If the Wry & Ginger by Azure exhibit in New York at Design Within Reach teaches us anything, it’s that Canadian designers need not shy away from being Canadian. The show, featuring iconic symbols, traditional techniques and materials native to the True North Strong And Free, makes one thing clear: when it comes to design, Canada rocks!
Hosted by Design Within Reach at its New York City Meatpacking District Studio, 408 West 14th Street, Wry & Ginger by Azure coincides with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from May 17 to 20. The show celebrates Design Within Reach’s recent expansion into its Northern neighbour (this February marked the opening of its first Toronto location at 435 King Street West) as well as its newfound offering of Canadian furniture, like the Maun Windsor Chair by Toronto-based designer Patty Johnson.
Curated by Azure, Wry & Ginger features designers from across the country. Items both playful and serious from Brothers Dressler, Matthew Kroeker, Thout, Covello Reesor, Castor, Samare, Patty Johnson, Luflic, Science & Sons, Douglas Coupland and Jennifer Graham will explore the overarching theme of Canadiana Reinvented, referencing the country’s culture and geography.
The Dresslers’ Last Waltz bench, for example, is made from salvaged maple shoe lasts destined for the fire pit. Samare’s Mountie stool is crafted out of traditional babiche rawhide strips historically used for snowshoe lacing. And Science & Sons’ glazed ceramic Phonofone II uses passive amplification to boost stereo ear buds to audio levels without any electricity or batteries (not overtly Canadian, mind you, but proving just how clever our designers are). Toronto’s Souvenir Shop will also exhibit a number of their products – items that eschew the garish norms of touristy trinkets. (Keep an eye out for the Tent Peg Bottle Opener and the Bad Beaver Vase, among others).
Canadian Designers don’t just hail from Canada, either. New York-based Garth Roberts’ Burly Clock will be on display, as well as Amsterdam-based Cynthia Hathaway’s Sinking Bear and Melting Inuit ceramic pieces and London-based Jessica Lertvilai’s Love Is Blind vase, which features love notes written in Braille on the surface.
Wry & Ginger by Azure will be on display from Friday May 16 through noon on Thursday May 22 at Design Within Reach, which is at 408 West 14th St. A cocktail party reception with Azure editors and some of the designers will be held on Sunday, May 18, from 6 to 8 p.m.