There is no denying that those who have spent time in the design world miss market, furniture fairs, and being face-to-face with fellow design-lovers and industry pals. And while this year we will not experience new collections and lines like we usually do, we do not have to call off admiring beautiful furniture and decor in person. Here in Manhattan, many galleries and showrooms are hosting socially-distanced, masked-up exhibitions and openings that prioritize safety and wellness while also allowing us to experience the “ooh”s and “ahh”s we are used to emitting in crowded showrooms in North Carolina or Salone in Milan. We did some exploring (mask on, of course) around the city and came up with a directory of design day plans for you. If you are in the New York area, or can safely travel, check out these in-person opportunities to admire some wonderful work. Whether you are shopping for a project or yourself, looking for inspiration, or need a day out and about, keep reading for some places to pop into. And, if you do not have access to the city, scroll down where you will find notable online-only mentions accessible to everyone!
(photo from R & Company)
“Fast and Present: New Work by Johnny Swing”
Where: R & Company, 64 White Street
About: Born from a retrospective of the furniture designer and sculptor’s work, this exhibition at R & Company shows several of Johnny Swing’s coin furniture – that’s right, it’s meticulously crafted, abstract furniture made of pressed coins. The incredible forms and shadows they cast are something that can only be fully appreciated in person. From the New York artists’ abstract benches made of Presidential dollar coins to groupings of nickel-based seating, this money-made exhibit is free and worth visiting! Runs September 10 – October 31, 2020.
(photo from AIFNY)
Brazilian Design at Espasso Gallery
Where: 28 N Moore Street
About: Espasso’s New York location features iconic mid century modern and contemporary pieces from Brazilian designers like Oscar Niemeyer and Etel Carmona. For a visual lesson on Brazilian artistry, Espasso is the place. Ongoing.
(photo from Freidman Benda)
“What Would Have Been”
Where: Friedman Benda, 515 W 26th Street
About: This exhibition features works from over 30 studios around the world that were initially meant to be shown at fairs and galleries before unforeseen circumstances changed their plans. Friedman Benda gives these works an opportunity to be showcased in person, the way they were meant to be experienced, and is also releasing images online for remote “visitors,” in recognition of the changing landscape of a shift from physical to digital. It is both a celebration of the work, and our new sense of hyperconnection. Runs November 5 – December 12, 2020
(photo from 1stDibs)
“Paul Evans: The Argente Series”
Where: Todd Merrill Studio, 80 Lafayette Street
About: Showing a special collection of iconic American sculptor Paul Evans’ works titled “The Argente Series,” Todd Merrill invites furniture lovers to view the welded aluminum furniture, one of Evans’ rarest and most prized lines. Runs September 24 – November 24.
(photo from Forbes France)
Where: Les Atelier Courbet, 134 Tenth Ave.
About: Les Ateliers Courbet prides itself on presenting timeless objects d’art, and their collection of Karen Swam ceramics is no exception. The French artist creates ancient-inspired pots and containers with simple, graceful forms, and touches of purposeful imperfections, often results of the weaknesses of the natural materials she chooses. Since beginning her ceramics career in 2009, Swami has become a worldwide name known for her elegance and ability to draw from ceramic styles across time and space. End date unspecified.
(photo from Wallpaper)
Where: Colony Gallery, 324 Canal St 2nd floor
About: This shoppable modern menagerie in Soho is actually a co-op, showcasing amazing work by fun, funky, and fashionably current designers. Including ceramics, sculpture, furniture, textiles, objects and more, Colony is featuring the designers of today. Ongoing.
ONLINE NOTABLE MENTIONS
We know that not everyone is in New York or feels safe stepping out – not to worry; galleries are making exclusive online exhibitions utilizing multimedia technology. “Visit” these online shows for a bit of a design fair fix.