The early May opening of Collective Design in Manhattan always feels like the official kickoff to several weeks worth of design events attached to NYCxDesign, New York's extended alternative to Milan Design Week. Often a presentation of objects demonstrating both style and concept, Collective Design brings together works of designers big and small to create an environment spilling with eye-catching furniture pieces—admittedly garish at times, some understated objects hold equal weight due to their commitment to idea and process. The show always creates a sense of wonder behind objects otherwise ordinary, and several of our selections from this year's fair are a further testament to this notion.
Breaded Escalope's Conceptual Creations
A chair made by Breaded Escalope on-site at Collective Design Breaded Escalope's Original Stool installation Tools used to mix the resin for the chairs
Breaded Escalope, an arts and design collective based in Vienna, make their mark throughout several areas in the sprawling Collective Design space. In one lofted area, their "Original Stool" installation illuminates the process behind a collection of resin chairs whose creation takes a conceptual nod from the rotational molding manufacturing process. Each piece is created using a hollow sphere embedded with a silicone mold of the stool. Breaded Escalope stages the production of each chair almost as a performance, creating them in different cities while inviting residents to help roll the orb down hills or streets or throw them in rapid waters; the collective has also created a seesaw-like structure that they roll the orb down to test its efficacy. Escalope writes that the project attempts to "capture specific times and place by permitting the environment to provide the distinguishing characteristics for each piece."
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Another noteworthy project by the collective is tucked away in the Frederieke Taylor Gallery booth, a furniture piece entitled "Bar Non Lieu". A perhaps analog commentary on the condition of privacy in the present age, the piece provides a surprisingly ambient and comforting space in which to sit down with a friend and chat, perhaps even to divulge secrets. Simultaneously, the work references a modern tendency toward internalization, encouraging a type of behavior similar to walking down the street wearing noise-blocking headphones.
Flavor Paper x UM Project: Interactive Wallpaper
Francois Chambard of UM Projects demonstrating a lighting element of the wall.
UM Project, a studio known for their playful approach to design, this year for Collective collaborates with the high-end wallpaper company Flavor Paper to create a wall installation that elevates the concept of interaction by applying it in a fun and physical way. Utilizing conductive ink technology, this graphic modular wallpaper also works as a means of generating electricity throughout objects in the installation. With the touch of a few copper buttons, you can generate a fan, turn on lights and even flip open a mirror to check your makeup. A number of practical ideas come to mind when you interact with the wacky installations on the wall, and UM Project Francois Chambard assured us that anyone interested in installing this on their own wall can work with Flavor Paper to customize the modular system however they'd like.
Bright & Scandalous Ceramics
Vases by Glenn Barkley Girl Lamps and Mirrors by Katie Stout Enter a caption (optional)
As ceramics reach a higher status than they once had in the design world, a variety of fun and hilarious applications to the medium ensue. Note, for one, hand built and excruciatingly detailed vases by artist Glenn Barkley at the Mindy Solomon Gallery booth (one standing out for its distinct Flamin' Hot Cheeto-hued detailing).
By the looks of it at Collective, ceramic works of imperfect and child-like proportions are not only accepted but also widely coveted. Artist Katie Stout's "Girl Lamps" acknowledge this acceptance of elementary design tactics with a, well, unrestrained twist.
Reinterpretations of Glass
Lamps, mirrors and tables by Fernando Mastrangelo Studio
Glass is another material breaking new ground in the hands of different designers at Collective. Several projects throughout the space took the material so far it presents itself as something totally different—for example, the work Fernando Mastrangelo Studio includes a collection of furniture pieces using compounds of resin and glass that resemble salt rock or even styrofoam.
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At the Storefront for Art & Architecture booth, one glass object for sale stood out for its ingenious attention to detail and a convincing trompe l'eoil effect. Designer Murray Moss worked with the iconic glass manufacturer Lobmeyr to create these "broken" tumblers, utilizing glass engraving to mimic the look of a shattered glass.
Other exhibits worth mentioning? Othr's collection of 3d printed objects made in collaboration with designers like Chen Chen & Kai and Ania Jaworska, an exhibition of Italian glass dating from 1870-1970, and a vase with the likeness of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Check out more from the show below:
Work of cute proportions by the Haas Brothers for R & Company RBG porcelain vase by Ruberto Lugo A collection of luxury Italian glass at the "Glass Past" booth Chen Chen & Kai for OTHR, made from 3d printed porcelain and metal A table made of matches and bird body lamp, for the eccentric soul (on display at the Cristina Grajales Gallery booth)
Overwhelmed by all there is to see during NY Design Week? Our NYCxDesign Map can help.