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An “Extraordinary Ordinary” Holiday Exhibit

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Looking for home goods with a little extra flair? Divine Details is a shop and exhibit of the “extraordinary ordinary.” With creative twists on everyday household items, this compilation highlights products that are as beautiful as they are functional. I want so many of these objects for my own apartment, but with the holidays right around the corner, I can’t deny they would make great gifts for family and friends too. Items go for as little as $5 up to $500.

The writing next to each product is a commissioned fictional story by a journalist, playwright or author.

The exhibit, open November 2 to December 28, features products from around the world and some from here in America’s backyard. One of Curator and Creative Director Tina Chang’s favorites is a bottle opener from Brendan Ravenhill, a California designer. These top poppers feature a walnut handle and bent nail for opening with a small magnet to keep the cap from flying across the counter.

Check out these American-made bottle openers.

Many of the 33 products featured can be found in the personal collections of the curators, Chang and Esther Mun. “We naturally have an affinity for products as designers,” Chang says. “Some products were things we already used in our own lives.”

Another featured designer, Adam Brackney, makes these sleek wall hooks by hand in St. Paul, Minnesota. Brackney’s inspiration came from mushrooms growing from the forest floor, hence the name, MUCHroom hooks.

We have a thing for American-made products, so these wall hangers are right up our alley.

The exhibit is open to the public at the AIGA gallery at 164 Fifth Avenue in New York. Besides being able to browse the exhibit and shop the featured products, the gallery will host an event series entitled “Further Details.” It includes different perspectives on how design interacts with our lives.

Curator Tina Chang approached AIGA with the idea for Divine Details in spring 2013.

The first is a five-course dinner with Brooklyn chef team The Pixie and The Scout on November 12 at 6 p.m.  The wine, cheese and meats will be served with Divine Details’ Wasara tableware, Napkiss napkins and Soma water filters.

Next are performances by New York stage and film actors. They will bring to life the stories produced by commissioned writers about inanimate objects. “Go On, Tell Me A Story” will be November 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Music and culture writer Garnette Cadogan and Grain Audio designer Chris Weir will lead “The Architecture of Sound” event. Head down to the Flatiron District on December 10 at 7:30 p.m. to learn how to listen to music the right way.

Created by Chris Weir and David Burke, Chang says these speakers were crafted to be something simple, beautiful and affordable, so people can hear music the way it was intended to be heard.

And finally on December 17 at 7:30 p.m., “Things Matter” will discuss everything that can be said about “things.” Who makes them? Why they matter? What’s to come? Basically, every-THING.

Chang explains Divine Details as the creative endeavor of a lot of different people: designers paired with playwrights and music lovers with architects. “Creative hubs meshing together is what makes this extraordinary,” Chang says.

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