New York’s design week used to be an insular event, with industry people confined to a convention center or mingling among themselves over warm white wine in a showroom or two. But this year,
NYCxDesign ran for nearly a fortnight—with events, exhibitions, pop ups, and parties all over town. The International Contemporary Furniture Fair ( ICFF) is still the reason for the season, but everything spilling out across the city has given the design world a very public face. Whether or not you can tell a Bellini sofa from an Ikea couch, the mood for the last 10 days or so was that design is officially a thing in New York. And if you weren’t in town to take it all in, don’t worry. I hit the streets with photographer Ike Edeani, who has shot this excellent house and many others for Dwell, to find some of the best work out there. First Stop: Dumpster Diving With Catalog Sale and Marta Gallery
Let’s all say a final farewell to arched doorways, tasteful pastels, and Memphis-inspired flourishes. The "Millennial aesthetic" that turned our homes into soothing cocoons is starting to give way to something more feral. That was evident at the exhibition Make–Do, a pop up from Los Angeles gallery Marta and auction startup Catalog Sale inside a derelict radiology clinic in Chinatown.
Marta owners Heidi Korsavong and Benjamin Critton partnered with Avi Kovacevich of Catalog Sale to show his collection of chairs salvaged during a road trip across the U.S. Made from cast-off materials and other found detritus, they range from a chair constructed from cardboard boxes to an old tire strung with leather straps.
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Then, they asked contemporary designers to create their own masterpieces from cast-off material in just three days.
The results included Sebastijan Jemec & Georgia McGovern’s beaded car seat cover strung on a wooden frame, Chen Chen & Kai Williams’s beautifully unstable bungee cord contraption (titled Pineal Lobotomy), Nifemi Ogunro’s semi-deconstructed wooden chair with an oven-rack back, and Isabel Rower referencing that cardboard chair with her own take on packaging-turned-seat.
Basically, it was the opposite of candles and cute accessories paired with monstera, and more like the playful bricolage of 1990s Dutch design. Pure Haute Depot.
Next we hopped in a taxi and headed to the tony West Village townhouse that is home to Future Perfect's New York space.
Second Stop: Floral Chairs Crawling With Insects (in a Good Way) at Future Perfect
This isn’t the first time that Chris Wolston has designed botanical-inspired chairs, but since moving to Medellin a few years ago, he has been working on a collection of terracotta pieces made with local clay and incorporating flowers found around his new home.
The result is a collection of amorphous chairs formed from a jungle of clay florals...
...complete with lizards, bees, ants, and other creatures made of bronze hiding among the petals.
Hand finished by rubbing the surface with stone, the chairs have a beautiful soft luster—that is, except for the two given a bright white sheen from coats of automobile paint. "It’s like sitting on the hood of a sports car," says Wolston.
Third Stop: Knockoffs We Actually Endorse at Colony
Next we headed to Canal Street and stepped between blankets piled with fake designer handbags lining the sidewalk to reach Colony for the appropriately named Knockoff Show. Owner Jean Lin and her team invited a group of designers to pay homage to work that has inspired their own by, well, shamelessly knocking them off.
Lighting designer Bec Brittain created a tribute to her one-time employer Lindsey Ademan’s signature bubbles and branches lamps updated in her own more colorful style.
But the showstopper was Brooklyn designer Ben Erickson’s riff on Terje Ekstrøm’s famed lounge chair that recreated the postmodern touchstone with sewer pipes covered in chrome enamel.
Fourth Stop: The Center of the Downtown Design Universe
SoHo may not house many art galleries any longer, but the shopping district—where Prada and Zara somehow peacefully coexist—contains a heavy concentration of design showrooms, many of which were holding simultaneous openings last Thursday.
We stopped into Atelier de Troupe to see a new collection of furniture and lighting making its debut.
The Pedregal lamp takes its name and inspiration from Luis Barragan's work at the Pedregal Gardens, a lava field outside of Mexico City.
Then we headed next door to Orior. Founded in Ireland by Brian and Rosie McGuigan in 1979, the brand passed to the next generation when their son Ciaran took over as creative director a few years ago. (We featured him on our Dwell 24 emerging designers list when he took the helm.)
Last year, they opened a massive SoHo showroom with a few gothic details.
Heavy stone, formidable metal, and richly toned upholstery—all made by seriously skilled craftspeople—define their style.
But the center of attention was a large white sofa installed slightly off kilter to mimic the slight angle of its arms.
Finally, we stopped by DWR where the artist Nick Cave, recently the subject of a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, collaborated with Knoll textiles to create a series of patterns that borrow their colors from his work.
In the showroom, they covered a set of one-off womb chairs, which were being auctioned off to benefit Cave’s nonprofit supporting young artists. I didn't bid on one—though I thought about it. After a long day of design trekking, a comfortable seat sounded like a great idea.