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Totem With Colorful Collection at New York Gift Show
August 19-23, 2000 @ The Javits Center

Totem Design Group, one of the country's leading showcases for contemporary furniture design, is pleased to show several exciting products at the New York Gift Fair on August 19, 2000. The designs advance Totem's mission to spread the appeal of contemporary design through education and by making the work of promising young designers and architects available and affordable.

Following the success of its desktop landscape series - the vinyl-dipped desktop accessories designed by Karim Rashid - Totem has expanded the line's color options. Rashid's designs first breached the bleak, gray world of the computer desk last summer with pragmatic, but suggestive shapes - the "cube," the "infinity," the plus-shaped "soul," and the trifurcated "ribbon" - in four bold color schemes. This rubbery but sturdy accessories, as well as his acclaimed mouse pads, exemplify what Rashid calls his "sensually minimalistic" design, as well as Totem's desire to aestheticize quotidian experience through affordable, well-designed objects for everyday use. The desktop landscape line ranges in retail price from $18-$24. Totem also launches a series of gift cards with Rashid?s prints for $16.50 retail.

With Genesi-Stella, a softly illuminated sea urchin with flexible, brightly colored spiked-Japanese designer and architect Masayo Ave sums up a prominent trend in lighting design: advancing technology in the service of more poetically designed fixtures. The Genesi-Stella brings the long-standing conflict between high technology and mood creation one step closer to resolution. The lamp is made from a new industrial material called open-celled foam, whose qualities as filters on oilrigs were closely studied for the Genesi project. Through the interaction of light and material, Ave says, the Genesi-Stella lamp is winning people's affection. Also on show by Ave are Pillows and a Sitting Cube produced in the same outdoor-friendly material.

Totem has exclusive rights to retail products by BooKan - which means noise in French slang. BooKan manufactures accessories that eschew pure functionality, and bring new interpretations to everyday objects, aiming for what they call a "smiley and elegant design." Totem offers Valérie Windeck designs in white enameled ceramic feldspath. The PIL'UP vase collection was created from stacked dessert pots, with no end to the variety of shapes possible. The four PIL'UP vases are to be interpreted as the viewer sees them - from "bamboo shoot to totem pole, from Pisa Tower to cat's tail." The PCUP not only abandons the conventional circular shape of cups and saucers - its saucer also uniquely doubles as an ashtray. "It's a good example of the direction of contemporary design in that it offers dual functionality," says David Shearer, Totem's founder. The ASH AWAY is a new take on the spinning ashtray, where the ash conveniently falls out of sight through a trap door. This makes it advantageous for outdoor use: no flying ash at the slightest bit of wind. Also available from BooKan are several ceramic trays with indents shaped as exclamation marks, question marks, stars and apostrophes. Totem's BooKan products range in price from $8-$45.

Totem is also proud to introduce, for the first time ever at the Gift Show, Wendy Gardner's "Scary Stories New York" collection of adorable stuffed animals with funky names. With names like Handsome Hook Lost a Foot and Poor Sarah Got Sold For Ten Bucks, all these animals are based on real-life counterparts. The idea for the Vicious French Bulldog, for instance, began with a painting she had done of a friend's dog. She began making dolls as baby shower gifts for her friends, and what better than a scary growling dog with angry eyes and big gritting teeth. Poor Sarah was Gardner's piranha - sold by Gardner's mother the minute she left town. The dolls range in price from $30-$34.

Totem further shows off Phillipe Starck's Dumbells made for XO. These silver, steel filled aluminum weights each weigh 6 lbs and are handmade for the vain exerciser. Starck has conceived and produced many household products and furniture pieces, including furniture for former French president Francois Mitterrand. He has since been approached to design boats, mopeds, the 1992 Olympic Flame torch, and even a new shape of pasta. Today, he works with his "tribe" in the studio and remains an enigmatic, reclusive figure. Escaping to remote locations with his family, Starck attempts to remove himself out of the stream of trends in order to bring a fresh viewpoint to his projects. The dumbbells retail at $450 for the set of two.

Totem is also proud to bring a range of other exciting designs to the show. Gaston's Condom Vase, Pieces Lamp and Rag Stand are bound to attract curiosity with their curious and sexy shapes. Marc Newson's Orgon chair and Michael Young's designs for Eurolounge have already established themselves at favorites of design cognoscenti. See also separate press release  for the introduction of Innovation USA, a company who's mission it is to facilitate living large in a little apple.
Copyright © 2008 David Shearer   
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