Over six days during Milan Design Week, concurrent with Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Dwell presented "Man Made," an exhibition highlighting the work of American furniture and industrial designer Stephen Burks. Burks, who will be the keynote speaker at 2014 Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, holds a firm place in the international field of design with his ability to straddle philanthropy and marketability.
The exhibition includes an array of pieces from Burks’s catalog, from commissions from European manufacturers– like Calligaris, Dedon, and Parachilna–to collaborations with artisans from underrecognized communities across the globe. Of particular note is an early prototype of the new Traveler chair designed by Stephen Burks for Roche Bobois—the first such collaboration between the French furniture company and an American designer.
The Milan exhibition kicks off an entire year of experiential collaborations between Stephen Burks and Dwell. "Man Made" will travel from Milan to the show floor at Dwell on Design—where the Roche Bobois Traveler chair will make its official debut—and then on to Dwell on Design New York in October 2014. "It’s a collaboration born from admiration and appreciation," says Dwell’s Editor-in-Chief Amanda Dameron. "Through his astounding creativity, respect for artisans, and exuberant love for material and form, Stephen demonstrates an essential bridge between technology and craft. Dwell is tremendously proud of the way Stephen represents today's modern American design landscape."
Since founding his New York–based industrial design consultancy Readymade Projects in 1997, Stephen Burks has worked with renowned international brands including Audi, B&B Italia, Boffi, Calvin Klein, Cappellini, Estée Lauder, Harry Winston, Moroso, and Missoni. In 2005, his work began to resonate on a deeper level with the adoption of a more diverse and inclusive vision of design. "I always believed in the democratization of design," Burks says—making this a natural partnership for the Dwell brand, which bridges the gap between aspirational and accessible design every day. "My Man Made project has been several years in the making, and finding the right partners has been critical to its success," Burks adds. "Dwell Media’s broad support—from the magazine to its online presence to the exhibition to the keynote opportunity—has given me the kind of exposure I've always wanted both in the States and abroad."
Kelsey Keith has written about design, art, and architecture for a variety of print and online publications.