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Eavesdrop Issue 02_02.02.2005
The latest dirt from our very own gossip columnist, Aric Chen.

It seems that Ross Lovegrove has learned that no good deed goes unpunished at least in cases where national pride is involved. We happened to find out that, when the recent tsunamis hit Phuket in Thailand, the well-known British designer and his architect wife, Miska Miller, were staying at the island's plush Amanpuri resort. Left physically unscathed, they sprang into action, helping to raise money from other guests for the relief effort. However, other attempts at providing assistance were less successful. While none of the parties directly involved could be reached for comment, we're told that Lovegrove also contacted some of the manufacturers he designs for, including Vitra, and secured pledges of furniture to help refurbish local schools. However, the Thai government refused the offers. They didn't want to be considered a third world country in the eyes of the world,, a friend of the couple reports. They said, Offer the stuff to Sri Lanka, we can take care of ourselves.'' That's odd, considering that, in the tsunami's aftermath, the Thai government has been widely accused of taking better care of tourists than its own people.

Leave it to Herzog & de Meuron to tackle the froufrou world of fragrances and come out with a conceptual meditation. The Swiss master architects have released a limited edition, unisex perfume that includes tangs of, among other things, patchouli, cinnamon, and Rhine water, dog, and shit. We want to destabilize our prejudices about smells, just like we try to do with our architecture,, Jacques Herzog told us when we met him for breakfast at some ungodly hour and were feeling a bit destabilized ourselves. Named after Rotterdam, where it's being debuted in conjunction with the firm's current retrospective at the Netherlands Architecture Institute, the fragrance is the first in a planned series that will each take after a different city, with an emphasis on the role scents play in memory and perceptions of space. We shudder to think what our beloved New York might inspire, though we sure have enough buildings that truly stink.

Tom Dixon has done it. So has Marc Newson. Now, in time for Valentine's Day, add Matali Crasset to the list of star designers who have had their hand at, um, male anatomical substitutes. We were caught off guard when we visited Crasset's Paris studio several months ago and first saw renderings of the (non-motorized) red silicone dohickey she created for the Paris retailer Point G. With blobby contours, and the expected proportions, it's meant to double as a bedside sculptural object for those who know what they want and aren't ashamed to show it.

Let us first say that we did not solicit this information, and we apologize for passing it on, so to speak. But which namesake partner of a prominent three-surname firm has been grossing out his employees with his out-of-control flatulence problem? It's as if the long hours and meager salaries weren't cruel enough. Every time we spot him coming,, one staffer reports, practically dry heaving, we try to get away as fast as we can..


Aric Chen