Lunchtime Shopping Expedition: Grand

1216135908Summer days require office escapes. We do our best to make these excursions seem work-related, so we recently headed to Grand to check out what’s new.

Owner Jon O’Toole and his partner, Wendy Friedman, buy from San Francisco, New York, and even Poland, collecting what they would like to have in their own homes rather than trying to stay relentlessly on-trend. That philosophy tends to yield organic goods that are both edgy and clean, and definitely not Pottery Barn-simple.

Prime example: the Sun Jar, winner of the Eco-Friendly Gift of the Year in 2007, is a honey jar that packs wizardy gadgets like a solar cell, a rechargeable battery, and low-energy LED lights, that allow the jar to soak in natural sunlight by day and save it up later for night. Place the jar by a window or near natural sunlight, and when the sun sets let the jar light up a room without sucking more life out of your electric outlets. It goes for only $35 a pop.

We also noticed a magazine table by Umbra (pictured) that helps you get rid of those straggling titles stuck under couch pillows. Place magazines in the slots of the table surface and like that, they are lined up perfectly, as if no one ever touched them.

On the local designer front, we heard about Jeff Beene’s new Cable Table for his line, Nerve Action, which takes recycled materials and puts them to real use. It’s a side table made of birch wood, machined steel and bicycle cables. The best part? It doesn’t require any heavy lifting to make it to your living room: You can fold the table up, toss it in a bag, or even carry it around with you on your own bike.

Pictured: Umbra magazine table, $150.

Grand, 374 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-623-2429,

Lauren Gerber