Collective Design Fair: Preview
Ahead of Collective Design Fair – 3 to 7 May 2017 – TLmag asks all four members of the event’s team what their favourite moment was during past editions.
Founded in 2013, Collective Design Fair – this year from 3-7 May – has transformed into a leading event, held as part of the annual NYCxDesign (New York Design Week) each May. Much more than just a commercial agora, the event fosters a growing understanding of collectable art and design. A full schedule of debates and educational programming throughout the year is capped off by the main event. Showcasing many of the world’s leading galleries, the fair cleverly juxtaposes different styles and specialisation. More importantly, it provides a platform for international and domestic talents in New York who do not pursue traditional routes. TLmag asked all four members of the Collective Design Fair team to reflect on their favourite moment, project or showcase from the past five years.
Steven Learner, Founder
“My favourite moment of each year’s fair is the exhibitors’ dinner which I host midway through the week. The first one was in 2013, when I launched the fair in just six months with no experience in the field. With gallerists from New York, Chicago, Paris, Beirut, Stockholm, Oslo and Johannesburg and our tight-knit team in New York, we all sit down and share a family meal. This is a group of designers, gallerists and makers that have built their lives around their passions, created new technologies to realise their visions and chased stories of esoteric gems in flea markets and at estate sales. They’ve all taken the risk of expressing their dreams through their work. It’s an honour each year that these dozens of people travel the world to join the fair, so we raise a glass to celebrate our good fortune that we belong to a community that makes a living seeking beauty.”
The Collective Community:
Since its inception five years ago, the Collective Design Fair has forged a burgeoning community of practitioners, gallerists, collectors and tastemakers. The list of top international and local exhibitors includes TLmag favourites Ammann Gallery, Carwan Gallery, David Gill Gallery, Etage Projects, Fuglen, Gallery ALL, Galerie Gosserez, Galerie Negropontes, Ornamentum and Victor Hunt Designart Dealer as well as several galleries featured in this issue: Cristina Grajales Gallery, J. Lohmann Gallery, Twenty First Gallery, Friedman Benda and Patrick Parrish Gallery.
Sarah Medford, Strategic Development Director
“In 2015, Collective Design collaborated on a special installation with The Noguchi Museum. The sculptor’s work was presented in a raw, industrial space at one end of the fair alongside his iconic Akari light sculptures and a rock garden made of river boulders he collected in Japan. The effect was magical—and exactly the kind of spatial discovery we love to program into each edition of the fair.”
With active programming that takes place not only during the event in May, but throughout the entire year, the Collective Design Fair has worked with a wide range of commercial and cultural partners including A/D/O, Cooper Hewitt, Museum of Arts and Design, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Bard Graduate Center, New York School of Interior Design, SVA, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Pomellato, Edition Hotels, Architectural Digest, Sight Unseen and Artsy.
Jillian Choi, Fair Director
“Last year we initiated the Collective Concept program, which highlights the work of independent contemporary designers and challenges them to explore new avenues for presenting their work. We always try to be nimble, and each year we assess our program to see what we can add and subtract. Collective Concept seemed a natural evolution for us, as it allowed us to include the work of five designers we deeply respect but who were not necessarily a part of the gallery program. For established designers like Lindsey Adelman, it was an opportunity for creative play, and she presented a beautiful and unexpected video installation. For more emerging designers like Fort Standard, it was an opportunity to show the world their design chops, presenting an incredible new body of work, which included the awe-inspiring Relief Stone Cabinet, one of the highlights of last year’s fair. The program was such a success and brought so much great energy to the fair that we’ve expanded it this year to include eight design studios from all over the world.”
Far more than a trading platform, the Collective Design Fair hosts a variety of programs that go beyond the booth. Site-specific installations, talks, workshops and school showcases help create a fully immersive experience for exhibitors and visitors alike. In addition to the Collective Concept initiative, the Collective Influences program brings in external curators to showcase top talents. In the past few years, these capsule presentations have included Gaetano Pesce and Nendo. This year, Glenn Adamson (featured in TLmag 27) will highlight Franco-Swiss craftsperson, Mattia Bonetti.
Natalie Nielsen, External Relations Manger
“Glass Past always brings beautiful, museum-worthy, vintage glass to the fair. Two years ago, they blew up the pages of a 1968 Venini sales catalogue—complete with the faded binder holes—for the backdrop of their booth; it was such a simple and striking graphic for their presentation of 1960s Venetian glass.”
Vintage and Contemporary:
With an eclectic and multifaceted list of exhibitors, talents and events, Collective Design Fair shows the latest in art design experimentation while still celebrating the heritage of iconic masters. As a major platform, the event also reveals how contemporary creatives can reinterpret age-old techniques and materials.
Collective Design Fair: 3-7 May
Skylight Clarkson Sq.
550 Washington Street, New York