Everyone loves chocolate – even the dieting set find the smallest bite hard to resist – and that’s what Beitili, Israel’s ubiquitous mid-range furniture and home design chain, is hoping to achieve with their new season of couches, chairs, dining room sets and matching accessories for Fall/ Winter 2007/8. Their inspiration or theme for this year is: chocolate or, more specifically, Max Brenner chocolate. One of Israel’s most well-known exports – with chocolate restaurants and products available from the US to Singapore – Max Brenner has reinvented chocolate for the urban, the yuppie and the slick. A recent NYTimes article marvels at the theatrical and smart marketing behind the brand that appeals to the old and young alike with its retro-stylish labels, in-store design and of course, chocolate-filled menu.
Beitili’s seasonal line is available in six ‘chocolate flavors’: chocolate fondu with cherries; chocolate souffle with orange essence; silver candies with chocolate pralines; pistachio cookies in chocolate cream; ice cream dipped in chocolate; espresso with swirls of chocolate. From couches to carpets, vases to lamps, the hues are as rich in color as they are in description.
Obviously Beitili hope to turn their stores into veritable Willy Wonka Factories for the home-design-greedy. But what I find ironic about this corporate match-up is that unlike the stylish and current designs of Max Brenner, Beitili’s products seem overly ornate, incredibly out-of-date and downright designed for the elderly. I mean, just look at the (odd) pairing below:
Left, Max Brenner’s innovative ‘Hug Mug’, that requires you to drink hot, comfy beverages with two hand cupped around it vs. Right, Beitili’s White Pumpkin table accessory holder-thing from their Ice Cream Dipped in Chocolate line. An item that my grandmother would probably have bought had she visited China in the 18th century or thought that Chinoiserie was somehow still ‘in’.
Beitili’s website is all in Hebrew but the flash presentation on the homepage conveys the goal of their newest products. The only two items I found I could live with were this Kilimanjaro Dining Room Table of dark chocolate wood. Interesting in design and construction, it reminded me of a KitKat (ever notice the ridges on the edge of the KitKat? Take a look next time).
Also the table lamp below left seems to be a mod-pod Raisinette-meets-M&M interpretation of the style-phile’s Vaughan’s Lausanne Crystal lamp below right.
Not sure what this all says about Israeli home design, but at least our chocolate is a sure-fire purchase.