There’s no real way to put this delicately: It can be somewhat difficult getting Ross Menuez to focus. Talk to the designer of the fashion label Salvor Projects for an hour, and your conversation might touch upon everything from the migratory patterns of birds to the intricacies of intarsia; ask him about his process, and he’s apt to fret instead about what to do with the signage for his first retail shop, which opened last week on a sleepy stretch of New York’s Lower East Side. His career has been equally hopscotched: He’d built houses for the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, designed under Tom Dixon at Habitat, and run a metal shop in Brooklyn before finally, a few years back, committing himself fully to the world of fashion, complete with seasonal presentations and showroom representation.
But as with any talent whose creativity flows faster than the mind can apprehend, it’s the unscripted aspect of Menuez’s work that makes it so compelling — you never know quite what to expect. In the eight years that have passed since Salvor Projects was founded in 2003, its offerings have encompassed Japanese-inspired steel-toe work boots; screen-printed balsa-wood wall hangings; flat-pack, laser-cut metal lampshades; polyurethane-coated roll-top canvas bags; and a cultishly popular line of printed modal jersey dresses, scarves, tees, and tanks that sell at stores like Barneys, Dover Street Market, and Project no. 8.
Menuez, though, was once rightly advised that customers would never fully understand the brand if they couldn’t see it all under one roof, and so the seeds of a store began last fall. Menuez found a co-designer and business partner in Nick Dine — an old friend who’s created retail interiors for Calypso, Stussy, and Kirna Zabête — and a location in a 400-square-foot storefront that’s a block away from New York’s Half Gallery and a few doors up from Menuez’s current Lower East Side studio. “The beauty of the store is that we’re basically going to make shit that we like for the first time,” says Menuez. “With production, once you make a large batch of something, you’re done. By the time something hits the market, you’re already over it. At the store we can make one of something and try it out, and you can perfect a piece as you go. There’s also this unexpected green side to it. It’s kind of like when you’re making a meal and you can use every single thing in your fridge. Don’t have enough fabric to make multiples? Cool, let’s just make one kimono.”
Sight Unseen visited Menuez’s studio last winter, when the designer was just figuring out his plan for the store and its inventory, which includes a new line of jeans sourced from Cone’s Mill in North Carolina and treated with plaster-like effects. You can visit the new Salvor store at 172 Forsyth in New York, and you can tour the designer’s jam-packed, ephemera-filled studio in the slideshow at right.
If you’ve ever been to Mission Chinese Food on New York’s Lower East Side, chances are you’ll remember the food — the legendary kung pao pastrami, or that one dish that makes even celery taste delicious. Chances are even better, though, that you’ll remember the experience, from the cocktail topped with flaky, edible Post-Its, to the epically grand piano music, to the friends you happened to bump into late on a Wednesday.
For the opening of the Venice Biennale last week, the city's A plus A gallery became a three-day Breakfast Pavilion — part curatorial project, part café — where art could be discussed, produced, performed and eaten. Artists hosted and conceptualized the meals, while more than two dozen designers outfitted the space with furniture and objects.
Perhaps it was inevitable that this year's NYCxDesign would focus so heavily on women. After all, the works on view this month were in many cases developed within the last half a year or so — a time when womanhood itself has been under attack in America. What this means for design is that over the next few weeks, we'll see, among other things, an all-female exhibition at Chamber Gallery, two brand-new female designers launching at Sight Unseen OFFSITE in a special capsule section, and Designing Women, an exhibition that opened this Monday, curated by Egg Collective and featuring 16 New York–based female artists and designers.