State x State

By Tom Ran

Published: June 30, 2014 under Travel

Mazama Wares, The Good Flock, Tanner Goods, and Woodblock Chocolate in the debut Oregon State Box.

Photo: State x State

Back in 2003 Sufjan Stevens set out an ambitious project, to produce an album for each of the 50 states. He debuted the project with his home state of Michigan, a critically acclaimed album and commercial success (by indie standards). He then followed up with Illinois in 2005. And then, nothing. That was as far as he got.

Long have the 50 states been a theme for many projects whether they become a success or not. The wonder of travel, the diversity in landscape and the uniqueness of each region is a captivating topic that sees no end.

This summer a new project will debut that revisits this theme. State x State is a destination for curated products and travel inspiration. Think of it as a guide to each of the states from a local’s perspective. They have been building a network of creative types ranging from designers and artists to craftspeople and restauranteurs to highlight shops, restaurants, bars, and events. Additionally, State x State will collaborate with designers and curators to produce State Boxes. Each box will be assigned a state and feature products from independent and established heritage brands. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the research, and to produce and print each of the travel guides. With just 24 days left to go, they’re approaching their goal. Help them achieve what Sufjan Stevens wasn’t able to achieve and make this one of the successful 50 states projects.

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McNally Jackson’s Picture Room

By Tom Ran

Published: May 23, 2014 under Retail

Picture Room from McNally Jackson

Photo: Picture Room

Despite our society’s aversion to printed matter, McNally Jackson Books in Nolita is thriving. Business has been so good that the owners decided to open a second shop around the corner. Though not a book store, Goods for the Study is a supplement to McNally Jackson offering stationery, desk accessories, and objects for the office or reading room. The business is now venturing into a third shop with Picture Room specializing in rare prints, posters, artists’ books, and art publications. The space is not a gallery but will feature an Artist program highlighting an artist on a temporary basis. Minimal artist Dan Graham is the first to be exhibited. Picture Room sits right next door to Goods for the Study at 236 Mulberry Street and is open daily from noon to 8pm. (via Hyperallergic)

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Spruceton Inn

By Tom Ran

Published: May 22, 2014 under Hotels

Spruceton Inn in the Catskill Mountains

Photo: Spruceton Inn

Spruceton Inn is a Catskills B&B – that’s bed and bar. Creatives turned innkeepers Casey Scieszka and her husband Steven Weinberg moved from Brooklyn late last year to pursue a dream of opening a hotel in the mountains. They purchased a former farm and spent the winter gut renovating the space. After months of hard work, the inn will open its doors to the public this summer. It’s an idyllic retreat set in a pastoral landscape beneath the rolling mountains of the Catskills, there’s even a creek to take a dip in or go fly fishing. Restaurants and shops are few and far but there’s plenty of nature for this escape. Private kitchens are available in several of the rooms and there’s always the option to bbq. During the winter season Spruceton will operate an artist residency program. From February to April, they will award 12 artist free lodging for a total of one week each. Summer is coming and winter is far behind us, it’s time to escape from NY and head for the hills. Spruceton Inn opens July 1st.

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Makr Tumblers

By Tom Ran

Published: May 19, 2014 under Living

Makr's Tumblers come in three different sizes.

Photo: Makr

What may seem at odds with other companies fall right into place with Makr. They began as a leather goods brand that organically evolved to include products for the home. Makr’s elegant and restraint in design permeates through all of their products to create a cohesive collection. Whether it be a wallet, backpack, or magazine rack or shelf, Makr’s aesthetic integrates perfectly within their offering. They recently added to their line of home accessories, a set of hand turned copper tumblers. The tumblers are made from food grade copper and come in three different shapes and sizes. Use them for your drinks or as a desktop organizer.

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By Tom Ran

Published: May 16, 2014 under Art

psychylustro by artist Katharina Grosse

Photo: Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Public art can be a tricky thing. As an artist, one wants unrestricted expression. As a committee who decides on what artwork to show in public space it must appeal to everyone. The result can be bland and uninteresting. However, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program has been able to achieve both by commission artist with progressive ideas. Stephen Powers’s Love Letter to Philadelphia was commissioned by the organization and many more murals throughout the city. This time they’ve worked with Amtrak and German artist Katharina Grosse to create a series of murals along Amtrak’s Northeast rail corridor. Grosse’s colorful paint splattered imagery often uses industrial spray guns to execute her work. This result is fitting for the project. psychylustro is a seven-part mural that inhabits abandon factories, chain link fences, bridges and even plant life. The artwork will be taken care of for the next six months by the program but after that it’s left to its elements.

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Lance Wyman

By Tom Ran

Published: May 15, 2014 under Design

Lance Wyman designed these Pronto Posters for the Production Line Ride at the Chrysler Pavilion in 1965

Photo: Herman Miller

Herman Miller continues to promote the talents behind George Nelson’s office. They recently interviewed Lance Wyman, a graphic designer who started in the office shortly after he graduated from Pratt in 1960. The first large scale project he produced were the Pronto Posters advocating safety in factories for the Chrysler Pavilion during the 1964-65 World’s Fair. They were eventually mass produced by Howard Miller. His tenure at the office would lead Wyman to design the graphic language and logo for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Today, Wyman is known for his work in systems design for public spaces including airports, transit systems, and museums. He continues to work from his NYC office.

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By Tom Ran
Partners Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler

Photo: Samuel Bristow

Stefanie Brechbuehler and Robert Highsmith, are the partners behind Workstead. The two met at Rhode Island School of Design while studying architecture and opened their studio in 2009,…

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M.Nii John Moore

By Tom Ran
M.Nii Tailor, Waianae, Hawaii 1959

Photo: Tom McBride

The photo is one of the few relics that remain of M.Nii’s history. An image that recalls the golden age of American surf culture. Three friends in front…

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Classic Car Club

By Tom Ran
Owners Michael Prichinello and Zac Moseley in front of a 1965 Shelby Cobra

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Michael Prichinello has a passion for life and speed. His eyes light up whenever he talks about one of his cars or a motorcycle project he’s working on with a…

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