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Inspired Objects: 9 Classic Design Gifts from The Glass House Design Store

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Inspired Objects: 9 Classic Design Gifts from The Glass House Design Store

December 3, 2019

Forget what you think you know about museum gift shops. Conceived by famed design shop curator Murray Moss (his store, Moss, was a fixture on the NYC design scene in the 1990s), The Glass House Design Store opened in 2013 at Philip Johnson’s iconic 1949 landmark in New Canaan, Connecticut. It’s quickly become a source for some of the most well-designed objects in the US—so much so that The Wall Street Journal called it one of the top museum stores in the country. You’ll find no Glass House-patterned ties here—just carefully sourced objets that have an intimate connection to The Glass House itself.

The shop, presently curated by Dominica Baharian, takes inspiration from Johnson’s 1934 exhibition “Machine Art” at MoMA, focused on beauty and simplicity in functional, machine-made objects—as well as the architecture and landscape of The Glass House itself. Baharian considers everything featured through this lens. “The process for me is very slow and considered,” she says. “The right objects will literally move me and resonate with me; it’s organic. There is an elegance and a refined form and function—with an emphasis on the unique and specially sourced—to everything I choose to bring in. Many of the things you find at The Glass House Design Store, you can’t find anywhere else.”

Visit The Glass House and its 49-acre site when it reopens for tours from April 16th through next December 15th (we visited ourselves a few years back; see 14 Lessons in Minimalism from The Glass House). Until then, The Glass House Design Store is available online at any time. Here are our picks from the Design Store—and the stories behind them—for wrapping up this holiday season. (A tour ticket gift card makes an excellent stocking stuffer, too.)

Photography by Andy Romer.

thin, tapered crystal bowls by deborah ehrlich—hand blown and cut in sweden 10
Above: Thin, tapered Crystal Bowls by Deborah Ehrlich—hand-blown and cut in Sweden—exemplify the Design Store’s ethos of functional beauty; they’re available in small ($85), medium ($125), and large ($150). The organic shapes of the birch Alvar Aalto Serving Platters (from $60) echo the Alvar Aalto Vases and the curves of the Finnish shoreline.
the brick house box (\$300) is a mini replica of the smaller building adjacent  11
Above: The Brick House Box ($300) is a mini replica of the smaller building adjacent to, and in contrast to, The Glass House. The box is designed exclusively by New York artisan J.M. Szymanski and made of terracotta and hammered steel. “I want people to take home a thoughtful and beautifully designed piece that brings them back to the aesthetic of The Glass House and its 14 structures,” says Baharian.
champagne bowls (from \$\135), shown here in a stack, are made in vienna by the 12
Above: Champagne Bowls (from $135), shown here in a stack, are made in Vienna by the famous Augarten Wein porcelain factory and are designed to be the perfect shape for serving Champagne. A 24-carat polished gold lining adds suitable elegance (and keeps the Champagne cool, too).
made of aluminum, the kaymet pressed tray with dot grips (from \$\1\10, shown i 13
Above: Made of aluminum, the Kaymet Pressed Tray with Dot Grips (from $110, shown in brushed gold, and also available in pewter) dates to 1960 by iconic London manufacturer Kaymet. They combine lightweight usability with a luxe finish-and are also a nod to Johnson’s ties to aluminum: His father’s stock in Alcoa, the aluminum producer, was hugely profitable for the pair. The Leather-Bound Brass Nutcracker ($398) is hand-made in Austria, based on the original 1950 design of Carl Auböck II.
designed by paola navone for renowned german porcelain maker porzellanmanufaktu 14
Above: Designed by Paola Navone for renowned German porcelain maker Porzellanmanufaktur Reichenbach, the black and white Dash Serving Platter (center, $110) and Dash Vase Set (rear with flowers, $80) are hand-painted in the same Reichenbach tradition used since 1830.
lastly, the glass house keychain (\$\165) is the design store&#8\2\17;s \20 15
Above: Lastly, the Glass House Keychain ($165) is the Design Store’s 2019 exclusive collaboration with Carl Auböck IV, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of The Glass House. A solid-brass miniature of the real thing, the keychain offers a tiny memento of the landmark and will patinate with use. (The Modernist Paperweight, modeled after Johnson’s eyeglasses, was a previous exclusive with Auböck.)

Another reason to do your holiday shopping at The Glass House Design Store: “We are a non-profit, and every purchase directly supports The Glass House and preservation at the site,” notes Baharian.

For more, head to The Glass House Design Store.

N.B.: Featured photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista from 14 Lessons in Minimalism from the Glass House.

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