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Totem Design Group, New York's leading showcase for contemporary furniture design, is pleased to announce the release of several new products at the New York Gift Fair on January 23, 2000. These new 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 is expanding 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. The rubbery, but sturdy accessories exemplify what Rashid calls his "sensually minimalistic" design sensibility as well as Totem's desire to aestheticize quotidian experience through affordable, well-designed objects for everyday use. The desktop accessories will now also be available in "midnight," a black and purple color scheme that offers a sleek, but gentle look. The desktop landscape line ranges in price form $9-$12.

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 were closely studied for the Genesi project. Through the interaction of light and material, Ave says, Genesi-Stella lamp will win people's affection.

Totem is further pleased to announce that it has obtained 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 will initially offer designs in white enameled ceramic feldspath by BooKan designer Valérie Windeck. The PIL'UP vase collection was created from stacked dessert pots, with no end to the variety of shapes possible. The four PIL'IP 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. BooKan's 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.
Copyright © 2008 David Shearer   
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