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When A White Sink Won't Do, Vitruvit Will

Vitruvit of Italy makes stunning traditional bathroom sinks, vessels, tubs, shower trays and more. But if simply having nicely designed bathroom furniture and accessories isn't enough for you, check out their 'decorated' sinks and vessels.

Where To Stay In Berlin? How About An Art Gallery That Sleeps Fifty. The Arte Luise Kunsthotel.

NOTE: This post was updated in 2012
Often called a "gallery where you can spent the night" in one of the city's most exciting neighborhoods, The Arte Luise Kunsthotel in Berlin has 50 rooms -- each of which have been designed by a different artist.

Room sizes and prices vary - as do the talent of the artists.

Nevertheless if you're looking for an unconventional hotel, this is the place.

Situated within view of the Reichstag building, the Spree river, Friedrichstraße, Unter den Linden, and the Brandenburg Gate, this is a historical area that has been recently attracting attention with top-flight architecture, both old and new, on both sides of the Spree.

Comprising a neo-classical residential palais from 1825 and an addition from 2003, the hotel offers almost 50 rooms, a generous lobby, and an art gallery for holding events.

Above: The Lobby with sculptures by the Dutch artist Hans van Meeuwen and (below) a wall piece Markus Linnenbrink

Their single and double rooms and the suites are not only comfortable, but in the "bel-étage" of the old building, they are decidedly expansive. The rooms have a shower or bathtub, TV, free wireless Internet, and-in the new building-even air-conditioning. In the tradition of the "Künstlerheim" we additionally offer a few simple, very favorably priced single and double rooms in the mansard.

All rooms were decorated by a renown artist, whereby the entire room was included in the concept. Thus, every room is an original, and all rooms are only united by the high artistic standards with which the concepts have been carried out. Sculptures in the lobby and philosophy in the stairwell accompany guests en route.

The Stairwell of the Philosopher:

At the reception desk a young, competent team is at our guests´ disposal around the clock. The in-house restaurant "Habel" offers lovingly prepared German-Mediterranean cuisine, which is also served on the broad terrace in the hotel courtyard in the summer.

The Brasserie Habel:

Below are some of the higher priced rooms, the artists who designed them and the names of the rooms (double rooms with shower).

A. Paeslack (The Poor Poet):

Andrej Bitter (Tiergarten):

Elvira bach (Three Women In Red):

Hans van Meeuwen (Nest):

Heiner Meyer (Glamour):

Nathalie Daoust (Cabaret):

Nora Stalzer (Loop):

Oliver Jordan (Philosophenzimmer):

Stefan Jung (Zoom):

Thomas Baumgärtel (Banana Sprayer):

Volker Marz (A Tribute to Edward Hopper):

Wolfgang Petrick (Endmoräne Berlin / Endtime moraine Berlin):

A Hotel and Its Artists
Guests walking into a room at the hotel "Arte Luise Kunsthotel" find themselves within a work of art. Each room is unique, each room an artistic proposition, a museum, a gallery, an artwork and a place to inhabit.

A Berlin philosopher has added a dialectical dimension to the public areas of Luise. Sculptures greet guests in the hotel lobby. The director of a well-known public art gallery wrote about us, "This hotel is a place for art and an artwork of its own."

This has been made possible by over 50 artists who accepted the hotel's invitation to make a contribution. In designing different rooms artists have created scenarios that go beyond their work in the studio and reflect on the time, place, and situation of the traveler. The entire room is taken into consideration, usually including the furniture and other decorations.

The artists receive approx. 5% of the profit from "their" room as payment - a so-called artist obolus - a one-time compensation for materials and other costs, and a number of free overnight stays.

Most rooms are recommissioned every 2-5 years.

As the worldwide media response and the numerous guests of our house attest to the success of the unique project. This is our motivation for continuing to improve the quality of the hotel and offer new platforms for all manifestations of art with an outstanding niveau.

Hotel Berlin
(formerly "Künstlerheim Luise" )
© Arte Luise Kunsthotel

Luisenstr. 19
10117 Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 28448-0
Fax: +49 (0)30 28448-448

Swarovski Studs Anything That Stands Still. From Bandaids to Bathroom Sinks, Crystallized Items.

Okay readers... everyone seems so into crystal studded stuff these days, I've done weeks worth of research to share with you some of Swarovski's history, their offerings and several Swarovski studded items available on the market with links to all of them.

Settle in and get ready to sparkle. What HASN'T been Swarovski Studded?

, the Austrian crystal manufacturer has been around for a long time, since 1895 to be exact. But in the past couple of years they've experienced a big surge in popularity. As "bling" entered our vernacular, so did Swarovski studded cell phone cases and ipods.

Smart moves like aligning themselves with Fashion Rocks helped to reinvigorate this fading brand as well.

Initially known for their little faceted desktop crystal sculptures (above), their jewelry and best friend to the Bedazzler , individual loose Swarovski crystals (now given the trademarked name Crystalline®) are now adorning a lot more than just glass shelves, faux jewelry and denim jackets. Sure, hair accessories and shoes are to be expected, but refrigerators and board games?

Here are just a few of the products on the market, made "luxe" with the addition of Swarovski Crystalline® crystals. Some in collaboration with Swarovki and sold on their own site, others by non-affiliated manufacturers.

Crystal Studded Refrigerators:
Last May in London, Gorenje - one of the leading European appliance manufacturers - unveiled two very special Premium Touch fridge-freezers, decorated with high-quality crystals from Swarovski.

“The Eye-catcher”
The unique Premium Touch fridge-freezer, called the “Eye-catcher”, with its gloss black colour and elegant door, features 7,000 hand-embedded crystals from the world famous Swarovski. This black refrigerator – eye-catcher - is a unique appliance. Only 5 of them were produced so far: 1 for Slovenia, Russia, Romania, Serbia and now for the UK. The purpose of the eye-catcher is to be sold for charity. For more information, call Gorenje on 0208 247 3980 or visit their UK site

Also in stainless steel finish with Black Swarovski crystals in Austria and Serbia
Buy the stainless steel one with black Swarovski crystals here.

And in Russia and France, you can buy an LG (called DIOS in some countries) peach colored refrigerator studded with Swarovski crystals.

More than 4,900 Swarovski crystals are embedded in the handles, the home bar and the unit logo on LG's popular French-door refrigerator.
Buy it here.

And, in India you can buy The Whirlpool Mastermind 23 with Swarovski studded handles.

Above: the Deluxe and Elite versions both with crystal-studded handles, available in five color options.
Buy it here.

Binoculars: Idomeneo Crystal Pocket Binoculars

Waterproof, lightweight binoculars with Swarovski-cut 20mm diameter lenses; 8 x 20 = 8 times magnification; grip in Crystal Dorado and Jet Nut crystals in Crystal Transfer application on black Alcantara. Other crystal combinations available. Comes with leather strap and calfskin leather case. Price: $ 850.00
Buy it here.

Nespresso machines:

Nespresso added serious sparkle to its award-winning Essenza coffee machine models. The result: two fashion-forward coffee machines with 'bodies' covered in Swarovski crystals: the Nespresso Limited Edition Brilliant Black Essenza and the Nespresso Limited Edition Sparkle Pink Essenza. These were sold at the Nespresso boutique in New York.

Swarovski Grand Piano

The exclusive grand piano "Swarovski" is a real diamond. The instrument is decorated by 9 000 hand polished crystals Swarovski, surrounding it with shine. Each crystal is enclosed into a gilded frame with enhances its reflecting ability even more. Even in the lacquer there are small pieces of crystal - the grand piano is shimmering with all the colors of a rainbow. Glitter of the grand piano's body embodies the glitter of its unbelievable sound.

Buy it here.

Special edition Sony MP3 Players:

Sony teams up with Abiste Corporation and offers the limited edition of the E010 Walkman with Swarovski glass crystal. The limited edition is available in 5 colors, Blue, Gold, Pink, Purple and Black. E010 is available in 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacity, and is priced at $134, $160 and $210 respectively.Buy them here.
Swarovski Fashion Rocks - DJ Headphones:

2007 Swarovski Fashion Rocks showed off this uber extravagant set of DJ headphones. The headphones are encrusted in Amethyst Crystals throughout and include a luxury box and small carrier bag. Price tag on these for European residents is a staggering €1670 Euro (approximately $2404 USD).

If blinged out headphones are a little too much for you, how about these pretty blinged out earbuds? Shuga Buds are earbuds studded with Swarovski® crystals make your personal playlists even cooler. Mini earphones are for use with iPods® and other portable music players. Choose from Amethyst, Pink, Green, Iridescent, Blue, or Rainbow. Imported. $48.00 a pair.

Available here.

Swarovski Bear. The special edition Holiday Steiff Bear 2007

Light grey mohair bear featuring a Swarovski Pointsettia Ornament. Clear Swarovski Xilion™ crystal in ear. Size: 10 inch Price: $ 225.00
Buy it here.

Swarovski studded USB memory keys:

Made in conjunction with Phillips Electronics, these usb memory keys sell for $178.00 each.

In 4 different models, each made of stainless steel and Swarovski crystals. They hold 1 GB of data (about 250 songs or 1’000 photos) with password protection, high-speed USB 2.0 interface.
Buy them here.

Swarovski Studded Furniture

Above: The Vendome Chair, an otherwise conservative piece in black wool, is tufted with buttons made of Swarovski crystals. Now that's sitting pretty..
$3,390 at Sipure Design in Miami, (305) 940-4655.

Swarovski Board Games

L'ecal students, Emanuelle Jaques & Constanza Candamil-Cabral, in collaboration with Swarovski for an object exhibition, created these board games of felt and Swarovski-Crystals:

Unfortunately the above backgammon, chess and checker boards are not in production.

Swarovski Umbrellas
Pasotti, the Italian umbrella maker has a Lux line that is studded with Swarovski crystals, available in many color fabrics and crystals.

Buy Pasotti's luxury Swarovski studded umbrellas here.

Swarovski Band-Aids

And , of course, don't forget the band aids, each flesh colored band-aid studded with four crystals in one of three color options, selling in packs of 12. Nothing heals a boo boo like some bling! Buy them here.

At Bling My Thing (based in germany) you can have everything from crystal studded automotive interiors to bathroom sinks!

Above: Cadillac XLR interior with over 20,000 swarovski crystals.

Swarovski sinks and vacuums

Above: the Myth Collection for the bathroom and a blinged out vacuum cleaner!!
Go see more

Swarovski Crystal Car Badging

The original luxury automotive blinging emblem company, Iced-Out Emz, has several great options from blinged out grills for several different automobiles as well as blinged shifter knobs and create-your-own bling badging.

Check out Iced Out Emz here.

For the bride to be, there are several companies that sell Swarovski crystal monogrammed cake toppers, like those shown below.

Buy the above cake toppers and more here.

You can even get crystal monogrammed lip glosses here.

Even Bottled Water comes "blinged" these days:

above: Bling Limited Edition Water.

Corked, frosted glass bottle glamorously adorned with Swarovski Crystals. Clear. 750ml.
Buy the limited edition bottle of Bling H2O at

Swarovski Crystal Ring Mug

And what better to pour your Bling water into than this new (and creatively packaged) fabulous Swarovski Crystal Ring Mug (shown in white above). Whose gold or silver handle is inset with a large single Swarovski crystal that gives the illusion of wearing a ring as you hold the cup. Different handle and crystal options below.

Buy the ring mug here.

Swarovski Studded Mouth Grilles

Even Swarovski studded grills for your teeth are available from Mr. Bling.

By the way, Mr. Bling makes actual diamond studded grills for your teeth as well.
Buy them here.

And it's not only items for humans that are getting luxed up with Swarovski crystals this year. Even the canine fragrance, Sexy Beast, with the Karim Rashid designed bottle, has a special holiday Swarovski-crystal studded version for a mere $850 bones!

Buy Sexy Beast Swarovski Limited edition here.

Of course there are many more items, but I thought the aforementioned examples were a good representation of the range.

About Swarovski crystals
Swarovski is an Austrian company established at the end of 19th century by Daniel Swarovski. The company is renowned for its tradition and excellence in manufacturing and supplying crystals and crystal-ware, especially for the jewelry and fashion industry as well as decorative homeware. In the fashion world, Swarovski crystals have recently been a hot and immensely sought-after accessory and component of haute couture. The name Swarovski can thus be found on many a fashion item or piece of jewelry created by famous fashion designers – among those are Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and Roberto Cavalli.

As a company, Swarovski comprises two major divisions:
The first, dating back to Swarovski’s origins in 1895, producing precision-cut crystal components, the crystal elements, catering to a wide range of design-driven industries in the fashion, lighting and interior business, the second, established in the mid 1970’s, using these same elements to create finished crystal products -jewelry, fashion accessories, and home décor objects- which are sold through the worldwide network of more than 1150 Swarovski stores.

Hooking up with Fashion Rocks and opening an Atelier further upped the hip factor of Swarovski. Check out
the Fashion Rocks 2007 Video here.

See the latest fashion applications, tv and movie collaborations and more at Swarovski Sparkles and you can check out the company and their products here.

Also, Swarovski created indoor lighting and home elements. Didn't know that? See them here.

They have even introduced ATELIER SWAROVSKI, an exclusive collection of accessories created in collaboration with cutting-edge fashion designers to bring their creative visions to life. For more information email:, or register here to be updated with news on ATELIER SWAROVSKI.

Now, for those of you who don't intend to buy a blinged out refrigerator or armchair, but do have the desire to bling their sunglasses case, lighters, headphones, PSPs, ipods, etc.

Above: One of Phling's custom Blinged Blackberry cases

Here are some great sites that sell either kits, patterns, stick-ons or do custom crystal encrusting, shirts and more. If you want to do some of your own blinging, Bling Me Out (as well as several other companies) sells cell phone crystal kits.

Buy them here.

Just click on the logos below to see other custom and self-blinging sites:

There's been lots more Swarovski studded items written about since this post. Please use the search box or check the tags at the bottom of the side bar for more.

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