Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When You Smile, You Can't Take It Back

I'll have to say I was kind of saddened by the BKLYN DESIGNS show this year. Not that there weren't some fantastic things on display, as always, but because it was so much smaller than it'd been in years past. It was not much more than half the size that it was last year. It hits harder for me when it's these smaller, independent designers from such a vibrant design community being held back by the Great Recession than some colossal, far off auto manufacturer. Of course I feel for the auto workers; they don't deserve the hardship dealt them any more than anyone else. But I've come to know a lot of these folks, and I'm very much in support of what they're doing. So many people I was hoping to see there were unable to exhibit. ICFF was an even bigger shock, but that's for another post.

To start out, I'd like to show you this Media Cart by Horgan Becket:
Click for larger.
It was probably the one thing at the show that struck me the most. The aesthetic I can best describe as hyper-industrial, except for one extraordinary moment. This embellishment:
This one small, simple element carries the whole piece over the edge. At this moment, they've made it perfectly clear that this is a design object--that is, a designed object--that the aesthetic is entirely intentional and hand-crafted. If not for this, the uninitiated eye might simply pass over the piece dismissively, with the thought "oh, cool, they salvaged some stuff from an old warehouse to hold their TV," which would be satisfactorily interesting on its own. But this is something more, it's been given a voice.

Incidentally, Horgan Becket also took part in the renovations of Paul Rudolph's apartment, an incredible honor, if you ask me.

©2009, Ryan Witte

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