| Totem With Colorful Collection
at New York Gift Show
August 19-23, 2000 @ The Javits Center
Design Group, one of the country's leading showcases for contemporary furniture
design, is pleased to show several exciting products at the New York Gift Fair
on August 19, 2000. The designs advance Totem's mission to spread the appeal
of contemporary design through education and by making the work of promising
young designers and architects available and affordable.
Following the success of its desktop landscape series - the vinyl-dipped desktop
accessories designed by Karim Rashid - Totem has expanded the line's
color options. Rashid's designs first breached the bleak, gray world of the computer
desk last summer with pragmatic, but suggestive shapes - the "cube," the "infinity," the
plus-shaped "soul," and the trifurcated "ribbon" - in four
bold color schemes. This rubbery but sturdy accessories, as well as his acclaimed mouse
pads, exemplify what Rashid calls his "sensually minimalistic" design,
as well as Totem's desire to aestheticize quotidian experience through affordable,
well-designed objects for everyday use. The desktop landscape line ranges in
retail price from $18-$24. Totem also launches a series of gift cards with
Rashid?s prints for $16.50 retail.
With Genesi-Stella, a softly illuminated sea urchin with flexible,
brightly colored spiked-Japanese designer and architect Masayo Ave sums
up a prominent trend in lighting design: advancing technology in the service
of more poetically designed fixtures. The Genesi-Stella brings the long-standing
conflict between high technology and mood creation one step closer to resolution.
The lamp is made from a new industrial material called open-celled foam, whose
qualities as filters on oilrigs were closely studied for the Genesi project.
Through the interaction of light and material, Ave says, the Genesi-Stella lamp
is winning people's affection. Also on show by Ave are Pillows and a Sitting
Cube produced in the same outdoor-friendly material.
Totem has exclusive rights to retail products by BooKan - which means
noise in French slang. BooKan manufactures accessories that eschew pure functionality,
and bring new interpretations to everyday objects, aiming for what they call
a "smiley and elegant design." Totem offers Valérie Windeck designs
in white enameled ceramic feldspath. The PIL'UP vase collection was created
from stacked dessert pots, with no end to the variety of shapes possible. The
four PIL'UP vases are to be interpreted as the viewer sees them - from "bamboo
shoot to totem pole, from Pisa Tower to cat's tail." The PCUP not
only abandons the conventional circular shape of cups and saucers - its saucer
also uniquely doubles as an ashtray. "It's a good example of the direction
of contemporary design in that it offers dual functionality," says David
Shearer, Totem's founder. The ASH AWAY is a new take on the spinning ashtray,
where the ash conveniently falls out of sight through a trap door. This makes
it advantageous for outdoor use: no flying ash at the slightest bit of wind.
Also available from BooKan are several ceramic trays with indents shaped as exclamation
marks, question marks, stars and apostrophes. Totem's BooKan products range in
price from $8-$45.
Totem is also proud to introduce, for the first time ever at the Gift Show, Wendy
Gardner's "Scary Stories New York" collection of adorable stuffed
animals with funky names. With names like Handsome Hook Lost a Foot and Poor
Sarah Got Sold For Ten Bucks, all these animals are based on real-life counterparts.
The idea for the Vicious French Bulldog, for instance, began with a painting
she had done of a friend's dog. She began making dolls as baby shower gifts for
her friends, and what better than a scary growling dog with angry eyes and big
gritting teeth. Poor Sarah was Gardner's piranha - sold by Gardner's mother the
minute she left town. The dolls range in price from $30-$34.
Totem further shows off Phillipe Starck's Dumbells made for XO. These
silver, steel filled aluminum weights each weigh 6 lbs and are handmade for the
vain exerciser. Starck has conceived and produced many household products and
furniture pieces, including furniture for former French president Francois Mitterrand.
He has since been approached to design boats, mopeds, the 1992 Olympic Flame
torch, and even a new shape of pasta. Today, he works with his "tribe" in
the studio and remains an enigmatic, reclusive figure. Escaping to remote locations
with his family, Starck attempts to remove himself out of the stream of trends
in order to bring a fresh viewpoint to his projects. The dumbbells retail at
$450 for the set of two.
Totem is also proud to bring a range of other exciting designs to the show. Gaston's
Condom Vase, Pieces Lamp and Rag Stand are bound to attract curiosity with their
curious and sexy shapes. Marc Newson's Orgon chair and Michael Young's
designs for Eurolounge have already established themselves at favorites of design
cognoscenti. See also separate press release for the introduction of Innovation
USA, a company who's mission it is to facilitate living large in a little