April 19, 2021

RDB-Design

Specialists in home design

The Best Furniture, Home Design, Tech, and Home Fitness of 2021

Ben Alsop Yep, the world’s been ugly lately. But sometimes a gorgeously designed object —that’s...
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Ben Alsop

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Yep, the world’s been ugly lately. But sometimes a gorgeously designed object —that’s also very useful—can remind you to appreciate the little things.


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Risa Recliner by Hlynur Atlason for DWR

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Think about the greatest spaces in history like the Oval Office or the bridge of the Enterprise. What’s at the center of each one? Yep, an even more impressive chair. Chances are, you too could use a supremely cozy yet gorgeous place to park your keister and read a novel/ work from home/ enjoy some takeout. The Risa recliner is such a chair. From the brain of Icelandic designer Hlynur Atlason, the Risa can recline into three different positions, is so comfortable it feels like you’re floating in a sensory deprivation chamber, and with a combination of swift leather and aluminum construction, looks like a piece of art that would be home at the MoMA. Buy Now From $3,795, dwr.com

Dims Caldera L Coffee Table

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Scientists are pretty sure the average coffee table has its own special gravitational properties. Look at yours right now. There’s probably gum wrappers, keys that don’t belong to you, a succulent in need of water, maybe a single AirPod. Dims has found a solution with its Calderla L coffee table that features a bowl shaped depression that can be used to collect random bric a brac while freeing up enough real estate for important stuff like, you know, actual coffee. Buy Now $595, dims.com

Blu Dot Mimi Stool

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Some will look at the Mimi and say it’s clearly a stool. Others will claim that it’s an end table. A few might think it works best as a footrest. You might have a couple people use it as an impromptu spot to charge a cell phone, perch a cocktail, or stash some weed. Guess what: They’re all correct. Buy Now $449; bludot.com

Smalto Table from Knoll

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The Smalto table by designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby packs a bold yet simple graphic punch. Constructed of enamel steel, its got heft and strength and feels like it will last centuries, yet it has a refined airiness that’s both modern and timeless all at once. Try it on with some mid-century chairs, or more current ones. Buy Now From $5,996, knoll.com

Stack by Nau Design

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The Stack takes three things you really need in a home: a lamp, a bookshelf, and a side table, and combines them into one elegant, non-gimmicky piece. It’s that do-everything piece of furniture that can transform an entryway or corner into a useful, beautiful space. Buy Now $2,900, naudesign.com

Pandarine Sofa

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This modular sofa system designed by Inga Sempé for Hay has adjustable back and side cushions so you can sit more upright when you want to, or go into full on lounge-mode when you’ve logged off for the day. Buy Now From $3,095, us.hay.com


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Flos Last Order Portable Lamp

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It’s no accident this lamp resembles a nightcap—it was first created as an exclusive for the new Four Seasons restaurant in N. Y. C. Now offered up by Flos, the portable (it charges via USB), touch-sensitive LED casts a rich amber glow that’s perfect for setting the mood on a fancy night out or at the bar at chez moi. Buy Now $495; usa.flos.com

VIPP Table Lamp

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VIPP made its name creating well engineered rubbish bins, but the best product they currently produce could be this desk lamp. With a unique perforated shade, light emanates from the object with a warm, ebullient glowing glow. Chances are there’s a space in your place — a desk, a bedside table, a window — that could use a lighting upgrade. The VIPP desk lamp might be the, ahem, brightest addition to your home decor. Buy Now $500, vipp.com

Opala Midi Floor Lamp

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Ever go over to someone’s house for a dinner party and just been floored by a floor lamp? Yeah probably not. That’s because most floor lamps are not super memorable—even if they’re expensive and well made. That’s not the case with the Opala Midi. Originally built for the Hotel Scandinavia in Copenhagen, the lamp somehow exudes both 70s era swagger and contemporary charm. Really, it’s a piece that feels like it belongs in both worlds that your dinner guests will be talking about long after they leave. Buy Now $1695, dwr.com

Matin Table Lamp

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Great designers look for inspiration everywhere. Isamu Noguchi famously incorporated elements of traditional Japanese and surrealist art into his works. The idea behind the Matin Table Lamp designed by Inga Sempé was almost certainly sparked by the little umbrellas served up with tropical cocktails. With a tough stainless steel and brass finished frame and a delicate fabric shade, it’s the perfect way to get the mood lighting just right when you’re sipping a piña colada. Buy Now $175,hermanmiller.com


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Osma Cold Brew Coffee Maker

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The time it takes to make cold brew with conventional methods: twelve hours. The time it takes the Osma: one to two minutes. How? The device—which looks a little like a lightsaber hilt designed by Jony Ive—uses pressure and biodegradable coffee pods to rapidly make a fresh, cool cuppa that’s best sipped slow and savored. Buy Now $185; drinkosma.com

Made In Carbon Steel Cook Set

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Cooking with carbon steel is kind of magical—it can take high temperatures like cast iron but heats up faster and is lighter. The wok shown here ($99) is the must-have, as high, fast heat is the key to wok cooking, but you’ll want the five-piece Sous Chef set to spread that magic to your eggs, your paella, and more. Buy Now $379; madeincookware.com

Epicurean x Frank Lloyd Wright Collection for Crate & Barrel

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It would be awesome to own a famous piece of architecture made by Frank Lloyd Wright. But unless you possess the bankroll to shell out for a hard-to-get Usonian home, it might be a little too pricey to scoop one up. A good starting point? This collection of kitchen tools that front some of Wright’s most striking and prominent patterns. Buy Now From $16; crateandbarrel.com

Fellow Coffee

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A lot of upper-echelon coffee grinders are crammed with unnecessary features. (See: weight-based dosing, digital screens, plastic hoppers.) The 64mm flat-burr Ode grinder ditches all that’s extraneous and amps up the smart industrial design with a black exterior and a giant dial for selecting grind consistency for everything from Aero to French press. Buy Now $299; fellowproducts.com

Haand Ripple Dinner Plates in Black

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It doesn’t matter if you’ve been toiling for hours in the kitchen or just ordered Pizza Hut—any cuisine you place on one of these noir ceramic plates automatically appears exponentially more attractive. Buy Now $45; haand.us

Balmuda Toaster

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Just sitting on a countertop, the Balmuda toaster looks like a work of art. The fact that it can imbue anything made of starch with a brain-twisting combination of fluff and crispiness is just a bonus. Buy Now $329; us.balmuda.com

Nomad Grill

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With most portable grills, you’re sacrificing a lot of features of a bigger rig for portability. That’s fine for hot dogs, but if you want to be more ambitious and precise with your cookouts, the Nomad is your answer. This sleek, briefcase style grill has magnetic air vents and directional heat sinks to dial in temperatures, a built-in thermometer, and convective airflow for even heat distribution. It’s proper charcoal grilling and smoking on the go. Buy Now $599, huckberry.com

Cuzen Matcha

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Preparing authentic fresh matcha at home, using a traditional method, takes a considerable amount of skill that takes a long time to master. Definitely worth it if you have the time and patience, but it’s not the easiest way to start off the day for most folks. Cuzen Matcha aims to make matcha an easier part of your morning routine. The machine artfully grinds and whisks a fresh cup with just the push of a few buttons. Buy Now $369, amazon.com

CRUXXGG TRNR Waffle Maker

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CRUXGG is a collaboration between Crux and Ghetto Gastro, a collective of chefs from the Bronx who use food to empower communities, fight racism and advance social justice. This Waffle Maker is the standout in their line of stylish kitchen appliances—there’s just something about those bold, red waffle grates. After turning out perfectly browned seven inch waffles, you’ll want to keep it out on your counter. Buy Now $119.95, williamssonoma.com

KLIKK Reusable Flatware

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Have you ever looked — like really looked — at the flatware you bust out at a picnic? First of all it’s probably hideous and secondly there’s a good chance it’ll end up in landfill. That’s why you should immediately upgrade to KLIKK’s reusable flatware set. Not only does it look pretty digging into a pile of pasta salad, but it also can be rinsed off and used multiple times. Buy Now $14.95, amazon.com

Crafthouse by Fortessa Mini Smoking Cloche

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There are many bartending tricks that add a little je ne sais quoi to a cocktail (salt, tinctures, esoteric bitters), but none are as theatrical and delicious as infusing your drink with a big ol’ puff of savory smoke from apple-wood chips. Buy Now $150; williams-sonoma.com


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Vipp452 Swivel Chair

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Ben Alsop

When your company tries to outfit you with a WFH Aeron chair (how kind!), push back and demand Vipp’s edition instead. The Danish maker’s first office-ready offering made with rich leather and polished aluminum will have your coworkers salivating at the next Zoom happy hour. Buy Now From $1,250; vipp.com

Poppin Stow File Cabinet

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The items we store in file cabinets are usually pretty boring: tax returns, apartment leases, expired stamps. Why shouldn’t the cabinet itself look exciting? The Poppin Stow makes the organization of your affairs a Technicolor trip with its red, blue, and yellow handles; white facade; and brightly colored exterior. Buy Now $269; store.moma.org

L. Ercolani Treviso Desk

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Working from home has forced many of us to consider things that are not naturally desks to double as desks: kitchen tables, beds, the interior of the minivan, the tops of our children’s heads. There’s never been a better time to get a grownup desk that looks sharp and also takes up a small amount of space. This edition from L. Ercolani clicks all of those boxes. A separate office is up to you. Buy Now $2,675,lercolani.com

Muuto Desktop Organizer

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Trying to do your best work at a messy desk is like a gourmet chef trying to make a stellar meal at a garbage dump. Not impossible, but needlessly difficult. By using Muuto’s desktop organizer you’ll effortlessly arrange your desktop items in ways that promote creativity and organization. Our bet? You’ll produce your best work. Buy Now $95,muuto.com

Livit Study Pod

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If you’re lucky enough to work from home then you probably are very familiar with the infuriating things that go along with it like kids who never, ever stop screaming. Noise canceling headphones are a good start but they can only do so much. May we interest you in a tiny, noise canceling room? Livit is a small, prefabricated black cube that can fit a tiny yoga studio, office, even a bedroom. You can drop it into the backyard or the side of the house — really wherever you have space. Be warned though: the Livit looks so sharp from the outside and is so comfortable inside you might never want to leave. Buy Now $14,000, studypod.no


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Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell

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If your home is also your home gym, then you know there’s a limit to the amount of exercise equipment you can fit in the living room/bedroom/garage. Bowflex’s ingenious system takes up the space of a single weight but actually offers six kettlebells in one package, adjustable between eight and forty pounds. Buy Now $179; bowflex.com

Larq Bottle

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When was the last time you washed that reusable water bottle you put to your lips every day? Yeah, we thought so. The Larq Bottle Movement is a lightweight bottle that purifies water and cleans itself with a built-in UV-C LED light so you have one less thing to think about cleaning. Buy Now From $78; livelarq.com

Tempo Studio

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Look, we all miss — gestures broadly at expanding tummy — eating clean, working out, staying fit, and most of all going to the gym. The Tempo Studio is a way to do something about it. For less than the cost of a year of membership at a Very Nice gym, you get this stunningly gorgeous all in one exercise station that includes interactive exercise classes, a heart rate monitor, and color coded free weights. Getting jacked has never looked this good. Buy Now $1,995, tempo.fit


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Ikea Bygglek Lego Boxes

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When it comes to intense pain, stepping on a Lego brick in bare feet is right up there with getting your arms ripped off by farm machinery. These storage boxes from the Swedish-meatball-and-flat-pack-furniture makers at Ikea serve not only as a stylish spot to store multicolored bricks but also as a base for building elaborate Lego play sets. Your kids will love them; your feet will thank you. Buy Now From $10; ikea.com

Areaware Doodle Crayons

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Normally, you wouldn’t use a work of art to, you know, actually make art. But the Doodle Crayons come in a delightful array of shapes, from circles to squiggles. And while they look like they could be on display in MoMA, don’t treat them that way. This is decor begging to be used. Buy Now $7; areaware.com

Four Point Fade Puzzle

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If you’re looking for puzzles beyond the usual nature scene, Four Point has a series that uses contemporary artists work that are frame-worthy. This one is from Sara Andreasson a Swedish artist working in London, and features her Fade illustration, a series of work that focuses on form, and the application of bold color and gradient patterns. Buy Now $25, shop.design-milk.com

Yoto Player

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Parents have almost come to blows over how much screen time to give their kids. But what if there were a device that had no screen that not only kept tykes entertained but also sparked imagination and helped their minds develop? That would be the Yoto Player. This smart, interactive speaker uses a system of preloaded cards to broadcast stories from children’s literature to your little one’s ears. Parents can also use the player to set bedtimes and play kid friendly podcasts loaded with educational facts and tidbits. It also doesn’t hurt that the speaker looks gorgeous on a shelf and emanates glowing images that are reminiscent of a LiteBrite. Buy Now $99, amazon.com


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Hemisphere Clock

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When time is on your phone, computer, and smartwatch, sometimes you just want a clock that is as relaxing as looking out the window to see what part of the day you’re in. Buy Now From $85; dwr.com

John Elliott x Kuumba Incense Holder

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Most incense holders: drab, brown, mass-produced in a nameless factory. John Elliott’s incense holder: eye grabbing, yellow, designed in partnership with the L. A.–based hoodie maestro and acclaimed Japanese lifestyle brand Kuumba. Buy Now $38; johnelliott.com

Areaware Goober Candle

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The ingredients we use to make candles have changed dramatically over the years. Beef tallow and sperm whales: out! Paraffin and beeswax: in! But the shape of candles? Eh, that hasn’t evolved much beyond skinny and tall or short and fat. Until now. Spark up the Goober’s asymmetrical blob and it’ll no doubt spark an interesting conversation. Buy Now $24; areaware.com

Tom Dixon Fog Incense Holder

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A simple, stylish brass incense holder from designer Tom Dixon is a simple, refined shape that is a standout even when a cone incense isn’t being burned. Buy Now $73, tomdixon.net

Fritz Hansen Ikeru Vase

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This is the kind of vase that will turn you into a foraging flower person. In lieu of buying a bouquet, simply pick up a few nature things that catch your eye on a walk or hike and bring a bit of the outside inside. Buy Now $161; fritzhansen.com

Georg Jensen Terra Collection

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Stunning terra cotta and stainless steel construction from Norwegian-based design studio Snohetta will have you know doubt showing everyone what you’ve been growing. The tapered shape leaves more room for the roots to grow. Buy Now $139, bloomingdales.com

Ethnicraft Mystic Ink Throw Pillows

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These pillows capture that beautiful effect when ink touches hand-made paper. Strong graphics with an organic feel, plus a soft touch make these a welcome accent to any kind of couch or chair. Buy Now $101, designpublic.com

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