Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Mezuzah Syndrome

When I was starting my event design business in New York, the caterer Susan Holland asked me if I fully gave every design element I outlined in my proposals. I told her of course, that and probably above and beyond what was written and promised.

I felt there had to be trust on her part. I had done work for her before, but this was a really big job, and I thought maybe she was just nervous.

But then she explained telling me about a well known designer who hit the skids. He took to spending the 50% deposit the client gave upon signing a contract, always counting on another client's deposit to pay for the event at hand.

It was dangerous, and of course one day it back fired, and the designer did not have the money to produce the event.

The event was a huge corporate Christmas party at the huge ballroom Roseland in New York City. The theme was "An International Christmas", and the decorations promised were supposed to be over scale and spectacular and as expensive looking as the budget given to the designer.

The designer was running very late for the set up. In fact he showed up only a couple of hours before the start time, armed with a couple of crumpled shopping bags. Susan was having a fit demanding to know where his usual large crew was, where were the props, the Christmas trees, the centerpieces?

He didn't say a word, but calmly started placing little things in the center of each 72 inch round table. There was a little pair of wooden shoes for the Dutch table; a small sombrero for the table representing Mexico, and so on. The final straw was when he pulled out a Mezuzah for the table representing Israel.

Susan started laughing, and then mobilzed all her waiters. She sent them out to every Korean market in the neighborhood (where they sell plants and flowers), and they returned with dozens of Christmas plants and greenery, and dressed the tables beautifully.

She got the lighting director from Roseland to do some magic, and the room actually looked decorated, and the client was pretty satisfied. Of course she would not let the client pay the balance owed to the designer, and soon after no one ever saw him again.

So Susan told me: "Darling I just don't want the Mezuzah syndrome again."
I took this to mean she didn't want a surprise of something smaller than what was expected.

Take a look at the cool Eames rocker again. Though not experts on Mid Century design, my coworkers and I know enough to have used many Mid Century pieces personally and for clients.

27 X 25 X 26
It sounded so normal!

We ordered this rocker for a client for her new nursery. She wanted a hip looking rocker.

It arrived today, and we all were shocked, and then we had to laugh, and I said oh no it's the mezuzah syndrome!

I ordered it, a very well priced reproduction. I mentally noted the dimensions and it seemed fine.
When I saw it I thought I had made a mistake by ordering it at such a low price, that somehow because it was so inexpensive they had skimped on the size.

I went to several sites at many price points, and the dimensions were the same as the one we got.

I went to 1stdibs to see if the real thing was the same size (costing $3200), and it was.

I went to the official Eames web site to read about the original design, and the size is exactly as it is on the reproduction!

And more confusing, I read a couple of parenting blogs gushing about how great this rocker is for the nursery!

The rocker looks almost child size, and Caroline who you see sitting in it, is also a new mother herself. She laughed at the idea of rocking a baby or feeding a baby in this rocking chair.

What do you guys think? Do any of you have this rocking chair?

We really learned something new today about Mid Century design that we didn't know!

Stay tuned - we called the client today to come in, and to let her see the rocking chair. We of course want to order a larger chair, but we can't resist seeing the look on her face. Caroline is going to keep the rocker for her toddler son.

We all sat in it, and actually though low to the ground, it's pretty comfy. It just looks so odd with other normal size furniture.


Amy said...

I have this same rocker. The scale of it did surprise me a bit -- even compared to other Eames chairs I own, but I love it. Like you mentioned, it is really comfortable. Bigger isn't necessarily better. Maybe it will grow on your client too. said...

Ive seen it before and I never thought it looked that tiny! I thought it was just a smaller sized chair!

I actually custom ordered a chaise for a bedroom and lo and behold it comes and it looks like it is an inch off the floor! The height is 17"!!! It sounded normal! But the bed is an inch or 2 higher than normal, and the chaise is long so it makes it appear shorter. I ended up positioning it so that it didn't look so short, but what can I say, shit happens!

- sketch42

Velvet and Linen said...

I have learned this lesson several times! Most people think that Interior Design is an art. Don't you think it is more like a "math"? What is the seat of of the dining chair? How does that compare to the height of the table? 11" seems like the best difference between the two, etc.. etc.. etc...
How tall is the headboard? How tall is the mattress? How tall are the pillows?
It is a job filled with details.


Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Oh. dayum. No...nursing in the chair would be way uncomfortable...if not impossible without leaving welts on your fore-arms and a major crink in your neck.

Looks fairly cozy~for just sitting. But prolly not a baby room chair.

Stina said...

I like it.;-) Stina

Anonymous said...

I just want to know where you got a good deal on one. :)

La Petite Gallery said...

Frankly I donot like the look. I reminds me of cheap plastic chairs in the 50's ....Oh well what do I know.... except I would not have it in my house

Vanessa@decor happy said...

Great story! I have seen these chairs in nurseries and wondered how comfortable they would be. Definitely more suited to a toddlers room than for a mom.

Marija said...

I have this chair. Our son is now 4 years old and we still laugh about it. Simultaneously the coolest looking and most useless "rocker" in the world. I am 5'7" and my husband is 6'7". Neither of us could comfortably rock our baby to sleep. And I only attempted to nurse in it once. WIth our first, she never needed to be rocked so we ditched the big cushy rocker in lieu of a hipper, smaller rocker for the second. Live and learn. But hey, it does look cool :) I am on a mad hunt for a unique rocker for a project so if you find one, do tell! Marija

Katie Rob said...

I saw this chair in person and tried it out - I wanted to buy it for my 6 year old but never really considered using it myself. It kind of reminds me of buying a pair of fantastic heels that you know are impractical but you figure style over comfort.... until you actually have to wear them for ten hours in a corporate powwow and then straight after to a PTO conference night. Suddenly you don't give a flying flip about style. You just want your grubby old tennis shoes!

It does look a little small and uncomfortable for a new mom trying to comfort/feed a screaming baby in the wee hours of the morning. I opted for a bentwood rocker for both of my children and even though it wasn't nearly as design-slick, it was very comfortable and I didn't regret my choice.

Anonymous said...

So much mid-century furniture is really low to the ground. I don't like furniture that I have to haul myself out of or where my knees are higher than parallel to the floor (and I'm only 5'5"!)