In an effort to secure myself an an official internet influencer and tastemaker, I spent the past few days hustling around New York visiting showrooms, checking out new products, and taking note of what we can expect from the design world this spring and beyond. Here’s a look of what’s on the docket:
My first stop was a trip to Gowanus (where, yes, the canal part is a cesspool of disease and sadness). At the Gowanus Souvenir Shop, Wolf-Gordon hosted an event to debut their newest addition, Wink, a clear finish that transforms a paintable surface into a write-and-erase board that can be used with a dry erase marker. The wallcovering company brought in British artist Charlotte Mann to create a site-specific, large-scale mural with the clear dry erase coding as canvas. Mann spent two days drawing a detailed landscape of chain link fences, a quilt, and the rings of trees that reflected Gowanus as well as her own history. The exhibit is on view through March 13th.
I also stopped by KnollTextiles for a sneak peek at their spring and summer collections. Elegant neutrals, rich fabrics, and fashion-inspired items that all work together are a trademark of the company, and this time Dorothy Cosonas, director of the company, has created a collection that resembles well-tailored menswear, and a few surprises, including bold prints and subtle florals that harken to the ’70s. Cosonas has an eye and appreciation for fashion and uses the runway to dictate her vision. These collections were no different.
Humanscale, an ergonomic and wellness office furniture company, invited me to learn more about their offerings. For anyone who spends most of their days hunched behind a desk, nose pressed against a screen, Humanscale’s focus is on making office life comfortable and healthy. The company’s design ethos is simplicity with a contemporary appeal, and legendary designers like Niels Diffrient, Don Chadwick, and Todd Bracher have all partnered with the company to achieve that vision. And, if you’re like me, and think the The Intern was the best movie of the year, you’ll be happy to know that the task chairs and lamps in the film are Humanscale products. I want to sit in the same chair Anne Hathaway did when sharing a slice of pizza with Robert De Niro. I know I’m not alone on this.
Finally, I was lucky enough to sit down with Patrick Cain whose design journey was a bit unusual. Cain started out as a nuclear materials engineer, trading that in to become a journalist. By luck, a table he made and tried to sell on Craigslist found its way on Apartment Therapy. It was enough for him to hang up his pen and turn to design full time. His pieces have a strong industrial vibe with a hint of Scandinavian influence. Think simple lines that juxtapose a masculine feel with feminine aesthetic (a rose gold table, for example, does this quite well) but are also thoughtful and playful. His past as an engineer has helped him manipulate materials and keep people guessing. With a focus on sustainable materials, Cain is certainly a designer to watch.