Think­ing pink

The year New York­ers went nuts for pink, re­dis­cov­ered 1980s post­mod­ernism and made de­sign po­lit­i­cal, re­ports Sam Eich­blatt.

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Pas­tel power surges at NYC x De­sign

If 2016 was the year a par­tic­u­lar shade of retro-vibe pas­tel be­came Mil­len­nial Pink, then we hit Peak Pink in 2017. At this year’s NYC x De­sign – the three-month de­sign fes­ti­val that in­cludes the ‘lux­ury fur­ni­ture’ fes­ti­val ICFF – the shade was ev­ery­where. Its con­tin­ued rel­e­vance and as­so­ci­a­tion with gen­der flu­id­ity was even the sub­ject of a New York fea­ture. The blush ob­ses­sion dove­tails neatly with young de­sign­ers’ re­dis­cov­ery of the Mem­phis Group, the short-lived Pop Artin­spired 1980s move­ment led by Et­tore Sottsass. Away from the so­cial-me­dia frenzy, how­ever, other de­sign­ers (many of them work­ing out­side the main cen­tres) are qui­etly pro­duc­ing work that draws on the coun­try’s in­dus­trial-de­sign her­itage, Shaker-style craft, and sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion to es­tab­lish a prag­matic, time­less Amer­i­can de­sign ver­nac­u­lar. In re­sponse to the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate, some de­sign­ers with­drew from large com­mer­cial events in favour of smaller, more maker-fo­cused shows such as Site Un­seen. Oth­ers, such as Egg Col­lec­tive, the star of last year’s fes­ti­val, worked with an al­ter­na­tive voice in De­sign­ing Women NYC, and Chelsea’s Cham­ber Gallery of­fered out­right dis­sent with a ros­ter of fe­male- and fe­male-iden­ti­fy­ing artists in Room with its Own Rules, the “par­al­lel, post-pa­tri­ar­chal re­al­ity in which an all-fe­male show is a nor­mal phe­nom­e­non”. Fur­ni­ture ‘Ten­sion’ by Claste New Mon­treal-based stu­dio Claste showed ‘Ten­sion’, its first col­lec­tion, at the ICFF. Made from only three ma­te­ri­als – glass, pink onyx and bianco quartzite – the spare, al­most stark de­signs are un­ex­pect­edly en­gag­ing up close, with tex­tu­ral rip­ples of sub­tle colour. ‘And Here I Sit’ is a quartzite chair with a seem­ingly un­sta­ble base. When light passes through it, the ma­te­rial be­comes slightly translucent, il­lus­trat­ing the theme of the col­lec­tion, which aims to cap­ture the ten­sion be­tween fragility and sta­bil­ity, sim­i­lar to an ar­chi­tec­tural can­tilever, or a stroll over a glass bridge.


Table­ware by Very Good & Proper With its echoes of 1940s util­ity-ware china and sturdy farm­house casse­role dishes, a new range of hard-wear­ing grey table­ware from Lon­don stu­dio Very Good & Proper harks back to a time when such ev­ery­day ob­jects were both util­i­tar­ian and a de­light to use. Led by Ed Car­pen­ter and An­dré Klauser, the hands-on stu­dio launched in 2009 with a range of fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories that builds on sim­i­lar clas­sic, func­tional and of­ten pre­vi­ously mass-mar­ket de­signs by en­sur­ing they are man­u­fac­tured re­spon­si­bly in the UK and Europe. very­goodand­


‘Tree House’ coat rack by Of­fice GA A suc­cess­ful new for­mat for Site Un­seen Off­site, the an­nual in­stal­la­tion of the best de­sign­ers fea­tured in the on­line mag­a­zine, al­lowed a cu­rated group of 25 es­tab­lished de­sign­ers more space to show their wares. Along­side his main booth, Jonathan Gon­za­les of Mi­ami-based de­sign and fab­ri­ca­tion stu­dio Of­fice GA showed a se­ries of sim­ple lean­ing racks fab­ri­cated from the same kit of parts – solid alu­minium bars pow­der-coated in soft green with a round ash base. The play­ful dis­play shows the it­er­a­tive process of a de­sign via a sin­gle in­dus­trial de­sign ob­ject. of­


‘Dou­ble-wall’ cof­fee maker by Yield A much qui­eter move­ment in Amer­i­can de­sign is es­tab­lish­ing a stan­dard of craft us­ing sound in­dus­trial de­sign prac­tice to cre­ate sim­ple, fit-for-pur­pose ob­jects. Yield, a youth­ful stu­dio based in St Au­gus­tine, Florida, which fo­cuses on eth­i­cal pro­duc­tion, showed a glass cof­fee maker along­side a range of other beau­ti­fully mod­est home­ware. The dou­ble walls both in­su­late the liq­uid and al­low for easy han­dling, since the heat is not trans­ferred to the outer wall. yield­de­


Fur­ni­ture by Eny Lee Parker The emerg­ing de­signer from Sa­van­nah, Ge­or­gia, cre­ated one of the most heav­ily In­sta­grammed booths at the Site Un­seen Off­site show – which is fit­ting, be­cause the show’s cu­ra­tors orig­i­nally dis­cov­ered the Korean-Brazil­ian fur­ni­ture de­signer and ce­ram­i­cist on the so­cial-me­dia plat­form. For the show, she com­bined her two dis­ci­plines, dis­play­ing a se­ries of ta­bles made from tra­di­tional, wheelthrown ter­ra­cotta pieces, along­side a col­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture in mossy green and dusky pink. The shapes nod­ded to the post­mod­ernism of Michael Graves and the Mem­phis Group.

Right Util­i­tar­ian ceramic table­ware de­signed by Ian McIn­tyre for Very Good & Proper. Far right A col­lec­tion by Eny Lee Parker, an emerg­ing de­signer from Sa­van­nah, Ge­or­gia. Be­low The ‘Tree House’ coat rack by Of­fice GA is a dis­play of sim­plic­ity in pow­der-coated solid alu­minium.

Left Glass, onyx and quartzite make up the ‘Ten­sion’ col­lec­tion by Claste, a new Mon­tre­al­based stu­dio. Be­low Eth­i­cal pro­duc­tion and sound in­dus­trial de­sign prac­tices form the ba­sis of Yield De­sign’s phi­los­o­phy.

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