KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Feb 13 2012

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Nature’s (and man’s) bounty

Last Wednesday was a busy day, finding me first just outside the nation’s capitol in Georgetown, where I attended a press event for a new Charles Luck Stone showroom, and then—a missed return train later—in the basement of the Desiron Gallery in SoHo watching celebrity pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini preparing Valentine’s Day desserts on an Electrolux induction cooktop. It was a whirlwind of a day, but immensely rewarding.

The visit to Charles Luck Stone yielded a mix of interesting historic factoids, an eyeful of gorgeous exotic stone and talk about trends—think “cautious optimism” and all the ambivalence that the phrase entails. Modestly sized but well situated and designed to draw in passersby in Cady’s Alley (Georgetown’s design district), the showroom is the first of several planned metro design studios, which will include Baltimore, MD; Charlotte, NC; and eventually, New York City. Interestingly, it is housed in a historic building dating back to the 1800s that at one point served as a brewery. In fact, during its renovation, workers uncovered two beer bottles, which now sit on a shelf in the showroom.

Because of the historic nature of the building, little could be done to its exterior, which explains why its facade is adorned with two horse heads. (That’s company president Anderson McNeill in the photo.)

Horse head

Outside the building, an obelisk references a similar piece—albeit larger—at the company’s flagship center in Richmond, VA. At night, it lights up, which must be a sight to behold.


Inside, a far wall showcases a selection of the company’s stones, which are pretty spectacular when seen next to each other. There’s so much variation, so many colors and patterns, one can feel a little breathless when thinking about the originator of it all—Mother Nature. Trying to absorb all the little details and imagine what natural event caused them (and when), I was reminded of my family road trips to national parks out west, where this country’s history is so dramatically written in the landscape.


georgetown interior

The tables are topped with Virginia Mist granite. It was chosen for its resemblance to soapstone, the stone of preference for labs, which partly inspired the design of the studio.

Back in New York, I finished the day at the Electrolux and Frigidaire “I (Heart) Induction” event, which featured not only Iuzzini (below), but also chef Anne Burrell, host of Food Network’s Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and other shows. As attendees dined on their delectable dishes, both explained and demonstrated the benefits of induction technology: fast boiling, energy efficiency, safety.

Johnny Iuzzini
Electrolux’ induction offerings are not new, nor is Frigidaire’s Professional 30-in. freestanding induction range (shown). However, that the latter is affordably priced—$2,099; cooktops begin at $1,449—makes the advantages of the technology more accessible to more consumers. All that’s left is education, which the event and a giveaway are designed to do. Check out the latter here.

Need a refresher on induction? Check out this article on its ups and downs and this piece on cookware.

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