If the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in Manhattan is an elaborate multi-course meal, then BKLYNDESIGNS is the cutting-edge amuse bouche that you’re still talking about long after dessert. Now in its seventh year, the juried show kicks off on Friday in Dumbo and through Sunday will feature the work of 45 top Brooklyn-based designers of everything from furniture and lighting to hand-printed wallpaper and skateboards made from scrap wood. We talked to two first-time BKLYNDESIGNS exhibitors about the creations they’ll show at the fair:
Founded by Scott Behr and Matthew Warren, Total Metal Resource (TMRnyc) excels at custom metal work, which led these wizards of welding to create what Behr describes as “wired furniture and lighting mixed with high-edge industrial bling.” For its BKLYNDESIGNS debut, the firm will display its wares in a Sol Lewitt-meets-Richard Serra booth: a giant cube made from laser-cut sheets of aluminum. Inside you’ll find furniture that makes that unsightly power strip lurking under your desk — and its ever-growing tangle of cords — a thing of the past. With TMRnyc’s Side Wired Desk, you plug everything into the desk’s eight outlets (six inside and two outside) and then plug the desk into the wall. “The design challenge was to make a great-looking desk, incorporate a hidden cable management system and power source, as well as making it fast and easy to get at the cable ends to rearrange things when as the situation arises,” Behr tells us. The sleek, wood-topped solution involves wire grommets and a hinged tray that can manage cables and otherwise minimize clutter. The target audience? “People that are obsessed with organization and neatness — or someone that just wants to take their desktop back from their computer.”
In the course of redecorating her Williamsburg apartment, artist Shanan Campanaro discovered that her paintings could be transformed — with her Central St Martins-trained eye and a bit of computer manipulation — into mesmerizing abstract wallpaper patterns. An enthusiastic response to her own living room walls and a few commissions prompted her to create Eskayel, a collection of custom wallpapers that will launch at BKLYNDESIGNS. The “Opulence” and “Frontier” ranges each contain eight kaleidoscopic patterns that evoke Navajo blankets, ikat fabrics, and Rorschach blots dreamed up by M.C. Escher. “From far away it looks like more traditional wallpaper patterns, but as you get up close you can see all of the colors and the brush strokes and ink washes giving it a hand-painted and detailed element,” says Campanaro, who has yet to discover a reliable way to determine which of her works are ripe for translation to wallpaper. “Some paintings have made tons of beautiful patterns and some don’t really make anything very nice. It’s a lot of trial and error.” –Stephanie Murg
BKLYNDESIGNS, Friday May 8-Sunday May 10, St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water Street, Dumbo. Tickets $12 in advance, $15 day of. Events and exhibitor info at brooklyndesigns.net.
Sent by Nicole. Text by Stephanie Murg, co-editor of UnBeige, mediabistro.com’s design site. Photos from top courtesy of TMRnyc and Eskayel.