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Assembly, the US independent designers show at LDF
London Design Fair 2017: stars and stripes at the Shoreditch Guest Country Pavilion
‘Arch Mirror’ by Bower studio, NYC, established by Danny Giannella and Tammer Hijazi in 2013
From 21 to 24 September in London, design is going to shorten the distance between UK and United States of America through Assembly, a stunning exhibition that will take place within the walls of The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch. The London Design Fair, the annual trade show that has been held here since 2007 within the London Design Festival, provides the occasion. The reason is a most official one: this year’s Guest Country Pavilion is dedicated to USA emerging and independent designers.
A rather emblematic invitation in year full of unexpected events that have already marked a sudden change of course in the political, economic and social departments. On the one hand, Great Britain is steadily negotiating to get the best (or, maybe, avoid the worst) from the Brexit. On the other hand, the USA are trying to cope with the newly elected Trump administration that has already aroused a good deal of skepticism, especially on the part of artists and creative people in general.
Float Light by Ladies & Gentlemen. Based in Seattle and Brooklyn, the studio has been founded by Dylan Davis e Jean Lee in 2010
While many, at the Brexit negotiating table, hope for a preferential commercial agreement between UK and USA – above all Prime Minister Theresa May, who rushed to pay a visit to US President Donald Trump immediately after the latter’s election – a delegation of American designers have arrived in London to display their works, their techniques and independent approach.
Selected by online magazine Sight Unseen, founded by Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, who are also the creators of the Sight Unseen OFFSITE platform, on display during the NYCxDesign fair, the 13 design studios have come from every corner of the United States, from Seattle to St. Petersburg, from new York to Chicago. The exhibition features no specific fil rouge except the will, shared by the majority of the works displayed at Assembly, to stretch ad infinitum the boundaries of what is possible by only following one’s creative vision. Geographical diversity within the selection, moreover, shows that for US designers it is no longer necessary to rely on a hub in order to survive, but rather to be able to take advantage of the productive skills of one’s own native territory, to obtain a sustainable, 0km design. “These designers are realizing several among the most sophisticated artworks on the market today,” said Jill Singer “although it must be said that they often accomplish this without any help by patrons or clients. This means they are producing, commercializing and distributing their works by relying solely on their own efforts. They are designers, but also actual entrepreneurs in their own right.”
Among the most prominent pieces, the Arch mirrors by New York studio Bower stand out for their ability to create the optical illusion of an actual opening in the wall, or of floating in the air defying gravity in much the same way as the new mirror collection by Chen Chen & Kai Williams, featuring natural stones inserted by UV glue.
Puzzle Rug Yolk by Studio Proba. Born in Germany, studio’s founder Alex Proba moved to NYC in 2011, where she worked as art director for Kickstarter
Revati Double Light by Jamie Iacoli. At Assembly, the designer is going to launch three new, handmade pendant lamps
The Drapes collection by Christopher Stuart is particularly interesting from a technical point of view, featuring a peculiar Computer-Aided Drafting technique that gives life to furnishing pieces made of glass fiber and pigmented rubber. The elegant Slash Objects collection by Arielle Assouline-Lichten, on the other hand, mixes different materials such as concrete, brass and recycled rubber to obtain a variety of table and furnishing objects with elegant, geometric shapes.
Chicago-based designer Steven Haulenbeek is going to display at London Design Fair five works from the RBS Series, realized by employing a complex carving process with resin and sand
In his Californian Long Beach studio, Eric Trine creates objects and sculptures for both domestic and commercial environments, following today’s main West Coast trend – essential lines, brilliant colors and casual, friendly shapes. The manufacturing takes place within 30 miles from Trine’s studio. The works by Seattle-based designer Jamie Iacoli, too, highlight a strong, independent artisanal calling: three pendant lamps featuring a beautiful juxtaposition of full and empty elements. Her fellow citizen John Hogan explores ancient manufacturing techniques, such as glass blowing, wood kiln firing, and forge molding to realize a series of sculptural objects exploring the phenomenon of light refraction. Lastly, a series of stools with three legs of different heights by NY designer Pat Kim, made of precious American wood: a design inspired by a philosophy of simplicity and timeless quality with an irreverent, asymmetrical twist. Who knows but that the next Charles and Ray Eames are already among this happy crew?
Slash Objects by Arielle Assouline Lichten. Photo credits © Israel Vientidos
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