The Observatory: Seeing Green

Never stay up on the pure heights of cleverness," advised philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. "Come down into the green valleys of silliness." And there is something about the Verdant Shade that inspires whimsy, playfulness, and surprise. Witness these Plastic Fantastic dining chairs from Dutch designer Jasper van Grootel. At first sight they are übertraditional, slightly baroque. In fact, they are coated in rubber, rendering them both practical as indoor-outdoor furniture and wildly eccentric as, well, rubber chairs. Marcel Wanders covered a swing in leafy vines. There is a giant, high-gloss majolica frog, a birdcage, even emerald-colored cutlery. Go green, live green, buy green—any way you can.