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NYC Holiday Pop-Ups

Top temporary shops in the city this season

by Maggie Roush Mead in Design on 06 December 2012

Once again, the now-ubiquitous breed of seasonal retailer—the holiday pop-up shop—has taken up residence in several crannies throughout New York City. Of course, the shops are welcome tenants, for there's no better place to stumble on the perfect gift than their cleverly curated corners. Below are three unique pop-ups that will be open for the duration of the season. Products from each are also available for purchase online.

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Fair American

Where can you spend hours sipping gourmet espresso with friends and, on your way out, pick up a Kiel Mead driftwood hook, a Sara Ebert contour lamp or a copy of the design and culture digest Outpost Journal? Between now and 15 January 2013, the answer is Fair Folks Café, the Soho coffee shop and design store/salon recently opened by Aurora and Anthony Mazzei—the married couple behind the whimsical design brand Fair Folks and a Goat.

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For the holidays, Fair Folks Café is hosting Fair American, an American Design Club (AmDC) pop-up shop that features member-made products, all of which are also available at the group's web store. The eclectic assortment includes paint-dipped stainless steel servers by Ladies & Gentlemen, playful walnut rockets by Pat Kim (also in the CH Gift Guide), faunal magnets and key racks by Steph Mantis and cast iron origami bowls by AKMD, among many other pieces. The shop's display on a simple white pegboard evokes the same minimalist vibe as the AmDC Web store, a presentation that, Aurora says, "almost references online shopping." The AmDC products are not the only design pieces for sale at Fair Folks Café. The café's wall art and furniture—yes, the chairs in which patrons sit—is all available for purchase. "Our aim here is to make retail a little bit more of a discovery for customers," she says.

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Core77 Designer Gift Guide and Pop-Up

If you've got a persnickety designer on your list—the one who can sniff out a derivative, cheaply-made object in a pile of unopened gifts—then you'll definitely want to hit the Core77 Designer Gift Guide and Pop-Up, open now through 24 December at NYC's Blu Dot and Core77's Portland brick and mortar retail store Hand Eye Supply.

While many pop-ups sell design objects, this one is all about buying for the designer, the maker, or any other creative, industrious individual. Core77's Glenn Jackson Taylor, who curated the shop, sees the collection as a sort of wish list that designers could send to their parents or friends. All the objects are well made, and many possess a notable quirkiness, but what stands out about the items is their utility. Each selection is "a thing—it's not a textile or decorative item," Taylor says. "They're all very much functional design objects, so I think that makes us different from other holiday pop-ups."

Core77 organized the objects into seven playful designer phenotypes representing the range of attitudes and behaviors common among designers. Large caricatures of the phenotypes, by Core77 collaborator Lunchbreath, are on display at the pop-up next to the objects that define them.

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For instance, for the detail-oriented Designer Dandy, there are top quality fountain pens by the storied German company Kaweko and self-tying Portland Craftsman Bow Ties made from heavy workman fabric by Hand-Eye Supply and PINO. In contrast, the Homebound Hobbit, who prefers to innovate from his arm chair, may appreciate the relaxed ambiance of Snarkitecture's Cast Light or Kyouei Design's Endless Rain record. There are even must-haves for the Off the Grid creative, chiefly Critter and Guitari's Kalaidoloop, which allows for easy collecting and mixing of sounds from the natural world.

Don't forget the King of the Kitchen, the Workshop Workhorse, the Studio Snob, and the Traveling (Wo)man on your list. "These are not the definitive seven," Taylor points out. "These are just the seven we've identified. There's more."

All the products in the shop are also available for purchase at the Core77 website.

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Krochet Kids intl.

Above Rudy's Barbershop in Manhattan is a retail space featuring an array of designer and handmade products from the (mostly West Coast) cities that Rudy's other locations call home. From now until 15 December 2012, the shop, which is owned by the people behind Rudy's and the neighboring Ace Hotel, is hosting a pop up sale by Krochet Kids intl. (KKi), featuring hats, scarves, and bowties hand crocheted by women in impoverished regions of Northern Uganda and Peru.

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A longtime CH favorite, the stylish hats are part of the venture set forth by CEO Kohl Crecelius, who started KKi with his brother and two best friends when they themselves got hooked on crocheting their ski and snowboarding hats in high school. Since turning the small business into a community development project and gaining nonprofit status in 2008, they've grown steadily while maintaining their commitment to drawing attention to the personal nature of each transaction. At the holiday pop-up, shoppers can snatch up hats, each with a tag signed by the woman who made it. Recipients can then go online to KKi's website and read more about the artisan and send a special thank-you note.

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The selection represents KKi's signature retro-style, handmade aesthetic. "A good majority of the product we make in Uganda is based on the hats we made in early high school," Crecelius says. "This is because it is what we knew, and what we could teach the women there initially. Except they are 100 times better at crocheting than we ever were." In addition to the NYC sale, KKi sells at Rudy's shops around the country and online.

Images of Fair American and Core77 Designer Pop-Up by Maggie Roush Mead. Krochet Kids images courtesy of Krochet Kids.

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