After several years of living in the Big Apple, French-born Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat decided they wanted to contribute to New York’s design scene. In 2011, the duo launched WantedDesign, an annual design fair with events taking place in May each year. Here’s a look at trends that emerged from its last edition.
Conscious design was at the heart the 2019 edition of the fair, as explained by the WantedDesign’s cofounders: “Protecting the environment, achieving reasonable consumption and reducing waste are all issues that designers face on their daily tasks to create our homes, and our workspace, in addition to bringing beauty to healthier living.”
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Campana brothers’ practice and the 10th anniversary of the Instituto Campana, Humberto Campana was the guest of honour at the IC Design Festival by WantedDesign at Brooklyn’s Industry City. Designers from the United States, as well as China, Latin America and Quebec, among other international design destinations, showcased their works, reflecting their creativity and passion for innovation. Some of them in particular caught our attention.
TREND ONE: Latin American Touch
Curated by Design Week Mexico, Mexico Territorio Creativo presented 11 talents and one university project, illustrating the country’s contemporary design culture and its influences from sustainability, identity and simplicity. The MayDay exhibition celebrated Colombian creativity with designers such as H.J.A., Oscar Agudelo and Tucurinca.
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Based in Mexico City, this laboratory for multidisciplinary design combines different materials and processes (both artisanal and industrial). Menguante was inspired by the waning or “old moon” phase, only seen at dawn before sunrise.
Hand embroidered with a pattern by artist Luis Rodrigo Medina, the TRAZO stools and benches evoke ancient Mexican traditions. Subtly geometric, the VERSO table in beechwood designed by Caterina Moretti is poetic. These pieces were created by the independent design studio Peca based in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Tu Taller Design
According to Colombia design studio Tu Taller Design, the Caribe table was “developed under the concept of colonial Caribbean architecture, built to allow the ocean crosswinds to pass through, exposing what the eye can see and permeate but shall not be contained.”
TREND 2: A Creative Use of Materials
With materials—from wood and steel to glass and brass—designers explore their imaginations to give life to utilitarian and visually appealing furniture pieces, lighting and accessories, while also reinterpreting their culture in a modern way.
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Brooke M Davis
Part of the Pilo collection, this elegant table was created with softly tufted wood and features Swarovski crystals. Through this piece, Brooke M Davis explored the line between contemporary design and traditional woodworking.
Inspired by the cliffs around the designer’s studio in Quebec, the floating Ledge Console, mounted to the wall, is made of solid ash and a glass top. “The wood components are scored across the grain, then carved by breaking the woods grain, to create patterns of variable depths”, Johns explains.
Egyptian product and fashion designer Esraa Fathy draws inspiration from her heritage and culture while adding a modern twist to all her creations, such as Luxmar, a series of vases made with alabaster—a white stone extracted from Luxor— and wood.
TREND 3: Chinese Talents
For the second year in 2019, designers from China, especially Shanghai—including A-Zenith, AMY, Endless Form, Letii, Novah and Tiwuworks, among others—were present to create a dialogue with the U.S. community and other international talents.
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Cecilia Xinyu Zhang
Born in Beijing and currently based in Bergen, Norway, the young designer showcased her Equant suspension lamp with an adjustable circular reflector. “It is reminiscent of the mathematical concept developed by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD to account for the observed motion of the planets”, she says.
Now based in Shanghai, Atelier- Errance was cofounded by designer YiJie Huang and artist Xiang Chen initially in France. “Our main work is research and creation combined with the daily life”, they say.
Founded by Ximi Li, this contemporary design brand integrates cultural elements of different world regions into furniture with pure lines and an elegant aesthetic.
TREND 4: Pushing the boundaries
Designing means creating, experimenting and innovating. Organised by WantedDesign to promote international emerging talents in two categories (furniture and lighting), Launch Pad this year rewarded Studio.SunnyKim (based in Michigan, originally from Korea) in the furniture category and Machin (based in Austin, originally from Mexico) in lighting.
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Lake + Wells
A collaboration between Lake + Wells and Karice, “Portal is neither sconce nor floor lamp, and yet is also curiously both”. The team adds: “Each piece is machined from a single block of solid aluminium, refined by artisans, anodised, and then assembled with a hand-polished brass mirror.”
Victor Le Fessant
On view at an exhibition by Italian brand Alessi and French school ENSCI-Les Ateliers, this student project, called “Mirages”, was created by Victor Le Fessant with a 3D printing technique that enabled the design of a surprising coffee cup in a complex shape.
Born in Korea and currently based in the United States, Seonhee Sunny Kim is always experimenting, in search of new shapes and techniques as reflected through her Depth of Surface chair that she describes as “a yoga hammock with wooden structure”.
TREND 5: A Sense of Balance
The achievement of perfect harmony or tension is what makes an object truly fascinating. Through their work, some designers use colour (black and white, for example), materials (whether raw or refined) and shapes (curves and angles) to show both contrast and complementarity.
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As said by architect and designer Arielle Assouline- Lichten, “the Slash Objects line integrates the use of an industrial material made of post-consumer recycled rubber. By pairing rubber with brass, marble and concrete, the collection imagines new ways for materials to come together.”
Working both in Tokyo and New York City, designer Nao Tamura blends innovation and beauty, and crosses different disciplines, cultures and styles to create emotional products, such as the Sage lamp inspired by nature and technology.
Format Fine Goods
Available in different colours, the Arches chandelier—from Format Fine Goods founded by Joel Edmondson— consists of three curved arms with 3D printed porcelain shades on a black steel fixture with brass details.
Images Courtesy of the brands, designers and Wanteddesign