Beyond the Fairs: The Best of NYCxDesign 2018
It’s not quite on the scale of Milan’s FuoriSalone yet, but without a doubt, NYCxDesign has grown substantially over the last few years, hosting numerous events, exhibitions, and happenings throughout the boroughs, which run in tandem with the sprawling International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Jacob Javits Center. Deviating from the usual fair presentations, two off-site exhibitions, Designing Women II: Masters, Mavericks, Mavens, and Next Level, offered up new, enticing designer-driven platforms showcasing everything from textiles and jewelry to furniture and lighting. Here are our top picks …
DESIGNING WOMEN II: Masters, Mavericks, Mavens
Egg Collective strikes again! The female–owned design studio organized a second edition of its successful 2017 exhibition, but this time, extended the concept to include leading women designers from the past along with a diverse array of contemporary makers. Installed in its West SoHo showroom, the show felt intimate and personable. Some of the many works that caught our eye:
1. NICOLA L.: The Moroccan-born, Paris-educated designer is known for taking inspiration from the human body to explore social and philosophical issues. At the exhibit, her THE HEAD-BOOKCASE, 1996, a seven-foot-tall, white lacquered wood shelf, was at once functional and visually arresting.
2. Mimi Jung: Weaving different materials into sophisticated compositions, Jung blurs the boundaries between design and art. Her wall pieces and free-standing work play with light and movement to challenge our common perceptions of form and texture.
3. Leza McVey: The late designer (1907–1984) was a weaver and a pioneer of modern ceramics. A Crankbrook alumunus, she developed her artistic vocabulary and technique at the renowned school. At times abstract, her often Miró-esque like figures—whether in the form of a vase or small sculpture—exude an organic, playful quality.
A group of designer friends (also made up of several couples) decided they wanted to try something different this year for NYCxDesign. Instead of going the usual fair route, they sought out an alternative venue where they could still present their work and make a powerful statement during design week. Fortuitously, it all came together: a group of like-minded artists—including Eskayel, Hart Textiles, Here Projects, Asher Israel, and Patrick Weder—banded together and found a central location to exhibit their wares. Their hard work paid off: Within a short period of time, they managed to assemble a collection of unique design pieces set in a large, light-filled space in NoHo. Displayed amidst the stunning rugs by textile studio Eskayel, these were some of the exhibit
Patrick Weder: The Switzerland–born, Brooklyn–based designer creates amorphous and whimsical forms, which at times, resemble living organisms. The exquisite craftsmanship is evident in his meticulous use of wood and concrete, among other materials.
Anthony Bianco: The Los Angeles–based designer favors a simple, streamlined aesthetic, often reinterpreting Art Deco through a minimalist filter. The result is understated but with a level of detail that also underscores Bianco’s extensive background in glasswork.
Fort Standard: Founded by Gregory Buntain, this Red Hook, Brooklyn–based design practice brings a certain architectonic flavor to its furniture and objects. Its Assemblage Wood Coffee Table, for example, is composed of hundreds of thin pieces of maple arranged into an intricate triangulating structure, reminiscent of modernistic architecture.