitude. Owner Brooke Timm bills her new venture as "a modern-day general store," offering a mixture of vintage and new housewares, jewelry, and clothing—everything from California Raisin figurines to candles and soaps, kitschy Pop Ink artwork printed on birch veneer to handmade, locally designed accessories. Some of these vintage owls could easily pass for Jonathan Adler designs until you look at the price tags, nest-ce pas? (They range from $6 to $24.) The outgoing Timm used to be a buyer for a women’s clothing boutique, then developed a vintage jewelry-supply company several years ago and was exposed to so much cool old merchandise that she knew she had to wrangle up her own shop, located at 1410 North Milwaukee Avenue, open seven days a week.
Making Faces at FLOR
At the opening of Chicago’s first FLOR retail store, I noticed these colorful photo-printed carpet tiles on display in the kids’ play area. The quirky mask images looked familiar, and I discovered they are the work of former Chicago-based fine-art and commercial photographer Francois Robert, who currently divides his time between Arizona and Indiana, and shows locally at Carl Hammer Gallery. He published a book on the series, and designed this pattern of nine little “faces” his camera lens discovered, inanimate but with loads of personality. These are prototype tiles, but they should be available by the end of this month. FLOR’s flagship store, by the way, is a pleasant, sunny showroom that carries all of the company’s offerings and has inspirational settings and workstations to help strategize designs. It is connected to Jayson Home & Garden and the Artists Frame Service physically but there is no professional alliance, (they rent the space) although you can park free in Jayson’s parking lot across the street. Oh and if you’re in the market for some trees or bushes, Jayson’s discounting them all by 30 percent until Sunday, and also having a big frame clearance sale the same day.
Bucking the Trend
There are only a few more days left to visit the cerebral Buckminster Fuller show at the MCA, Starting With the Universe, since it closes this Sunday. I have to admit, when I went back to see it in depth on one of those hellaciously hot days that we just had, I wasn’t feeling it so much—all the intricate drawings and blueprints and archival videos were just a bit heady for me to pay much attention to with my shirt sticking to my back (although the maquettes of floating cities and space-age houses are arresting, if sparse). I appreciate his visionary eco-strategies and his influential teachings of save the planet, live-larger-with-less-stuff philosophies, but my mind was wandering so I went down to the gift shop. Buyers have put together a nice collection of Fuller-esque home goods for sale, including angular-planed vases, a sleek, solar powered desk sculpture, this faceted ceramic birdhouse ($95), and even a purse crafted out of a soccer ball. The shopping vibe was much more up my summer-simple mindset.
Hands-On Jacko Show
Aldo Castillo Contemporary gallery is celebrating the life of Michael Jackson with a one-night exhibition and performance by Elliott From, a painter/performance artist who creates on-the-spot artwork inspired by music icons, using mainly his hands to manipulate the paint on large, black canvases (none more than $500). The splashy affair is this Thursday, July 2, during the River East Art Center’s gallery night, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Elliott has staged these smock-downs at Soldier Field, Navy Pier, and the House of Blues, and is available for private bookings.