Traveling Art Show and More

Exhibits, new stores, Eco Ideas, new books and events

SeaFair is a traveling art show aboard mega-yacht Grand Luxe.

Art Afloat

A traveling art show sets sail for Baltimore and Alexandria

For art and antiques collectors accustomed to searching the globe for new acquisitions, an event this fall offers a welcome change of pace: More than two dozen international dealers are showing their collections aboard the 228-foot mega-yacht Grand Luxe, scheduled to dock for five-day stops in both Baltimore and Alexandria, Virginia.

These are two of 38 ports of call that SeaFair, this floating art show, will make along the East Coast during its 2007-2008 inaugural itinerary. Twenty-eight art and antiques dealers will show their collections in the yacht’s 12,500 square feet of museum-quality display space. While on board, guests can peruse old master paintings, 17- to 19th-century decorative arts, modern art, Asian art, textiles and antique and contemporary jewelry.

The dealers participating in SeaFair regularly exhibit in major fairs in New York, Palm Beach, Paris, Maastricht and London. “In today’s challenging global environment, SeaFair brings dealers directly to collectors’ seasonal residences rather than requiring the collector to travel a great distance in order to visit world-renowned galleries,” says David Lester, managing partner of Expoships, LLLP, the developer of SeaFair. The Grand Luxe will dock at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor East Marina from October 31 to November 4 and will continue on to Alexandria from November 7 to 11. For more information or to obtain a complimentary invitation (required), call (239) 949-5411 or visit—Sharon Jaffe Dan

Eye Candy

A home-furnishings boutique debuts on U Street

Design buff David Dennis recently opened RCKNDY—a décor emporium carrying a wide selection of furniture, lighting and accessories. He named the store after his favorite sweet, Rock Candy (without the vowels), because “it is all about color, flavor and variety,” he says. Among its offerings are furniture by MoxBox and Context, Mud Australia ceramics and the full line of Alessi products. RCKNDY is located at 1515 U Street, NW;(202) 332-5639;

Italian Style in Georgetown

Boffi introduces Piero Lissoni’s minimalist kitchen and bath design

Washington has a new source for super-sleek Italian kitchen and bath designs. Boffi, a 73-year-old company based in Milan, has opened a showroom in Georgetown’s Cady’s Alley. The two-level space focuses on modular cabinetry and countertops of stainless steel, wood veneers and synthetic stone finishes, most of which are created by Piero Lissoni, an Italian designer also known for his furniture.

“Simple is better,” Lissoni says of his minimalist philosophy. “Kitchens and bathrooms should be part of the house, not utilitarian. They should look like part of the living room or bedroom.” With their sliding doors, recessed hardware and cantilevered surfaces, his kitchens (right) resemble a grouping of high-end consoles and tables. Some are integrated with appliances from Gaggenau, Miele and Sub-Zero.

Sculptural bathtubs are another Boffi signature and several are arrayed just inside the store, including Claudio Silvestrin’s deep stone basin and Naoto Fukasawa’s asymmetrical soaking tub. On the showroom’s second level, reached by a metal staircase, are more Lissoni-designed kitchens and his elegant, metal-edged glass shower stalls. Simpler still are the outdoor showers called Pipe by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders that are formed of bent stainless-steel tubes and displayed outside on a terrace.

Only glass walls separate the different areas of the showroom’s open space so the products can be appreciated at a distance. In addition to kitchen and bathroom fixtures, the showroom sells lamps, mirrors and shelving. A designer and an architect on staff can help homeowners plan their spaces.

Boffi is located at 3320 M Street, NW. Phone (202) 333-7555 or visit—Deborah K. Dietsch

Educating the Eye

How to discern quality in art

Experienced and novice art collectors alike take note: A lecture by Maryland artist Deborah Chapin will focus on how to discern quality in art—especially plein air paintings—on October 7 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum at 3 p.m. Chapin is known for her seascapes made on the coast of Brittany (right); a video presentation will show how Chapin executes her paintings on location. For more information, contact the museum at (202) 633-7970.

Eco Ideas: Sitting Pretty

Earth-friendly seating crops up in a variety of styles

Living green doesn’t mean you have to drastically change the way your home looks. Rather, it’s about changing the way you look at your home and what you put in it. Take furniture design. In addition to buying vintage or antique pieces—which limits the use of new resources—you can also consider many new options in contemporary, traditional and even historically influenced styles that are earth friendly.

Look for the type of material used, and where it comes from. Many designers are experimenting with recycled and recyclable materials, such as scrap lumber and reclaimed woods, as well as other post-consumer waste products.

The clean and simple Carta Dining Chair by Anthony Bronza at the Eco Supply

For a range of eco-friendly traditional wood styles, try Basal, a collection made by Cisco Brothers using all-organic materials. All of Cisco’s upholstered designs are made with FSC-certified wood, which comes from environmentally and responsibly managed forests. The company also creates custom pieces using 100-percent green materials. Another take on the traditional, the Solomon chair by Furnature is upholstered with organic, toxin-free fibers and built from sustainably forested wood.

Norwegian company TRØKK16’s prototype Emir takes a broader view on green design—trying to maintain sustainability while keeping prices low. Made with natural latex and wool, it was designed to be stable without a massive internal framework. This lighter footprint reduces weight (a big factor in shipping and moving), as well as assembly time and material usage. —Heather C. Jackson

Smart Chaos

A new DC gallery introduces eclectic home furnishings out of Africa

Smart Chaos, a new gallery in Washington, offers customers a wide array of products handmade in Africa, from embroidered textiles, ceramics and beaded accessories to vases, wood and soapstone sculptures, cushions and original art work. The women behind the gallery, Margo Bansda and Kyung Endres, met in Zambia, where Endres was working on international development projects. Now they frequent destinations as diverse as the Congo, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ghana and Kenya to bring home the unique pieces that fill their colorful gallery.

The mission of Smart Chaos is twofold. First, the founders want to help African artists tap into the DC market. “Africa hasn’t really been showcased as a location you can draw creativity and inspiration from,” explains Endres, “but we think there are pieces from the African lifestyle that can really be appreciated here in the West.” The second goal is to educate consumers about contemporary Africa free of media hype or common misconceptions.

Every item the owners select is scrutinized for style, utility and suitability for the high-end market. Bansda says, “Everything we carry is functional. It’s not arts and crafts, but it is exclusive, it is décor and it is hand-made. We put a lot of effort into finding good fabric and good quality items. We can be quite painful to deal with if you’re a manufacturer! But we only bring back the best, and the products speak for themselves.”  —Xarissa Holdaway

Boffi’s slick Italian kitchen design.

On the Bookshelf

When photographer Maxwell MacKenzie is not shooting architecture and interiors (his work appears in this issue; see “The Modern Mystique” on page 136), he can often be found airborne in an ultra-light craft, making mesmerizing images of America’s fields and pastures. His frames reveal the extraordinary in the everyday, from meandering plow marks to the geometric precision of a farmer’s field.

Markings, a new book to be released in October (Bergamot Books, Washington, DC, 2007; $40), features a collection of his aerial photography. Excerpts from some of the country’s greatest writers accompany each image, but MacKenzie’s textural compositions are loftier by far. —SJD

Georgetown Days of Design

Inspiring workshops and programs

The design, art and fashion retailers of Cady’s Alley will participate in the annual Georgetown Days of Design, September 28 and 29. Members of the design trade and homeowners alike can attend lectures and special programs at area showrooms, including Artefacto, Contemporaria, Thos. Moser, Baker and Design Within Reach. The focus of the event is “Design Makes a Difference.” For more information, visit the Web site

A seascape by Deborah Chapin

Anthony Bronza’s Carta Dining Chair

Acacia chair from Cisco Brother’s Basal Collection

Smart Chaos

Markings by Maxwell MacKenzie