The Launch of DXV, Or 150 Years of Design History in Cocktails

 

Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

One of  our lovely sponsors on #blogtournyc was DXV, a new luxury kitchen and bathroom brand from American Standard. As part of BlogTour we were invited to visit their stunning new showroom in the heart of New York’s Flatiron district (usually by appointment only).

DXV celebrates American Standard’s rich 150 year history and heritage by organising its initial collections of fixtures and fittings around four separate design ‘movements’ – blending the design aesthetic and artisanal qualities of the past, with the performance and design requirements of the modern consumer.

At the launch party in New York, even the cocktails were themed appropriately and I was lucky enough to be given the recipes, devised by ace mixologist Elayne Duff. Obviously any opportunity to make, photograph and drink cocktails is not to be passed up in a hurry.

So welcome to 150 years of design history in bathroom fixtures brought to you via the medium of classic cocktails with a contemporary twist (you can’t say we don’t spoil you).

 Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

And here’s Elayne shaking up a storm! (Photos of Elayne by Vladimir Weinstein Photography)

CONTEMPORARY

First up is the Contemporary era, representing the years 1990 onwards. In design terms, this constantly evolving aesthetic combines minimalism and rich texture, individual style and natural forms. The photos representing each design era were taken at the DXV showroom.

Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Interpreting this them through cocktails, Elayne chose a modern twist on the Scofflaw using raspberry syrup instead of the traditional grenadine.  This cocktail was new to me and apparently dates back to Paris in the Prohibition era – if you were drinking cocktails at the time you were scoffing at the law – but also nods to today’s love of bourbon.

Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

This is an easy cocktail to make as it doesn’t contain too many esoteric ingredients, and it’s one I’ll make again and again. The earthiness of the bourbon is softened a little by the sweet raspberry syrup (I bought mine, though you could make your own) while the addition of bitter citrusy flavours in the form of dry vermouth and lime juice ensures that it is not too sweet.

Scofflaw
Serves 1
A contemporary twist on the classic Scofflaw
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 oz Bourbon
  2. 1 oz dry vermouth
  3. 1 oz raspberry syrup
  4. 0.75 oz lime juice
  5. 3 dashes orange bitters
  6. Fresh raspberries to garnish
Instructions
  1. Chill a coupe
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  3. Measure in the ingredients
  4. Shake well
  5. Strain into the glass
  6. Garnish with raspberries
mirror mirror http://mirrormirrorblog.com/site/
MODERN

Next up is the Modern era representing the post-war years between 1950-1990. The design of this era was marked by experimentation and individuality,and the interplay between flowing lines, curving forms and geometric structures.

Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Elayne was inspired to create a traditional Mai Tai to represent this movement in a nod to jet age travel and the  ‘tiki’ culture of those decades.

Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

A Mai Tai can so often be overly kitschy, festooned with little umbrellas, cherries, pineapples and tropical flowers. The drink too is often adulterated with pineapple juice, orange juice or grenadine but this is a sophisticated and very more-ish version – luscious, strong and not too sweet. I will also be eternally grateful to this recipe for introducing me to orgeat syrup, made from apricot kernels and tasting like marzipan in a bottle.

Mai Tai
Serves 1
A classic Mai Tai without the kitsch
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 oz aged rum
  2. 1 oz lime juice
  3. 0.75 oz orgeat syrup
  4. 0.75 oz orange Curacao
  5. 0.25 oz dark rum
Instructions
  1. Chill a double rocks or other large glass
  2. Fill a cocktail shake with ice
  3. Add ingredients and shake
  4. Strain into glass over plenty of crushed ice
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge and a flower
mirror mirror http://mirrormirrorblog.com/site/
GOLDEN ERA

The Golden Era covers the pre-war years from from 1920-1950. In design this is the classic era of Art Deco where a spirit of experimentation was combined with industrial design to produce a thoughtful, refined aesthetic, based on simple geometric shapes and reduced ornamentation.

Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

In cocktail terms Elayne paid homage to that era’s obsession for gin with the Corpse Reviver. I’m not a big fan of gin-based cocktails – they can often get a bit too floral and grannyish for my tastes – but this was GOOD, given extra layers of bitterness, sourness and sophistication by the Cocchi Americano (used instead of Lillet), lemon juice and absinthe, with an orange twist instead of the traditional cherries.

Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Corpse Reviver
Serves 1
A contemporary twist on the classic Corpse Reviver
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 0.75 oz London dry gin
  2. 0.75 oz Cointreau
  3. 0.75 oz Cocchi Americano
  4. 0.75 oz lemon juice
  5. dash of Absinthe
  6. Orange twist to garnish
Instructions
  1. Chill a coupe
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  3. Add all ingredients and shake
  4. Strain into chilled glass
  5. Garnish with an orange twist
mirror mirror http://mirrormirrorblog.com/site/
CLASSIC

The final DXV movement represents the Classic era, representing the years 1880 to 1920 which saw a convergence of opulence and modern technology, and an emphasis on artisanal craftsmanship. In this, the era of Art Nouveau, design pushed beyond the rigid geometry of neoclassicism and became more intricate and organic.

Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Elayne Duff chose to celebrate the communal drinking of this era to create a traditional rum punch and here she is serving it at the launch party. The recipe for this looks really interesting and I’m definitely going to try it our at our next summer party. If it works I’ll share it in a future post.

Launch of DXV - photography by www.paolathomas.com

For more about the DXV collection and its design inspirations check out this video. I don’t normally like to share ads on this blog, but the visuals on this are mesmerising.

Share

Textures and Shadows in Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

One of the main reasons for attending Helene’s workshop on Saint Simons’ Island last autumn was the chance to spend some time exploring Savannah, Georgia.

It had long been near the top of my list of places I wanted to go to in the US (together with Charleston, which I sadly didn’t get to) and I was so not disappointed.

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com 

It was the textures and shadows which struck me – and made me realise how much I crave, and can’t get, old stuff here in Seattle, where not much goes back more than a hundred years.

In Savannah, even the bricks and paving stones have antique stories to tell, history seeps out of the very fabric of the city, and it all made me dreadfully nostalgic for England.

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

The area round the river, with its general piratical yohoho-ishness reminded me a bit of the Thames.

savannah-6

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

And it was so lovely to encounter beautiful old churches once again.

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

We didn’t have much time to explore, but one of my very favourite places was the Paris Market – a gorgeous homewares store with a stunning small café and superb macarons.

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

I stayed for a night in glamorously sexy Bohemian hotel, which had the tones and textures thing down pat and also featured a gorgeous roof terrace overlooking the river and excellent grits for breakfast.

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, Georgia - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Savannah, I truly can’t wait to return.

Share

DIFFA–Dining By Design 2014

One of my favourite things about the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, and indeed of the whole of #BlogTourNYC, were the DIFFA – Dining By Design show tables.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Every year designers and sponsors are asked to create fantasy tablescapes and then bids are invited to host a table in each of these magical party venues at huge closing gala, with all proceeds benefitting AIDS research.

There were several I would have loved to bid on, though with most I think you would want to keep the hallucinatory drugs and indeed the alcohol served to a bare minimum, because some of these spaces were seriously mind-bending in their own right.

So enjoy the craziness and I would probably suggest that you don’t try most of these at home.

Which are your faves?

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

I’m not entirely sure how you’re supposed to get at your food under the Perspex here, but this room by the New York School of Interior Design mentored by Shawn Henderson was possibly my favourite.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Mrs AllThingsColourful here also liked this one by Gensler + Herman Miller though the tableware looked a little dull. But the changing colours in the room more than made up for that (see the changes here).

You probably don’t need me to tell you that this was designed by Diane Von Furstenburg for Kravet.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Seriously no wine necessary in this one by Interior Design Magazine, designed by Ali Tayar with Alejandro Cabrera. Some plates would be useful though.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Loved this use of the classic Saarinen tulip table in this room by Knoll and HOK.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

This room was designed by Geoff Howell Studio and sponsored by Ottawa, Canada’s Capital. And it showed.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

This room by Ralph Lauren Home was dull but pretty in that typical Ralph Laurenish way.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Gorgeous flowers in this room by Carlos Mota for Architectural Digest.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Another great use of flowers here by designer Marc Blackwell.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Loved this moody room designed by Kara Mann for Maya Romanoff, but wow those chairs look wildly uncomfortable.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Finally some cosy seating by Echo Design.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

While this table by David Ling for DDC was almost TOO cosy and sort of shapeless. I love those furry chairs though. They look like little sheep.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

You better be looking good at this table by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, because the solid gold reflections are EVERYWHERE.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

This table by Robert Verdi for Essie was one of the few that looked like it might fit into a home somewhere.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

While this room for 3M Architectural Markets, designed by Rottet Studio, looked FIENDISHLY uncomfortable.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

This table by Flexform by Soren Rose Sponcer for Manhattan magazine was just rather dull.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

T Magazine had put together another paean to discomfort and noise.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

The Design Within Reach room looked like a Design Within Reach shop. At least their branding is consistent.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

While Barneys NYC missed the memo that they could actually use their imaginations.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

I’m not sure why you would want to wear a dunce’s cap on your birthday in this room by the Pratt Institute, mentored by Ali Tayar.

DIFFA-Dining By Design 2014 - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Finally this tablescape by the Fashion Institute of Technology, mentored by Jes Gordone, showed us what dining inside a whale would be like.

I truly thought I had visited and photographed most of the rooms, but it seems I actually missed a lot. If you like these then here is the full slideshow, with some more gorgeous rooms and some different perspectives on the ones I shot (very difficult to take pics here with so many people milling about).

Share

Weekend Link Love

InstagramApril (5) 2014

It’s been a week of unseasonably hot and sunny weather here in Seattle, with lots of gardening (or at least gardening plans), grilling on the deck and glorious golden hour walks by Green Lake. Also frustrating problems with technology – updating the operating system on my phone required it to be taken back to factory settings (seriously Apple?) and it still hasn’t fully recovered from its ordeal (and neither have I), and my computer has been most unhappy.

Last weekend I attended a class at the Pantry at Delancey on Square Foot Gardening which was hugely inspiring and went to the Seattle Tilth Edible Plant Sale  (one more day tomorrow)  yesterday evening to buy new plants for my raised beds. Stand by for Instagram pictures! The botanical theme continued with an evening at The Little Shop of Horrors. A really good production with a uniformly excellent cast that I highly recommend to Seattle folk.

Tacos - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Finally it’s also been a very taco-y week. I had great fun running round Seattle shooting Seattle’s Ten Best Tacos for Zagats and discovering some seriously good taco trucks. And this morning the Minx and I took a kid’s taco-making class at the Pantry. Above is one of the tacos we made from scratch, while the Minx got absorbed in her guacamole. I’ve just invested in a serious tortilla press. Heaven knows where I’m going to put it.

Tacos - photography by www.paolathomas.com

And finally a few fun links:

Deep clean your Facebook page. Have added this to my To Do list.

Apparently walking enhances creativity, I’d be out there if it ever stopped raining today.

My friend Tina at LifeInSketch is hosting the most amazing competition to win a trip to New York and meet A-list interior designer Vicente Wolf (whose new paint colours are GORGEOUS). I won’t be able to enter as I will be in Europe on the day in question, so now you guys stand a chance. Ha!

Yet another fabulously good photography portfolio.

On the blog this week I made Candied Kumquat Panna Cotta from Peasant in NYC and we learned about John Ruskin through the medium of kitchen cabinets.

Share

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry

It was a little after lunch during a long day at the Architectural Design Show on #BlogTourNYC and I thought a sponsor presentation about kitchen cabinets might be the perfect opportunity for a small snooze (don’t tell Veronika).

But one of the great things about #BlogTourNYC was the opportunity they gave us to meet with and learn from so many inspiring and creative people. Rutt Cabinetry are makers of stunning high-end handbuilt kitchen cabinets and they had brought in designer Scott Stultz to design their first new offering in over a decade.

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Scott himself gave us a fascinating presentation into his creative process and woke me up thoroughly when he mentioned how influenced he had been throughout his life by John Ruskin.

For those who are unaware of him John Ruskin was a British art patron, art critic, social reformer, philanthropist, polymath and all round good egg in the latter half of the Victorian era.

Among his many achievements, he championed Turner and Gothic architecture, wrote seminal works of art history and criticism, influenced the pre-Raphaelites and is considered to be the grandfather of the Arts & Crafts movement in the UK, with ideas about sustainability and environmentalism which were astonishingly forward-thinking.

If you’re in any way involved in the arts and design in Britain, his influence remains pervasive to this day – I heard a lot of talk of him in design circles in the UK -  but this was the first time I’d heard his name mentioned in America. 

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Scott described how he had used Ruskin’s principles to create furniture that was timeless in its appeal, speaks to both our visceral need for comfort, and our intellectual need for order and proportion, but which was also has an element of adventure.

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

This plain detailing on these overhead cabinets fits in well with contemporary styles (and would look AWESOME in our Craftsman house #hinthint), but also harks back to the similar detailing of Arts & Crafts furniture. Scott explained that he had chosen the beautiful semi-elliptical curves of the mouldings to break up the orderliness of the windows and panels and bring in that sense of risk, like an ‘animal waiting to pounce’. 

As an aside here is my little Arts & Crafts oak bureau in our Craftsman house with its own semi-elliptical moulding. Fascinating to see that it would fit right into this kitchen.

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

The Ruskin series has various options for cornices and mouldings  and, as is entirely right and proper when John Ruskin is your influence, the craftsmanship and attention to detail is sublime.

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Scott explained how he had thought about the proportions and kept the vertical elements of the panelling thin and light, so that the eye travels upwards (in the same way as you see in Gothic architecture) making the whole feel much lighter and airier, despite the solidity of its construction.

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

Ruskin by Rutt Cabinetry - photography by www.paolathomas.com

The attention to detail has extended to the door pulls, appliances and  finishes. Rutt had collaborated with MIele to show how well the layers of Miele’s Brilliant White finish (laminate under thick glass) complemented the texture of the Keswick Oak finish giving it a contemporary appeal.

The video below shows Scott describing the various finishes designed for the collection and named after Lake District landmarks which were important in Ruskin’s life.

I may have been sitting in a huge hangar in the New York City, but this English girl felt right at home. And I think John Ruskin would have liked it too.

Note to Scott: It’s pronounced ‘Kes-ick’. The ‘w’ is silent. (Yes, I am that person.)

Share