14 May 2019 • Adrian Madlener
Here are our highlights from this year’s New York Design Week
After Milan, there’s always New York. The Big Apple’s contribution to the global design calendar, NYCxDesign, encompasses a wide array of exhibitions, student shows, fairs, pop-ups, store openings, cocktail crawls, lectures. Targeting the United States, the event looks to global heavyweights but also to many of New York’s rising talents, in order to spawn exchange and progressively position the city as a design hub.
This year, a new crop of small showcases is giving major fairs a run for their money. The city’s tight-knit community of entrepreneurial and independent designers has taken this opportunity to set up shop, allowing its members to exhibit their own work. Responding to New York’s extreme rent costs, some have teamed up with retail brands to debut new collections in prime storefront locations while others are opening dedicated boutiques; a few are having showcases in their own studios — inventive and decorative lighting design remains a prevalent medium for this scene.
But the big surprise during this edition? Seeing how international players are also getting in on the New York game. Here is a list of our favourite presentations from this year's showcase.
JASPER MORRISON — CORKS
Morrison is showcasing his first-ever limited-edition collection at the Kasmin art gallery. The Corks series comprises armchairs, stools, tables and shelving units. True to the designer’s aesthetic and form vocabulary, the set has a bulky-yet-minimalist presence. Morrison’s interest in the material stems from its remarkable functionality as well as its unique atmospheric qualities, which he recognises as a key design component of an object’s long-term success.
ERRATA — BOOKS DO CLUTTER A ROOM
Initiated by independent curator and designer Miguel Leiro, Errata is a brand-new exhibition platform bringing together 10 Spanish designers. Mounted as part of NYCxDesign, the Errata Books Do Clutter a Room exhibition has taken over Mast Book’s East Village flagship. The group show displays conceptual works that question the physical conditions of both books and design objects, bringing together new work from various Spanish designers, ranging in material and typology. The list includes Pablo Alabau, Tomás Alonso, Álvaro Ferreira, Pablo Ferreira, Andrés Izquierdo, Jorge Penadés, Sara Regal and Julen Ussía.
FORT STANDARD — COOPERAGE
Brooklyn-based design studio Fort Standard debuts the Cooperage collection at the Colony design gallery. The new furniture series — comprising chairs, stools and tables— pays homage to the historic copper trade and in particular, the technique of making barrels. The collection is characterized by its bold stripe pattern, and 90-cm boards alternate between white and torrefied oak. The monolithic collection casts a striking pose in the all-white gallery space.
ORIOR — NEW TRIBECA SHOWROOM
Furniture brand Orior has recently returned to its roots as a designer and maker. To mark the occasion, the Irish company has opened its first US showroom in New York. On display are 22 designs created using traditional Irish craftsmanship and materials such as ancient Irish green marble and solid Irish Bog ash wood.
COLONY — PAS DE DEUX
Marking the fifth birthday of both Colony and the Tribeca Design District, the Pas de Deux exhibition features new work by the gallery’s roster of prominent American and international talents, including Allied Makers, Earnest Studio, Hiroko Takeda, Moving Mountains and Vonnegut Kraft. Borrowed from ballet terminology, the exhibition’s name refers to a two-person dance; that's why, in the show, one design by each talent is paired with an artwork.
PELLE — UNNATURAL HABITAT
Boutique lighting design practice Pelle transformed its Flatiron studio/showroom into an immersive installation to debut new luminaire collections and a table design. Unnatural Habitat is an exploration in depicting natural phenomena through abstraction: objects are defamiliarised through shifts in proportion, context, material and time. The exhibition reveals a kinetic light installation titled Dust, sculpted Nana Lure lamps and the precision-milled DVN table.
TIMBER! AT WANTEDDESIGN BROOKLYN
Design editor Hannah Martin delves into the thriving woodworking community that occupies the Sunset Park neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Many of these craftspeople help drive New York’s design scene by producing for local talent such as Lindsey Adelman, Chen Chen & Kai Williams, Egg Collective, Sebastian Errazuriz and Jason Millers. Mounted at WantedDesign Brooklyn, TIMBER! is an exhibition that uncovers this often overlooked step in the design chain.
TRUEING STUDIO — CERINE
Emerging design duo Trueing — that is, Aiden Bowman and Josh Metersky — is showcasing its new Cerine lighting collection at Japanese fashion brand Pas de Calais’s SoHo boutique. The pendant, sconce and floor lamp series are characterized by handcrafted, multi-colour glass chains. These new fixtures are designed as an homage to the ubiquitous chain link, an object that is seldom decorative and functional simultaneously. Inspired equally by delicate golden chains worn around the neck, rough metal versions found in ship yards and the decorative chain motifs that grace beaux-arts façades, Cerine’s design links functionality with aesthetics.
APPARATUS — INTERLUDE
Known for its craft-led and materially-sumptuous approach, Apparatus creates lighting, interiors, and furniture concepts based on romantic and historically-referential themes. Debuting in the United States this week is the limited-edition Interlude collection, where highly ornate cabinets, tables, and sconces take their aesthetic and structural cues from symphonic music. Created using age-old leather, alabaster, Carpathian burl, eel skin and hand embroidery techniques, the decorative pieces are refreshingly eclectic.
CALICO + WORKSTEAD — ARCADE
Celebrated Brooklyn design studios Calico and Workstead have joined forces to create an immersive installation to debut their new collections. Set in the Neoclassical Merchants Square Building, the Art Deco-esque set design places Workstead’s architectural Chamber light series in direct dialogue with Calico’s iridescent Relic wallpaper range. Though different in scale and application, both collections address the concepts of seriality and containment.
COIL + DRIFT — ASSEMBLAGE
New York design practice Coil + Drift — led by former dancer and choreographer John Sorensen-Jolink — has opened a temporary Bowery-adjacent showroom to display the full range of its Assemblage series. The minimal yet sculpturally-playful lighting collection stems from a home interior project Sorensen-Jolink developed last year. The series includes the Yama table lamp, with a cylindrical tarnished-brass base and a shallow cone-shaped cloth shade. Also included is Toam, a series of sconce lights featuring chrome and walnut exaggerated stems with matte bulbs.
VENTURA NEW YORK: THE DUTCH EDITION
Ventura Projects returns to New York and NYCxDesign with an eclectic showcase of contemporary Dutch design, presented at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF).
Among the diverse offerings are new furniture lines, innovative lighting solutions, material experiments and conceptual explorations. The exhibition is joined by a workshop programme; both are organized as platforms to help young talents and new brands navigate the US market.
This edition of the New York Design Week runs until 22 May