Cachet

Design for a Cause; Art Watch; New Books; New Shop


Construction entries included a “Take-Out Hunger” carryout carton by Gensler-Arlington

A design/build competition helps wipe out hunger
Fourteen teams of architects and builders created inventive sculptures out of canned food at the American Institute of Architects/Northern Virginia Chapter’s Fourth Annual Canstruction Competition. When the event was over, more than 22 tons of canned goods were donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), a non-profit organization providing supplemental groceries to families in need.

Held at Ballston Common Mall on March 30, the event was open to visitors, who could watch the outrageous structures take shape. This community-service event is also a design competition, with a panel of judges selecting winners in four categories. This year, the Juror’s Favorite award went to “e-RACE Hunger,” a race car model by Samaha Associates made of 3,433 cans.

Canstruction is a national program with dozens of competitions taking place every year in conjunction with the American Institute of Architects and other members of the design/build community. The Washington Architectural Foundation will sponsor a Canstruction Competition in DC, starting September 15th, 2007. Proceeds will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Visit www.wafonline.org. To learn more about Canstruction, visit www.canstruction.org.
—Sharon Jaffe Dan

An intimate portrait of Edward Hopper
In anticipation of a major Edward Hopper exhibit opening at the National Gallery of Art on September 16th, art historian and curator Gail Levin will speak about the artist at the Corcoran Gallery of Art on July 9th. Levin has researched the life of Hopper since 1976 and has written several books about him, including an updated and expanded version of Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography, recently released by Rizzoli International. Her lecture promises to paint a vivid portrait of Hopper’s true nature and personality, as well as the factors that influenced his art. Admission is $15 for the public and $12 for members of the Corcoran. Call (202) 639-1700.

On the Bookshelf
New releases for design and architecture buffs

Grand Avenues: The Story of the French Visionary Who Designed Washington, D.C. by Scott W. Berg tells the story of Pierre Charles L’Enfant and the creation of the nation’s capital. The French national who volunteered in the American colonial army was hired by George Washington to design the city. As Berg’s fascinating tale documents, an embattled L’Enfant resigned from the project less than a year later, and did not receive credit for his brilliant design until a century had passed. Berg, who holds a B.A. in architecture, teaches nonfiction writing and literature at George Mason University. Pantheon, New York, NY, 2007; $25.

Hugh Newell Jacobsen Architect is the third volume of a series showcasing the work of the visionary Washington, DC, architect whose modern work draws inspiration from vernacular styles. This richly photographed book presents some of Jacobsen’s most recent projects, including residences, university commissions, a winery and more. Rizzoli, New York, NY, 2007; $60.

Dream Gardens: 100 Inspirational Gardens  by Andrew Lawson and Tania Compton takes landscape enthusiasts on a tour of modern gardens in all parts of the world, from small urban hideaways to expansive rural landscapes. Stunning photos document the layout of each garden and also spotlight key features and essential details. Dream Gardens is a great reference guide for homeowners seeking outdoor inspiration. Merrell, London, 2007; $39.95.

Rooms to Inspire: Decorating With America’s Best Designers by Annie Kelly features the homes of 12 gurus of style, from New York designers Muriel Brandolini and Jonathan Adler to Kelly Wearstle, a judge on Bravo’s “Top Design,” and Barney’s creative director Simon Doonan. The book offers personal perspectives and advice from the experts, whose homes range from urban apartments to country retreats. Kelly explores the use of color, balance and innovation; her husband, Tim Street-Porter, produced the book’s striking photography. Rizzoli, New York, NY, 2007; $50.
—SJD

A behind-the-scenes pair gains visibility with a new Washington showroom.
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams aren’t household names, but their popular furnishings have certainly changed households across the country. The duo is responsible for many of the designs sold by Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware and other national retailers. Their sofas and chairs fill rooms at Ritz-Carltons, Barnes & Nobles and Starbucks; and the sets of television shows like “Sex and the City” and “Friends.”

Now Gold and Williams want Washingtonians to become familiar with their names through the eponymous shop that sells their stylish yet laid-back furnishings. In May, they officially opened Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in a converted Cadillac showroom on 14th Street, NW. “We chose not to go to Georgetown because it’s too touristy,” says Gold. “Furniture stores do better in growing neighborhoods like this one.”

The new emporium joins a dozen other freestanding signature stores opened by the pair in the U.S. and Mexico since 2002.Gold oversees business and marketing for the 18-year-old Taylorsville, North Carolina-based company, while Williams serves as president of design.

Refurbished with limestone floors and white-painted walls and ceilings, the 14th Street store brims with the variety of furniture, lighting, accessories and rugs that the partners believe will appeal to the Washington market. “It’s a mix of modern and traditional,” says Williams. “We want people to buy things they’ll love for a long time. We try to keep it simple and easy.”

Welcoming customers are their most recent designs, arranged under the ornate, coffered ceiling of the 1920s car showroom. They include Dr. Pitt, a family-friendly, mosh-pit sectional, and Flo, a 1950s-inspired, kidney-shaped coffee table. Displayed further back are two-seater “sofettes,” leather club chairs, wicker tables, upholstered beds and that Washington staple—the wing chair. Adorning the walls are photographs by Tipper Gore; Gold met the former Vice President’s wife at a 2001 fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign, decorated her Arlington, Virginia, home and now sells her work.

While there is no single Gold-Williams look, the brand is guided by the constant principle of comfort. “Furniture should make you feel good,” says Williams. “That means a good cushion and good back support in a chair, the right height and depth in a sofa, colors that aren’t too harsh.” He and Gold have just published their tips for creating relaxing interiors in the book, Let’s Get Comfortable (Meredith Books, $34.95), which is showcased in the new store. Future plans include launching a catalog business in September and other stores in the DC area, perhaps in Bethesda and Tysons Corner. “We are still looking for the best location,” says Gold.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Willliams is located at 1526 14th Street, NW; phone (202) 332-3433 or visit www.mitchellgold.com.
—Deborah K. Dietsch


“We CAN Solve the Hunger Puzzle” by Mulvanny G2 Architecture.


Edward Hopper’s “Ground Swell”


Grand Avenues

Hugh Newell Jacobsen Architect

Dream Gardens

Rooms to Inspire

The tufted Chester sofa by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams

The Mitchell-Gold Dr. Pitt sectional.