Archive for August, 2014


Fresco Box Grater Chef Jeff

Many of you may be visiting to find out where to get the box grater I designed that has been featured recently on FLIP MY FOOD with Chef Jeff.

Please follow this link to order from   Click Here to Order

For those of you that did not see the program, my wife and I recently taped an episode of FLIP MY FOOD with Chef Jeff. It should air sometime in October 2014. I was asked to bring along some of the kitchen gadgets I have designed and we used the Fresco brand Box Grater and the Fresco brand Pepper mill on air. Both of these items are  manufactured by my longtime client, Fresco Canada.

I will post more about our experience after the episode airs!


Montage in which my sideburns go grey aka New (Old) Michael Graves Products at JC Penney

Well this is pretty cool. As many of you may know Michael Graves products moved from Target Stores to JC Penney back in 2013. This was part of then CEO Ron Johnson’s efforts to bring in younger / more affluent consumers. The articles I have read note that many of these design mini stores have been out performing the more traditional areas of the store. I was excited to see what my buddies at Graves could do with the slightly higher price point of a department store to work with and they did not disappoint. In addition to a lot of cool new items, they ended up launching a few products that I designed about 10 years ago when I was a staff designer there at Michael Graves Design Group in New Jersey. This is stuff that I never thought would see the light of day but also had always been really proud of, so seeing it at the store for the first time was super fun.


Michael Graves JC Penny Salad Servers

Michael Graves “Celery” Salad Servers circa 2013

Besides designing some of the newly launched items, I actually came up with the design language that appears in a number of other items as well. Take a look at the salad servers shown here. If it’s not obvious from the image, our internal nickname for the handle shape was “celery” as it has a U shaped cross section. We were asked to combine Graves with Scandinavian and this was my take on that directive. These salad servers first appeared in the Dansk collection back in the day in a maple finish and here we can see them in a darker finish. These came out pretty much exactly like my original sketch, which was pretty exciting to a young designer me just out of school. We did a million versions of everything and the work was very collaborative so if your design language had enough “stickiness” to make it through development and onto shelves it was a pretty good feeling. In this very delayed case it feels a lot like running into an old friend at a reunion and finding that life is treating you both pretty well.


Michael Graves JC Penny Kitchen Tools

Michael Graves “Celery” Kitchen Tools circa 2013

So management, and of course Michael, liked the “celery” design language enough that we were asked to create a whole line of kitchen tools in this vein. My manager at the time, the extremely talented Yuka Midorikawa headed up the project and along with my buddy Andrew March, we designed and developed the “celery” line of kitchen tools. Montage: A lot of sushi was consumed at late hours, Flaming Lips and Outkast was played, very precise line drawings were created along with beautiful CAD models and renderings, the client loves it, sadly it does not make it to the stores because the samples were not up to par,  I move to Philadelphia to live closer to my future wife, we move to NYC, we move to Birmingham, I see Kevin Nealon on the street while traveling but I don’t say anything because I think celebrities deserve their privacy, I notice one morning that my sideburns are starting to go grey, and then finally the “celery” kitchen tools launch at JC Penney in 2013, fade to black. Other teams at the time adopted the “celery” design language too. There was Graves silverware (Curv.E flatware), mixing bowls and for the 2013 / 2014 collection for JC Penney they came up with a few more designs using “celery” including an ice bucket and bottle opener.


Michael Graves JC Penny Mill

Michael Graves “Cruciform” pepper mill circa 2013

Another old favorite of mine was the “cruciform” Peppermill. Originally designed to be made in ebonized maple as shown in the 2004 Book Michael Graves Designs: The Art of the Everyday Object, the JC Penney version circa 2014 has a teak like finish that I think works really well. I was looking at teak mills of the 60s from Dansk and Scandinavian companies and this was really an homage to mills of that period with more contemporary proportions.

Esse Purse Museum in Little Rock Arkansas

My wife and I spent a day in Little Rock recently as part of a long weekend. In search of some light food to eat we Googled “farm to table Little Rock” and found The Root Cafe. This place was fantastic and in a very cool part of town. I had the Banh Mi eggs which were wonderful. Nearby we explored the farmers market which was still going on, a cool design store called Moxy Mercantile, and also we took time to check out the Esse Museum which happened to be right next door to the restaurant.


Esse Purse Museum 01

I feel like I’m in a Swiss Design Magazine













Most of the museum moves in sequence through the decades, though there are a few cases grouped by other criteria such as exotic leather and fur. My wife commented that it would be nice if they provided more specific commentary on each of the individual bags, but the text associated with each case did do a good job of setting the bags within a historical context.

My wife and I had a great conversation with furniture / jewelry designer Morgan Hill who is the store’s creative director. She gave us a bit of background about how the museum came to be and the surrounding neighborhood. Her faceted wooden jewelry was for sale in the store and can be seen in my last image below. My iphone through the glass did not capture how cool these pieces are, her website linked above is worth a look!


Esse Purse Museum 16

Each floor case contains purses from one decade

Esse Purse Museum 15

My favorite purse from the 90s is made of stamped steel

Esse Purse Museum 06

This looks like a great project for my 3D printer!

Esse Purse Museum 10

If you look closely, you can see that there is a pin on each side holding all of the plastic strips together.

Esse Purse Museum 13 Esse Purse Museum 14 Esse Purse Museum 02 Esse Purse Museum 03 Esse Purse Museum 04 Esse Purse Museum 05 Esse Purse Museum 07 Esse Purse Museum 08 Esse Purse Museum 09 Esse Purse Museum 11


Esse Purse Museum 17

Jewelry from the very talented Morgan Hill is available in the gift shop



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Awards and press recognition include designs being featured on the cover of Kitchenware News...

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