Looking for an exotic and charitable gift for that rapidly approaching fall wedding? We suggest heading to Macy’s, which come October will offer traditional Haitian artisan home décor products including quilts, metalwork (pictured at right, a hand-tooled serving tray from the blacksmith community in Croix des Bouquets), ceramics, woodcarvings, paintings, and jewelry as part of its new “The Heart of Haiti” initiative. The program, which was masterminded by Fairwinds Trading and the Brandaid Project to bring trade and aid to the earthquake-devastated nation, has already provided funds to Haitian artisans to buy needed materials to return to work, and more than 200 artisans are now at work full-time. According to Macy’s, “Heart of Haiti” is the first collection of home décor handcrafts since the January 2010 earthquake. Each item is designed by master Haitian artists, handmade by local artisans, and signed by the artist. The collection will be available online and in 25 Macy’s stores. We’re partial to Carnival Jakmel’s whimsical papier-mache creations, inspired by the mix of colors and prints of Haitian street fashion.
Elsewhere in retail news, IKEA is bringing meatballs n’ lingonberries and Malm beds to Colorado. The Swedish furniture giant is going deep in the high-altitude locale with a 415,000-square-foot store that will also be the first U.S. IKEA location to integrate a geothermal system. Slated to open next fall on 13.5 acres in the town of Centennial, the store is on track to be Colorado’s largest single building with geothermal heating and cooling. IKEA has already completed the underground work, which entailed drilling a bunch of 500-foot-deep holes into the earth for pipes holding heat-transferring liquid circulating through underground loops to either warm or cool the temperature inside the store. The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is advising the ambitious project (and also kind of hoping that their efforts will be rewarded with some swell chairs). Meanwhile, for those not excited by innovative energy schemes, there’s more in store, including 10,000 items designed exclusively for the Centennial location, 50 different room settings, three complete model home interiors, a children’s play area, and a 500-seat restaurant. Pass the marzipan-accented Princess Cake!