Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tim Lee at NEOTERIC gallery , Main Street Amaganset, East Hampton

my brother Tim Lee at Neoteric Gallery, Main Street Amagansett, NY 11937 (CLICK THIS LINK)

Sinotique Merges Ancient and Modern at Hampton Art Fair

New York’s popular Asian antique art and design showroom Sinotique rounded off a spectacularly successful summer season this year with a stunning display at Dallas Boesendahl’s Hamptons exhibition; the bustling “Bridgehampton Antiques and Design Fair." In its sixteenth appearance at this prestigious event - which attracts designers and buyers from all over the city and beyond - Sinotique continued to impress collectors and browsers with its latest offering of Asian classic and modern designs, set off to beautiful effect in the town’s historic Community House. Owner Jan Lee managed to induce the usual feelings of envy and admiration with his merging of antique discoveries and objects from his own beautifully hand-sculpted designs (all of which are derived from antique bamboo and hardwood from sustainable resources). The phrase sophisticated rustic is regularly applied to the collection of furniture and art he exhibits to great effect in his Brooklyn showroom. Jan’s latest exhibit effortlessly managed to infuse traditional and modern elements to create an updated space which allowed East Hampton artist Audrey Lee’s stunning Blue Orb painting to share viewing with a similarly curved and beautifully textured ammonite fossil from the Jurassic period.
Lee’s work was inspired by the ancient Chinese circular symbol Bi (pronounced bee) which symbolises the heavens and therefore made an appropriate backdrop for an intricate handmade Chinese wire lantern and a pair of erect early 20th century worn Elmwood Chinese spindle back chairs. The chairs balanced the presence of a majestic console table in rich antique bamboo veneer, designed by Jan himself and taking into account modern influences.
The relevance to the present – in the form of that week’s Bridgehampton Classic Horse Show - was emphasized with the appearance of the beautifully smooth cast aluminium horse saddle brackets adorning one upper wall of the exhibit. Jan’s design credentials are fantastic, a fact exemplified when one of the first artifacts to be sold at the Hampton’s exhibit was his decorative and highly textured gold wall panels. Everyone who visited agreed these were beautifully magnified, and to great effect in Brooklyn artist Kanik Chung’s eye-catching mirrored disc wall sculptures. Sinotique’s display at the Bridgehampton Antiques & Design Fair was only one of 25 impressive exhibits representing various areas of the globe with their respective design styles and in selected mediums from ceramics to silver and fabric to oil paint. It’s an exhibition which grows with each passing year and one in which Sinotique will always play a part. Meanwhile, Jan continues his labor of love in his New York showroom, where he is happy to offer a free consultation and design on selected commissions – whether residential or commercial. All showroom visits are by appointment and can be made by contacting Jan via email ( or by calling him directly on (917)-710-7503. To chat with Jan on a more informal basis, look out for further exhibits Sinotique will be involved in within the New York area and beyond in the very near future.

Sinotique Makes a Hamptons Summer Appearance

Sinotique made an appearance in the Hamptons this month, exhibiting with the Bridgehampton Antiques and Design Fair in Bridgehampton, New York at the historic Community House. The show was produced by antiques dealer extraordinaire Dallas Boesendahl. After sixteen years of participating with the venue, Sinotique continues to introduce fresh, modern design work.
The Bridgehampton Antiques & Design Fair presents 25 Exceptional Antique Dealers from the United States and Europe, offering an intriguing selection of antiques, mid-century modern, Asian, vintage couture, folk art, African, garden and architectural elements, Americana, silver, fine art, ceramics, lighting, jewelry, Art Deco, and unusual furniture and decorative objects from antiquity to the present day.
The Bridgehampton Community House shows have become a favorite shopping destination for many leading decorators, design firms, and celebrated personalities.
Among the world-renowned interior designers who visited the show were Juan Montoya, Tom Scheerer, and Mariette Himes Gomez.
In September of 2003, Juan Montoya featured Sinotique in Architectural Digest Magazine as a "discovery" source for Montoya’s firm. Mr. Montoya spent a few moments catching up with Sinotique owner Jan Lee while at the show. Kathy Hilton was in attendance with her husband Rick and son Barron, shopping for fashion accessories from T.J. Antorino, among others. For quite a while, the venue has attracted not only elite designers, but also philanthropists and captains of industry who make the Hamptons their home. Whitney Museum of American Art board member Joanne Cassullo and philanthropist Beth Rudin DeWoody were also spotted in attendance.
Sinotique presented an array of furniture made from antique Chinese bamboo, including a console that proved to be very popular because of its reference to 20th century modern design. Taking center stage in the Sinotique booth was the work of Brooklyn artist Kanik Chung whose mirrored disc wall sculptures seemed to float across the booth in a grouping of various sizes. A pair of decorative and highly textured gold wall panels, designed by Sinotique owner Jan Lee, were the first to be snapped up early in the show.
Gallery owners Lloyd and Barbara Macklowe visited the show, as well as Greenwich, Connecticut boutique owner Samantha Knapp. Sonja Caproni, former President of accessories and home at Donna Karan, perused the 25 booths at the show on the lookout for treasures large and small. All play and no work proved not to be the case for many in the creative industry. Although, exploring and discovering beautiful new pieces can't really be considered work, can it? Sinotique will be at the Community House again in August from the 23rd to the 25th. Please contact Sinotique to attend the invitation only preview party on Thursday, August 23rd.

Furnishing a Penthouse in a Platinum LEED Certified building

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
With nearly 9 billion square feet of building space participating in the suite of rating systems and 1.6 million feet certifying per day around the world, LEED is transforming the way built environments are designed, constructed, and operated – from individual buildings and homes, to entire neighborhoods and communities. Comprehensive and flexible, LEED works throughout a building's life cycle.
LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Detail of semicircular buffet consoles clad in antique bamboo veneer by Sinotique collaborating with Robert Shapiro Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, the LEED rating systems are developed through an open, consensus-based process led by LEED committees. The next update of the LEED rating system, coined LEED 2012, is the next step in the continuous improvement process and ongoing development cycle of LEED. – U.S. Green Building Council. All material selections and construction techniques are documented. Energy performance is tested to represent a consensus standard by third party experts. Also, the system provides a comprehensive evaluation of the building process from design phases through homeowner possession using consistent grading scale regardless of location. By recognizing sustainable design, construction and operations, LEED helps homebuilders differentiate their homes using a recognized national brand. Buyers can readily identify quality green homes by selecting LEED. – Blueberry Lane
I was contacted by Fred Rich who discovered my work on I was pleased to learn that my choice of material for several of my furniture designs, antique bamboo, was particularly appealing to Mr. Rich. He sits on the Board of the Visionaire, a newly constructed building in Manhattan's Financial District, the City's first LEED platinum certified residential tower in New York.
Fred Rich explains his choice to use Sinotique to furnish his apartment, which overlooks New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty: "I bought an apartment in the City's first LEED 'Platinum' residential building, and wanted to furnish it in the same spirit as the building, showing that 'green' and good design are not mutually exclusive. I found Jan through, and was immediately interested in his use of recycled Chinese sleeping mats. Not only is the material recycled, but bamboo is a very sustainable wood, and thus a major theme of both the building and the apartment. After visiting 70John, I realized that Jan combined this unique recycled material with a high degree of craftsmanship and ambitious design. I first bought a console table, already made, from the floor at 70John. When it became clear that we needed a custom round table and semi-circular sideboards, together with some occassional tables, I decided to commission these from Jan, again using the bamboo mats are a major element. He worked closely with my architect, David McAlpin, on the design.
Since the apartment has glass walls overlooking the harbor, I decided to incorporate glass pieces into both the furniture and decoration. Jan's collaborator, Kanik Chung, was able to implement in a ceiling fixture my idea of recreating the spirit of watching, from underwater looking up, the pattern or rain drops on the surface of a pond.
He did other pieces suggesting movement, capturing the dynamism of air bubbles frozen in clear glass. It was a seamless and, ultimately very successful, collaboration." - Fred Rich, The Visionaire
Fred Rich's terrace garden in the Visionaire
Rich enjoying a winter day in his garden in the sky. (photo NY Times)
Three walnut side tables cut from the same slab
Unusual apartment shape led to architect David McAlpin's design calling for two semicircular buffet consoles clad in antique bamboo by Sinotique
The dining table made by Jan Lee features handcut antique bamboo
It's always a pleasure to work with clients who are completely engaged in their project yet understand the creative process and are able to trust artists and furniture makers to complete their vision. When presented with such an extraordinary space as Mr. Rich's, I felt that my furniture had to reflect the same spirit of combining beauty, quality and sustainabilty into one concept. I believe we did that succcessfully with this project thanks to the vision of Fred Rich, the expertise of David McAlpin and the wonderful collaborations with my great friends Kanik Chung and Robert Shapiro.

Handmade in Brooklyn With Sinotique

Much can be said for one who loves his work, and when appreciation, talent and sheer passion is incorporated with unique skills and a focused vision, the production of that work is nothing less than magical. This is the case with Jan Lee, owner and craftsman at the workshop and showroom Sinotique. Located in DUMBO since 1996, Sinotique offers more than just antique furniture, as this gallery features custom made furniture and woodwork, courtesy of Lee. The talented woodworker stands as a pioneer amongst the city's woodworking shops and galleries, designing and hand- crafting intricate pieces of furniture to showcase in his shop.
The true beauty of Sinotique does not just lay in the fact that it offers handmade furniture and uniquely designed woodwork that shoppers will find in no other shop. The gallery's originality lays with the opportunity for customers to view both the showroom and workshop of the space, as with each visit Lee offers the rare experience for visitors to tour his workspace and see the dedication and craft behind each piece designed. When Lee designs and creates furniture, as a 20 year veteran in the antique business, the woodworker uses inspiration from a variety of sources. His furniture is crafted from aged exotic goods and materials, and elegantly designed and inspired by his extensive antique collection, for your enjoyment. "The material I use is from 50 to over 80 years old, yet after I treat it, it is durable enough for use as a coffee table or dining table," said Lee. One of the materials Lee uses to construct his unique pieces is Chinese bamboo, and reclaimed materials from overseas. Many of his designs are inspired by Chinese Ming dynasty and live edge slabs design from Japan. Lee also takes inspiration from master furniture maker George Nakashima, and from American shaker designs and styles of simplicity. Featured in homes throughout New York City and the Hamptons, Lee is undoubtedly an influential name in woodworking and custom designed furniture. Interested shoppers can learn more about Lee's designs and chat with designer himself at The Bridgehampton Antiques And Design Show at The Bridgehampton Community House in Bridgehampton, New York, on July 11 through the 15, or stop by Sinotique and ask for a tour.
I knew when I discovered antique Chinese sleeping mats in my travels that I would find a way to make them into something beautiful. I spent several years gathering the mats from villages in Southern China. They range in age from 25 years to 100 years old and retain their warm patina and markings from daily use. They are made up of hundreds of thin bamboo slivers about as thick as a match stick and measure 36” – 40” wide on average and approximately six feet in length. The mats were made and used in the hot climate of Southeast Asia for sleeping on. They cool the body naturally by wicking away moisture.
The process in making a Chinese sleeping mat is a laborious one. First, a skilled craftsman chooses a large and mature bamboo stalk to yield long straight “sticks”. The stalk is then carefully split lengthwise into hundreds of individual sticks. Each stick is placed side-by-side and a tiny hole is drilled laterally to accept a cotton string which will be strung through the entire length of the mat and doubled back.
This is repeated throughout the mat with even spacing between strings. There are no visible knots as the strings are knotted inside of the mat to avoid unraveling. Miraculously very few mats actually unravel over time, the strings stay taught and the mats are flexible enough to be rolled up and unrolled for decades.
These mats are very different than the engineered bamboo you see today which is used for flooring or furniture veneer. That product is cut, planed, flattened and glued by machines and is uniform throughout. Antique Chinese sleeping mats have varying thicknesses and each is cut slightly different in size. Occasionally a mat will have a burn mark from incense or an opium pipe carelessly placed upon it, this adds to the markings that make each mat unique. In collecting these mats I learned from the older people in the community that they used to unroll them and sleep on them and then roll them up again the morning after wiping them down. Chinese people of earlier generations tended to sleep on harder surfaces than today, sometimes even hard wooden boards with these mats offering a modicum of “cushion”. In rural farming communities beds may consist of two sawhorses with boards across them with bamboo mats. I was told lucky families had three sawhorses per bed. The horses, boards and mats would all be stored during the day, and the floor space would be resume use as a kitchen, dining room, living area and more.
For a decade now I have used this amazing material as a veneer for my furniture. It offers great variety of color, depth and character. When combined with solid wood or wood veneers the bamboo is highlighted for its unique texture. It takes a skilled hand to work with this material because unlike machine made bamboo or wood veneer every single mat is unique in thickness and dimension. The color and character of every single mat is also unique making every project truly one of a kind. Come by my workshop and I’ll show you the many varieties of color and texture this beautiful material will yield. Contact: Jan Lee (917) 710-7503