The List by Ruby Kean

A Hotel Life's Design Editor on what to see and do this summer in NYC

Beverly Nguyen at BEVERLY'S on Ludlow Street
Beverly Nguyen at BEVERLY'S on Ludlow Street

By Ruby Kean on 7.14.21

As A Hotel Life’s Design Editor, I’ll be bringing you The List — a regular round up of five of my favorites from the design world. The List will cover everything from inspiration to travel, to must-sees and -do’s in the art and design spheres.

In my first installment I kept it local, exploring my hometown of New York City. The city is alive and with it are bountiful experiences to whet everyone’s design appetite. Below, a few favorites to take you on a design journey this summer.

For contemporary design

This summer, art and design fair Object & Thing have teamed up with international contemporary art galleries Blum & Poe and Mendes Wood DM on an immersive exhibition of newly created contemporary objects. The project also features site-specific work from New York’s Green River Project as well as from ceramicist and florist Frances Palmer (who attends weekly to replenish her vases with seasonal flowers).

The project takes place at the former home of architect and designer Gerald Luss. Built in 1955, in Ossining, New York the stunning property feels just as relevant today as it was when Luss conceived and built the space at just 25-years-old!

Aside from the multitude of cutting edge art and design on view, I was captured most by the skylight sun-dial above the spiral staircase — the light of the day slowly casting shapes over the surrounding wood panelled walls. The ephemeral and transient effect of light is a thread that knots much of this experience together; one of my favorite works, “Afternoon Light” by Kiva Motnyk, hangs over the main bedroom window. Sitting like a delicately constructed stained glass window, its naturally dyed fabrics and antique linens, silks and mud cloths fit into the scene perfectly. This is an experience not to be missed!

The Luss House in Ossining, New York
The Luss House in Ossining, New York

For Shopping 

This past April saw the launch of design pop-up BEVERLY’S. Sitting on the border of the LES and Chinatown, it has been this season’s destination for beautifully designed, simple and functional homewares. The lovely little space is stylist Beverly Nguyen’s personal take on a neighborhood general store, at the heart of which is friendship and community. Having built the store’s collection around her distinct tastes, walls are lined with items that are a direct result of her friendships with artists, makers and creators, making it a one-stop-shop for home goods.

Family is rooted in BEVERLY’S too — her parents make famous linen napkins — four of which I snatched up simply for their unrivalled quality. And her ethos reflects a high-low philosophy — a mix of the very inexpensive with the occasional very expensive — that is reminiscent of her grandmother’s hardware store in 1960s Biên Hòa, a satellite city of Saigon, Vietnam.

The Ludlow Street pop-up has been so successful Beverly is extending it a bit longer, and she was even asked to open a second location uptown in Rockefeller Center — always staying true to the space’s communal vibe. As she says, “We’re so excited to extend BEVERLY’s LES pop-up for another month, the community and safety that has been built around the store is incredible, and we can’t wait to continue to nurture and grow these friendships as we expand.” So before the pop-ups close their doors, it’s time to clear your shelf space and pick up a few of her beautiful everyday objects on offer.

BEVERLY'S on Ludlow Street
BEVERLY'S on Ludlow Street

For Dining 

For good design and even better food, head to Gem in the Lower East Side — a space that is perfect for lunch, dinner — or, if like me you can never get enough food, a second dinner as well. Once you try the dishes from chef Flynn McGarry you won’t want to eat anywhere else. The ever-changing menu is expressive, experimental and indicative of McGarry’s instinctive and playful approach to cooking.

Gem Restaurant
Gem Restaurant

For Community 

Tucked inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard is independent design studio Skilset. Their fun and charming workshop is home to several craftspeople as well as furniture and fabricated objects, all of which centers around an ethos of sustainability, community and skill-sharing. Drop by during their Saturday open studio which can be booked through their Instagram.

Skilset in the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Skilset in the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Skilset
Skilset

For a Stroll

With a perpetual absence of greenery, New Yorkers have recently been blessed with the green oasis Little Island on the city’s West Side at Pier 54. A collaboration between architect Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, and landscaper Siegne Nielson of MNLA, the park’s imaginative design offers visitors a public space that is whimsical, captivating, and restorative.

Bookable slots sell out, but you can head there early (entry without tickets is available every day from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.) for a morning coffee with breathtaking views of downtown Manhattan and an abundance of wild flowers. This monumental new structure floats on 132 concrete “tulips” above the water, the inspiration born from the old structural wood piles sticking up out of the water from piers that had been washed away. Walking the winding pathways and beautiful landscaping of Little Island is the perfect start to any day.

 

For more of what’s happening in New York this summer, check out our guide here.

Little Island
Little Island
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