Bklyn Designs reinvents the modern living space

The Brooklyn Paper
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From a chair crafted out of tennis balls to a table hewn from a massive, curving slice of wood, the home furnishing creations of Brooklyn designers and artisans strutted like fanciful peacocks −− think, birds of a distinctly different color −− across warehouse and showroom spaces in DUMBO, all gussied up for the annual Bklyn Designs show.

Now in its seventh year, the eye−popping event at its best married form and function, and proved the resilience of the borough’s design community, its ability to create trends as well as furnishings and home accessories that set the stage on the cutting edge.

A total of 45 different local companies participated in this year’s event, which provided the kick−off to New York Design Week. The only question that might occur to borough−boosters was, once they’ve seen everything Brooklyn has to offer, how do you woo them back across the East River to that other borough.

After all, the tag line for the weekend show is “locally grown and internationally known,” and the parade of furniture, rugs, wallcoverings, and the like made a strong case for Brooklyn as an incubator of forward−looking design that could well take the world by storm.

Certainly, Borough President Marty Markowitz was making that point, “I defy you to find another place with so many artists and creative people per square inch,” he told a group of designers and reporters gathered at the Thermador­Bosch⁄­Gaggenau showroom at 1 Main Street. Brooklyn, he added, is “the international hub of the design world. You really haven’t made it on the big stage till you’ve made it in Brooklyn.”

That big stage combined industrial chic with luxe materials, set out in booths artfully arranged in St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water Street, with kid−oriented merchandise open to view just down the block at Jane’s Carousel, 56 Water Street.

On display were clean−lined furnishings in light colored wood that dazzled through understatement (ALS Designs), richly patterned and textured carpets from Asha Carpets, whimsically bright furnishings made from what looked like plastic balls (think fast food playplace) from Hugh Hayden and crayon−colored, kid−scaled furnishings from Boo−Coup.

The highlight at TMR NYC’s booth was its industrially inspired desk. Parsons table lines and brightly colored metal combined with outlets galore and cord caddies under glass for a piece of furniture which straddled the divide between practicality and high design.

Among the most creative items on display were those designed by Pratt Institute students, who were more than eager to talk about their creations. Jason Pfaeffle’s Array series furnishings use stock pieces to create a variety of different items with a unified spirit. An end table and coat rack feature blond wood and dowels. The stock aspect “Helps with manufacturing costs,” said Pfaeffle. Nonetheless, the end result, he added, ‘I think is quite elegant.”

Evan Dewhirst demonstrated his Buoy task chair, rocking and pivoting on it to display its characteristics. “It’s meant to promote more healthful seating positions,” Dewhirst explained. “There’s also more mobility when you’re working.”

Dana de Vega, whose plumbing fixture inspired salt and pepper mills sat on a table as visual teasers, said it was quite an achievement to have your design accepted into the Pratt display. “There was a big competition to get in,” she explained.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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