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Today the Collective Design fair opens with almost 30 exhibitors at Skylight Clarkson Sq in Manhattan. There’s a thread of material reuse running through the fifth edition, seen in Stickbulb’s lighting installation made with an arch of 300-year-old redwood reclaimed from defunct New York City water towers and Brook Landscape’s “Green Corridor,” with a floor of timber from Rockaway boardwalks destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Furniture, lighting fixtures, and functional design dominate, but there’s an increase in photography this year, particularly in the displays of New York galleries Yossi Milo and Yancey Richardson.
Overlooking the sleek booths of the main showroom is a dimly illuminated space where a curious white orb rests on the floor, surrounded by colorful concoctions in containers. If you time your visit right this week, you can witness the orb being pushed around by spectators and members of the Viennese design collective breadedEscalope, whose series of Original Stools are formed by filling a silicone mold within the sphere with resin and using motion to create a unique object.
Compared to some of the orb’s previous journeys since 2007, including on the Olympic bobsleigh track in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Spain, a roll around the floor of Skylight Clarkson Sq is fairly mundane. “The project doesn’t really need that,” Michael Tatschl, a member of breadedEscalope, told Hyperallergic of the orb’s more extreme adventures. “We believe it’s much more an engaging project where people join in making things.” Martin Schnabl, a fellow member, added that “there’s always a different outcome that’s site specific.”
The Original Stools will be made from Wednesday to Saturday at the fair at 4:30pm, with a final event taking place on Sunday at 1:30pm. The first attempt, during the media preview on Tuesday, was rather tame, as journalists juggled their cameras and phones with Facebook livestreams while tentatively pushing the ball. “We should be more violent next time,” Schnabl commented upon seeing the yellow seat that emerged from the orb, only slightly misshapen. The resin was still warm to the touch, “like fresh bread,” he added.
More erratic breadedEscalope creations are on view with Frederieke Taylor Gallery of New York. While they’re certainly the most interactive pieces at this year’s Collective Design (although you might be tempted to collapse on one of the Haas Brothers’ hairy-creature-like couches at R & Company), there’s much for fairgoers to discover. The playful work of Swiss designer Matti Bonetti is featured in the mini Collective Influence exhibition. Flavor Paper and UM Project are presenting touch-activated conductive ink wallpaper that illuminates lights and activates fans. Hidden in an industrial corner of the space, the Noguchi Museum’s installation mixes work by its namesake with undulating sofas by Robert Stadler. Below are more photographs from the fair’s assembly of objects by both local and international designers and artists.
Collective Design 2017 continues at Skylight Clarkson Sq (550 Washington Street, Hudson Square, Manhattan) through May 7.