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Steamer Trunks That Serve as Casinos and Libraries
For over ten years, the Jaipur, India-based brothers and founders of Trunks Company, Priyank and Paritosh Mehta, have been on a mission to revive the steamer trunk and support local artists who make them. This week, they’ll be exhibiting 11 of the most ornate examples of the company’s work at the Salon Art + Design fair at the Park Avenue Armory, from a library trunk with quilted leather lining that’s embedded with speakers and lit with LED spotlights to a hand-painted red, white and navy blue Games Island Trunk that unfolds to become a tiny casino featuring amusements like Jenga, poker and chess. About a dozen craftspeople work two to three months on each of the trunks, which are meant to be statement pieces in a home rather than accompanying their owners on a trip, says Paritosh. “We’ve been commissioned to craft a trunk in the shape of the Taj Mahal Palace by the hotel, and to make a trunk for a collector to display his watch collection,” he says. “We’re building a whole lifestyle around heritage trunks.” Next year, though, the company plans to debut its most practical collection to date: hand-painted trunks with wheels that one can actually travel with. Price on request, on view at the Park Avenue Armory from Nov. 9 through 13, thesalonny.com.
The New York-based artist Frances F. Denny once considered “magic” an empty word, relevant only in fiction and fairy tales. “It felt a lot like bibbidi-bobbidi-boo,” she says. It wasn’t until Denny spent time alongside modern-day witches, photographing them for what eventually became her 2020 book, “Major Arcana: Portraits of Witches in America,” that the term began to gain real-world resonance for her. Starhawk, one of her subjects, described magic as “the art of changing consciousness at will,” spurring Denny to think about how that might work in her own practice. The result is “Spellwork,” a collection of floral still lifes on view at the Manhattan gallery Clamp starting Nov. 9. In each image, the stillness of daffodils, nasturtium and other blooms is interrupted by iridescent traces of plastic childhood accessories sourced from Denny’s daughter’s playroom: beaded bracelets and birthday candles, star-shaped wands and glitter bouncy balls. Plastic is “the inevitable material of parenthood,” says Denny. “It’s both a container and a shield.” Tying back to the project’s origins, the titles of each piece in “Spellwork” borrow from rituals and incantations in Starhawk’s book, “The Spiral Dance.” Spellwork is on view from Nov. 9 through Dec. 23, clampart.com.
Celine’s Latest Scent, Inspired by Bath Time
Hedi Slimane’s line of fragrances for Celine, which debuted in 2019, draws from a journal of the designer’s personal olfactory memories such as a bergamot and coriander seed-scented sail down the Seine as a 20-year-old or the palo santo that reminds him of the nine years he spent living in Los Angeles. The brand’s newest perfume is designed to bring Slimane back to one of his most treasured childhood rituals: bath time. Cologne Céleste, which launches Nov. 16 and also comes in the form of a perfumed oil, bath milk and soap, takes inspiration from warm soaks and the delicate perfume they leave behind on skin and clothes. The scent opens with citrusy notes of neroli (an extract from the bitter orange tree), lemon and petitgrain and is rounded out by powdery orris and ambrette butters. For those who want to extend the line’s use from bathtub to closet, the Triomphe-embossed soap can double as a pretty fabric freshener when left in a drawer. From $195, celine.com.
A Lighting Collection Made From Salvaged City Wood
Russell Greenberg and Christopher Beardsley were in the midst of designing a residence for a client when they found themselves in need of a light fixture in the foyer. They looked at another project’s off-cuts piling up in the wood shop dumpster and had something of a lightbulb moment. “That concept of resourcefully using what’s sitting on the floor right next to you got baked into the DNA of the brand,” says Greenberg of Stickbulb, the lighting manufacturing company that he and Beardsley, former classmates at the Yale School of Architecture, co-founded in 2012. Stickbulb is known for creating sleek pendants, chandeliers and sconces out of wood reclaimed from decommissioned water towers and demolished buildings; its latest lighting collection, called Treeline, marks the New York brand’s first time sourcing wood directly from the city’s trees.
Every year, storms, construction and other issues lead to thousands of trees being removed from city streets and parks. Treeline uses what would otherwise have been sent to a landfill to create the collection’s linear fixtures. “The trees in the urban forest here, they’ve got so much character,” Greenberg says of this new supply chain. “[They have] this wild, beautifully organic complexity that reminds you that the world isn’t made in a factory.” From $1,400, available online and on view by appointment only at the Stickbulb showroom in Long Island City, Queens, stickbulb.com.
On Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a New Chinese Restaurant With a Menu of Family Favorites
Tolo, a new restaurant offering Chinese fare, plans to open on Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Nov. 9. The menu draws from the chef Ron Yan’s memories of growing up with a food-loving family between Hong Kong (the restaurant’s name comes from Tolo Harbor in the city’s Tai Po district) and Toronto. Starters include boiled peanuts, a snack his family often ate while watching TV, and freshly made cheung fun, the rice noodle rolls that were a favorite dish at dim sum outings. Further down the menu are mains meant to be shared, such as a sweet-and-sour crispy bass made with fresh pineapple juice or Typhoon Shelter-Style Chicken heaped with fried garlic, fermented black beans and fresh chiles. Yan, who also oversees the menus at the downtown bars Parcelle and Pig Bar, will be cooking in an open kitchen across from rattan bar seats created by the Chinese American furniture designer Danny Ho Fong, who also built a communal table for the space. Mixed in with the contemporary designs are vintage and antique pieces, including a 1920s rosewood apothecary shelf from China and a vintage Osvaldo Borsani bar that greets diners as they enter the 36-seat space. tolonyc.com.
A Former Book Publicist Sets Up Shop in the Hudson Valley
Before Angie Venezia opened Golden Hour Books last week, there hadn’t been an independent bookstore in the city of Newburgh, N.Y., in 25 years. Coincidentally, the specific storefront that Venezia pursued, located uphill on Broadway overlooking the Hudson River, had been a bookstore in the ’60s. “An older customer who grew up in Newburgh was passing my store and said he had this visceral memory of a bookstore that he went to as a child,” says Venezia, who found the original shop listed in an old directory of Newburgh. “I had a radar for this space. It was meant to be.” A former publicist at Penguin Random House, Venezia was guided by her career in book publishing as she considered how to stock her store. “I set out to put my taste and my point of view at the forefront,” she says of the inventory, which focuses on new and used books in literary fiction and nonfiction, with a further emphasis on women writers, cookbooks and children’s titles. The shop, whose interior was built and designed by Venezia’s husband, Reed Loar, will host author events (Lindsey Taylor, the author of the floral design book “Art in Flower,” will visit in mid-December). On Nov. 16, Golden Hour Books will also be part of what it’s billing as a “grown-up book fair” with the local businesses Newburgh Brewing Company and Billy Joe’s Ribworks. goldenhourbookstore.com.