Yesterday afternoon, I had a little time to kill after a meeting so I popped into the Museum of Arts and Design shop. If you haven't been, the space is a true celebration of American design in the middle of the strip mall that has become Columbus Circle (or is it the other way around?) The store is brimming with contemporary treasures that head buyer Franci Reiss Sagar has hand-picked on her travels all over the world and that assistant buyer Kristen Bierly has scouted on visits to multiple American gift shows each year. (P.S. How cool would their jobs be?!)
Kristen, who also manages the store, says her favorite thing is discovering new talent and hearing those designer's amazing stories so that she can share anecdotes with customers. I asked her to show me a couple of her favorites and she said it was virtually impossible to pick just one or two, but that she's really excited about these unique neon-rimmed walnut platters by Colorado-based artist David Rasmussen that also come in red and orange, and two-tone, hand-blown noodle bowls that come in a variety of colors by Seattle-based Decicio Glass. Yes, that's my hand awkwardly holding the tray. Someone's gotta do it!
Given the sheer volume of items they carry (there are hundreds), you'd think the space would feel cluttered, but soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and hyper-organized shelves (including the coolest Guggenheim-esque jewelry display case) manage potential chaos; it's easy to walk around comfortably without bumping into anyone (unless you're clumsily taking pictures like me–oops, sorry!) Although the store showcases designers on an international scale, their main focus is American-made and that idea is further emphasized with place cards thoughtfully positioned next to each item, including the designer's name and location. Such a nice touch since, more than ever, people want to know where their products are made.
Here are a few of my favorites from yesterday's excursion. I came close to buying the Seth Rolland bookends at the top of this post but added them to my wish list, and instead treated myself to a pair of toast tongs from Moon Spoon. Double click the gallery and hover over each photo for product info.