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Preview the Manhattan and Brooklyn Editions of WantedDesign 2019

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.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Enter the 2019 HiP Awards by May 17th

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.

WantedDesign Brooklyn will take place at Industry City. Photography courtesy of WantedDesign.

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.

WantedDesign Manhattan will take place at Terminal Stores. Photography courtesy of WantedDesign.

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.

> See our full coverage of NYCxDESIGN

Continue reading Preview the Manhattan and Brooklyn Editions of WantedDesign 2019


Forget Tiny Houses; the Design-Obsessed Now Want Homes in Miniature

Building scale models of a beloved home that can fit on a tabletop has literally become a cottage industry.

Veteran marketing executive Lisa Macpherson was thrilled two years ago, when she and her boyfriend Jim decided to buy their first house together, in Virginia. The only sacrifice: He would no longer live full-time in his house in Chicago, a passion project on which he’d collaborated closely with an architect. The solution, Macpherson reasoned, was for him to bring that house to Virginia with him—at least a scale model of it. Macpherson found a U.K.-based model maker, Chisel & Mouse, to tackle the project. She sent across blueprints, satellite images, photographs, and other details about Jim’s home, and connected the firm with his architect in case of questions.

“For someone in love with their home, seeing it reproduced at scale, with every detail perfect—it would be a knockout gift,” Macpherson explains via telephone from Virginia. “It was the perfect intersection of where we were in our relationship and his passion for that house.”

Sure enough, a few months later, an enormous wooden crate arrived in Virginia. At its center, painstakingly packed, was a 14-inch-wide plaster replica of Jim’s home in Illinois. The maquette perfectly mirrored every exterior detail; elements of the interior were visible, too. Through one window, Macpherson could see the fireplace; another provided a view of Jim’s platform bed. When Macpherson presented it to him at Christmas, Jim was speechless.

A Chisel & Mouse model of a residence.
Source: Chisel & Mouse

“Even a couple of years later, it’s still a big darn deal,” she says with pride. “It’s on a glass cocktail table here in Virginia—it’s the centerpiece of the room.”  

Custom miniatures are increasingly the focus of Chisel & Mouse, which Robert Paisley runs with his brother, Gavin. The duo, yearning for a more fulfilling career after working in software sales and banking, turned to model making seven years ago.

“We’re both passionate about architecture,” Robert explains from their studio just outside Brighton, England. “And Gavin’s pride and joy is a Millennium Falcon in Lego, and he loves anything Airfix.”

The residence.
Source: Chisel & Mouse

The Paisleys combined these interests by buying an early Makerbot 3D printer with which they developed molds of such noteworthy buildings in the U.K. as the Tate Modern and the Battersea Power Station. The pair then hand-poured plaster into those molds before custom-finishing each piece. The results were an instant hit with the likes of interior design guru Sheridan Coakley of furniture design company SCP; the range of works now includes everything from the Capitol Records Building in Hollywood, Calif., to a Regency townhouse in Bath, England, and aerial views, incuding cityscapes of London, Chicago, and other places, that can be hung like paintings.

Soon after launching the firm, the Paisleys began receiving enquiries such as the one from Macpherson: Could Chisel & Mouse apply its model-making know-how on a bespoke basis? In response, the brothers created a custom division that produces made-to-order maquettes such as that of Jim’s house in Chicago. Bespoke models take around 12 weeks and cost from 1,500 pounds ($2,117) to 5,000 pounds; tbespoke projects now make up about 40 percent of their business.


“We’ve always been approached by people who have buildings that are fabulous, and it’s an incredibly joyous experience when they get to open the finished product,” Paisley says. “Everybody has been over the moon.”

A Timothy Richards model of a New York townhouse.
Source: Timothy Richards

Marking an Occasion

The impetus for most commissions is usually a renovation or a sale, explains Robert Paisley. One father received a scale model of the home he had renovated for decades as a 70th birthday gift from his children, while a trio of daughters in Ireland commissioned Chisel & Mouse for more poignant reasons: “They were moving their father into a home after their mother had died, so they clubbed together to have a commission done of their family home. They wanted one piece for each of them and one for their dad to take with him.”

Paisley has also worked with the Perez Art Museum in Miami, producing 50 miniatures as thank-you gifts for major donors, as well as several condo developments whose off-plan buyers received a maquette of the future building as a closing gift.

Chisel & Mouse isn’t alone. A cottage industry of architectural model-makers has arisen in the U.K. to offer this bespoke service, with Mulvany & Rogers at the higher end.

“The majority of our work is commissioned from the states,” explains Susie Rogers, co-owner of  Mulvany & Rogers, via email. “We’ve made a copy of the London house where a U.S. client lived while he was seconded to London. His children were born there, and he wanted to remember the happy times on his return to the U.S.”

The owners of a home in Castlerea, Ireland, with a Timothy Richards model of it.
Source: Timothy Richards

She says that prices vary, but start at 60,000 pounds for bespoke work. The firm keeps a waiting list, which can range from 9 months to three years.

A Celebration of Architecture

Timothy Richards makes miniature models, too, viewing them as sculptures via an approach he considers lyrical, even poetic. “When you pour that plaster in, you have to let the material go, just to do its magic. I am at the behest of the materials,” Richards says via phone from his studio near Bath. These aren’t simply doll house-like miniatures, he stresses. They are stand-alone artworks.

“I always say you can make great models out of great buildings,” says Richards. “They’re avenues—funnels—into this wonderful world of architecture and what buildings mean to us. They’re a celebration of architecture.”

Bespoke commissions contribute from 45 percent to 50 percent of his business. Ideally, Richards spends about six months on each piece, with prices starting at 8,000 pounds. He works in styrene and other materials, building scale models by hand. (Like the Paisley brothers, he was obsessed with Airfix models as a child). Richards has produced everything from the façade of a house on London’s Hampstead Heath to a tabletop model of one of England’s few Tudor-era palaces that remains a private home. Rather than simply reproduce this building, he added period details to the landscape around it: a Henry VIII-like king and his procession approaching from one side and a hunt chasing stags on the other.

A model of Villa Sarceno in Vicenza, Italy, from Timothy Richards.
Source: Timothy Richards
A model of Shotesham Park in Norfolk, England, by Timothy Richards.
Source: Timothy Richards

Historic Legacy

That all these model makers are based in Britain, is less a coincidence than a legacy of history. Arguably, the most impressive collection of small-scale architectural replicas in the world is contained in London’s Sir John Soane’s Museum. The renowned 19th century architect amassed this haul, and the maquettes in his former home serve as staples for courses at architecture and design schools in the U.K. Most were made for Soane by French artisans Jean-Pierre and François Fouquet—Regency-era Chisel & Mouse, if you will—who earned widespread accolades for the intricacy of their miniatures.

The Fouquets kept their plasterworking technique, which allowed them to execute in such detail, such a closely guarded secret that after they died, it became almost impossible to create such precise, small-scale replicas in plaster. Modern techniques such as computer-aided design have overcome this two-century impasse.

Indeed, the Soane connection inspired Manhattan lawyer David Stutzman. Passionate about architecture, he made a pilgrimage to the museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields on a visit to London and was captivated by the plaster models. Stutzman and his husband had just bought and restored a townhouse on Bleecker Street, returning the façade to its 1850s heyday.

Working on a model at Chisel & Mouse.
Source: Chisel & Mouse

“I thought the idea of having a model of my house was such a wonderful hearkening back,” Stutzman says by phone from his office, where he keeps the Chisel & Mouse-produced replica on a book case, positioned to face due west, just as the house does. “The rendering was so detailed—the cornice, the lintels on the brickwork. There’s this really beautiful blood-red door on our house, and we wanted that to show up, too.”

In the ultimate accolade, the Paisley brothers added his bespoke design to Chisel & Mouse’s catalog. For $270, you can snap up a copy of Stuzman’s home, too.

David Stutzman’s 397 Bleecker St. in New York, with its Chisel & Mouse model.
Source (from left): Courtesy of the home owners; Chisel & Mouse
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Continue reading Forget Tiny Houses; the Design-Obsessed Now Want Homes in Miniature

14 of the Most Beautiful Buildings That Defy Gravity

Building: Museum of Tomorrow
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Architect: Santiago Calatrava
Fun fact: Completed in 2015, 1.4 million people visited the Museum of Tomorrow during its inaugural year, far exceeding the anticipated 450,000 visits. It is currently the most-visited museum in Brazil.


Photo: Getty Images


Building: Takasugi-an (Tea house on the Tree)
Location: Chino, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Architect: Terunobu Fujimori
Fun fact: The name Takasugi-an means, “a tea house [built] too high.”

Photo: Getty Images


Building: Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank
Location: Udine, Italy
Architecture firm: Morphosis Architects
Fun fact: The architects tilted the entire building 14 degrees to the south so the upper floors naturally shade the lower floors of the building, thereby conserving energy.


Continue reading 14 of the Most Beautiful Buildings That Defy Gravity

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