What a lovely way to spend a spring afternoon. After we worked tirelessly on wrapping up our May/June issue, the editorial team at Design New England ventured out to the Boston Design Center’s spring forecast luncheon, which offered details about the BDC’s newest endeavors, both inside its showrooms, and on top of its roof.
The plans for a rooftop farm were revealed in our January/February 2013 issue (High Hopes for Farming). The joint venture spearheaded by Boston’s Higher Ground Farm brings green space and functionality to the 55,000-square-foot, 8-story-high roof of the BDC. Courtney Hennessy, co-founder of Higher Ground which is raising funds and running the operation, explained she expects at least part of the roof farm to be ready for this year’s growing season and is hoping for a healthy crop of tomatoes and herbs to be distributed to farmers markets and restaurants in Boston. The long-term goal is to set up Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), whereby food shares will be sold in advance of the season, providing up-front money for running the farm, and a weekly supply of fresh vegetables for shareholders. There are also plans to distribute food to areas in the city that have a limited supply of fresh, locally grown produce. Mark Winterer of Recover Green Roofs, a design/build firm in Somerville, Massachusetts, which first planted a rooftop garden at the Dorchester restaurant Ledge in 2009, spoke of the complex construction of roof and draining systems for farming. Turns out, there are more environmental benefits than the obvious — green roofs and rooftop farms and gardens keep buildings cooler in the summer, reduce storm runoff, and make the roof stronger and less apt to need maintenance and repairs.
Indoors, what’s new relates to the BDC’s more familiar expertise in home design. Leicht, a German manufacturer of contemporary kitchens, opened Leicht Boston last week, a showroom awash with the brand’s sleek, high-polished lacquer cabinetry as well as its textured and matte lines.
Also new at the BDC is WaterSpot’s showroom. The company already has a store in Natick, Massachusetts, and three in Rhode Island, but Boston’s design community will be glad to have this facility filled with rows and rows of shiny fixtures, including England’s Lefroy Brooks’s collections inspired by the aesthetic of certain decades close at hand.
Then, there’s Porcelanosa, a Spanish company that creates porcelain tiles crafted to resemble wood planks, and sinks and bathtubs made of Krion, a non-porous mixture of polymer resin and natural materials, that has a stunningly light look with a matte finish. All are displayed in its new BDC space.
We also visited some old friends for more design inspiration. As always, we found it at Janus et Cie, which is working with Higher Ground Farms on a fundraiser for the roof farm, where fresh outdoor rugs, planters, textiles, and furniture such as the Fibonacci Collection, designed by architect partners Michael Gabellini and Kimberly Sheppard of Gabellini Sheppard Associates in New York, made us long for summer. The sculptural chair with its woven Janusfiber over powder coated steel is a bit on the fantasy side, while the glass-topped Fondo Table with a streamlined base made of glass reinforced concrete, is totally romantic.
Maya Romanoff, a Chicago company with an amazing array of handpainted and gold and silver leaf wallcovering, has new designs of handpainted vinyl that have a luxurious sheen. All are available at Donghia.
An insider's look at must-have products, fresh trends, and inspired spaces from the team at Design New England magazine.
Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.
Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.
Jill Connors, Design New England's editor-at-large, is an antiques maven and design scout and will post about trends and discoveries in the field.
Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.
Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.