I’m a firm believer in decorating with gorgeous coffee table books, no matter the room (bathroom included). I spied this one while searching for a tome that might complement the irreverent, oddball spirit I’m going for in our lounge space. (For reference, hanging above the fireplace is a classic black-and-white photo of a dog—apres ski in Sun Valley, Idaho—sitting in a chair and enjoying a hotdog and a burger.) Icons By Oscar ($35, Terra Publishing) spotlights the work of photographer Oscar Abolafia, who is known for capturing the likes of Hollywood’s most famous celebrities in the 1960s,’70s, and ’80s, including Elvis Presley, Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Cher, and Dolly Parton. The book features 150 of Abolafia’s iconic images, with a few of his musings on snapping such important figures as Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor. Plus, who doesn’t need a book whose cover is a shot of Jack Nicholson smoking a cigar? Lauren Mang, Digital Editor
Like just about all of us, I am getting hit with the longing-to-travel bug pretty hard right now. And with each European museum and gallery opening I see splashed across social media, my FOMO grows. But one exhibition has caught my eye in particular. Opened on July 10 at Architektur Galerie Berlin—the space known for handing over the keys to architecture and design firms from around the globe—MVRDV Haus Berlin is an ode to the Germany-based work of Netherlands architecture firm MVRDV. In this six-week show, which closes August 22, the studio presents its entire “German oeuvre” for the first time, which consists of more than 50 completed projects and designs. In addition, MVRDV transformed the gallery into a “working office” that gives visitors a live view of the studio’s work on current projects. A nod to the firm’s brightly colorblocked office (and use of color in general), the gallery is decked out in a juicy tangerine orange—from the furniture, including a geometric stacked-shape bench/sculpture combo, to the ’70s-inspired carpeting. While I won’t be making it across the Atlantic in time to see the show in person, I can at least ogle images via gallery owner Ulrich Müeller’s Instagram account: @ulrichmuellerberlin. Rachel Gallaher, Deputy Editor
The Swirl Collection by Tom Dixon
For as long as I can remember, I have had a quirky fascination with how everyday items are made. It’s as if witnessing the process of manufacturing something like aluminum foil actually makes me appreciate it more. Thus I couldn’t help but fall head-over-heels for British designer Tom Dixon’s Swirl, a collection of vases, candle holders, wall hooks, and bookends created by repurposing the dust collected after cutting marble and mixing it with pigment and resin. Initially formed into blocks, the marbled substance has the weight of stone and is sawn, sliced, and turned on a lathe to create these stunning pieces. Always forward-thinking, Dixon has recently announced the addition of Swirl candles to the line. Available in September, these vessels are designed to live on after the candle has been spent, intended to be repurposed as vases, trinket-holders, storage, and more. The candle containers are so stunning they can easily stand alone, worthy of display as a feature in any space. Meghan Burger, Events Director
The Best Things We Saw is a monthly roundup of places, spaces, and things that stopped GRAY staffers in their tracks. Herewith, our picks for the best of the best in July.