Do you ever wonder which glass is appropriate for your drink?

Have you ever wondered which drinking glass is best for which drink? If you are anything like me, it gets overwhelming knowing which glass to use. The older we get, the more sophisticated and grown up our gatherings get. It is time we hang up our cheap solo cup from backyard barbecues, and trade them in for some more elegant.

 

Some of these styles of glasses have existed for decades, and gives the individual a perception of a better drinking experience. This might sound a little far fetch, but if you are drinking your favorite drink out of the corresponding glass, the aromas and flavor of your drink are maximized exponentially.

 

Here are some of the most common glasses we would expect to be using at any event:

The American Pint

The American Pint is usually used when drinking lagers, or brown ales. These types of glasses hold 16 ounces, and is in the shape of a cylinder that gets slightly larger at the top. This is a cheaper option that using a plastic cup.

 

The Pilsner

The Pilsner is a German-style drinking glass that is usually used for beers like Bock or Kolsch. Ciancio exclaims how the tampered shape captures the carbonation and color, while still allowing the foam to form at the top. This gives drinking out of this glass the ultimate experience for these types of beers.

 

The Snifter

The Snifter is a short stemmed glass with a wide, rounded bottom, and a narrow top. The shape of the bottom allows for swirling to release the aromas, and easy way to grab the glass. You typically use these glasses for intense beers like barley wines, quads, or heavy beers.

 

Martini

The Martini glass isn’t all for looks. It might take some time to get used to using, but there is a reason why the shape is the way it is. The cone shape prevents the ingredients from separating, and the stem prevents your hands from warming the drink.

 

Highball

The Highball shape is simple, yet productive. This allows carbonated drinks from losing their carbonation since there is not a lot of airway exposed. The more exposed, the quicker your drink becomes flat. You would typically see drinks such as gin, tonic, or anything mixed with soda.

 

Tulip Wine Glass

Tulip-shaped glasses, which are more traditional glasses, are usually served with white or rose wine. The shape slows down any rise in temperature, and the stem prevents your hands from heating up the wine.

 

Red Wine Glass

If you prefer red wine, a larger, bowl like shape is the perfect glass for you. With the larger glass, the opening is increased, which allows for room for the aroma to release.

 

Stemless Glass

Stemless glasses are becoming a staple in most kitchens today. They are an easy to clean shape, while still having an elegant look. These glasses are prefect for wines that are being served at room temperature since your hands will be surrounding the glass, unintentionally heating up the wine.

 

These are just a few of the most common glasses that we would either see in our kitchen, or at a happening restaurant or bar. Selecting the right glass can enhance the experience, and have an elegant look. Now that you know some more about drinking glasses, have you been drinking out of the right glass?

June 15, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld

Venice

Where the entire Otium Collection is produced.  Not a bad place to go for work.  
Have a great Holiday weekend. 
June 15, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld

Wabi-Sabi

Beauty in imperfection.

A core belief I have in design is that there is beauty and relevance in what the masses call imperfection. In Japan, this train of thought is know as Wabi-Sabi.

A staircase at The Getty Villa, Malibu

A Ruth Asawa sculpture at the De Young Museum, San Francisco

The word "Wabi" stems from the root wa, which refers to harmony, peace, tranquillity, and balance and "Sabi" by itself means "the bloom of time." Together they mean "Finding beauty in imperfection."

Footed wave platter at Takashimaya New York

With this belief, I am able to spend hours mesmerized in the glass factory while my new designs are being developed into a reality or physical object. You have to understand that there is no hocus pocus in the physical creation but, I believe that there is magic in seeing the mistakes or misinterpretations that naturally happen by the Maestro to create the vision of the object I have in my head. The magic is to hold that mistake in the back of your mind and play with it in the future, once the real work of getting the prototype forms I originally envisioned. This is the time I call play, this is the time that the shapes and forms are where I want them so now is the time of color, texture, polishing, overlapping, poking, pulling, wrapping, etc.

A futile attempt by me at creating a Wabi-sabi design, the candlesticks were suppose to be uneven and precarious.

The standard Disco Volante Candlestick, with a metal frame to avoid too much Wabi-sabi

The majority of these pieces never see the polished well appointed showrooms where the Otium collection is sold. These pieces generally become, gifts, donations or doorstops. I really can not easily sell an object that is not readily reproduced within the standard variance of hand made pieces. Wabi-Sabi is still a foreign concept to a lot of the Western World.

 

Three of many Venetian glass "Wabi-Sabi" Tumblers we made for a benefit. Look for these in the Otium Lifestyle collection coming out soon.

 

I hope that you will give this concept a little consideration the next time they see the beautiful color and texture created by rust and denting on an old metal bucket, or a reflection in a pothole, or the asymmetry of trees along a wind swept shore and maybe even of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death in your own life.

I will end with an enlightening but harshly realistic 13th century Japanese proverb:

 

"Time is kind to things, but unkind to man."

June 08, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld

A Gift from an Artist.

Art that can take you away, make you uncomfortable, make you daydream, want to hold or caress, feel pity or helplessness, or a need to help or save is something I found in one artist installation recently.

On my first visit to Art Miami this past December there were a handful of artist that even after a few months I am still contemplating their work.

 

Beth Cavener Stichter shown at Claire Oliver here in NYC is definitely on the top of my list of Artist I am following. Her installation in Miami "The Four Humors" was beyond moving.

StartFragment

"There are primitive animal instincts lurking in our own depths, waiting for the chance to slide past a conscious moment. The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface they embody the impacts of aggression, territorial desires, isolation, and pack mentality."

             Beth Cavener Stichter

"I want to pry at those uncomfortable, awkward edges between animal and human."

"Something conscious and knowing is captured in their gestures and expressions. An invitation and a rebuke."

Take a look at Beth's website, particularly the "Materials and Techniques."

Beth's passion for the material and the "sensitivity to touch," shows in her work and inspires you to look a little longer and maybe even feel the need to caress the form. I believe one of the best gifts from a sculptor or one of the best compliments too a sculptor is when one feels the need to reach out and touch the creation.

June 01, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld

Belle Epoque

Lalique Molded Opalescent Glass Lausanne Plafonnier

A great price if you can get it in this range.

Doyle New York's

"Belle Epoque"

Auction is very heavy in Glass offerings this year. My advise, jump at the deals. Preview starts today. What a great way to get out of the rain.

Group of Three Glass Canes

A rare find since these canes are usually broken for fun at parades and festivals for good luck.

English Gilt-Silver Mounted Wheel Engraved Cameo Glass Perfume Flask

Attributed to Thomas Webb & Sons, the mounts by Sampson & Modern, London, circa 1884

The cratesmenship is definately worth taking note.

Unsigned Loetz Glass Vase

Circa 1900

Beautiful colors.

Unsigned Art Deco Style Molded Glass Vase

Color and cratesmenship.

Tiffany Favrile Glass Cabinet Plate

signed 1957 L.C.T. Favrile.

I love the six variously sized molded cobalt colored glass scarabs.

 

HAPPY BIDDING!

June 01, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld

Sonoma

I recently spent a lovely long weekend in Sonoma County, California. I was there for a wedding at Grace Ranch (I am designing a chandelier for the barn), but found plenty of time to steal away for a few wine tastings, some wonderful meals and lots of laughing with old friends.

My two favorites wineries on this trip were Merry Edwards Winey and Iron Horse Winery. We found ourselves in the Russian River area of Sonoma and quickly learned it was the ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes so we loaded up with a few bottles. We were also very pleased to find that Iron Horse produced a 2006 Petit Verdot with 100% Petit Verdot grapes from the Alexander valley, which I was told is pretty rare.

Hopefully these bottles will hold me over until I can get back to Clo Wine Bar and shop, my favorite local wine haunt here in NYC. I am also working on a collection of wine buckets, wine stoppers, glasses, etc to be sold through Clo. This collaboration was inspired by the owner of Clo seeing the Dexter glasses I did for the dining room designed by the spirited Interior designer Amy Lau, at last years Showtime Television and Metropolitan Home’s showhouse in Gramercy Park.

For meals in Sonoma County we were a little less adventurous in our travels, much to our surprise, finding out that our lunch destination and our dinner destination were directly across the street in the quaint one block town of Graton. Trust me I am not complaining. Lunch was at Willow Wood Market Cafe, a sun filled retro feeling small town restaurant, but incredible food and for Dinner we were at Underwood Bar and Bistro, with it's energeticly fun environment, attentive but relaxed servers complete with a Bache ball court in the back courtyard and food to rival any NYC or SF restaurant. Although we had a lovely Grenache, Quivra, Dry Creek Valley , '07, with lunch I was ready for a cocktail at Underwood and how could I resist a Lulu cocktail.

 

May 24, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld

Collective "design" Consciousness

I have a somewhat irrational design fear. Maybe I am putting too much thought into this but the more I am courted by or brought into design studios I am confronted with the portfolio of ideas.

As a designer and often part of a design team having an "inspiration folder" is pretty standard practice. In fact, the images on this post are from my own folder.

At Donghia we all had our office walls covered in our own personal design inspiration. It was a wonderful experience to walk into someones office or studio especially Sherri Donghia's office and instantly be confronted with their inspiration. It was moving to have this openness and be able to see in a capsule what their gut design feeling expressed. Some of us changed what was displayed often and some just added layers but regardless it was telling.

My fear is of a, "collective design consciousness." There is so much information at our finger tips now a days. The sensory overload and simulation of design inspiration both past and present is a gift of the modern age. My fear is seeing the contents of these design inspiration folders that I have been privy to recently with overlapping images. There is generally always something from www. 1stdibs.com or www.decoarti.com or the many design blogs that we all follow.

I want this posting to be a red flag to both the the well seasoned and the green designers out there, get outside and explore one step further. Go to the book store or library, museums, galleries, auction previews and find inspiration that is yours alone.

 

I wish you the best of luck.

May 24, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld

Portraits

Character

Being photographed is sometimes an enlightening moment.  A moment captured in time.   Is this how others see us? 

Although there were probably 200 pictures taken at these photo shoots I believe that these photographers really did capture their muses character.

May 18, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld

Gaultier

There is still time to see the AMAZING Jean Paul Gaultier

 Exhibition  at the Brooklyn Museum.  The attention to detail in his work is mind boggling.

May 18, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld

Golden Mean or Ratio

Can a designer ever stop designing?

 

While at Sandy Hook beach on the Jersey shore I was abruptly brought back to the reality of my design past and my relationship with the “Golden Mean.” How? By finding a shell.

I had the incredible opportunity to work in the Donghia Furniture and Textiles Design Studio for several years with the design legend John Hutton. John was relentless in our practice of always using the “Golden Mean” or “Ratio” in the basis of our designs. Which I still incorporate in my Otium designs.

Although the "Golden Mean" is a complicated concept, I will try to simplify it to a basic outline.

The "Gold Mean" is an “Irrational mathematical constant,” or a mysteriously emotional aesthetically pleasing proportion that has kept philosophers, artists, architects, designs and mathematicians captivated for centuries. The "Golden Mean" exists perfectly in nature as well as human produced designs, the Pyramids, Taj Mahal, Parthenon, to name only a few.

In nature there is an endless representation but, the two that stand out in my mind are the Shell (think beach) and the seed formation in a Sunflower. The "Golden Mean" also apears naturally in viruses, leaf patterns, human anatomy (as illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci), DNA, cells, you get the idea.

Mathematically the “Golden Mean,” is the SUM of the two proceeding numbers. 1 plus 2 equals 3; 2 plus 3 equals 5; 3 plus 5 equals 8; 5 plus 8 equals 13; and so on.

1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144,233…

Construction of a golden rectangle:

1. Construct a unit square (red).

2. Draw a line from the midpoint of one side to an opposite corner.

3. Use that line as the radius to draw an arc that defines the long dimension of the rectangle.

Instructions by. Joel Holdsworth

 

May 08, 2018 by Alech Blumenfeld