ModulerExtWhen I think of travel, I often think big. Travel around the world. Travel across country. Travel to exotic locales. But what about thinking about travel and the things that make travel easier on a more micro-level? Module-R started as a pop-up shop put together over the course of 5 weeks in Brooklyn last year. Shop owner, Donald Rattner, formed the shop with the criteria that everything in stock must be able to travel, move, transform…be interactive, be flexible, be re-configurable and/or modular in design.

The store traveled too.

At some point after the holiday season was over, the store disappeared, and I figured that was it-another pop-up bit the dust. But as it turned out, the family-run business actually traveled in its own right—first re-appearing on the web, and now once again in brick and mortar–a few miles away. Rattner, said they’d traveled out of necessity. That’s what happens in New York when the landlord rents out your space to someone else unexpectedly. So he and wife Gaby, (along with their 8-year-old son who evidently thinks he “really runs the place,”) search out and test objects great for saving space and easily adapting to new spaces, that often lend themselves to travel situations—but with the hopes that there’s nothing precluding you from using them on a day-to-day basis when you get back to town.

ModuleR 004Some practical “objets d’art


From the Aladdin Stackable lunch set with its bento-style boxes that fit within each other and are made with BPA free recycled plastic, to Black and Blum Lunch pots, to the Unnio Baby-stacking food compartments, these products have the potential to allow little (or big) fingers to help themselves to food or snacks found in colorful compartments that will stay separated and accessible while on the road, at school or at home.

Universal Travel adapters are stocked in bright colors making them hard to accidentally leave behind. A TRUCO (Travel Utility Carry On) suitcase separates into 3 pieces including a roller bag, briefcase and tote. If you were faced with a crowded overhead plane bin, you have the ability to disconnect the different parts of the bag and put them under your seat. (Or, as they suggest, your neighbor’s seat if he isn’t looking.)

ModuleR 002If you find that folks have traveled to stay with you, the Kartel Trix Bed-transforms and can be folded 3 different ways—into a bed or sofa seat, a day lounger or chaise, or fold it all together to form an ottoman/cube. That item will set you back a bit more, but it doesn’t sacrifice form for function, and if it means keeping your Mother-In-Law off the living room couch so you can watch TV at night while she’s visiting, it may be worth the price to you. (Editor’s note-I love my Mother-In-Law, so clearly we have no need of this item in our home.)

Art that travels

ModuleR 001And on that “micro” level of travel I mentioned prior—what about the concept of allowing art to easily move with you when you do, whether from house to house, or room to room or suitcase to suitcase?

From the easily designable and removable children’s wall designs, to wall hangings and screens, there are a number of unusual pieces of “customizable” art to be found, that can all be re-constructed based on the need of the space and your mood. Art, for example by Moshe Elimelech—in which wood cubes in a stainless steel frame allow the “user” to create unique graphic patterns by rotating and changing the cubes to reveal different pictures on the sides of the cues. You become the artist.

The concept-driven store has a mix of products ranging from $4.50 into the thousands. The Rattners just came back from a trip to Paris in which they attended a trade show and searched for new items to add. Keep an eye out for the new JosephJoseph “nest line” of cookware they’ve just ordered.

I love the concept of things that are designed to “harmonize” not only within the space in which they’re placed, but also in the space where they may be going.