Just as design aficionados are beginning to recover from the onslaught of the Milan Furniture Fair, this week sees the launch of another design show, Collective Design Fair, in New York City. Slotting in right before Frieze New York and the city's design stalwart International Contemporary Furniture Fair a week later, Collective proffers to be its most eclectic, with an international mix of vintage and contemporary design under its roof.
The show's inaugural edition has pitched up within Pier 57, an industrial space conveniently located near Manhattan's Meatpacking District and the Hudson River Park. Founded by architect/designer Steven Learner, the curated fair hosts 25 exhibitors from around the world offering largely limited edition works. Together with a group of designers, curators, gallerists and collectors, the show is conceived as a commercial and educational platform that will appeal to both design veterans and newcomers.
'The key word here is inclusivity,' said Lerner at the show's opening. 'We really wanted a diverse mix of names, from the usual people to more up-and-coming galleries, to stand side-by-side. We've got glass, jewellery and mid-century furniture pieces. There's really a little bit of everything.'
Collective Design Fair touts itself as a medium for discovery and it certainly brings a freshness to New York's design landscape. For starters, the choice of venue serves as a wonderful, design-forward backdrop that even had the exhibitors excited. Zesty Meyers, principal of R 20th Century, said, 'You can really see that there is a design focus here. The contrast of the industrial space with the refined pieces just really helps each stand sparkle and jump out.'
The show's content is just as impressive. In addition to the country's leading design galleries, the fair has roped in exhibitors from Stockholm, Johannesburg, Paris and further afield. The overall mix is varied, with R 20th Century honing in on the mid-century designs of Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler for the Brazilian furniture company Forma, Philadelphia's Wexler Gallery pushing the value of American designed and made glassware and Stockholm's Modernity gallery bringing work from lesser-known Swedish designers to the fore. Kinder Modern, an American company specializing in vintage and new children's furniture, also caught us off-guard with its sophisticated offerings for young ages.
Besides this, Collective also pays homage to one New Yorker, Gaetano Pesce, with an installation of studio and personal archive pieces fitted right at the entrance of the fair. Showcasing work over the course of the last 25 years, the special exhibition presents Pesce's multidisciplinary approach as a source of creative inspiration that will touch current design fanatics and also those to come.