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New York City Celebrates Design in May

By Janelle Zara
May 7, 2014
the principals reclaim nyc nycxdesign
Image courtesy Reclaim NYC
Appearing at the third iteration of Reclaim NYC, from May 15-20, Space Trash is a room-scale interactive installation by Brooklyn-based design firm The Principals. Using myoelectric sensors, visitors can control the shape of the room by clenching their muscles, turning the space into a bionic architecture. Proceeds from the sale of concrete coaster sets inspired by the installation will support the National MS Society.

From May 17-20, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair comes to New York to serve as the stateside launchpad of the design world’s newest developments. For industry diehards, roving the showroom floors of the massive Javits Center is like being a kid in the candy shop—but it’s a bit of a drag for everyone else. Thankfully, the masses have NYCxDESIGN, the city-backed, 10-day initiative to celebrate and draw attention to the satellite design events throughout the metropolis. Now in its second year, the lineup is a little more robust, with a greater number of gallery shows, large-scale exhibitions, and outer-borough happenings. Core77 will cover the highlights in a tabloid-sized newspaper, distributing it to 20 venues via truck and old-fashioned newsies. The best of NYCxDESIGN, which runs May 9-20, is below.

the principals reclaim nyc nycxdesign
Photo © Ikon Photo and Nude Design Studio
WantedDesign is curating spaces in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
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Collective Design Fair, May 8-11

Ostensibly New York’s only major collectible design fair, Collective offers an international selection of both new and secondary market functional art. And like NYCxDESIGN, it returns from its inaugural edition with greater programming, plus a wider array of exhibitors. This year, architect and founder Steven Learner added Oslo-based midcentury dealers Fuglen, Paris contemporary specialist Galerie BSL, Brussels’ futuristic gallery Victor Hunt, and more to join the lineup. There’s also going to be a special Murray Moss-curated exhibition of celebrated Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, vignettes by a roster of esteemed interior designers, a conversation series, and a show of Scandinavian design by newly appointed Museum of Art and Design director Glenn Adamson. Skylight at Moynihan Station, 360 West 33rd St.

Sight Unseen OFFSITE

After four years of running the multi-site NoHo Design District, online design destination Sight Unseen has condensed its annual showcase of independent makers under one roof with the launch of OFFSITE. “We don’t have booths,” says Monica Khemsurov, who co-founded Sight Unseen with Jill Singer in 2010. “OFFSITE is supposed to feel a little bit more fun, and a little more about discovery and experimentation, than the average trade fair.” As such, it will be host to a small, curated café by food-design blog Mold; pop-up retailers, including an artisanal papier-mâché plant shop; a photo booth with Calico Wallpaper backgrounds; plus the handmade objects produced by designer trio Field Experiments’ pilgrimage to Bali. 200 Lafayette St.

Aldo Bakker & the Dutch Masters, from May 9

For his first solo exhibition in the United States, venerated Dutch designer Aldo Bakker is collaborating with Atelier Courbet, a SoHo design boutique that hones its focus on craftsmen rather than brand names. Together with founder Melanie Courbet, he’s curated a selection of about 20 pieces of furniture and tableware that showcase his collaborations with various master craftsmen in silver, ceramics, wood, and Urushi, the Japanese decorative art of lacquer. “The pieces we are very excited to receive are the indigo stool and the Urushi stool,” says Courbet. “They combine Dutch master craftsmanship with Japanese techniques, which we’re very keen on.” Atelier Courbet, 177 Mott St.

Brooklyn Designs, May 9-11

This time around, Brooklyn has a greater presence in the festivities with an exhibition of 60 local makers of furniture, lighting, and accessories curated by the design editors of New York, the The Architect's Newspaper, Inhabitat, and Blankslate. A plethora of events abound, from an exhibition of wares by Pratt students and alumni, to talks on 3-D printing and wearable gadgets, to double-dutch lessons courtesy of social services provider University Settlement. St. Ann’s Warehouse, 29 Jay St., Brooklyn

WantedDesign, May 16-19, and Industry City, May 10-20

In addition to their curated showcase of international brands and manufacturers—DWR, Bernhardt Design, Ligne Roset, and Moroso among them, plus a giant lighting installation by Blackbody OLED—WantedDesign founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat are expanding their programming for the first time to Brooklyn’s Industry City, the 30-acre former manufacturing plant in Sunset Park that was recently converted to artists’ studios. There, presentations including workshops, forums, open studio tours, and live demonstrations focus on smaller-scale producers, both local and international. The Terminal, 269 11th Ave.; Industry City, 241 37th St., Brooklyn

Reclaim NYC, May 15-20

Since launching in 2012 as a design-driven charity for Hurricane Sandy relief, Jean Lin and Jennifer Krichels’s Reclaim NYC has expanded to benefit a greater number of causes. During NYCxDESIGN, the nonprofit is hosting three installations by New York-based studios Fort Makers, The Principals, and UM Project, each working for the cause of their choice: Planned Parenthood NYC, the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, and Friends of Art and Design, respectively. Look forward to a maypole of UM Project-designed light fixtures, the Principals’ interactive ceilingscape, and Fort Makers’ designer carnival at the soon-to-launch Colony, a designer co-op. Colony, 324 Canal St., 2nd Floor

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