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NEW YORK-With all of the legal hoopla swirling around Martha Stewart, it's easy to overlook what she and her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, have accomplished in terms of bringing a high level of taste and design to the masses.

But a current exhibition at the Art Directors Club in New York clearly illustrates the many achievements of the company. "Living Vision: An Inside Look at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia," shows how ideas evolve from editorial stories into the products the company manufactures. On display is a sampling of the company's vast output, including gadgets, dishware, bedding, paint and seasonal ornaments.

"People lose sight of what an amazing company this is, and the impact it has had on our culture," said Myrna Davis, executive director of the Art Directors Club. The membership of the club chose MSLO as the recipient of its 2002 Vision Award, and the exhibition is a result of that award. Davis explained that the award predated Stewart's legal troubles. "This happened before any of that, but I think that it gave us even more reason [to present the exhibition]," Davis said.

From its inception 12 years ago, MSLO had a clearly defined aesthetic that was first evident in the magazine, Martha Stewart Living, and later could be seen in its products. "The depth of talent and the commitment here and the love of good design and the ability to bring good design to millions of people is our strength," said Gael Towey, creative director of MSLO. "People might think a wire whisk is mundane, but we don't. We treat it with as much respect as the design of our magazine pages."

It soon became clear that manufacturing products was a natural offshoot of the magazine. "Some of our first products came out of how-to [articles]," Towey said. "We did a story on how to paint a house and we showed how to mix the colors yourself, and then we painted a room with all the different colors so you could see how they work together, and then it was a natural leap to create a paint brand."

Towey sees the Martha Stewart Everyday collection as one that's particularly representative of the company's ability to create products that communicate with customers. "Kmart gives us the ability to do what we do in a far-reaching way. We're not creating the `O' chair; we're creating pots and pans that can help you cook properly. We understand the customer and we understand exactly what you do with the pots, pans, gadgets and utensils, so we were able to create a collection that addresses those needs because we bring the same comprehensive sensibility that we apply to editorial product to the collection," Towey said.

"Living Vision: An Inside Look at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia" is on view at the Art Directors Club, 106 W. 29th St., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Sept. 26.
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Title Annotation:exhibition at the Art Directors Club
Comment:`LIVING' EXPOSES MARTHA FOR THE DIVA SHE REALLY IS.(exhibition at the Art Directors Club )
Author:Nicksin, Carole
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2003
Next Article:SIX IN THE CITY.

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