Modern design: A tray, a Color Box, and a forbidden photo

In the middle of a snow squall trying hard to be a blizzard, I visited a shop full of imaginative designer housewares, looking for a serving tray we needed for a party the next day. 

Sleek options lay on an impeccable table, a tableau of taste. The salesperson was crisply courteous, if uptight, about me touching some of the lacquer-like models with my fingers. (I ask you, who is not going to lift a tray she is thinking of buying?)

A young man and woman entered, drifting, murmuring to one another in admiring, respectful tones, the three of us the only shoppers in the store, and likely the only ones all afternoon.

While the associate assisted me, the young woman aimed her iPhone at a display and began snapping. Suddenly the associate became a stern scold: "THIS", she pronounced, "is PRIVATE space. You cannot take photographs. Stop that NOW." 

The abashed browser apologized, but, I noticed, merely slipped the phone into her pocket.

I wondered what would have happened if the she had first asked permission, as I would if I had wished to contact Le Duc to ask which tray he preferred.

Young people, whose lives twine through three or four social media simultaneously, have little sense of such prohibitions. Can stores can hold their iPhone shots at bay? There must be a hundred change-room selfies taken by the minute.

Anyway, here is a similar tray, in bamboo with a sheer rubber finish (which I can't really feel) that makes it non-skid so that flat-bottomed glasses stay put; price, about $35.
The store carries the functional, serenely satisfying products of Normann-Copenhagen. Shown, the piquant wisk. That little ring smooths it down into a stick; price, $17, and available in a symphony of colours—an ideal hostess gift.

So you know how it is: pop in for a reasonable purchase, and get swept away by a more costly temptation. I did not buy, but I'm fighting hard:

This is N-C's Color Box, a modular stackable, folded-steel storage unit. Catnip to an organizer-freak like me, and to those who mean business about conquering those scattered files or National Geographics. It hangs it on a wall (using your own screws and plugs; this is not Ikea, lady), stacks on the floor, or sits on a shelf. A lone Box looks mysteriously terrific sitting under a chair.

At $100 per, I cannot afford many, which is its own way of simplifying. 

Who but stylists would fill a Box with perfectly coordinated blank books? I'd use inexpensive office-supply folders to hold documents, and stow magazines or books without obsessing about a spine's colour.



une femme said…
I've always assumed that stores have a "no photography" policy, and have asked first. I've only ever had one store say no. So did you find a tray?
Madame Là-bas said…
I always ask if I can take a photo inside a shop . Seldom am I refused. I really like the coloured boxes
for organizing.
Anonymous said…
I've noticed some shops with exclusive one off design items can be touchy about photos . Perhaps to try prevent copying ?
Wendy in York
LauraH said…
Love that whisk. I'm gradually replacing my old worn kitchen tools with more colourful and lighter weight items. And I always ask before I snap, some don't like it and why annoy where you may want to buy later.
Duchesse said…
une femme: Yes, I bought one identical to the tray shown.

Mme: The boxes have real presence, yet are quiet; I would like them. (They are not intended for food service though.)

Wendy: Good point. (Though I easily found the product photos online.) Maybe it is to discourage checking an item in the store and then comparison-shopping? Or copying the "look" of a store if one is a competing merchant?
Duchesse said…
LarH: I ask too, and explain about the blog. It's really fun to replace old kitchen items.
MJ said…
I clicked through on the boxes thinking that I might be willing to pay $100 for what you showed - but it looks like they're $100 *each*. Yikes.
Rita said…
How on earth do you pick up a tray that has no handles?
Duchesse said…
MJ: Did you see that the second last line of the post says, "At $100 per, I cannot afford many..."?

Rita: You place your hands at either side, thumbs on top, fingers beneath, just as you would pick up a flat platter (and this is a tray to use like a platter. It is not intended for wet food). I use it for a bar setup of champagne glasses.
I don't always ask permission to take photos on my IPhone especially if the clerks are busy helping customers. Your tray looks very versatile and bamboo is really a strong wood so it should serve you well.
Kitchen and home decor shops are so inspiring...often I go just to look!
Mardel said…
I wonder if it is a generational thing? I always assume I should ask but not everyone does.

Love the look of those boxes.

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