We're profiling a trio of collectives that showcased their goods at WantedDesign 2014 in New York, May 16 to May 19. Read on to learn about Seattle's co-op, then check out the work of designers in Chicago and Poland.
Designer Darin Montgomery is the man behind the Seattle furniture company Urbancase. He co-founded lighting studio Standard Socket, also in Seattle. And if that’s not enough, he organized “Seattle Made” at this year’s WantedDesign. In its second year, seven area designers—from 16th Workshop, Seattle Design Bureau, Chadhaus, Fruitsuper Design, Standard Socket, and Piano Nobile—exhibited the best of their tables, chairs, luminaires, dish towels, plates, and more. But the group’s commitment to goods made in the Pacific Northwest doesn’t stop at furniture. At Wanted, it served up Hilliard’s Beer and Caffe Vita coffee, brewed and roasted, respectively, in Seattle.
"A number of designers from other cities approached us this weekend and were so surprised that we were exhibiting as a group," Montgomery said. "They were somewhat envious and said it would never happen where they live."
Tiny Tables, Fruitsuper Design
“Fun” is one descriptor for co-founders Joe Kent and Sallyann Corn of Fruitsuper Design. And their new home collection is the epitome of the word. A metal circlet holds jewelry and air plants on a wall. An perpetual calendar sits on a shelf for added retro whimsy. Best of all, the maple Tiny Tables—with sizes including a version that is 13-in. wide and deep and 3.5-in. tall, and one that is 15-in. wide and 7-in. deep and tall—can be used to prop up decorative objects on a bookshelf or table. The tables “more than make up for their petite size by blending charm with straightforward functionality,” Corn says. Fun, meet function.
“Our design philosophy is to live well with less,” Urbancase’s Montgomery says. His Sidebar, co-created with Seattle designer Trey Jones, proves that less is more. Simple in form when closed, Sidebar’s panel face slides laterally to reveal adjacent compartments for storing glassware and barware, while a door and pullout drawer offer additional storage space. The piece, which measures 42-in. long, 14.5-in. deep, and 35.5-in. tall, comes in walnut with a white Corian top, or, new this year, in bleached oak with a black Richlite top (shown).
Spun Pendant, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio
Two years ago, a group of creatives in Seattle decided that there had to be a better way to design and produce lighting—one that involved better collaboration between a piece’s designer and maker. “We wanted to strip all of that back, start anew, and work with people we know,” says Hillary Rielly, one of Standard Socket’s co-founders. “And if we don’t know you, we’ll get to know you.” Among the studio’s current offerings is the Spun Pendant, designed by Seattle-based Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, which is known for its Superior Servers flatware. The fixture pairs a brass 6 ¼-in.-diameter, 4¼ in.-tall shade with copper, wood, and powdercoated aluminum to create subtle drama. Lamp options include A19 incandescent, A19 LED, or A19 CFL at 75W.
This post has been updated from its original publication to include new information.