Is there anythign more frustrating than shopping for gifts and being faced with the same old crap everywhere you turn? A few months ago, the folks at the GAP began addressing this problem by approaching Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten of Cool Hunting to fill their Fifth Avenue Concept Shop with Holiday Gifts. The pair quickly got to work squeezing about six months of work into four weeks and wound up with a collection of items that perfectly encapsulates their website's endless quest for the unusual, the intriguing and the just plain cool.
Rubin, Orensten and their editorial team's assortment ranges from brands you'll recognize like OXO, Moscot and Jonathan Adler, who made special limited edition merchandise for the shop, to obscure artisans and even friends and family. Special focus was given to local sources, and there are an abundance of items under $100, and quite a few under $50.
Orensten walked us through the store last week as the finishing touches were being applied just before their opening party. There are tons of items to browse from the practical and utilitarian like Jawbone's hot new Jambone speaker in an exclusive Cool Hunting green to specially commissioned flights of fancy like working skateboards completely covered in kimono fabrics by Tokyo's Zillion ($650-$750). There are toiletries, jewelry, accessories, food items, home items, toys for kids and even some for pets. Is it a random assortment? In a sense, but as in any good store, the merchandise is tied together with its collective appeal and Cool Hunting's dedication to innovative design, artisan craftsmanship, social and environmental consciousness.
Of course, they didn't just ship a bunch of stuff to the Gap and stack them on the shelves. ByKenyan was engaged to transform the white space of the shop into something of a general store with reclaimed wood from upstate barns, wall paintings by Evolving Image and an Ian Hundley quilt based on a map of the city ($2,500). Even the elaborate chandeliers are available for purchase.
There are too may items to recount, but our personal favorites included a limited edition Cool Hunting collaboration with the newly rejuvenated Swiss watchmaker Marvin, a charming avocado salt & pepper shaker for $40 from Daina Platais Ceramics, Tech Gloves from Freehands ($18-$80) with thumb and index fingers that peel back so you can use your iPhone without removing them, a Special Edition Marker Set ($500) from artist Tom Sachs and Krink, a build-it-yourself Bamboo Bike Studio Kit for $496, a limited edition Mast Brothers chocolate bar ($10), a special edition wool cycling cap from Outlier ($90) and so much more.
In addition, Gap and Cool Hunting will be hosting a series of events throughout the season to spotlight special designers and products. The schedule of events will be available on Gap's Facebook Fan Page. The Cool Hunting shop will be open every day (except Christmas) through Sunday, January 2nd, but we are guessing that much of the limited edition merchandise will be sold out well before then, so don't dawdle. So far this is one of our favorite things to hit Gap's Concept Space in quite some time. Maybe if we are very, very good it will become a regular seasonal event.
GAP X Cool Hunting Holiday Pop-Up Shop through January 2nd, 2011, 680 Fifth Avenue between 53rd & 54th Streets, Midtown
Cool Hunting (Official Site)
After the jump, a few more of our favorite items: