I Am Working On This Painting For My Sister & Brother In Law. My brother in law provided me with a picture as inspiration and I took it from there! The process is pretty easy and done in acrylic on flat canvas! What Do You Guys Think?
I Am Working On This Painting For My Sister & Brother In Law. My brother in law provided me with a picture as inspiration and I took it from there! The process is pretty easy and done in acrylic on flat canvas! What Do You Guys Think?
Humanscale’s Todd Bracher talks about “Bodies in Motion,” his interactive installation in partnership with Studio TheGreenEyl at Salone del Mobile 2019, which allows users to materialize their movements onto a light-generated figure on a screen. See it in action here. Video by Steven Wilsey and James Eades.
Interior Design met up at Salone del Mobile 2019 with Simone Forresin of Formafantasmato talk about ExCinere, a line of architectural tiles made in collaboration with Dzek and created with colors obtained from the ashes of volcanic eruptions from Sicily’s Mount Etna. Video by Steven Wilsey and James Eades.
Meet Malene Barnett: For nine years the Brooklyn-based artist-designer has helmed Malene B, an art and design studio from which she produces bespoke textiles and ceramics. Her commercial clients include Marriott, Viacom, Saks, and WeWork, to name just a handful. But since November of 2018, Barnett has added another venture to her entrepreneurial pursuits. She’s the founder of the Black Artists and Designers Guild(BADG): a “curated collective of Black artists and designers throughout the African diaspora,” as Barnett succinctly describes the group.
She founded the group as an actionable response to a particularly jarring experience: a design conference in the fall featured a panel on what was new in design and next for the state of the art—but the panel’s organizers failed to include a single Black artist or designer.
Since November, Barnett has amassed over 131 Black artists and designers across Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America who work in disciplines including architecture, ceramics, interior design, fine art, furniture design, and textile design. The Guild includes a searchable directory for clients or teams to find design talent, as well as talks and panels that connect the design community with BADG members and showcase elements of design that have a long tradition in the African diaspora. With the opening of the Female Design Council’s Deeper Than Text, an exhibition showcasing Barnett’s work alongside other masters of contemporary art and design at the 1stdibs gallery in Chelsea, Interior Design sat down with Barnett to discuss her work with Malene B and the Black Artists and Designers Guild.
Interior Design: Can you share with me your background leading up to the founding of the BADG?
Malene Barnett: For the past 10 years I’ve been the creative force behind Malene B, an art and design studio specializing in fine art, clay objects, and bespoke carpets for residential, commercial, and hospitality environments.
ID: You’ve spoken at length about the design conference that incited you to bring the BADG together; what differentiated that experience from others in which you had encountered exclusionary and ignorant behavior in this industry?
MB: I went through a series of statements in my head. Its 2018. I graduated college more than 20 years ago. I personally know many talented Black artists and designers locally and abroad. I live in New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the country and I still have to search for someone who looks like me on a panel? This awareness had occurred previously. Yet, this time, when I saw that once again none of the panels included Black artists or designers, I’d reached my limit and could no longer accept those terms from these events. I decided enough is enough! The industry constantly repeats the same blatant message that Black artists and designers do not matter and neither does their point of view. So, instead of continuing to complain to my colleagues, I spoke out about it publicly on social media.
ID: What do you think are the biggest obstacles to recognition and inclusion for designers and creative professionals who are people of color?
MB: It’s clear that we exist and are doing amazing work in every creative field, yet we’re consistently lacking the representation we deserve. The problem is systemic and the biggest obstacle is waiting for the gatekeepers—white designers, manufacturers, developers—to acknowledge they hold access and opportunity privilege (unearned access and benefit to opportunities—this is not about working hard; most of us do) they have been benefiting from in an industry that continues to promote them to success.
In order to find a solution to the problem, the industry will need to dismantle the existing system that grants such narrow privilege to whiteness and create a new standard that includes people of color as well as any other group that has been overlooked or under-presented. Inclusion can’t be an afterthought; it’s what’s necessary in order to create an authentic image of what design looks like.
I believe that inclusion is what’s necessary in order to grow as an industry.
ID: How does this systemic lack of diverse perspectives disadvantage the design community and the state of the art world at large?
MB: This lack creates a falsehood of what art and design looks and feels like. Because of this, the industry fails to correctly identify, include the experiences, and credit the contributions of African, Asian, and Indigenous cultures to the landscape of art and design. This creates an industry that is seemingly creating from a single perspective (and sometimes using the foundations of design from African, Asian, and Indigenous cultures without credit), instead of considering the experiences of many.
ID: You and the Guild have gotten an abundance of positive press recently—congratulations! Have you seen any actionable industry changes since founding the BADG?
MB: Thank you! Yes we have! We’ve experienced many changes since the launch; various media outlets reached out to us to meet and stress the importance of inclusion in their publications. We’ve even noticed a shift in the storytelling being more inclusive. There’s been a shift in the consciousness of the industry.
Our current show, Beyond the Mask, is an exhibition to dispel the myths and stereotypes of Blackness in art and design on view at Plant Seven in High Point, NC and was organized by Dada Goldberg. In addition, many media outlets have reached out to us for various features. Our most prominent is a two-page spread in the April issue of Elle Decor. We’ve had talks around subjects related to Black culture, art, and the business of design at Neuehouse, The Affordable Art Fair, and New York School of Design. During NYCxDESIGN our talk series will continue at Next Level Design and BKLYN Design. And most recently we got invited to exhibit at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair in Houston, Texas in October. I feel this is only the beginning; the BAD Guild will be a constant reminder to the industry to be inclusive until it’s the norm.
ID: What’s next for you in terms of continuing the trajectory of the BADG and your own work as a creator? How do you balance the work of strategizing and running the two?
MB: We are working on cultivating our own events centered around a celebration of Black culture through art and design. Not only do we want the design industry to become educated about our culture and aware of our creativity but we also want to create experiences for the community at large. Our design style and point of view is different and it matters, and to support this we need more venues that embrace our Blackness just as must as we do.
The work we are doing is impacting the community and we want to continue to keep the industry’s consciousness on the power of inclusivity. It’s been a challenge handling both gigs, but I realize the work I’m doing is bigger than me. I’m constantly reminded of this when I meet design students as well as when I reflect on the time when I was a design student at FIT. I was the only Black student in the class, and the only one researching and celebrating Black culture. I hope the work the BAD Guild is cultivating not only empowers the next generation but opens the minds of everyone to create space to include more than one point of view. There is plenty of room for everyone. Good design can take care of this.
Springtime holds a special place in the heart of New Yorkers; as the city thaws and NYCxDesign draws ever closer, the annual reveal of the Kips Bay Decorator Show House never fails to kick off the season on a high note. This year was no exception. A total of 23 designers overhauled the 22-room, 12,000 square-foot Upper East Side residence chosen to host this year’s Show House.
The show of top talent in architecture and interior design draws thousands of visitors per year to benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. Each designer was given seven weeks to completely overhaul their assigned rooms in the residence, which opened to the public on May 2 and will remain open through May 30. Kohler, AJ Madison, Hearst Design Group, Morgan Stanley, Benjamin Moore, Cambria, The Rug Company, The Shade Store, New York Design Center, and Schumacher sponsored this year’s Show House.
Highlights from the transformed property, located at 36-38 East 74th Street, include Sheila Bridges‘ delightfully playful Salon des Chiens near the entryway. What would traditionally be the home’s reception area was transformed by Bridges into a space for dogs and their walkers to clean up after outings about the city and relax.
Upstairs, designer Young Huh turned the top-floor aerie into a feminine artist’s studio. According to Huh, the “environment of strong silhouettes, bold strokes of color and pattern,” celebrate the act of contemplation and creativity. A floor-to-ceiling collage—a wallcovering by Fromental—is evocative of Cubist master George Braques, while eclectic artwork from Cynthia Byrnes Contemporary Art compliments the mood of playful exuberance.
Several designers, including Corey Damen Jenkins and Associates, Eve Robinson Associates, Paloma Contreras, and Sarah Bartholomew Design, created refreshingly bright studies and libraries for the lady of the house.
Keep reading to see every room from the 2019 Kips Bay Decorator Show House. The residence is open through May 30, 2019.
Can’t get enough of Kips Bay? Check out the 2018 Decorator Show House.
With WantedDesign 2019about to get underway in two distinct venues—Wanted Brooklyn at Industry City (May 16-20) and Wanted Manhattan at Terminal Stores (May 18-21)—we asked co-founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat about the fair’s theme, its new student design awards, and the second year of its bespoke Look Book at the Manhattan edition. The duo, both born in France, worked in the design and art fields before founding WantedDesign in 2011 to coincide with ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in New York. The event is now an integral part of the annual NYCxDESIGN calendar.
Interior Design: How would you describe the 2019 theme of “Conscious Design” in the context of the Manhattan and Brooklyn editions of WantedDesign?
Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat: In 2018, “Conscious Design” was defined as a leading theme to present sustainable projects that foresee what the future can be, if supported by creative vision and smart decisions. In 2019, the notion of conscious design will be encouraged and more widely highlighted in the WantedDesign programming as it is an urgent and essential matter. Protecting the environment, achieving reasonable consumption, and reducing waste are all issues that designers face on their daily tasks to create our homes and our work spaces, in addition to bringing beauty to healthier living.
Facing climate change, evaluating the impact we have on our planet and on civilization itself, falls now more than ever under the scope of responsibilities of all designers and creatives at large. As event organizers, we have the opportunity to have a voice; these are issues that we want to address specifically and that we implement in the way we build the show itself in encouraging our exhibitors to embrace a zero-waste approach when producing their installation. Last year we were able to reduce our waste by 50 percent, and in 2019 our policy is the first item in the contract we send to our exhibitors.
The 2019 edition will challenge design professionals with original exhibits and showcases in order to forge their inspiration when drawing our future. Both destinations, Manhattan and Brooklyn, will include numerous educational (and fun) activities such as workshops, demos, and talks for the visitors and participants to connect, share, learn, and discover what should come next.
ID: What can student designers attending WantedDesign this year expect to gain from the different programming of the Brooklyn and Manhattan editions?
OH and CP: WantedDesign Brooklyn will have the Factory Floor dedicated to the Schools exhibit, with 30 schools coming from all over the world (France, China, Mexico, El Salvador, England, the United States, etc.). Now this show is becoming a not-to-be-missed destination to discover young talent. For the students, it’s a stepping stone to build up their professional network, which we know is essential.
Students will benefit directly from our ever-growing number of visitors, including design professionals and manufacturers. This year, for the first time, we have organized a jury to award the best design-student projects. It’s a way to highlight and support them even more. The jury will be led by Avinash Rajagopal, editor in chief of Metropolis, and includes Ayse Birsel, co-founder of Birsel + Seck; Andrea Lipps, assistant curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; and Jonsara Ruth, co-founder and design director of Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design.
Five Awards will be given to the following: Best Original Concept and Design, Best Sustainable Solution, Best Project with Social Impact, Best Ready-to-be-Implemented-or-Produced (Project or Product), and Best Conscious Design Project (that unites three of the four previous criteria). Those five students will benefit from special promotion, and this review is a chance to show their project to professionals who can help with constructive criticism and a real eye for design.
We are also hosting various activities and programming that will be learning experiences for the students. For schools, we are really building opportunities of exchange and partnerships, which is essential.
Lastly, we are partnering again with AIGANY to host the 3rd Spring Wanted Job Fair. It’s a “speed dating” format, not portfolio review, offering a chance for young designers to meet with creative firms.
ID: What can members of the trade attending WantedDesign this year expect to gain from the different programming of the Brooklyn and Manhattan editions?
OH and CP: In Manhattan, we always have a great presence of group exhibits from all over the world. This is really a unique feature of our show. This is how we share original design, new ideas, new material, new potential collaborations. Visitors will meet with Polish, Egyptian—for the first time in the U.S., and it’s a large group of 13 designers—Canadian, Mexican, and Colombian designers.
It’s also the second year of Look Book, a program dedicated to the promotion of the best high-end designers and makers in North America. This section of the show targets interior designers and architects who are looking for talented designers/makers with unique know-how to create bespoke pieces.
In the Launch Pad program, visitors will discover a large selection of 33 international designers, in two categories, furniture and lighting, who have a product ready to be launched in the U.S. market and are looking for the right partner to do it.
Wanted Interiors will explore the Future of Water/Bathroom 2025, a research project resulting from a collaboration between a team from Pratt Accelerator and the American Standard creative team, which is sponsoring this program. It involves how to change behaviors when using water, new scenarios and new ways to build bathroom for a sustainable urban living.
Last but not least, our talk series presented by DesignMilk and Clever is also a great focus for people who want to use WantedDesign as a resource and networking platform.
Collaboration is the name of the game in today’s design industry. Pairing the inspired sensibilities of a big-name designer with a manufacturer whose technical capabilities can realize their vision has resulted in some stunning products over the years. It’s also highlighted the robust abilities of manufacturers to not only fabricate product, but act as talented design partners in the creative process.
The latest iteration of this trend can be found at HD Expo, where Artistic Tile unveiled two new collections made in collaboration with award-winning textile designer Lori Weitzner. Designed specifically for interior vertical surfaces, the Lori Weitzner x Artistic Tile Collaboration features two organic patterns, River and Forest, that originated at Weitzner’s White Box Sanctuary Studio.
“When Artistic Tile first proposed this collaboration, I knew our studio could bring something to them that they didn’t currently have in their portfolio,” explains Weitzner. “Organic, textural looks are something that our studio does very well. For Forest and River, we created a lot of preliminary looks through painting, drawing, and paper folding. Then we worked with Artistic Tile to narrow down the selection.”
In exchange for her substantial expertise in creating earthy, tactile patterns with textiles, Artistic Tile opened up a whole new world of materials for Weitzner to discover. “I had no idea there were so many different kinds of stones in world—it was an eye-opening experience for me,” says Weitzner. “Because I didn’t have much knowledge of what was actually possible to create with stone, I could really push the envelope in terms of coming up with patterns. The exceptional design team at Artistic Tile would then say ‘Oh we can’t do that, but maybe we could try this.’ Everyone really benefitted from working and exploring together.”
When it came time to select colorways, Weitzner and Artistic Tile settled on three varieties of marble in black and white tones. “Sometimes people don’t think of whites and blacks as colors but they absolutely are,” says Weitzner. “We selected whites and blacks that create mood and easily serve as backdrops to other colors, but aren’t dead.”
The Whisper palette utilizes Bardiglio Nuvolato and Bianco Carrara marbles. The lightness of these stones creates an ambiance of calm, quiet, and sanctuary. On the opposite end, the Night Shadows palette veers towards a masculine, urban sophistication rendered in China Black marble.
Both River and Forest are available now for specification.
In 2018, Kat Holmes published her book, Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design, and launched mismatch.design, a digital media enterprise dedicated to providing inclusive design resources and education. Currently a director of user experience (UX) at Google and formerly the principal director of inclusive design at Microsoft, Holmes knows a thing or two (an understatement) about designing and optimizing a product for massive audiences of users. While at Microsoft, she was the leader of the company’s executive program for inclusive product innovation; her award-winning inclusive product design toolkit was subsequently inducted into the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.
But it would be a mistake to think that Holmes limits her purview to the world of technology. A glance at both mismatch.design and the first few pages of Holmes’ book make evident that Holmes champions inclusive design—and the pros who execute it in their respective fields—everywhere from the built environment (she curated an exhibit for AIA Seattle in 2016) to education, and of course, the pixels of the tech world. Interior Design sat down with Holmes to discuss her work with Mismatch and the impact of inclusive design.
Interior Design: How does your work with Mismatch relate to your day job?
Kat Holmes: Mismatch is the name of my book and the name of my website. The word “mismatch” also refers to the World Health Organization’s definition of disability, which in 2001 was redefined as the mismatched interaction between the features of a person’s body and the features of the environment in which they live. Known as the social model of disability, this definition helped to shape my thinking about inclusive design. I approach all of my work from the perspective of trying to understand how design can be the cause of exclusion (intentionally and unintentionally)—but design can also be the remedy for exclusion.
ID: Did you have an ‘aha’ moment that prompted you to veer your career in the direction of inclusive design?
KH: My aha moment came when I was working on a digital personal assistant at Microsoft. At the time, there weren’t any voice-conversational design tools to help us develop this AI assistant. We discovered that one of the best resources for us was to talk to actual human personal assistants to find out what it takes to create a great experience for another human being. Their expertise was crucial to our work.
What led me to inclusive design was exploring the many kinds of human expertise that are missing from most design processes. Most notably, the expertise of people with disabilities who have long been innovating a diversity of ways to interact with technology.
ID: You mention in your book that inclusive design can be challenging to implement successfully across multiple teams in a large organization. How have you personally overcome this in your role as a leader at some of the biggest multinational technology companies?
KH: It takes a lot of people and collaboration to build an inclusive design practice within an organization. The important thing is to keep asking whose voices and whose expertise are missing. If you keep asking the question, then it forces you to consider how you can create a diversity of ways for people of different abilities to engage with the solutions you design. I firmly believe that inclusive design fuels innovation and makes good economic sense. Reminding senior leadership about all the ways that inclusive design helps the bottom line is key.
ID: The approaches you outline in Mismatch extend to a variety of disciplines (ex: the built environment, software, education) and incorporate a variety of professionals who are experts in those fields. Why was it important to you to look beyond the specifics of your own field?
KH: Exclusion happens everywhere. When I was consulting, I worked with companies across sectors. Regardless of the line of business, the questions were similar: Everyone wanted to know how to start and how to get buy-in. I wanted my book to help set a foundation. Once grounded in some basic principles, companies can begin to incorporate and adapt inclusive-design practices for their respective needs.
ID: What changes have you seen in the way the design and engineering community approach inclusive design in their practice since releasing Mismatch (the book) and launching the digital media company?
KH: Interest in inclusive design has been growing and preceded the publication of my book. My book was published last October and there hasn’t been enough time to be be able to gauge its impact. Anecdotally, the response from the people who have read the book has been positive and I’m grateful.
ID: What are your hopes for the future of inclusive design?
KH: I always tell people that inclusive design is a daily practice—like brushing your teeth. You have to do it consistently to receive the full benefits. There are many different forms of exclusion that we don’t fully understand. The practice of inclusive design will help us navigate those waters.
New York-native brand Pelletransformed its Flatiron showroom-atelier into a dream-like setting with cream carpet and subtly shifting shades of pale yellow curtains offsetting its new works. Design duo Jean and Oliver Pelle (at left) call the installation Unnatural Habitat.
The scene-stealing Nana Lure, a continuation of the Lure lighting collection initially launched in 2016, dominates the space with its large-scale banana frond shade cast in cotton and painted in sumptuous purples and greens. Two fixtures with patinated stepped spines suspend from boat hardware and leather straps made in collaboration with friend and leather designer Jason Ross of Artemas Quibble. The effect is pure tropical fantasy.
Also not to be missed: Dust, a suspended arrangement of reflective shards producing a hazy ambient light and evoking a post-apocalypse world where shiny fragments become treasures. Is this the next wave? Final touches include Pelle’s solid aluminum DVN table with its precise zero-tolerance leg joints plus elevated timber and brass stool/tables from the Stiletto series that Jean describes as “the best way to present wood” with mesmerizing grain patterns on full display. The set-up is on view from May 15 to June 28 at 56 West 22nd St.
1979 was a wild year in world history — the Iran Hostage Crisis, Three Mile Island, and the rise Thatcherism all marked the conclusion of the Disco Decade. Over in Los Angeles, the SoCal hardcore punk scene burst into the mainstream. Bands like Black Flag and Bad Religion vehemently decried the inauthenticity of their predecessors, the fashion-conscious Hollywood art punk bands like X and the Go-Go’s, in favor of a new gritty realism that celebrated a pared-down aesthetic and embrace of diverse voices. It was in this artistic, chaotic, and fecund melting pot that Bentley was born.
Eschewing the traditional “carpet capital” (Georgia) for L.A. turned out to be a fortuitous choice for the 40-year-old brand. Today, they are the largest commercial carpet manufacturer in California. They haven’t forgotten their roots though — their products reflect a keen understanding of L.A.’s embrace of both grit and glamour. They also still prize the diversity of voices that call the City of Angels home.
“Looking back over the huge changes we’ve seen between 1979 and now, the one constant has been our Bentley family,” says Jim Harley, president of Bentley. “I truly believe that our people are the reason we’ve been able to maintain the integrity of our name and the loyalty of our customers.”
The people who power Bentley have elevated it into a multi-dimensional boutique brand with the stamina to keep pace with the larger mills while retaining the agility to cater to the evolving expectations of customers. Following on the 1982 success of Kings Road, the brand’s debut top-selling product, the company continues to deliver double-digit growth. This growth is bolstered by Bentley’s burgeoning portfolio of products, which includes broadloom, carpet tile, LVT, and modulyss flatweave.
“I’ve seen many brands come and go over the years,” says Richard French, Bentley’s vice president of global sales and marketing. “I’ve also seen them survive, only to lose sight of their identity as well as the attributes that made them specifiable. The fact that Bentley has been able to hold strong to our core and yet still be flexible enough to evolve with market demands is a testament to how solid our foundation truly is.”
Looking into the future, Bentley has turned their eyes to innovation, particularly with regard to sustainability. They’ve already set a good precedent — the brand has been monitoring greenhouse gases since 1994 and was the first carpet manufacturer to earn LEED-EBOM Silver and LEED-EBOM Gold accreditation. Today they are investing in sustainable energy sources, challenging other manufactures to match their Cradle-to-Cradle accomplishments, and diverting more waste away from North American landfills.
Not so bad for a solid middle-ager in a market that prizes youth and vitality! Bentley will surely keep the design industry on its toes for the next 40 years.