This is no small trend, all this hand-holding between renowned artists and big business. Photographer William Wegman just did Christmas window dressing for some Saks Fifth Avenue department stores. Last week, fashion designer Todd Oldham provided design commentary for Carpoint.com at the Detroit Auto Show. Now, architect Renzo Piano has crafted door handles for Valli & Valli.
The world-famous architect designed a svelte and gently curved lever-type handle for the Italian manufacturer of door and cabinet hardware.
Born in Genoa, Italy, in 1937, Piano is best known for his design, with Richard Rogers, of the late-1970s Georges Pompidou Center in Paris as well as the Menil Collection Museum in Houston. He won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1998 and is currently designing a new high-rise headquarters for the New York Times in Manhattan.
The Piano-crafted handles, part of Valli & Valli's Fusital hardware line, are made of stainless steel or solid brass. They can be ordered in different finishes; prices begin at $120 each. To obtain more information or place an order, call (877) 326-2565.
Ribbit tidbit: Frog has hopped into town. In mid-October, the hip design company opened offices in Culver City.
Frog tackles design for other companies in three areas--product lines, brand images and Web sites. They designed the original Apple Macintosh, Sony Trinitron and Walkman; they have designed Ford cars, the Disney Cruise Ship and the current layout of http://www.latimes.com.
Rob Veksler, a New York-based spokesman for the company, said they decided to open here when "we saw big businesses moving back to L.A. On the heels of that, design always follows."
Hartmut Esslinger started Frog in 1969 in his hometown of Altensteig, Germany, where there happened to be a lot of frogs. Esslinger did not want to attach a techie name to the then-tadpole company. There are now more than half a dozen Frog offices in the U.S., including three in California.
Pull out that cheap plastic pen and jot this down: The 13th annual Los Angeles International Pen Show will take place next month at the Manhattan Beach Marriott Hotel. Check out all sorts of beautiful writing instruments on Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Two hundred exhibitors from 17 countries will be buying and selling pens and accessories such as inks, desk sets, posters and ephemera from 1880 to the present.
One lucky attendee will win a limited-edition "Saxophone" fountain pen. The $750 pen, with an 18-karat gold nib, is part of a limited run (814 pens total) from the Sax collection by Delta, an Italian pen manufacturer.
All students (from grade school through college) will each receive a $20 fountain pen.
Admission is $6 per person, free for those 12 or under. For information, call (800) 521-PENS. The Manhattan Beach Marriott Hotel is located at 1400 Parkview Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 546-7511.
Candace A. Wedlan can be reached at email@example.com.