Get your scrolling fingers and thumbs warmed up, here’s a compendium of events I’m sharing that took place during NYC’s design week. The calendar wasn’t quite as packed as the days before covid, but there were enough interesting exhibitions and events to make for a pretty full schedule. It was good to have the return of some international exhibitions for a wider view of what’s happening globally. I was also on the lookout for events that moved beyond furniture and there’s a couple included here. The following are arranged in alphabetical order and where possible, photo captions can be viewed with a click.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter
One of the largest exhibitions outside of ICFF+WantedDesign was Casa Brasil. Housed in the former Pearl River store in Soho, it took over two floors of the prominent Broadway location. The show was produced by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil) – as part of its Brazilian Furniture Project. The US is the world’s largest importer of furniture from Brazil.
The main floor included a number of furniture vignettes with floor to ceiling string curtains wrapping organically around the space. The curtains became a canvass for synced video projections of Brazilian imagery and graphic patterns. It was impressive to see and obviously took a big chunk of the budget to realize.
On exhibit were furniture, lighting and accessory pieces spanning commercially produced to handcrafted work. The majority skewed towards clean, modern shapes in bold colors. Overall, Casa Brasil was really nice show and it offered a unique vibe compared to many of the other events around the city.
Carl Hansen & Søn – Craft in Transition
Carl Hansen & Søn’s serene Park Ave. showroom was the site for an exhibition featuring the work of 12 female designers and makers. Curated by Lora Appleton, Founder of the Female Design Council Craft in Transition showcased a wide range of methods and materials. The exhibition integrated so well with CH’s furniture that it became a hunt around the showroom to find all the pieces.
Some of the easiest to identify straight away were the textile totems and wall panels made from fabric scraps and up-cycled foil snack bags. The large blue, orange and tan vase by Dee Clements seemed to share a dialog with the adjacent scaffolded building just out the window. The mirrors by Anna Rindos have a vector art quality we also saw at the 2022 Radiator Show.
Dieter Rams / a look back and ahead
Coinciding with Dieter Rams 90th birthday, this traveling exhibition made its first US stop at the Goethe Institute. While not offering the breath of physical products as Tom Strong’s collection exhibited at Vitsœ’s NYC showroom in 2017, this one still had some gems. Also exhibited were reproductions of sketches by Rams of many of the familiar Braun and Vitsœ products he’s completed over the decades.
Fermob x Longchamp x Angelina Pop Up
A trio of French brands came together for a special pop up on Longchamp’s terrace in Soho. Some of Fermob latest outdoor furniture was brought by as well as some delicious pastries from Angelina. It was a nice spot for a break and the chance to take in some rarely seen views of ornate Soho buildings above street level.
frog | Life in 2044
Creative consultancy frog offered the opportunity to glimpse what life might be like in 22 years with 22 provocations. Life in 2044 was something like a science fair of the future with a series of rooms each devoted to ideas and concepts responding to a central theme.
The projects included a device that allows wearers to share emotions or have a space alter temperature and lighting based on a person’s emotional state. There was also the Cureig, a device that creates personalized wellness drinks using mNRA generation to treat future illnesses.
Each of the 22 projects had a well considered back story and hypothetical timeline of events that drove the idea. I wish frog would put together a micro site of Life in 2044 to revisit all the work. If that’s the case in future, I’ll update this post with a link.
It’s not too difficult to know what’s in store with ADORNO and HNH Gallery’s co-curated show MELT. The amorphous, drippy style made its way into many NYC design shows in recent years and is on full display here. While the style is still very much in the region of collectible design, it is beginning to crossover to more practical, volume-made pieces.
MELT however wasn’t just about design. The show included art sourced by HNH Gallery from their roster of artists. The show offered a look at this vein of experimental and expressionist aesthetic across both disciplines.
Physical Education II
Physical Education II: Design For All brought together the work of 30 designers and makers for an exhibition in a converted shop space at Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. This was certainly the most experimental design show I visited as you can see in the variety of work. The exhibition was produced by pink essay with the aim to show “diversity of perspective, emphasis on process over product, and the interdisciplinary nature of creation”.
Materials and the method of construction were the focus of Los Angeles-based Sized exhibition Industrialism. Housed in Donna Karan’s West Village event space, the interior was painted black and the floor covered in Bolon flooring with the back side facing up for a more factory feeling interior. That’s reinforced even more by Kevin Stahl’s Transition, an black archway with embedded subwoofers that projected a muffled droning bass soundtrack into the space.
The work in the exhibit ranged from art to vehicles all in the sphere of collectibility. It also wasn’t hard to miss the rare 1988 Lamborghini LM002 installed by Morton Street Partners. It is one of only 328 built and originally was developed to secure a US Army contract.
Upstairs the large lounge space featured a collaboration between a trio of designers and Mortlach Whisky. The SEI Decanter by Luca Nichetto | Nichetto Studio, the SHIFT bar cart by Sabine Marcelis, and the Tropos chair by Joe Doucet intend to represent the ultimate modern whiskey drinking experience.