Get happy

“Pow! Right in the kisser!” Turning a corner at the Maison & Objet furniture fair in Paris this past January, I came upon a snazzy, loopy metal chair in lipstick red that jolted me out of my jetlag and put a smile on my face. That it was designed by Patricia Urquiola -part of her Re-trouv collection of chairs, tables and planters for Italian outdoor furniture maker Emu -came as no surprise. Like much of the Spanish designer’s work, Re-trouv (page 63) is playful, exuberant and light-hearted. (“Inspiration came from the marvellous iron chairs of the ’50s,” says Urquiola, “so full of curls and doodles.”) It makes me feel, in a word, happy.

Every hour is happy hour at four hotspots we feature in this issue -thanks to their particularly bold and bright design. Montreal’s Tribe Hyperclub and New York’s Duvet Restaurant owe much of their charisma to ThinkGlass, a Quebec firm that designs and manufactures state-of-the-art glass products (“Hazy shades of winter, page 34). Back-lit glass bars in both venues, along with a glass floor and stair in Duvet, give the effect of luminous ice. Very cool. Then there’s Duel, a small Montreal eatery that takes its “duelling chefs” premise from Iron Chef (“Walk the line,” page 52). In a brilliant gesture, the designers defined the chefs’ dual fiefdoms by running a sizzling neon yellow band, on both floor and ceiling, right down the middle of the room. Last, but not least, is the Beatles-inspired Revolution Lounge at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (“You say you want a Revolution?” on page 45). A psychedelic riot of Pop art, graphic effects, bursts of light and saturated colour, it’s as triumphantly over the top as the Fab Four’s enduring Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

In our 11 pages of show reports, Patricia Urquiola’s Re-trouv isn’t the only new product that makes a joyful noise. Consider Dominic Crinson’s zany Ensemble collection of tile and wallpaper (page 66); Poly-wobble, eye-popping 3-D wall decorations made of felt, by Ruth Waller & Lee Hewett for Both Textiles (page 76); and the irresistible plush fleece BeanBench from Toronto’s Thout (page 71).

Finally, our regular Who’s Who section (page 78) is full of shiny, happy people. Despite the lingering cold -or perhaps because of it -late winter/early spring in Toronto was particularly celebratory.

Michael Totzke [email protected]