When it comes to design, I like it practical. I’m not interested in a beautiful, but prickly chair that will draw blood if you sit on it or an awesome looking light fixture that will burn you when you try to turn it off. To me, good design is not only about looks, but also about practicality and originality. It has those extra challenges that fine art lacks. I leave it to paintings to wow me with good looks!
So with this filter, I attended Wanted Design and found a number of pieces I could actually use in my interiors; practical pieces with a unique beauty and sensibility. Here is a sampling of what I really caught my eye:
Design Within Reach introduced the original work (above) of Atlanta-based designer Chris Hardy. I found his “Helix” series of tables of cast brass, solid walnut and glass totally apropos for today’s way of life. Each table has an odd number of legs that makes it look different from every angle. They also have leveling guides, which make them adjust to uneven floors. These industrial-looking babies also have a polished sense of masculine bravado and are smoking hot. Wow, this guy thought about everything!
Global Lighting, one of Wanted Design sponsors, showcased Holland’s Jacco Maris’s very stylish “Stand Alone” floor reading light. Soooo incredibly chic for interiors with a sophisticated edge. The lamp looks like a tractor’s headlight – but not like the one’s on a rough-hewn farm tractor. More like those on the tractor’s polished sibling who left the farm for the bright lights of the city!
I started to speak in tongues, well Brazilian Portuguese anyway, when I first saw the lounge designs by 13&9 Design – they couldn’t be from anywhere else, right? To my amazement (and slight disappointment in the language department), the studio is actually in AUSTRIA (and not Rio de Janeiro)!!! These cool, minimalistic and very modern loungers are A+. The chairs are right on the margin between beauty and impracticality but with these darlings, I would be willing take a chance.
The Swedish textiles of Almedahl’s were beautiful, fresh, light and airy. I was particularly entranced by their “burnout” series that use a technique for creating positive and negative spaces in their textile designs. Elegant Swedish sophistication at its best.
A designer from Montreal, Tat Chao had some very original lighting designs that peeked my curiosity. His “in Vitro” collection is made from up-cycled glass – discarded, out-of-style and/or damaged glass – and given a new life. In particular, I loved the “bipolar” LED pendants made by placing 2 wine glasses end-to-end.
Established companies like Hewlett-Packard, one of the Fair’s sponsors, also showed me they really can compete in the cool and fresh category. They featured a new offering – digital custom wallcoverings – a newly released process in which you as the designer can create wallpaper using their free software. Once the design is complete you can have it printed onto pretty much anything for installation by any experienced wallpaper installer. You really need to see this to believe it!
You can palpably feel the excitement of design when you attend a fair like Wanted Design. Few booths show “established” brands and its mostly young, energetic and good designers with a vision. I applaud the French-born, New York-based co-founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, for bringing this show to our great city. Merci beaucoup!
image credits: courtesy Wanted Design