Photo: Clio

Neighborhood: SoHo
Type of Place: Gift Shops Housewares

You're ready to expand your horizons--but your New York City apartment
refuses to get bigger. A European jaunt is sounding great, but the
office is expecting you at your desk for the forseeable future. Or maybe,
bottom line, you're just in a bit of a February rut. How to open things
up and bring the outside in? Local-legend housewares shop Clio offers
some ideas.

As I browsed (and enjoyed the shop assistant's Ipod-listed tunes, from
Guns 'n' Roses to Nirvana), I could feel my ideas of what, say, plates
can be starting to broaden. Featuring tableware, linens, lights, vases,
cutlery, and more from designers on both sides of the Atlantic, Clio
has developed a reputation for useful items presented in innovative and
downright inspiring forms. Though the shop isn't huge, the items to
rave about are many. I loved a small pitcher from Anne Black from the
"black is blue" series ($36); the "Red Berry" bowls handmade in England
($145); flora-and-fauna-patterned melamine plates from the Savannah
College of Art and Design (from $9); a bold fucsia and green vase in sturdy
plastic from European VAS ($110); and "Improved Crockery" plates with
photos of joyously dancing people (maybe they're Giants fans?!) imposed
on floral patterns (from $40). A receptacle from Germany usable as a
hamper or a trash can (small $20, large $35) is made from recycled
billboards and represents just the kind of creative thinking that's flowing
freely here.

Whether you're on the hunt for an especially clever gift or seeking to
liven up your own surroundings, you'll likely find what you're looking
for on these shelves--even if it's something you didn't know you were
wanting and furthermore didn't know existed. And after all, that's part
of the joy of our city: New perspectives and new landscapes can be had
for the price of a subway ride. Explore.

  - Pamela Grossman; Feb 3, 2008

92 Thompson St.
New York, NY 10012
212.966.2443 fax