For the next three days, The Brooklyn Expo Center will be abuzz with the latest innovations from the design-minded borough during the run of BKLYN Designs—the official launch for the festivities of NYCxDESIGN. "The show began in 2003 as one of the first focused on putting Brooklyn designers on the map. Now, after 12 years in Dumbo, we're exhibiting for the first time in Greenpoint and we're really excited to be within such a vibrant creative community," says Kristin Coleman of Novitá Communications, one of the firms who played an instrumental role in organizing the show.
The High Line Shop features a curated selection of items including Mark Dion's whimsical field guide.
The rich list of exhibitors and robust additional programming—panel discussions, workshops, demos, and even Brooklyn home tours organized by Dwell—approach Brooklyn's design landscape from multiple points of view. "Of course there is furniture, but that bleeds over into other areas and we really wanted to highlight that this year," Coleman points out. In that vein, the AN/AIANY New Practices Lounge presents the work of seven local, emerging architecture firms while Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) will be screening eight films on loop throughout the event. [Editor's note: ADFF is one of our editors' picks for this year's design week.] This synergy among disciplines is felt throughout, where collaboration abounds. "There is a focus on collective spaces, like the Urban Chandy Loft where 6-7 designers came together between furniture, lighting and apparel." Similarly, a marketplace section called BKLYN BUYS brings together a host of retail items ranging from past and current issues of CLOG, to ceramics by BTWCeramics for By Brooklyn, and selections from the High Line Shop.
Summer Moore's line of woven accessories evidence her expertise in the craft, which she perfected during a residence in Cappadocia, Turkey. Drawing on Danish weavings, macrame patterns, and Shaker furniture, Kate Casey's most recent creations for Peg Woodoworking are a series of graphic, woven chairs. Brooklyn designer Hana Getachew launches her new textile brand, Bolé Road, featuring traditional textiles sourced in Ethiopia.
"A lot of people have a preconceived notion associating Brooklyn designers with wood," explains Coleman, but this year the focus is on detail-oriented pieces and an experimental material approach, combining metal, concrete, resin, and leather with traditional woodworking. A series of explorative textile designs caught our eye, from the macrame and Shaker inspired woven chairs made by Peg Woodworking's Kate Casey, to the exquisite handwoven jewelry by Summer Moore of LESH, and the launch of Bolé Road textiles, an inspiring marriage of modern patterns and traditional craft, sustainably made in Ethiopia.
Interior designer Christopher Coleman carried his signature use of bright colors into his latest collection of design objects. Jill Malek's wallpaper is actually an edible potato based wafer, while the brick pattern is silkscreened chocolate.
Traditionally, the show is a launchpad for emerging designers, but this year the inaugural Alumni Gallery is a focal point of the event. "We wanted to put a spotlight on the designers who launched their careers at the show, maybe 10-12 years ago, and have since evolved to become established names in the industry," explains Coleman. The curated area features new work from designers like Jill Malek (whose unique and playful edible wallpaper is a must!), DYAD, and Igloo Play, among others.
BKLYN Designs is open May 8-9 from 10am-7pm, and May 10 from 11am-6pm at 73 Noble Street in Brooklyn.