Best Well-Designed Housewares - 2012
The slogan for A + R is "Global Design. Edited," and that about sums it up. This Venice shop carries the sort of well-designed, utilitarian, fun-to-use items that you'd find in the Museum of Modern Art gift shop. Visual puns abound, such as JumpFromPaper's "2-D" purses, which are really 3-D; the acrylic Dropp Bowl looks like that Harold Edgerton stop-motion photo Milkdrop Coronet. Mugs and folding chairs come in Pantone colors. Hector Serrano's colorful "Air Heads" animal-shaped balloons will appeal to kids of all ages. It's a great place to find the latest in desk toys, the newest iPhone accessories and a few oddly retro items, like a hand-cranked paper shredder. Perfect for corporate gifts and the-man-who-has-everything types. A second store opened last month in Mid-Wilshire. 1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 664-0100; 171 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-Wilshire. (323) 692-0086; aplusrstore.com.