BKLYN DESIGNS ‘09
With much better weather this year (last year’s torrential rain and wind storm are still quite vivid in my mind) to guide me through BKLYN Designs (the three-day “Locally Grown, Internationally Known” event), I was prepared to soak up a lot of furniture, wall paper, and home accessories with the sun on my back.
But this year’s fair startled me in its size–with really only one location (if you don’t count the teeny tiny kid furniture outpost next store) at St. Ann’s Warehouse, I couldn’t believe that was all there was. “That’s it?” I thought to myself. I believe the emphasis got placed on “other locations” for the Dwell Home Tours and Dumbo Gallery Tour, but I wanted to see the cold, hard designs, and I felt a bit cheated after 2008’s three locations.
But I will say, despite the one location, the designers that did present at BKLYN Designs weren’t to be dismissed just because they hail from the ‘borough across the river’. As usual I felt the designers to be the most approachable, creative, and fresh. I still walked away impressed by more than a handful of designers and found the event was a great start to May’s ‘Design Month.’ So incase you missed hitting up the borough, I’ve rounded up the most impressionable pieces (& my favorites) for your perusal.
The Standard Chair
Composed of found chair backs, steel plate, and aluminum, The Standard Chair picks up where an old manufacturer left off. Designers, Jason Horvath and Bill Hilgendorf, found the hand-carved chair backs (with legs) at Build It Green and added their own touch of plate steel seating and front legs to the ornate royal back and a wire mesh backing where typically upholstery would stand in. The municipal or “park bench” color palette choice and the contract that comes in each seat together created an inventive and even, artistic design. Uhuru landed on our roundup from last year, and it was great to see a familiar face in Brooklyn design once again.
I couldn’t walk past Eric Manigian’s piece without stopping to stare at its sheer size (15 feet in diameter) and to run my hand across the beautifully sanded top. Named for and inspired by the Zen Buddhist symbol “enso”–a simple circle drawn with a single broad brushstroke as a symbol of infinity, void, and enlightenment–the table consists of five single boards locked together like puzzle pieces, all salvaged from a spalted maple tree. It was in my eyes, the single most natural (and in the most litearl sense) and beautiful piece at the fair. I’m a sucker for simple woodword, what can I say?
The Strict Chair
I fell in love with Hugh Hayden’s whimsical sense of design when he showed a piece at a recent AAD Future Perfect exhibition, so it was great to recognize his designs (they do sorta stand out, right?) among all the other designers. His “FUNature” line is a always a breath of fresh air and isn’t really for those old at heart.
One of the designers featured in the yearly Pratt student designers’ booth, Michael Weaker conceived this piece as part of the Graduate Thesis Program. He took familiar elements found in standard chairs (but with uncommon lines and volumes) and combined them to offer a multiple range of seating possibilities. He says, “These shapes allow a viewer’s imagination to take over and relate the chair’s shape with a positive personal memory. The relationship between the chair and each user is therefore personal and unique.”
Posted by Kyra Shapurji