Elodie Blanchard’s installation at WantedDesign Brooklyn in Industry City.
What used to be a New York “design week” has evolved into NYCxDESIGN, a full, two-week stretch of design exhibitions throughout the city, in all of its boroughs. Brooklyn stands out as the destination for not one but two prominent fairs, WantedDesign Brooklyn (May 7-17) and BKLYN Designs (May 6-8), both of which have been up and running for a number of years and helped to put Brooklyn on the design map in the first place.
BKLYN Designs at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint.
WantedDesign, conceived six years ago by Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, continues to grow its fair in Manhattan (May 13-16) while also enriching its Brooklyn edition with exciting, in-depth programming each year. BKLYN Designs began in 2003 (it was one of the first design fairs to focus on Brooklyn) and since 2015 it has taken up residence in an airy, glass-walled space in Greenpoint, the Brooklyn Expo Center, which provides a professional hall for showcasing rising design talent.
Each year at WantedDesign, I am impressed by how fearlessly Hainaut and Pijoulat take the next step in shaping a comprehensive yet seriously thoughtful, of-the-moment exhibition. 2016’s WantedDesign Brooklyn includes a show titled “Transatlantic Creative Exchange,” curated by the fair’s founders, in which ten French-American pairings of designers and manufacturers produce prototypes for new design pieces over the course of 2016 and 2017. The results are breathtaking and all the more meaningful for being the fruit of cross-cultural partnerships.
“Vol de Nuit,” a community seating concept created by New York designer Marc Thorpe in collaboration with Ligne Roset, based in Lyon, France.
“Ice and Glass,” a collection of blown-glass pieces using a variety of frozen and ice-carved molds, designed by Steven Haulenbeek of Chicago and realized by the renown Meisenthal International Glass Art Center (CIAV) based in Meisenthal, France.
From this show, I stepped directly into another probing, eye-opening exhibit, “Outside the Box”—a second-year collaboration between WantedDesign and the Toronto Design Offsite Festival—which assembles a selection of design work from ten cities throughout the United States and Canada: Houston, Chicago, Edmonton, Halifax, Los Angeles, Montreal, Ottawa, Portland, Seattle, and New York. Design correspondents were assigned to each city to select emerging work from the different destinations. The genius of the show is that it presents the locations all together, with the designs displayed on individual yet identical white tables, revealing the diversity across states and countries and at the same time, just how many connections there are between them.
The greatest strength of WantedDesign, in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, is its ability to draw out connections and collaborations between different parts of the world through design. This sets off so many possible relationships for the future, and it is a necessary way of conceptualizing design in the twenty-first century. More offerings along these lines include a collection of craft-community works from Western North Carolina (WNC) in a traveling exhibit titled “Made in Western North Carolina”; textiles from design schools in Japan, Europe, the United States, and others; and a show of wood works titled “We Trust in Wood,” a collaboration between French designer Matali Crasset and the rural arts center Vent des Forets in Meuse, France.
Interwoven throughout the fair are presentations of student work from Parsons, SVA, and ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne, heralding the coming wave of new design talents, many of whom will surely set up studio in Brooklyn.
“My Plants, 2016” by Ayano Kumagai, a student at the Tokyo Zokei Univeristy School of Art & Design.
At BKLYN Designs, the vibe was less curatorial and more like a mini ICFF (the Brooklyn Expo Center is appealing in a miniaturist way, complete with an auditorium, food court, and lounge). I was immediately taken by how many new designers have made a footprint in the last few years alongside those, like Uhuru and Fort Standard, who have stood the test of nearly a decade.
The Uhuru Lounge at BKLYN Designs.
Caribbeing offers totes, tea towels, and other items, as well as a mobile location.
Walking through, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the Caribbeing table, where founder Shelley Vidia Worrell filled me in on what she has been up to in the last year. Having conceived of the phrase “I am Caribbeing” a number of years ago, she has grown her design brand into products such as tote bags, tea towels, and postcards, as well as a mobile location called Caribbeing House, constructed out of a shipping container complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and a built-out interior. Normally parked at the Flatbush Caton Market, the House was on display at BKLYN Designs (outside, beyond the mini food court) and hosts art shows, film screenings, book readings, and cultural performances and experiences. Like the curators of WantedDesign, Worrell understands that design is inextricable from culture and vice versa. Design utterly depends on one culture’s curiosity in and understanding of another.
The Brooklyn-based architecture firm Assembly Line offered simple desk lamps made with leftover marble scraps
from home renovation sites.
WaxRax showed an
inventively circular record rack at its BKLYN Designs booth.
Furniture makers Cam Crockford, Evan Z. Crane, and Carter Read of CBR
Studio all exhibited visually stimulating material ideas
in their work.
Sawkill Lumber Co. salvages wood from
all over the state to bring architects, designers, fine woodworkers, and
contractors an enormously diverse range of materials to use in construction.
Designer Louis Lim called upon Sawkill for wood to make his
Rocking PacMan sofa.
Club’s pop-up shop at BKLYN Designs offered
products for purchase showing the full range of designers the organization
Post by Anne Hellman
Photographs by Michel Arnaud and
SOURCE: Design Brooklyn – Read entire story here.