Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shop smart on the cutting edge at Bklyn Designs

The lines of a flower container from Warp Designs mimic the graceful curves of the tulips it holds.

By Helen Klein

Innovative materials, cutting-edge engineering, a concern for the environment and an ineffable sense of style are just some of the elements that combine to infuse the upcoming “Bklyn Designs” show with the kind of self-conscious flair that characterizes the new crop of Brooklyn designers.

The three-day event -- headquartered in DUMBO, and organized by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce -- will kick off on Friday, May 8, and conclude on Sunday, May 10. In between, design professionals, consumers, retailers and trend-setters will have the opportunity to view furniture, wall coverings, home accessories and other such creations in a variety of venues that, arguably, are as interesting as the objects they will house.

The work of 45 borough-based designers will be featured in a trio of locations, the St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water Street, where the exhibitors will display their works; the Bosch, Thermador, Gaggeneau showroom, 1 Main Street, which will feature environmentally-friendly design; and Jane’s Carousel, 56 Water Street, where there will be a children’s furniture show.

In addition, the weekend will feature:
*A self-guided house tour of contemporary homes, organized in conjunction with Dwell Magazine, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.;

*A tour of DUMBO galleries with Zannah Mass, cultural affairs director of Two Trees Management, on Friday, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Meet at the Rice Bar inside St. Ann’s Warehouse. For more information on participating galleries & exhibit schedules, and to RSVP: email Zannah@twotrees-dumbo.com.)

* Kid’s Story Time at Iglooplay, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Mother’s Day;

* Mother’s Day Brunch and Educational Eco-friendly Series, on Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at 93 Nevins Street, billed on Bklyn Designs’ website as “Brooklyn’s newest green townhomes;”

* Avant-Arrangements: Designing with Flowers presentation and brunch, Sunday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., with Amy Gardella of Seaport Flowers (RSVP for brunch to brooklynheights@dwr.com) at Design Within Reach, 76 Montague Street; and,

* A Green Design Tour, Sunday, 3 p.m., led by Jill Fehrenbacher from Inhabitat, at St. Ann’s Warehouse.

The participating designers include 16 who have never before shown at the event, now in its seventh year. Carl Hum, president of the Brooklyn Chamber, said this year’s show is likely to be “the best ever.”

“Every year, it gets bigger and better,” Hum added. “We are truly showcasing young, upcoming and hot designers who are producing, creating and innovating in Brooklyn.”

“Some of the pieces are really spectacular,” he stressed, “not only because they are beautiful but because they employ the latest in technology.”

Brooklyn, he acknowledged, functions as a sort of “natural incubator” for of-the-moment design, because the borough is perceived as a design hot spot around the world due to the existence of such institutions as Pratt, “which are educating the designers of tomorrow,” and also because the borough boasts the necessary space for such endeavors.

“Brooklyn was a manufacturing town,” Hum stressed. “Its architectural fabric reveals the richness of its manufacturing history. We may not be making beer and rope the way we used to, but the spaces where these designers are carry on the tradition of manufacturing in Brooklyn.”
Even if you have attended Bklyn Designs in the past, this year’s show is a must-see, Hum contended. “There’s a new cast of designers,” he told this paper. And, he emphasized, “You are supporting local industry -- your neighbors and friends -- that make the borough so wonderful.”

Tickets for “Bklyn Designs” cost $12 purchased in advance, on line, and $15 at the door. Tickets to the house tour, including admission to “Bklyn Designs” and a Friday night launch party organized by Dwell Magazine at Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main Street, cost $40 in advance, and $50 at the door.


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