Color-Theme or Multi-Color? It's the classic decorating debate. I, for one, usually prefer a strong presence of one great color. "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." My other half likes liberal mixes of color; the more, the merrier. I guess at Christmastime, on a Christmas tree, one cannot go wrong with lots of varied color. In this case, a string of vintage multi-colored mercury glass beads (from the early Twentieth Century) would hit the right, jolly note. Additionally, this eight foot string of glass beads is faceted, adding an extra pop of reflected light and Christmastime sparkle.
Though I lived in New York for 27 years, I never knew that the New York Historical Society exhibited a sensational collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany leaded glass lamps and other Tiffany Studio objets. 100 lamps—table lamps, lanterns, chandeliers—are beautifully displayed in a two-floor gallery. Never have I seen such a wonderful accumulation of Tiffany items, all in one place. Besides lamps, there are a small number of desk accessories and a large stained glass window depicting the good shepherd. The collection—indeed the entire New York Historical Society—is a true gem. It was a hidden gem, for me (at least for 27 plus the six years I've been gone). But it's hidden no more. I intend to visit frequently, whenever...
In old glass factories, where craftsmen were making objects out of colored glass, any broken pieces, scraps or bits of leftover glass would be tossed into a pile called the "slag heap." Every now and then, the artisans would scoop-up a shovelful of this random, mixed-color glass for use in making a one-of-a-kind art glass piece—perhaps a bowl, a lamp shade, or a sheet of flat glass to be used for a stained glass window. Such one-off pieces of glass were called "slag glass."
Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about American Football (not much!). I much prefer "The Beautiful Game" and believe that "A Football is Round" (and kicked with the feet). To my eye, "soccer" (as some call it!) allows the player's personality, fitness and (sometimes) good looks to shine through. American Football players are buried beneath mounds of plastic padding and nylon mesh. They also stop running and stand around a lot! Nevertheless, I love finding handsome, vintage gifts—like this Japanese Crystal (American) Football. It was made in Japan in the 1970's or 1980's. Perhaps they were usually etched with a particular team's logo? If so, this one was left unblemished. It would make a wonderful paperweight or conversation piece...
Ol' Jack Frost could not have conjured a more wint'ry wonder than this artglass sculpture made in Sweden in the Seventies. A swirl of bubbles and a snowy white flurry twists skyward in this piece, made by Färe-Marcolin in idyllic Ronneby (in Southern Sweden, not far from the Baltic Sea). It would look good in either a traditional, period or Modernist interior—and it will always remind you those crisp, clean and cold days of early January. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). We also can be found in...
Air bubbles are forever-suspended in this English blue glass bowl by Whitefriars, London. It would be handsome and useful for paperclips on a desk, keys by the door or even sea salt on a buffet table. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248
In the Northern reaches of Northern Europe—where complete winter darkness might last 20 hours a day—every ray of light is precious. This explains the Scandinavian affection for blonde woods, white walls and lots of colorful home furnishings. It also helps explain the allure of this Swedish Pine Christmas Tree glass sculpture by Kosta Boda. Let it bring a little extra light into your home this Holiday. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in days to come. Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District"...
On this day in 1939, NBC broadcast the first American Football game ever—to a total of 1000 television sets. The game pitted the Fordham University Rams (in the Bronx) against the Waynesburg University Yellow Jackets (near Pittsburgh, PA). The game was played at (and televised from) the Triborough Stadium on Randall's Island, New York City. One camera and one announcer covered the match, won by Fordham (34 to 7). The Japanese crystal football, shown above, was made by Sasaki in the 1980's. It bears no team name or other branding and would make a nice paperweight or "conversation piece" on your desk or bookshelf. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. Though our Greenwich Village...
In the mid-Seventeenth Century, Sweden was quite the world power. Its European territory included Sweden, of course, plus Finland, Estonia, and parts of modern-day Russia, Germany, Poland, and Latvia. And so, when the riches of the New World began glimmering across the Atlantic, Sweden was loathe to leave the riches to the French and English. […]
Two Italian brothers, Josef & Benito Marcolin, learned the art of glass-making on the Venetian island of Murano, Italy, long-regarded as one of the world’s top art glass producers. They moved to Sweden and, in 1962, opened a little workshop in Ronneby—the picturesque “Garden of Sweden” on the southern tip of that peninsular country. […]
All right, I admit it. I am not now and never have been a fan of American Football. Part of it's the violence and the concussions. Part of it's the anonymity of the players—buried as they are under layers and layers of concealing nylon and plastic. For me, American Football will never be as satisfying as the real Football (which is kicked with one's feet)—which, I think, requires much more stamina, fitness and constant running. If you're a fan of American Football, perhaps this “crystal ball” will score. Made in Japan in the 1970’s or 1980’s, it would make a handsome paperweight or conversation-starter on a desk or bookshelf. And with, Father's Day in the near future, perhaps it will help Dad...
Today I give thanks for the loyal customers who have supported LEO Design—in word and deed—during the Holiday season and throughout 2017. Merry Christmas! LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed. While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"
While there were many carriage trade Art Deco glassmakers—Lalique, Moser, Baccarat, Hoffman and Palda—somewhat overlooked have been some of the "everyday" glass manufacturers of the 1930's. In France, England, Czechoslovakia and The United States, there was brisk production of handsome Art Deco glassware, some of it decorative, some of it functional. Such an example is this nice, smallish French Art Deco citrine glass ice bucket. Its softly-ribbed corners are nicely finished and the weight of the piece says "quality." Like so many of the period's mass production glassmakers, this one remains unknown (to me, at least). It does, however, reflect a time when everyday objects were well-made and made to last. And it would make a sensational addition to your...
One of England’s best-respected glassmakers was James Powell and Sons. The company started in 1680 as Whitefriars Glass in a section of London which formerly housed a Carmelite monastery (The Whitefriars, from which the neighborhood got its name). In 1834, wine merchant James Powell bought the glassworks. Though he knew nothing of glassmaking, Powell wanted […]
Speaking of contemporary barware, I’ve been selling a line of Bohemian crystal for the past few years—and very successfully, I might add. Made in Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the collection is stylish, very nicely made and is reasonably priced. I’ve recently added a couple of new decanters to the collection, including the wine […]
Like a prehistoric, amorphous creature undulating in the murky canals of Venice, this hand-crafted glass bowl began its life just outside of Venice—on the complex of glass-making islands called Murano. This series of tightly-packed islands is connected by bridges and lies less than a mile north of Venice-proper. It was originally settled by the Romans—perhaps […]
During the Art Nouveau (and Arts & Crafts) period, there was a premium placed on the craftsmanship—not simply on the sum value of the materials used. As such, good Arts & Crafts objets express a pleasing aesthetic and reflect a skilled artisan’s talent. Shown above, a pair of English “artglass” cufflinks with matching stickpin, made around […]
Anyone who shops in LEO Design knows that I like collections. Collections of red pottery. Collections of brass frames. Collections of Thirties glassware. Now, it seems, I have a collection of blue Mid-Century glass. Purchased from a collector in London, some of the pieces shown above are Venetian and some are English. Come into the […]
Stylish bands of silver and gold surround this Italian amethyst glass covered bowl. On the lid, a circle of stylized, hand-painted leaves congregate around the knob. Perfect as a candy dish, a desk caddy or as a place to (carefully) leave one’s keys and coins. Please come into the shop to see it or call […]
When, in 1764, French king Louis XV granted permission for Prince Bishop Cardinal Louis-Joseph de Laval-Montmorency to open a glassworks in the eastern village of Baccarat, the monarch was thinking drinking glasses, mirrors and windowpanes. In fact, that is precisely what the workshop made for its first 50 years. In 1816, under Napoleon, the company […]
René Lalique was born in 1860 in Ay, France, 85 miles east of Paris. His father died when René was four and the young boy was soon apprenticed to a Paris goldsmith where he developed an early appreciation for beautiful design and quality workmanship. At 12, René began art school where he studied drawing and […]
Glass-making, as far as we can tell, started in Mesopotamia around 2,500 BC. About 1,500 BC, the Egyptians began making glass—mostly small amulets, beads, and tiles for decorative inlay. As the Egyptians expanded into (and conquered portions of) the Middle East, they captured and brought back to Egypt various skilled artisans, including glassmakers. At this […]
One of the great glass-making centers of the world is Venice, Italy—more specifically the group of islands called Murano. This set of eight iridescent, mouth-blown bowls are laced with copper dust in a lovely “Arlecchino” pattern. At the center of each diamond is a tiny, hand-pricked dimple. The bowls would perform beautifully with fruit or […]
On this day in 1357, King Charles IV—King of Bohemia and The Holy Roman Emperor—laid the first stone for what was to become Prague’s Charles Bridge (or Karlův most in Czech). When completed in 1402, the bridge crossed the Vltava River, connecting one side of the city (the “Old Town”) to the other side (the […]
In 1734, King Louis XV of France granted permission to establish a glassworks in the commune of Baccarat, in the Lorraine region of Eastern France. Its production began modestly with basic items like windowpanes, mirrors, and drinking glasses. In 1816, production quality took a great step forward with the installation of the company’s first crystal […]
A satisfying voluptuousness is blown into this Art Deco amber glass decanter by Kosta. Made in Sweden, it also exhibits a trace of Northern European Bauhaus simplicity and captures perfectly a very specific aesthetic time period. You may see it in-person in the shop or click on the photo above to learn more about it.
An understated—yet handsome—decanter for wine or alcohol, made in Sweden by Stromberg. Softly-faceted panels compose this bottle-form vessel, blown of amber-tinted glass and topped with a substantial glass stopper. Please venture into the shop to see the decanter in-person or click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Treat your guests to a post-prandial nip with this handsome Swedish Modernist drinks service by Bergdala Glasbruk. Designer Bengt Orup (1916 – 1996) has crafted a clean and timeless design for this set of six glasses with complementing decanter and stopper. A light, radiant etched pattern is applied to the bottoms of the glasses, the […]
We’ve just received a collection of Scandinavian Modernist glass decanters, now in-store. Over the next few days, I’ll share a few select pieces with you here in the Journal. Some pieces will also be featured in our on-line shop. Please come to the shop to see the full new collection. Shown above, two Danish Modern […]
Just in: a nice collection of Swedish Mid-Century crystal perfume bottles. Made by Orrefors or Kosta Boda in the 1950’s or 1960’s, each piece is a rather remarkable work of craftsmanship. Shown front-and-center, a pear-shaped bottle, whose stem has become the perfectly-fit bottle stopper. Other shapes exhibit various degrees of glass cutting and geometry. A […]
While I refuse to decorate before Thanksgiving Week, I have begun putting-out a few of the early-arriving Holiday items as they have come in. Discreetly, of course. Last week it was the Holiday cards; now it’s a collection of hand-made, mouth-blown art glass ornaments. Beautiful enough to display year ’round, these lovingly-crafted little treasures come […]
Austrian designer, Josef Hoffmann, was born in 1870 in Brtnice, a cluster of tiny villages in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire—and which today lies within The Czech Republic. Though he is most closely associated with Vienna—where he developed the Viennese Secession and was a founding father of the Wiener Werkstätte—Hoffmann’s influence reached far beyond […]
Though not “glassware” in the conventional sense, this newly-acquired piece is beautiful nevertheless. Made in 1960’s Murano, Italy, it would make a substantial contribution to any domestic vignette—warm antique or cool modern. While it functions as an ashtray, it also provides a sculptural anchor to any desk, credenza or coffee table. Please click on the […]
On this day in 1863, West Virginia was admitted into the Union, making it the 35th U.S. State. It’s only fitting to feature some newly-acquired glassware made in West Virginia some one hundred years later. And, of course, West Virginia was the center for some of America’s best Twentieth Century glassware. The liquor service, shown […]
Another recent acquisition is this pair of handsome, Art Deco Horse Head bookends. Cast of heavy, solid glass, they really provide a stately end-cap to your library collection. Keep them on desk, bookshelf, or credenza—or, place them atop your mantle piece. Please stop-by the shop to see them in person—along with a lot more newly-acquired […]