Design Cities: Atlanta, Georgia

Design Cities: Atlanta, Georgia

Designer Maurice Cherry unwinds the eclectic, ever-changing scene in the capital city.

Since he moved from Selma, Alabama, to Atlanta more than two decades ago, Maurice Cherry, the founder of Lunch, a multidisciplinary creative studio, has watched the city’s design community navigate an evolving landscape. "Atlanta is a city that tries to reinvent itself every seven to ten years," says Cherry, whose award-winning podcast Revision Path features Black designers, developers, and other creatives from around the world. 

"Atlanta’s metropolitan area is extremely spread out—the type of design you’ll see in the city is really going to depend on which neighborhood you visit," says Maurice Cherry.

That’s not to say Atlanta doesn’t have an established foundation. Young talent streams in through universities like the Georgia Institute of Technology and up from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and each year the city hosts the Atlanta Design Festival. It’s also home to the Museum of Design Atlanta, the Southeast’s only dedicated design museum.

"We also have a number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, so you have this very strong Black culture," Cherry says. "But the city itself is extremely spread out, so a lot of the things that make Atlanta unique from a design perspective exist in little enclaves."

Little Five Points is a small enclave known for its mix of independently owned vintage shops, record stores, and restaurants, as well as abundant street art. "I think the neighborhood encompasses a lot of what makes the city unique— there’s just a free-spirited, creative vibe," Cherry says.

In areas like Peachtree Hills and Buckhead, you’ll primarily find high-end showrooms like the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. But in neighborhoods like Castleberry Hill and West Midtown, former warehouses are now art galleries and studios for the city’s up-and-coming furniture makers, ceramicists, and other designers. The Design Within Reach and Switch Modern showrooms—both in West Midtown—cater to consumers of contemporary European furniture, while at smaller galleries like Kai Lin Art, MINT, and The Gallery by Wish, installations by local sculptors rub elbows with works by self-taught street artists. 

"Atlanta is a mix of high brow and low brow. It’s country. It’s rock. It’s hip hop," Cherry says. "You could say the city is the pot, but there’s not a lot of melting. The mix of ingredients doesn’t necessarily make sense, but it tastes good."

"Atlanta’s metropolitan area is extremely spread out—the type of design you’ll see in the city is really going to depend on which neighborhood you visit." 

—Maurice Cherry, Lunch

Blue Porcelain by Charlotte Smith Studios

"Charlotte Smith’s ceramics are minimal and beautiful," Cherry says. "The cups are the perfect size and shape for tea drinkers like me."

This wool–and–bamboo silk rug was inspired by the labyrinth in the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca, Italy. "Kevin Francis Design’s rug could go well in pretty much any living space," Cherry says. "The mix of lines and circles makes it just varied enough to keep it from being too simple."

"Skylar Morgan’s philosophy of ‘build what you love, and love what you build’ resonates with me," Cherry says. "The company’s furnishings command such presence. It has a midcentury sensibility with a touch of contemporary flair." For example, the Hillock armoire is produced using a repeated tambouresque pattern made of half-moon sinker cypress dowels.

The Solid Wood Osteria chair reflects the craft-minded designer’s attention to high-touch moments, tactile joy, and use of high-quality materials. The angular walnut seat is produced using precise joinery and carefully proportioned components.

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Credit: Photo captions written by Adrian Madlener

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