NYCxDESIGN, the city’s two week long celebration of all things design, brought the best creatives in the business to New York for the past two weeks. Now in its fourth year, New York’s Design Week brought designers, curators and media insiders together for two weeks of busy commercial fairs, major museum exhibitions—the works of Isaac Mizrahi and Japanese architects SANAA among them—and of course, plenty of parties.
After combing through fairs, pop-ups stands and galleries, we’ve rounded up our favorite up-and-coming designers who showcased their talents in New York last week. These creatives each demonstrate an affinity for rethinking the objects we use every day, from living room chairs to flower vases. They make use of unexpected materials, original forms and even add a sense of humor to encourage us to stop and pay a bit more attention to our surrounding environment. Keep an eye out for these top design talents:
Originally from Germany and now based in New York, Alex Proba is the gifted designer behind #aposteraday, an initiative that has earned her over 13,000 followers on Instagram that she began while working as an art director. She’s now Design Director at the eponymous Mother New York agency, and her poster creations range from graphic patterns to color blocks and abstract forms. In each work, she explores new materials and a sense of humor to draw the viewer in.
As she expands her design practice at Studio Proba—she debuted a minimalist fountain made of powder-coated aluminum at Site Unseen OFFSITE—we look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.
Jean Pascal Gauthier
Montreal-based designer Jean Pascal Gauthier designs elegant lighting that combines weightless, minimalist forms inspired by Alexander Calder and Pierre Guariche. Each work combines small plants and lights, carefully placed to highlight the graceful geometry of each work.
Based in Buenos Aires, RIES was founded by Marcos Altgelt, Segundo Denegri and Tasio Picollo. Coming from the worlds of architecture and industrial design, their sleek, minimalist aesthetic and sense of precision makes their work stand out. At this year’s Site Unseen fair, they displayed their new hexagonal structures as well as furniture filled with plants.
Fernando Mastrangelo creates sculptural pieces that blur the line between artwork and design object. Using unconventional materials such as salt, coffee, sang, glass and cement, the talented designer creates works that are both rough and refined; a hybrid of textures, styles and materials all in one. His booth at this year’s Collective Design Fair was a breath of fresh air, proving to observers that furniture design and sculpture are not mutually exclusive, and a combination of the two make the work much stronger.
The Latvian-born, Amsterdam-based designer has impressed observers at design fairs all over the globe, and NYCxDESIGN was no exception. His process is relatively simple: Ermics adds color gradient to glass and mirror to give an ‘ombre’ effect, then arranges the objects in a appealing composition. The beautiful visual effect of gradually fading colors and textures draws the viewer in.
Originally from Poland, US-based designers Aleksandra Pollner debuted her furniture collection at Sight Unseen OFFSITE. Using reflective materials such as copper and brass, Pollner melds together contrasting shapes and materials that bring our attention to the relationship—or tension—between intersecting forms. Her ever-evolving style and interests continue to impress.
Web developer by day, ceramicist by night, emerging design talent Saint Karen successfully unites her interests in technology and the arts with her new collection sculpture and objects. Drawing on her technical skills in creating data structures and algorithms, she used mapping visualizations to create the forms that eventually became ceramic objects.
Her unique ability to combine mathematics with aesthetics results in beautiful, unique designs, and her creative process is as fascinating as the end result.
Brooklyn based design-duo Fort Standard, composed of Gregory Buntain and Ian Collings, are using traditional materials like wood, stone and leather in new ways. Their large wardrobe made of soapstone is surprisingly thin and light, as is their lightweight wooden chair. Fort Standard’s experimental approach to these simple, functional objects makes them feel new again.
Evan Fay’s gorgeous Vine Chair combines a rigid, black steel grid structure with knotted scuba knit fabric as a built-in cushion. The object is a hybrid of contrasting styles, materials, and textures that draws the viewer in immediately. Fay’s bold, contemporary aesthetic will resonate with many design lovers and critics.
All Roads Design
The Los Angeles-based studio All Roads Design, established by textile designer Janelle Pietrzak, debuted beautiful abstract wall hangings at Site Unseen OFFSITE. She creates abstract fields of color that remind the viewer of the painters of the ’60s, only she uses wool, rope and hemp to create her pieces.
The contrasting patterns and textures creates a strong visual statement, and the softness of the material invites onlookers to reach out and touch the works. Part tapestry, part painting and part cozy blanket, Pietrzak’s work constitutes its own artistic genre.
For more design content, check out this slick range of sustainably designed furniture.
- Words: Zoe Cooper