Orange You Special!
After more than five years of crafting custom letterpress cards and stationery and doing graphic design projects out of a private studio in North Center, Emily Martin has realized a longtime dream and opened a hybrid workshop/retail space in Ravenswood, OrangeBeautiful. “I’ve had the idea in the back of my mind to have a space where we do our design work, but also have a retail area up front to sell our goods and, more importantly, the goods of other independent local designers, artists, and craftspeople,” she told me. “I want every aspect of the shop to feature and support small businesses as much as possible.” The sunny, dog-friendly storefront (designed by Kelly + Olive) is now open at 4658 North Damen Avenue, and Emily plans to have a constantly rotating collection of home goods and soon launch a regular program of workshops, demos, and art and music events.
Jim Wetzel and Lance Lawson, once co-owners of the fashion-forward garment a-go-go stores Jake (now all a-gone-gone) are back in the retail whirl with Space519, a “refined general store” located on the—natch—fifth floor of the 900 North Michigan Avenue building. This time around the boys decided that rather than selling skinny jeans with chubby prices they would instead put together a carefully curated farrago of vintage furniture, art and photography books, candles, home design fixtures and accessories, and tabletop items, rounded out with a few clothing and skincare lines and jewelry. Basically anything that strikes their fancy, at good price points (and we’re dealing with four very sharp, seasoned eyes on these two). When I stopped in last week the 2,100-square-foot space was kitted out with everything from jars of salsa, American Indian jewelry, and cookware picked up on a recent trip to the Southwest, to midcentury furniture and pottery, to surfboards and flip-flops evocative of 1960s Cali beach culture. It’s sort of the same vibe I get when I shop Wicker Park’s Scoop, except the ratios of clothes to hard goods are reversed. Space519 will be changing themes periodically, and offers free gift wrapping and gift-registry services.
Movado Clocks Out
The Swiss watchmaker Movado announced last week that time’s running out for its retail stores (excepting the NYC flagship and 31 outlets), including the three Chicago area mall shops in Water Tower Place, Woodfield, and Oakbrook Center, which are all winding down by the end of this month. The company, founded in 1881, achieved renown with innovative advancements in time technology and chichi tickers, and stemmed into a lifestyle brand featuring clocks, pens, fine jewelry, and tabletop items at its Movado stores in 1998. The clock pictured here was inspired by the instantly identifiable 1947 Bauhaus-born Museum watch, so named because of its inclusion in MoMA’s permanent collection. Movado will continue to tick away at its wholesale watch biz in an effort to get back to profitability, and company reps say the retail stores won’t be having any sweeping close-out sales with big daylight savings, but I’d say watch what happens.
Not to go all Andy Rooney on you guys, but I just don’t get why most tissue-box packaging has to be so aggressively ugly. The selection of patterns and colors bugs me every time I’m shopping, with all the mushy mauve faux-marbled pastels and banal country-kitchen scenes—it’s pretty hard to even find a solid-color box sometimes. Considering that we look at them on our desks and in our bedrooms and bathrooms constantly, one would think companies might want to put some effort into styling them up a notch. (Don’t even get me started on the washed-out designs they feel compelled to print on paper towels.) Which is why it was a nice surprise to see these limited-run wedgies from Kleenex blossom on the shelves of my Target and Jewel stores last week, cleverly purposed as slices of pineapple, kiwi, and my favorite, watermelon. Just the juicy thing for picnics and porch season, or to cheer up a summer sniffler.
The Confessions of Nate Turner
If you’ve got some pending nuptials or just want to pick up some DIY knot-tying tips from popular California designer-to-the-stars, entertaining expert, and frequent TV host Nathan Turner, check out the bridal events that Pottery Barn has scheduled for this weekend at four Chicago locations (Lincoln Park and Oakbrook on Sunday, Deer Park and Old Orchard on Sunday). Turner is slated to talk about centerpieces, place settings, and interior design in general, so there should be info for those of us who won’t/can’t get married as well (and there will be refreshments and discounts on PB merchandise). Phone first to save a seat.