Collective Design Fair Showcases Masters, Emerging Artists

It’s a young fair in the big scheme of things but New York’s Collective Design Fair is already a prime place to see top design and creative new efforts from masters and emerging artists alike. The fair, which celebrated its fifth anniversary in May 2017,  is more than just an annual event. The show actually caps off a year of creative programs and conversations that focus on the creative process and the “diversity of our material culture.” Taking place on the first weekend of May — design month in New York City — it is a perfect launch for New York’s celebration of design and Homedit was there to bring you the highlights.

This stunning booth from Apparatus features its Lantern pendants front and center. These slip-cast porcelain fixtures are available as a floor lamp, table lamp and single pendant. The soft glow is particularly nice in this burnt orange space that includes a floor lamp from the Metronome series, where a patinated bronze dome sits atop the cone-shaped base. The entire base is covered in the softest, garment-grade calf suede. The table is the Segment 6: A lacquer top is supported by a luminous, hand-cast base made of resin.

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The ridged porcelain shades seem to float on the brass fittings.

The Dark Moon sconce is the result of a collaborative effort between Pelle, and Russell Whitmore of Erie Basin. This dramatic piece of lighting is made from hand-aged brass with twelve stone dangles that are carved from marble.  Each removable drop is suspended on a brass fitting. The light emerges from the bottom of the fixture, and out between the fringe.

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Even though the drops are stone, they still convey the feeling of fringe.

Calico Wallpaper, known for its large-scale and dramatic wall coverings in unique techniques, presented Woodlands, Fields, Moors by Faye Toogood. It is a mural that is printed to fit the space it will adorn. Small space or large, acute angle or obtuse, the company can print the art to fit, with no repeats.

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It’s impossible to discern any seams and the image doesn’t repeat.

Among the beautiful pieces from the Chahan Gallery was this coffee table. The textural, three-dimensional surface is avant-garde. The rough, hand-hewn feel would be a lovely counterpoint to a more elegant sofa. The gallery was founded by Chahan Minassian, whose first experience out of design school was as European Creative Director for Ralph Lauren.

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Chahan opened his gallery in 2008 in the “Carré Rive Gauche” antiques area of Paris.

The Cristina Grajales Gallery always has great pieces and we were particularly taken with this matchstick table. Its intricate construction is artful and decorative. The whimsical bird lamp is a smaller version of the one we saw on exhibit at the Salone Del Mobile 2016.

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The offbeat and quirky lamp is a fun counterpoint to the table.
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The way the match heads align contribute to the decorative appearance.

Australian industrial designer Christopher Boots presented this collection of pieces with a bit of a darker twist — a bit “Game of Thrones,” if you will.  Always fascinated by crystals, Boots has created floor and ceiling lamps from these natural formations and has added a substantial chunk of stone to his spare, modern Portal table lamp.  The folding screen has tones of celestial flavor and and a shiny, hefty appearance.

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The screen features clear and smokey quartz crystal, representing the dark and light.  It took four years to develop.
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A suspended crown of crystals makes a dramatic lighting centerpiece.

At first look, this deep burgundy carved stone definitely does not look like an inviting place to take a seat, but upon closer inspection, we found that it actually is. Molded polyurethane, sculpted to resemble chiseled rock, is coated in rubber and flocked, yielding a piece that exhibits all the characteristics of stone. Created by London-based Fredrikson Stallard, it is part of his Species Collection, which was created with “brute force that is at odds with ideas of comfort or human contact,” explains Stallard’s website. The chair was part of the David Gill Gallery booth.

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The armchair ‘Species II’ was created in 2015.

Grand and glittering, the “Stelle Marine” cabinet by Roberto Giulio Rida might be modest in size, but it packs a big design punch. Silver-mirrored panels cover the cabinet, accented with vintage flowers made of Murano glass, some signed by Cenedese, one of the well-known historic glass works of Venice. Behind the cabinet’s six doors, the interior is painted in a bright blue.

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This cabinet was made in 2017.
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A closer look at the charming, multicolored flowers.

Highly textural wall pieces and furniture by Fernando Mastrangelo are created using salt, sand and even ground glass combined with a special resin. Mastrangelo casts, carves and shapes the material into stunning art, as well as unique pieces of furniture that look like they are made from foam or rock salt. He also works in cement, creating eminently smooth and sleek pieces that stand in textural contrast to this type of piece. He is also known for using other common materials, like coffee and black beans to fashion his works.

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The dimension in the wall piece is marvelous.
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A closer look at the textures in the piece.

In designs that defy imagination, Jennifer Trask creates unbelievably complex works of flora that are not what they seem. This is “Encroachment,” which is indicative of her pieces that use bone and antlers that are carved into intricate flowers and elements that come together in an elaborate sculpture. Formally trained as a metalsmith, Trask also creates unique jewelry using similar materials.

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This work includes wood, gold leaf, gesso, found objects, bone, antler, calcium carbonate, druzy quartz, teeth, resin and mica.
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The construction of the flowers made from bone is mind-blowing.

Paris-based Galerie Negropontes displayed a number of beautiful pieces, including this set of lacquered nesting tables called “Homage to the Cube.” Constructed of palm wood, the piece is designed by house designer Herve Langlais. The gallery aims to revive the French decorative arts tradition by creating beautiful new pieces that are either limited edition or one-of-a-kind works. Galerie Negropontes uses highly skilled craftspeople to manufacture their special pieces.

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These are Side Tables 1, 2 and 3 in the series, which makes a dramatic impact viewed from the closed side.

Fans of Gallery All since we first saw their offerings a couple of years ago, we were excited to see these R1 Fur chairs in the Railing series. The loopy seats were originally made without the fur, featuring “upholstery” done like the grips on a bicycle in foam or leather. A study in modular loops, the sandblasted metal now sports a fluffy covering that is available in different types of fur. The contrast between the sleek loops and the furry seat are really great.

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The designers say that each seat is a single loop made of many circles.

Innovative silver designers at Garrido Gallery displayed gorgeous geometric designs of all kinds. The gallery owners have built on the studio tradition their family built and are known for their impeccable pieces that focus on geometry and cubism as well as the beauty of lines and spaces. This dramatic narrow console table is comprised of angles and flat surfaces that together make a table that brings to mind crashing icebergs, shards of glass or perhaps craggy peaks.

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The Garrido Gallery showroom is in Barcelona.
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The modestly sized console has a big visual impact.

Self-taught designer Gianluca Pacchioni displayed technically creative and artistically imaginative works like these sculptural tables from his Cremino series. The stone table tops — some coated in metal — sit atop a mirrored shelf that reflects the craggy peaks and valleys of the natural stone formations on the underside. While he discovered his passion for sculpture in Paris, Pacchioni set up a Milan atelier in 1998 and was named a  “Master of Arts and Crafts ” by the prestigious Fondazione Cologni in 2016.

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In addition to sculptural furniture, Pacchioni also designs magnificent avant-garde light fixtures.

Flavor Paper, the high-end wallpaper company, teamed up with the UM Project to create a technological twist on their product — interactive wallpaper. With the flip of a switch, the press of a button, or the placement of a copper tube, you can initiate a reaction that travels through the special conductive ink. At the other end, you’ve turned on a fan, opened a mirror or flipped open a mirror. Installations are customizable with regard to design as well as function. This is a really novel take on functional design.

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This is as much art as a melding of technology and design.

Amidst all the news designs and technology-driven innovations were some historically important pieces such as this sofa (one of a pair) by André Arbus. They were created in 1956 in the French Empire style at the height of the artist’s popularity. They were commissioned for the Palais des Consuls de Rouen.

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The piece is presented by Maison Gerard.

The Collective Design Fair paid homage to Swiss designer Mattia Bonetti with an exhibit of some of his most important works. A creative driver in the design world for more than four decades, Bonetti has forged his own design path. Sometimes called “neo-Baroque,” Bonetti’s work is fun yet refined and makes use of all kinds of materials, from glass to acrylics and rock, n addition to components produced with technological advances like 3D printing. His sofa, named “Cut Out” has a Dr. Seuss-like feel, not just because of the colors and prints, but for its whimsical and asymmetrical shapes.

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The sofa is accompanied by the Torchiere Metropolis and the Side Table Toast.
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Created in 2004, it is comprised of leather upholstery and wood.

Bonetti’s “Fakir” cabinet is made from stainless steel, and nickel-plated aluminum. The protruding cylinders give it an unusual brutal, futuristic feel.

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From a distance, the cabinet appears to have texture.
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Viewed from different angles, the protrusions provide varying perspective.
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Part of what makes this different is the longer length of the protruding pieces.

Ceramics are taking a more prominent place on the artistic radar these days and the Mindy Solomon Gallery from Miami had a variety of outstanding pieces, including these by Jay Kvapil. The California artist creates his pieces with a rustic drip technique for the glazes. Our favorite is the red and orange version where the glaze resembles flames that flare and just lick the top edge of the vase.

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Although all the vases use a drip technique, they all have a different result.

Hands-down the most dramatic booth at Collective Design was Peter Lane’s ceramic display. What initially appears to be wood on the walls is actually ceramic panels.  In fact, all the lamps, tables and accessories are also crafted from ceramic. The Brooklyn-based artist’s style has been called “neo-brutalist” but we simply call it spectacular.

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The drama and texture in this neutral space is amazing.
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Table sections with gilded globe forms that protrude from the surface can be arranged as desired.

favorite R and Company always has something that catches our eye and this show was no exception. The Nest by South African artist/designer Porky Hefer is another great interpretation of the hanging seat.From whales to pelicans and other creatures, Hefer continually comes up with imaginative versions.

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Funky on the outside, cozy on the inside, the seat is very inviting.

Designer Greg Chait created this sofa that consists of a 200-foot-long tube of filled cashmere that can be coiled and arranged as desired. Incredibly soft to the touch, you can just image nestling yourself into this bespoke piece.

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Cozier than a sweater, this cashmere piece is a winner.

Philadelphia’s Wexler Gallery showed this funky sideboard by Gregory Nangle. Called the Collapsing Penosbscot Aluminum Shack Sideboard, it is constructed from aluminum, silver and glass. The look of old crates is a contrast to the shiny surface and materials used to make it.

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The ramshackle arrangement is very creative.

The Collective Design Fair is a fitting event for the start of design month in New York. It showcases some really interesting pieces and artists, without being repetitive of other fairs. The variety in styles and designs is also very pleasing and appeals to a wide audience.