First Look: The City Throws Itself a Design Party

New York just wrapped up its annual Design Week, with events and exhibits at venues across the city, the largest of course having been the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center. But biggest isn’t always best, and some of the finest work I saw this week was at smaller sites, where young designers got the opportunity to show off their work at more affordable costs. I loved the entire setup at the American Design Building at 45 Great Jones Street, where the online design magazine Sight Unseen curated its own fair. Glass artist Lindsey Adelman showed a range of her spectacular new handblown chandeliers. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Bill Higendorf (left) and Jason Horvath of Uhuru Designs”best known for their line of furniture made from recycled pieces of the Coney Island boardwalk”unveiled their new collection War Craft. The coffee table uses a camouflage pattern called “dazzle” which was seen on war ships during World War II. Photo: Wendy Goodman

I loved these simple rubber-coated stools with bright-colored feet by Workstead. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Jonah Takagi’s lamp has a straightforward elegance. Photo: Wendy Goodman

There was a great pop-up shop on the ground floor, where you could buy these wood coasters designed to resemble slabs of salami (or some other sandwich-meat product). Photo: Wendy Goodman

Down the block at the Future Perfect, owner David Alhadeff gathered a wonderful selection of new work from such designers as Lara Knutson, who showed her reflective vessels and new lights. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Richard Saja, who does this magical embroidery on toile fabric, also showed a new line of blankets. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Mark Moskovitz designed this clever Facecord cabinet with spacious drawers. Photo: Wendy Goodman

I took a break from hunting to meet with the famed Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and his partner, Dean Maltz, who showed me their latest New York project, Metal Shutter Houses, in West Chelsea. Here, Shigeru Ban stands in front of the massive glass wall that opens and slides, garage-door-like, along the ceiling. It is very dramatic. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Then on to the Javits Center, where I found designer Marcel Wanders (caught here mid-blink”sorry, Marcel!) and W editor Stefano Tonchi discussing the designer’s new book, Marcel Wanders: Interiors (Rizzoli). To paraphrase this moment, Wanders was saying, “Why can’t design be about love instead of functionality?” Photo: Wendy Goodman

And then, as if by magic, I met a young gung ho designer, Gary Einloth, who started telling me the love story underlying his new “Nestle” collection for Pij Poj. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here is Gary with his paramour, whom he wooed with this painted acrylic love seat designed (so he claimed) so she would have to rest her head on his shoulder. So there you go, Marcel Wanders! Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here is another gorgeous design by Paul Loebach at the Areaware booth. He did a series of nesting tables in bright colors. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Sami Hayek showed a variety of fantastic new ceramic tableware, all made of clay from Oaxaca, Mexico, that is smoked in a kiln to give it its beautiful, metal-like luster. Below are pieces from his porcelain dinnerware line. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here, some wonderful, critter-filled textiles and wallpapers from the British company House of Hackney. Photo: Wendy Goodman

And yet more great wallpaper, this time from Mineheart. The lampshades were accidentally dented during shipping, but if they hadn’t admitted that to me, I would have thought it was simply design intent. The shade of that little lamp on the floor is made of clothespins. It is called the Peggy Sue lamp, designed by Young & Battaglia. Photo: Wendy Goodman

More great trompe l’oeil wallpaper from another British company, Gina Pierce. Photo: Wendy Goodman

I have been a fan of Susan Woods’s work ever since she started showing years ago at Brooklyn Designs, which sadly didn’t happen this year. But Susan made it to the Javits with her new collection for her company, Aswoon. She works out of a studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here is a little tribe of young designers who have created a company called Fort Makers. I loved the whole spirit of their booth, covered in brown wrapping paper. The leather floor mat is patched like a quilt, and the whitewashed wood cabinet is so handsome. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The student work is always inspiring at the Javits. Pratt’s Li-Rong Liao made this folded felt table with a glass top. Photo: Wendy Goodman

These handsome natural-oak and white-painted-maple Drum Tables are from Sandback. Photo: Wendy Goodman

I’m a huge fan of Palo Samko, whose wood and leather furniture is always super-chic and fresh. His new leather armchair is gorgeous, as are those cool dripping wall mirrors. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Interior designer Rafael de Cárdenas showed a debut collection of spectacular furniture at Johnson Trading Gallery, on view through June 25. Here is one of his benches. Photo: Courtesy of Connie Zhou/Johnson Trading Gallery

Offsite happenings included an exhibit of new work at O Café on Sixth Avenue, where Zoë Melo of Touch showed an assortment of wonderful artists’ designs like these aprons printed with street signs. Photo: Wendy Goodman

At another offsite show, this one sponsored by Model Citizens NYC at Chelsea Art Museum, I met founder and curator Mika Braakman (right) with one of her partners, Kristina Drury. Model Citizens offers emerging designers a great space for an affordable fee; this was their third year doing a show during the ICFF. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This gorgeous maple chair is by Pratt graduate, Ashley Jean Landon, an industrial designer. Photo: Wendy Goodman

And here is Leah Piepgras showing her collection of Consumption Dinnerware produced by the manufacturer, Pickard China, which also makes dinnerware for the White House. The plates are decorated with maps of “the digestive tract from the mouth to anus.” Somehow I don’t think these will make it to the White House. Photo: Wendy Goodman

These embroidered metal chairs are by Debra Folz, who has gotten lots of press attention for her standing folded books. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This great wallpaper and paper-and-ceramic dog is by Future Retrieval. Photo: Wendy Goodman

How fun are these painted wood tables and wall sculptures by Piey? Photo: Wendy Goodman

These witty pieces are from Click Boom Pow, David Kim, and Mike Seto. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Plywood Office designed the Hammy hammock complete with cutout cup holder and planter, so no matter where you are snoozing, there is a bit of nature with you. Photo: Wendy Goodman

And for my finale, the elegant ScrewTop table, part of designer Joe Doucet’s WhyteLabel collection. The legs can be unscrewed for easy packing and trasporting. Photo: Courtesy of Joe Doucet

First Look: The City Throws Itself a Design Party