Last week, Azure was in New York for NYCxDesign 2018, and here is what we saw and loved – from a dream house full of Memphis finds to an explosion of Canadian talent.
NYCxDesign, the annual showcase of design that encompasses Manhattan and Brooklyn, was especially impressive this year. Alongside the central fair of ICFF, the offsite circuit included design showrooms (Artemide, Moroso, Flos, Lee Broom, Molten&C, Kasthall and more) in SoHo and beyond, the Sight Unseen showcases, Design Within Reach’s ode to Shaker furniture, and WantedDesign’s double-perch in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
There was lots to see and many trends stood out, from romantic, expressive lighting fixtures that verged on installation art to the return of artisanal textiles – but with a modern twist. Think: kilims, quilts and showpiece rugs. Here are a few of the highlights that caught our eye.
One of our faves of NYCxDesign, curator Jean Lin’s annual group show in her Canal Street studio has become a must-see event over the years. This time around, the narrow, second-storey space featured indigo-painted walls and blue bouquets as backdrops to some of the best design pieces, including Hiroko Takeda’s dreamy textiles and Toronto designer Paolo Ferrari’s Circular Lounge chair. It was a capsule of what’s hip now.
RAQUEL’S DREAM HOUSE
“Have you seen Raquel’s Dream House?” was a constant refrain during NYCxDesign. This four-storey Greene Street townhouse lived up to its name, with a vintage Memphis collection of colourful treasures out of a 1980s reverie. In the basement: an exhibit of three foam-constructed chairs by UK talent Max Lamb.
Canadian designers were everywhere in New York. Among them, Hinterland, Peter Coolican, Speke Klein, Castor and Good Thing showed at ICFF; the new brand EDITS, Studio Lani and Jake Whillans Studio showed at WantedDesign Manhattan; Paolo Ferrari and Hollis + Morris (also at ICFF) showed at Colony – and that’s just scratching the surface. New York’s design week is now the place to be for Canadian designers who want to expand their horizons and be seen on an international stage.
ZERO WASTE BISTRO
We loved Zero Waste Bistro. Tucked into WantedDesign Manhattan, it was a secret doorway into a calm, resplendent world amid the chaos of design week. And – fashioned with ReWall arches, a Durat table, and classic Finnish furniture and accessories – it spoke to everything that is relevant in design today: creative sustainability, timeless quality and community.
Molteni&C creative director Vincent Van Duysen has designed a stunning Madison Ave. flagship for the Italian furniture manufacturer that coalesces all of its brands, including Dada (kitchens) and Unifor (offices) under one roof. The massive space includes the latest Gliss wardrobe – a glass-fronted, LED-lit homage to orderliness – and re-issued Gio Ponti chairs. Suspended over the stair, a minimalist light fixture by Michael Anastassiades visually links the store’s two levels.
ILSE CRAWFORD FOR KASTHALL
Ilse Crawford, one of the world’s most influential interior designers, was in town to fête her Grönska collection for Kasthall, a series of rugs inspired by the landscape surrounding the carpet maker’s Kinna, Sweden, factory. The collection stands out for going against trend – its rich green palette and tactile variety are meant to be timeless.
TIMES SQUARE DESIGN LAB
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to attract people to Times Square – the exuberant heart of Manhattan is always bustling with street performers, tourists and Broadway-ticket buyers. But The Village, Joe Doucet’s house-shaped seating pieces created in collaboration with the Times Square Design Lab, were a natural hit in an area that has in recent years put pedestrians, performers and passersby before cars.
MUJI GOES ZEN
Seattle’s Ladies & Gentlemen Studio devised this Zen garden for Muji – a lovely respite in the middle of the city.
Larose Guyon, Pelle (both shown), Allied Maker, Farrah Sit – the list of designers making expressive lighting designs went on and on at ICFF. Big, majestic and bursting with life (especially in Pelle’s case), these fixtures are designed as showstoppers.
THE SHED / THE SALT SHED
Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s much-anticipated The Shed project is taking shape next to the High Line and side by side with Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel. In Greenwich Village, another kind of shed – The Salt Shed by WXY Studio – stands strong and sculptural. New York’s embrace of bold architecture is nothing short of inspiring.
PATRICK PARRISH GALLERY
This Tribeca gallery offered up many delightful surprises. Reminiscent of Rossana Orlandi’s Milan mecca, the space’s lower floor was a trove of unique design and art pieces – the kind of space you could spend hours discovering. The main floor was taken over by Don’t Know What Shape I’m In, an exhibition of pieces by Danish sculptor Carl Emil Jacobsen.
One of the main attractions of NYCxDesign, Sight Unseen captures the zeitgeist of the contemporary New York design scene. This year, the Field Objects pieces – auction-bound collaborations with designer-makers and famous folks, like actor Seth Rogen – filled the main floor with collectible items while the lower level was replete with young studios.
SOLVING SOCIAL PROBLEMS THROUGH DESIGN
At ICFF, ECMH and UDB presented its Design For Vulnerability project, where you purchase a water-purifying device in order to supply a villager in El Majahual, El Salvador with a water-collection device.
Tucurinca‘s multi-hued rocker was one of many colourful furnishings on view in the Colombia pavilion at WantedDesign Manhattan.
Azure recently delved into the Polish design scene, and at ICFF (where there was a full Polish contingent) and WantedDesign, the country’s young talents get some exposure. At Wanted’s Launch Pad, UAU Project showed off these fun 3-D printed light fixtures and accessories.
LAMBERT & FILS + MONTAUK
FLOS & FOSCARINI
Flos celebrated the legacy of Achille Castiglioni with a marvellous display of Achille cutouts gesturing towards his standout designs; his daughter, Giovanna Castiglioni, was also on hand to discuss her father’s influence and the work of the foundation that promotes his memory. At Foscarini‘s showroom, James Wines’ new light got the star treatment: the designer’s Lightbulb Series installation celebrated the endless appeal of the light bulb as an iconic form.
Bernhardt had pride of place at ICFF and made the most of it with a capacious display of its latest collections, including textiles by Taher Asad-Bakhtiari, an office seating collection by the actor Terry Crews, and a swank lounge chair by Thomas Pedersen (shown). The company also supported the next generation through the annual ICFF Studio showcase of emerging talent, including Christian Golden, the creator of the Stackable Rocker (shown).
FRITZ HANSEN AT SEAGRAM
Three key aspects made the Fritz Hansen event at NYCxDesign uniquely momentous. Firstly, the party took place on the 32nd floor of the Seagram building by Mies van der Rohe. Also, the Danish company was celebrating the 60th anniversary of Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chair. Finally, there was the reissue of the mid-century Modernist Paul McCobb’s tables. Largely forgotten in comparison with his contemporaries, McCobb created elegant pieces that feel as current today as they did in the 1960s.
When a hip fashion brand teams up with an it-designer, sparks will fly. In this case, Opening Ceremony turned over its SoHo shop to Crosby Studios, which created retail display furnishings in a buzzing purple palette. The limited edition collection was also on display at ICFF – but the store was the place to really feel its electric energy.