Colony Club


Azure - - BEST IN SHOW - WORDS _El­iz­a­beth Pagli­a­colo

The first time you find your­self in front of Colony you might not know it. With its non­de­script en­trance sit­u­ated be­tween graf­fiti-tagged garage doors, the sec­ond-floor Chi­na­town fur­ni­ture gallery is a quin­tes­sen­tial hid­den gem. And its Bal­ance/ Un­bal­anced show­case dur­ing Ny­cxde­sign was a must-see. De­fy­ing the preva­lent Mem­phis-redux trend, the col­lec­tion of­fered up ma­ture pol­ished pieces, such as Toronto de­signer Paolo Fer­rari’s Bal­ance Lounge (in nubby linen-wool with a wal­nut base and a brass pivot), Wash­ing­ton stu­dio Grain’s mixed-ma­te­rial Walling Rug (which evokes a stacked-stone wall spilling onto the floor) and Hiroko Takeda’s Brook­lyn-made thread-art ta­pes­tries. A for­mer de­sign editor, Jean Lin laid the groundwork for Colony in the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Sandy. She com­mis­sioned a group of young de­sign­ers to craft fur­ni­ture from storm de­bris for char­ity and learned of the unique chal­lenges this co­hort faced; specif­i­cally, they lacked a place to show their work with­out hand­ing over a huge cut of their prof­its. This in­for­ma­tion sparked Lin’s light­bulb mo­ment: She would cre­ate a non-tra­di­tional show­room, based on the model of a co-op. But first she needed to con­tend with Man­hat­tan’s fierce real es­tate mar­ket. Af­ter scout­ing 50 lo­ca­tions, she made her Hail Mary find: “I said to my­self, if it’s not go­ing to hap­pen in this space, I’m not go­ing to be able to do Colony.” Four years later, the Canal Street gallery has nur­tured a cul­ture of de­sign­ers sup­port­ing one an­other and has es­tab­lished a re­tail ap­proach that em­pha­sizes re­la­tion­ships. “We cu­rate de­sign­ers, not pieces,” ex­plains Lin, who has built her im­pec­ca­ble en­sem­ble by en­cour­ag­ing the unique ver­nac­u­lar, process and aes­thetic of each stu­dio she works with. The chal­lenge is find­ing de­sign­ers who are es­tab­lished but not yet ubiq­ui­tous. This year she added four: Toronto’s Hol­lis+mor­ris and New York’s Phaedo, along with the afore­men­tioned Grain and Paolo Fer­rari, whom she calls the “best sur­prise dis­cov­ery of the year.” good­

ABOVE: The Colony team – Sam Ben­nett, Madeleine Par­sons, Jean Lin, Samir Nand­wani and Emily R. Pel­lerin – in front of Grain’s Walling Rug.

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP RIGHT: Erickson Aes­thet­ics’ Worm­hole Anti-ta­ble; Earnest Stu­dio’s Kink vase; Paolo Fer­rari’s Bal­ance Lounge.

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