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Published: Friday, 2/23/2007

Glass Pavilion graces mag's list of the best

The Toledo Museum of Art s Glass Pavilion opened in August.
The Toledo Museum of Art s Glass Pavilion opened in August.

Grab your coat (we suggest Hussein Chalayan's $2,025 black trench coat) and bag (the supple Yves Saint Laurent's reversible leather tote, with its ingenious styling, would be ideal), and trot off to the Toledo Museum of Art's Glass Pavilion.

The pavilion's design, by a pair of Japanese architects, is named "Best Museum" in the March issue of Travel + Leisure magazine.

Kate Spade, handbag and accessories designer and one of the seven judges of the magazine's third-annual design award, wrote: "This new building alone is a reason to go to Toledo, a place you might not otherwise visit."

OK, so it's a bit of a backhanded compliment, and Spade doesn't indicate when she'll be beating a path to the Glass City, but we'll take what we can get.

"Is there such a thing as spectacular minimalism?" begins the judges' statement about the $30 million Monroe Street building that opened in August. "SANAA architects Sejima and Nishizawa's design for the Glass Pavilion comes close to this apparently contradictory idea. The structure is stunningly transparent, all loping curves and tricky, low-slung spaces, virtually every interior and exterior wall is made entirely of glass, reflecting the building's purpose, which is to house the museum's nationally significant art-glass collection - and put Toledo on the design map."

A lovely compliment, but not entirely true: several interior walls are opaque.

Nevertheless, the company of awardees is good, and in addition to the aforementioned coat and purse includes the Sony Reader (best travel gadget, it holds numerous books and is the size of a paperback) and the 42-passenger Serpentine Solar Shuttle that traverses a lake in London's Hyde Park, (best transportation).

Honorable mentions in the museum category are the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.

Other winners are described at www.travelandleisure.com/designawards.

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