Early May is the highlight of the design year in New York, with a two-week blizzard of shows, events, and parties from Brooklyn to the Javits Center, to the meatpacking district and beyond! The energy was great this time, as everyone rallied from the bleak fallout of recession with design that was more sustainable than that of years past, and often refreshingly subversive. I saw a ton of fun, innovative work at every price level across the city. Here are some highlights from my hunting.
The Brooklyn Designs exhibit unofficially kicks off New York Design Week at the St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo. Many of the local Brooklyn designers who show here also appear at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center the following week. Brooklyn Designs is the brainchild of the awesome Karen Auster of Auster Agency, and it has become a launching pad for new talent. Here are Dumbo king and queen David and Jane Walentas.
718 Made in Brooklyn launched its new company at the show. They offer good-looking and practical ways to store urban staples like bikes and skateboards.
718 Made in Brooklyn also turns recycled subway signs into furniture.
Palo Samko does gorgeous wood furniture.
Samko has just started designing one-of-a-kind clocks and sculptural pieces.
The designers of RockPaperRobot make very cool "new-old" pieces that fit right into our last design issue theme!
This screen made of recycled planks is decorated using laser-cut stencils that are then burned into the wood. It looks like an old piece, but it's actually a clever combination of new-old.
The Gleam chandelier is a “transforming” chandelier — it reconfigures and changes shape very gradually.
This is a table that would delight every kid! The markers are right there stored at the end so they can draw on the furniture. Isn’t that always the best?
The Katch Company repurposes metal I-beams and pieces of felt into wonderful new furniture.
Matthew Fairbank showed me features of his elegant new table.
Take a good look at these FRAMEcariums, as they are called, because Katie Vitale and her partner, Hugh Hayden, have taken industrious ants and put them to work for art and you. This is if you want something really unique ...
... here's the detail. As you can imagine, this involves quite a bit of maintenance.
I'm a big fan of Shanan Campanaro of Eskayel bespoke wallpaper (and now home furnishings).
Another great wallpaper designer I love — Katie Deedy’s Grow House Grow.
Wonderful classic-but-fun kids' furniture by April Hannah. This was another strong year for Brooklyn Designs — it seems to get better each time — and a great preface to the flurry of Manhattan activity the following week.
Design Week isn't just about the ICFF at the Javits Center — there are also off-site and retail events throughout the city. ABC Carpet & Home was rocking all week with events almost every day. The British design retail visionary Sir Terence Conran was in town to visit his new retail shop at ABC Carpet & Home. I'm very happy that he's found this wonderful space.
At Conran’s I spotted this Indian rosewood Kaveri baroque table with a veneer of white metal alloy that added a soft silver sheen. Very nice!
Carpet designer Malene Barnett was at the ICFF for the first time. Malene was featured in the magazine recently, but here you get a better view of her wonderful work.
Over at the meatpacking district there were a number of shows. The group show "Inter-Connected by TOUCH," curated by Zoe Melo from Los Angeles, was fantastic! I loved the ceramic collection by Brazilian designers Caio de Medeiros and Daniela Scorza for Estudio Manus. Here they transferred illustrations they found in an album from 1648, documenting wildlife in Brazil, onto their porcelain and fabric designs.
Dealer Paul Donzella, who is located at 17 White Street in Tribeca, has an amazing show of work by Italian furniture designer Roberto Giulio Rida. The furniture is inspired by forms in nature and his imagination; the pieces are absolutely unique! Rida uses vintage glass and metal to arrive at what look like neo-modernist apparitions.
Paul has devoted much of his store space to Rida’s work, and it is worth a visit to see these extraordinary pieces.
MOSS's show Poetic License celebrates the store's fifteenth anniversary. Design stars Michele de Lucchi, Fernando and Humberto Campana, and Oscar Zieta (whose metal Plopp Stools are shown here) all push the design envelope — which, thankfully for us, is the only thing that truly interests Murray Moss and Franklin Gottshall.
Michele de Lucchi did these gorgeous wood bookend sculptures shown at Moss.
At the New York Design Center, Campion Platt launched his dynamic Mariner carpet collection for Roubini Rugs.
Back at the Javits Center, Aswoon designer Susan Woods showed her wondrous work with metal in furniture and art. I have been a fan ever since seeing her collection at Brooklyn Designs years ago.
Matthew White signed copies of his unique new book, Italy of My Dreams, at Donghia. The book is so beautiful and charming; it magically illustrates how one man’s passion for Italian design informed his entire sensibility.
I loved the wonderful offbeat wallpaper by sister team Deborah and Leigh Bowness. You must look at their website.
There were only two outdoor installations in the meatpacking district this year. This huge hammock by Royal Botania was awfully inviting and made one little girl very happy.
Talk about life imitating art! When I walked into Design Glut’s show, "Uncomfortable Conversations," in the meatpacking district, Liz Kinnmark told me they had just been robbed of their computer. Her design partner, Megan, was at the police station looking at mug shots. Fortunately, the show was great, provocative, and smart.
The show featured subway gloves called Mind the Gap by Andrew Haarsager. No one is going to mess with you in these!
Another find at "Uncomfortable Conversations." This Trashlight by Craig Berman is an all-in-one lamp/wastebasket combo that aims to make you think twice about what you throw away.
Amy Helfand drew inspiration from Kathmandu prayer flags for her Garland rugs hand-knotted in Tibetan wool and Chinese silk.
This beautiful Loop LED light by Timo Niskanen was one of the many wonderful creations featured at the New Finnish Design show.
Dune had a show of new work by contemporary furniture artists. I loved Harry Allen’s Pipeline.
These lights are pure poetry! So lyrical and theatrical. They are by a Spanish company called lzf. I found them thanks to designer Carl D’Aquino.
Model Citizens Inc had a gallery show near the Javits Center, in which Lauren Vanessa Tickle showed this incredible necklace made of cut-up dollar bills.
Jason Neufeld’s floor-to-ceiling lamps on a pulley system were also featured at the show.
Graypants was showing again at the Javits. They recycle corrugated cardboard boxes into these beautiful lights, among other things.
Matthew Patrick Smyth also showed a new collection of carpets at Patterson, Flynn & Martin.
Lindsey Adelman is amazing! Her handblown glass light fixtures are exquisite.
I love these repurposed vintage linens from Helsinki Remade at the pop-up store inside the New Finnish Design show.
Michael Savona was at the Design Mart at the Javits doing great business with his geese cones.
Designer Shoham Arad bought a gaggle of small geese from Savona. When I asked her what she was going to do with them, she answered, "I'm just going to love them.” And that is the most perfect thing you can say about investing in design, at no matter what level.
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