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These Vessels Are Meant to Deceive

The London-born, downtown Manhattan-based designer and art director Anna Karlin has always embraced a bit of creative tension. “I always just think everything is possible and I figure it out,” she says, having entered the interiors world as a self-taught product designer 11 years ago. Today, Karlin releases a new furniture and lighting collection that is a study in contrasts rather than bound by an overarching theme. Among nine new lighting series, the Mulberry set, made from sinuous oak bentwood and delicate horn-shaped silk shades, is evocative of Art Nouveau, while the Field headboard, upholstered in an abstract floral-patterned crewel embroidery, is a nod to Arts and Crafts. Other designs include wrought-iron chairs, lanterns made from ecru-hued fiberglass and colored marble side tables. A totemic bar cabinet, inspired by massive 18th-century Swedish wood stoves called kakelugn, is clad in ceramic tiles adorned with glyphlike shapes that are a recurring motif in her work. Each piece revisits Karlin’s previous designs while experimenting with scale and material. “I’m really beginning to solidify my language,” says Karlin, who developed the collection over the past three years. “My alphabet is there, I just get to keep making new words.” From $4,250, annakarlin.com.


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To transform a 1950s San Antonio motel into an upscale hideaway, the hotelier Jayson Seidman relocated the building’s front doors. Instead of its original entrance facing Broadway (a busy six-lane highway known for its car dealerships), the reimagined 26-room Ranch Motel, which reopened on Oct. 15, now looks toward Brackenridge Park, the city’s 343-acre green lung.

Seidman, who has developed hotels like Thunderbird Marfa and the Columns in New Orleans, wanted Ranch Motel to feel like a natural extension of Brackenridge’s soothing tranquillity. He opted for D’Hanis terra-cotta bricks, historically used in many San Antonio building projects, and preserved the original scalloped edges of desk nooks, arch ceilings and tile work. Rooms are furnished with midcentury chairs from the local vintage dealer Period Modern, low-lying beds and Mexico Lindo’s wood furniture fashioned out of old hacienda doors and shutters. The former parking lot is now a garden planted with jasmine, bamboo and succulents, and what was previously a playground has been leveled for pickleball courts. A large deck surrounds a modernist pool, big enough to accommodate 24 lounge chairs. Locals can purchase a membership to get regular access to the hotel’s outdoor spaces, as well as various indoor lounges, and day passes are available for $60 per person. Rooms from $250 a night, ranchmotel.com.

When Francisco Costa, the former creative director of Calvin Klein, visited the brand’s fashion archives three years ago, he recalls feeling a mix of sadness and optimism. “I thought, ‘Maybe there’s a way to activate those clothes and give them new life,’” says Costa, who helmed the brand’s women’s wear division from 2003 to 2016. With the blessing of Calvin Klein’s owner, PVH, he pulled various pieces from his tenure there, which he then sent to fashion photographers to use however they wanted, either as inspiration points or in the resulting images themselves. The culminating product, “555,” which takes its name from the numerological symbol for transition and change, is a box set of 21 booklets in various formats and sizes, each one by a different photographer. Working amid the constraints of the pandemic, photographers such as Diego Villarreal used themselves and close friends or family members — in his case, his sister Inés — as subjects, while Collier Schorr’s portraits of the siblings June and Violet Getty reveal an affectionate intimacy. Costa considers the project a way to give the clothes a second life, however temporarily. “555” will be available on Oct. 31; $295, rizzoliusa.com.


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Twenty playful new pieces from the ceramics company Canoa Lab will be exhibited at Trnk, a furniture showroom and design studio in TriBeCa, starting Oct. 26. The collection of vessels, lamps and side tables are rooted in the centuries-old Valencian tradition of alfarería de trampa (“trap pottery”), “a lighthearted concept of creating vessels meant to deceive,” explains Tariq Dixon, a co-founder of Trnk. One of the most recurring forms was a botijo trampa. In what was largely an agricultural region of Spain, farmers would carry clay bottles filled with water to the fields. The botijo trampa, a bottle with multiple concealed taps that spilled water instead of quenching thirst, became a kind of practical joke. Canoa Lab’s interpretation similarly features a number of unconventional apertures, handles and spouts, emphasizing form over purpose and artistry over function. The Canoa Lab co-founders Raquel Vidal and Pedro Paz craft each one-of-a-kind piece with custom glazes in their Valencia, Spain, studio. “The vessels evoke the past, but their departure from convention is distinctly their own,” says Dixon. “Deriva y Trampa” will be on view from Oct. 26 through Dec. 31; from $650, trnk-nyc.com.


Plan C is a playful Milan-based clothing line founded in 2018 by Carolina Castiglioni, whose parents established Marni. In April of this year, Castiglioni debuted the latest evolution of her brand with Ritratti, a collection that spans mediums with mohair sweaters and sequined pencil skirts, as well as anime-like resin sculptures handmade by artisans in Milan and rugs created in collaboration with Trame Paris. Castiglioni explains that she’s often inspired by pictures she has taken of her children and herself over the years. In previous collections, those images were digitized and used as prints on T-shirts and fleeces. “When I started working on the Ritratti project,” she says, “I knew I wanted to have a 3-D version of these patterns.” The sculptures are of her children and a friend, and abstract elements of the pieces are reflected on the clothes and rugs. (The sculpture of a girl in a swimsuit, for example, appears as a print on a sweater, while the sculpture’s color palette informs the design of one of the rugs.) Since the collection debuted in Milan, it has been popping up at different retailers around the world. Next stop: the 81 Potsdamer Strasse location of Berlin’s art world boutique Andreas Murkudis. Murkudis, who picked up Plan C from the start, says he appreciates that Ritratti represents a “multidisciplinary approach that comprises fashion, art and interior design.” Ritratti by Carolina Castiglioni will be on view in Berlin, with the clothing, rugs and small sculptures for sale from Oct. 20 through Nov. 4, andreasmurkudis.com.


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Though it’s been 101 years since La Playa, the mansion turned hotel in Carmel, Calif., became a full-service hotel — and even longer since the landscape painter Chris Jorgensen gifted it to his wife, the chocolate heiress Angela Ghirardelli — the property has maintained its eccentric charm and reputation as a haven for writers and artists. A recent renovation by the design firm Post Company drew from that history, as well as that of Carmel, the famed coastal town north of Big Sur. The property has 75 rooms, almost half of which have ocean views, while bathrooms are lined with colorful tile and stocked with Le Labo products. In the main lobby, cabinet pulls with tassels, a fireplace and boldly patterned sofas are meant to evoke the glamour of the hotel’s past eras. Its moody bar, Bud’s (named after Bud Allen, the hotel’s owner from the late ’60s through the early ’80s), has been redone with a wooden bar and booths upholstered in a dark maroon leather. A terrace connected to the bar offers views of Carmel Point and Carmel Bay. From $500 a night, laplayahotel.com.


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