Always a high point of our NYC Design Week, Noho Design District has fast become a destination for up and coming and established designers looking to introduce their latest work outside the conventional confines of ICFF. Among the many impressive exhibitions in the area we felt Noho Next—now in its fourth year—to be the strongest group showing of emerging designers. Presented by Jawbone, the underground space featured a good deal of creative, innovative and strangely sculptural work. While each studio had their own few square feet of space, a curated selection of work in the BIG Jambox installation area showed how the many different designers’ work could blend seamlessly together. The following are five design studios that caught, and kept, our attention above all others.
Hailing from the Northwest, artist and designer Eric Trine makes intriguing furniture that is both minimal and involved. His wood, steel and leather seating caught our eye with a curious choice of colors and construction techniques. The two woven chairs seem firmly at home in any number of environments. Alongside these sat a few geometrically-inspired side-tables that really pulled the entire bold collection together.
One of the more distinctively designed collections came from Brooklyn-based design studio Souda. By employing reusable leather molds, the slip-cast porcelain objects are entirely unique. The leather’s versatility has allowed Souda designers Isaac Friedman-Heiman, Shaun Kasperbauer and Luft Tanaka the freedom to experiment with tableware and lighting, resulting in a range of organic designs unlike anything we’ve seen. And, to prove their design prowess, the group also introduced the Mitre Stool; a geometric piece of minimal seating.
Ladies & Gentlemen
With a range of metal-based lighting fixtures throughout the Noho Next space, Seattle’s Ladies & Gentlemen held an unavoidable presence in the dark space. We were immediately drawn to the small Maru Hand Mirror, nestled in the corner of the design studio—which they shared with Professional Associates—which mixed glass, copper, brass and hemlock. Across the room in the BIG Jambox installation area was an array of Aura Lamps. These gorgeous brass and copper glowing lamps emit a halo-like light that was captivating.
Architecturally-inclined designer Jason Rens is concerned with creating objects that toe the line between form and function. In an interview with Noho Next co-curator Monica Khemsurov, Rens explains he’s interested in creating designs that move beyond simple utility, saying, “Having a beautiful object or something that inspires you or makes you see things a little differently is a completely valid function, and one I wish more people paid more attention to.” While his works undoubtedly trigger personal sensation, the items in his “Rason Jens” collection aren’t without purpose. A prime example of this sentiment are the the giraffe-like bronze bookends, which are as playfully sculptural as they are capable of keeping books aligned.
Debuting at this year’s NoHo Next, Professional Associates are Seattle-based product designer Erich Ginder and glassmaker John Hogan. The pair looks to their surroundings of the Pacific Northwest to inform their work, channeling their environment into an interpretation of the future using sustainable manufacturing techniques. Their initial collection includes a bevy of designs inspired by Tangerine Dream’s classic 1974 album, Phaedra, which sees the duo explore geometrical and more ethereal takes on lighting. The chandelier and pendant lamps, dubbed “South Side of The Sky”, showcase Hogan’s talent for shaping glass—each funnel-shaped glass pendant softly exudes light while creating a visually striking, harmonious gradient among its “stair-stepped” form. The graceful glassworks are underscored by patterned textile cords, and for the chandelier, a waxed oak centerpiece complete with a magnetic bottom closure.
Lead image by Justin Lee; studio images by Professional Associates; all other images by Graham Hiemstra and Karen Day