Jewelry designer Monique Péan shares a window into the geologic formations, cosmic artifacts, and natural sciences that inspired her latest series, Cosma 67°48”x 23°68”, which showcases the Muonionalusta—an ancient protoplanet predating the earth itself.
When did you first encounter the Muonionalusta meteorite and become interested in it?
During my travels in Scandinavia, and I’ve been collecting these specimens since. As one of the solar system’s oldest objects, Muonionalusta meteorite slices are approximately 4.6 billion years old, predating the formation of the Earth. My most recent series traces the path from its protoplanetary source in orbit to its final impact site, on the remote banks of the Muonio river in northern Sweden and Finland.
What specifically intrigued me about the material was its otherworldly geometric etching—known as the Widmanstätten pattern—which can be seen when the specimen is dissected. To understand more about these meteorites, I work with scientists to identify and study the provenance of each specimen, and learned that the octahedrite relief is the result of a process called “slow cooling,” in which the meteorite’s initially molten composition of ferrous, nickel, and kamacite crystallizes over millions of years, as the rock careens through outer space. It’s a process that cannot be replicated in a laboratory, highlighting the significance and authenticity of these ancient relics found in our universe.
What’s your design process? Where does your research into materials begin?
Mostly in my sketchbook before I find a way to transcribe my charcoals and watercolors into a physical form. I’m drawn to rare prehistoric and sustainable materials that transport us back in time, and I collaborate with artisans and geologists to acquire sustainable materials according to fair-trade guidelines. In addition to the economic support that these relationships provide to the artisans, there’s also the benefit that comes from creating pieces that don’t have the significant ecological impact of traditional fine jewelry and objects.
Travel plays a significant part in my research, too. Over the years, I’ve cultivated relationships with local artisans in the United States, Guatemala, Peru, the Arctic Circle, Norway, and French Polynesia, among other regions. Most recently, on a trip to Chile and Easter Island, I discovered naturally formed Chilean cosmic obsidian, and right now I’m working with indigenous Rapa Nui artisans to hand-carve the material, which is volcanic glass that has been formed from quickly cooled lava flow.
Your work takes the unfathomably large—geology, the cosmos, and outer space—and brings it down to an intimate scale. How do the two relate in your mind?
I’m inspired by the intersection of materiality, temporality, and space, and have been working with materials like fossilized dinosaur bone, fossilized walrus ivory, and meteorites since I started my studio practice over a decade ago. I was originally drawn to these materials by their expressive, naturally formed patterns, hues, and reliefs—as well as the way in which they challenge our circadian perception of time, preserving millions or billions of years in their mineral structures and compositions.
The materials I work with capture eons of geologic history—and in the case of meteorites, cosmogenic history—by presenting an imprint of an intangible past. I like to believe my handcrafted pieces preserve these natural wonders in works of art that can be passed down through generations, parallel to how they have been preserved in remote regions of our planet.
While fashion brands often design their garments based on fleeting trends, twin brothers and athletes Nick and Steve TidVollebak, with a more certain future in mind: one that involves environmental threats and the continued exploration of space, an
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2014 may have been the year of the booty, but it took me six cold and less-than-sterile more (plus 2020’s lockdown) to get mine into the warm seat of a Toto Washlet C200, my top pick in this rotund—or rather, well-rounded—assortment of bidet toilet-seat attachments—and love-letter the for
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Before fast fashion became the norm, children typically learned how to make their own clothes, often from their parents Almaborealis, a line of D.I.Y. sewing kits that teach kids the value of creating garments that last.
A Digital Museum Tells Time-Honored Stories of the Indian Subcontinent Through Everyday Objects and Family Heirlooms
A gold dial Titan quartz wristwatch with a worn-out brown leather strap. A 32-caliber Colt pistol. A dekchi, or brass cooking pot for cooking the traditional rice dish biryani. A signed letter from Mother Teresa. An Imperial Bank of India checkbook. These are but five items in the collection ofMuseum of Material Memory, an online repository of objects from across the Indian subcontinent, dating from or before the 1970s, including books,
Those who have come to embrace CBD—short for cannabidiol, a chemical abundant in the cannabis plant that, unlike its sibEpidiolex, to treat rare seizure disorders; the majority of scientific studies on the chemical have been conducted on animals.) T$16 billion by 2025, fueled by users who report relief from afflictions including anxiety, depression, and stress. So it seems only natural
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A Fashion Designer Transforms Deadstock Textiles and Upcycled Sleeping Bags Into Wearable Life-Saving Shelters
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The archeologist-turned-goldsmith Loren Teetelli spent more than 100 hours hand-forging a single 22-karat gold cuff for Loren Nicole, in 2016. Jean Prounis is another millennial who’s mastered the time-honored craft of goldsmithing. The New York–based designer begins her pro
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“I don’t just look at stones. I need to touch them, and feel the life inside them,” says Lucia Silvestri, who sources geBulgari and serves as its creative director. “There’s sensuality in the energy of gems born in the depths of the earth.” Such v most exquisite pieces designed by the Roman jeweler to date. (Some 200 other items will be added to the collection later
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A New Film Highlights Fashion Designer Margaret Howell’s Admiration for Understated Japanese Objects and Materials
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Yolande Batteau’s Latest Body of Work Reflects a Passionate Personal Investigation of Materials and Self
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Since ancient times, people have looked to the sun, moon, and stars to create a sense of rhythm and order in their livesLittle Lange 1 Moon Phase watch elevates the poetic movement with a copper-flecked, midnight-blue silver dial that shimmers like the night sky, a
Giancarlo Valle, a celebrated New York–based interiors and furniture designer with an artful, worldly eye informed by hiPlateau table lamp, created with self-taught Brooklyn ceramicist Natalie Weinberger, leans into that sensibility with a more craft-centere
The Proustian madeleine cookie is an oft-cited example of how our memories are intertwined with the senses. But just as Worn Stories, the new Netflix docuseries based on artist and writer Emily Spivack’s New York Times–bestselling book.
Vietnamese-American Stylist Beverly Nguyen Pays Tribute to Her Family and Friends With a New Pop-Up Shop
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When a loved one passes, the typical death care options are both limited and harmful to the planet. Conventional burial Recompose, an NOR funeral home located in a Seattle suburb and designed by local architectural firm Olson Kundig (whose principalEp. 37 of our Time Sensitive podcast). Last year, two other NOR companies were formed in the region, signaling that the practice isn’t a pipe dream, but a r
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Because of its ubiquity, it’s tempting to describe Emeco’s iconic Navy Chair, designed in 1944, as basic. But that would
As the vaccine rollout continues, previously closed galleries and museums have, thankfully, continued to steadily reopenWhen Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan,” on view through July 11, presents an ode to the tradition of Japanese architecture and handcraft. On display are an atōryō. The collection of beautiful saws, chisels, and planes demonstrate the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Japanese joiner
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East Fork imbues traditional clay tableware with a sense of delight, resulting in pieces that are instantly recognizable. The commonth)—while its expansion into the lifestyle realm, with online recipes and carefully culled pantry items, such as black gar Your products often immediately sell out. A few months ago, an article in the New York Post called your passionate fans the “new potheads.” What makes East Fork’s pieces so covetable?
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Imagine shopping a trove of objects that are at once elegant and ethically made—no post-purchase consumer guilt necessarGoodee, an online marketplace of homewares and clothing that make a positive impact on people and the planet. Founded by Montrundulating Pakurigo baskets handwoven by artisans in Ghana from locally sourced vetiver grass, vegan seaweed soap that cleverly uses coriander seeds and peppercorns as exfoliants, and the sought-after Goodee Hoodie, recently released in three new colors (dusty rose, Egyptian blue, and alabaster) and made from Egyptian cotton by the Kotn. There’s also a handsome German Douglas pine daybed from Danish B Corp Skagerak, topped with Kvadrat upholstery, and a Japanese windmill palm fiber “corner brush” designed to dust the undustable. Feel like decking the halls? Try these multihued Jipi Baubles tree ornaments, handmade from Jipijapa palm tree leaves by Colombian artisans in the Andes. For those on our gift lists, including the
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We’re living at work, working at home, and, on good days, working out somewhere between, in the same space every day. ItSupernatural, offers precisely that in the form of a VR exercise class. The next-level experience offers a range of cardio, upper-bo
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Bicycling has seen a welcome boom in recent months, as the pandemic has made restless city dwellers wary of both public transportation and gyms, and in nAngell, designed by Ora-Ïto and currently available for pre-order, may be the most stylish and affordable e-bike option we’ve inflatable prototype) can tend to look a bit goofy, the Mate City eBike combines performance and style for the more serious cyclist seeking a longer-term investment. The Danish company also pthis high-performance model with fashion brand Moncler). If neither space nor budget are an issue, look to the Dutch bike-maker VanMoof’s S3, a top-of-the-line offering that boasts a near-silent electric mechanism and a distinctive frame that conceals the batt
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People have been bemoaning the decline of penmanship since the earliest days of typewriters, the once-newfangled, speedynote card and stationery sets from the Canadian startup Maurèle add an artful, personal touch to the analog communiqué, with a range of customizable designs and distinctive typefaces
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Textile artist Sasha Duerr centers her work around plant-based dyes with the curiosity of a dedicated alchemist, growingNatural Palettes: Inspiration from Plant-Based Color (Princeton Architectural Press), presents an antidote to the exacting industry-standard Pantone swatch—one that’s defin
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Seed pots, much like baking staples such as yeast and flour, have been in higher demand in quarantine times, as many peohelpful little molds from Manufactum make the task a bit smoother and more consistent. The two-part presses are made from solid-waxed beechwood, and are as
After a string of announcements from the organizers of Milan’s Salone del Mobile that the largest annual event for the dJamie Wolfond, who made a name early in his career for his pleasing, utilitarian designs as the founder of Good Thing, chooses to see
Perhaps your new WFH commute includes spending more time in the garage or backyard; maybe your temporary “workspace” is Sasawashi’s room shoes, available from one of our all-time favorite shops in New York City, Nalata Nalata, are made from a soft, natural mix of paper and plant fibers that are a Platonic balance of comfort and durability. ForBuilding Block just launched a fancy upgrade to the standard terry-cloth house slipper, updated in smooth leather, and roomy enough that you won’t need to fuss over mixing up your left foot from your right.velvet Venetian slippers from Le Monde Beryl (pictured), inspired by the footwear worn by gondoliers. Available in mule, slipper, and heeled variations, they might
As gym closures continue (that is to say, most everywhere), the age of home fitness has arrived, and with it, a spate of online classes to match. Popular fitness studios like Sky Ting and Modo Yoga have recently transitioned to hosting live sessions online (as has Ashtanga yoga teacher Eddie Stern, who was just a guest on our At a Distance podcast), while apps such as Nike Training Club are temporarily offering free access. We’re also fans of the newsletter TheWorkout.Today, which sends a fresh routine to your inbox each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, along with a self-reflection exercise toGorilla Mat, and some good ol’ motivation.
For a few weeks now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been recommending that Americans wear clot
The prospect of starting a home garden might conjure some Thoreauvian notion of going “back to the land” or returning tothe Edn smart garden; another we recommend—an especially aesthetically pleasing option—is the SproutsIO system. There’s also a user-friendly mobile app for this new reality: Made by a team of British developers, Garden Plan Pro offers an update to the classic Farmers’ Almanac, with a detailed glossary of plants and flowers along with their peak seasonal ranges and the ideal plantings to pair tSimCity rolled into one. Siri, let’s get gardening.
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So you’ve made it through your Netflix queue while scrolling through your Instagram feed, wondering why you spent all thTiger King—it’s probably time to step away from the screen (any of them). May we suggest: an idle afternoon with a jigsaw puzzle, social media fixation on this purely analog activity has been building for some time, embraced for its slow and methodical meditative nature
While you may find yourself tempted to hoard toilet paper, we hope that, instead of overcompensating, you’ve picked up just enough to get you through the coming weeks. Consider this fact to put the temporary panic-induced shortages into perspective: MWho Gives a Crap, a cheekily named BCorp on a serious mission to improve the lives of the 2.3 billion people without access to a toilet
Alessia Resta, founder of the blog and online shop Apartment Botanist, is a proudly self-professed “plant parent,” who shares her Manhattan apartment with her boyfriend, two dogs, and more
From Eileen Gray and Frank Lloyd Wright to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Frank Gehry, there’s a long history of famous arArchitectmade sells a range of such objects by some of the country’s most celebrated architects and designers. These include a range objets by more contemporary talents, including wooden animal figurines by Bjarke Ingels (a panda) and Nikolaj Klitgaard (an owl). The collection of sculptural items are imminently giftable and ageless, made
Flying long distances does a number on our bodies—something that wellness expert Snow Shimazu, founder of the holistic tAir Beautiful, knows all too well. We can credit the grogginess and exhaustion of jet lag to the disruption of our circadian rhythms,Four Seasons New York Downtown spa) works with clients to provide a range of speciality massage and lymphatic cleansing services, but there are also many
Americans spend an average of more than four hours a day on their smartphones—and it’s hardly innocent fun. A new study finds that smartphone addiction can have the same effect on the brain as drug addiction, reducing gray matter and deliv
Artists, chefs, and scientists have long found creative inspiration in mushrooms, and for a variety of reasons. Prized fAdam Fuss—who creates photograms by placing spores on light-sensitive paper and letting them bloom in contact to create an abstra“Mushrooms: The Art, Design, and Future of Fungi,” organized by Francesca Gavin, examines the widespread influence of the humble organism, featuring the work of 40 artistMushroom Book of recipes and observations, artworks by Cy Twombly, and a series of events including a pop-up dinner by chef Skye Gyng
Designer Juliana Huang spent much of her childhood in Taiwan, before moving to Los Angeles after high school. Living halThe Wax Apple—affectionately named after her favorite fruit native to Taiwan—she’s able to share a little piece of her culture with a