This Candy-Colored Design Exhibition Pairs Indie Talent with Powerhouse Brands

·2-min read
Photo credit: Matthew Gordon
Photo credit: Matthew Gordon


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Picture this: You’re walking down a SoHo street in New York City when you come across the receding vista of one particular storefront window. Inside, the space is populated with squashed Mentos-esque platters suspended on what looks like scaffolding, the white walls punctuated by pops of unctuous color and oddly shaped instruments of leisure. (You could also call it “furniture.”) You go in and ask around, and you learn that this is, in fact, an exhibition of design.

To come across such a spectacle in 2021 is to be reminded that last year such a thing wasn’t possible and to hold, however tenuously, an appreciation for all that that means. The editors of the design platform Sight Unseen, Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, are acutely attuned to the deficits of our collective gap year: In mounting the 2021 edition of their “Norway x New York” project, on view now at the New York showroom Matter through October 20, the duo had to evolve their curatorial approach to meet the moment.

Photo credit: Matthew Gordon
Photo credit: Matthew Gordon

Born in 2016 of heightened synergies between the Norwegian and American design scenes and launched with support from the Norwegian Consulate General, “Norway x New York” has always been about stoking creativity. Previous iterations of the project created a cross-cultural exchange in which teamed Norwegian and American designers collaborated long-distance on objects that employed a U.S. workshop for fabrication and that could be manufactured independently for future sales. This year, each Norwegian designer was paired with a prominent U.S.-based company to develop a product for its catalog, the first prototypes of which are now on display in a candy-colored landscape, custom-built by Office of Tangible Design with Thirdkind Studio.

Pieces on view include lamps by Vilde Hagelund for West Elm, tables by Kaja Dahl for Areaware and Stine Aas for Tortuga, room dividers by Vera & Kyte for Designtex, and a carpet by Pettersen & Hein for Edward Fields. The carpet is one-of-a-kind, but all of the other objects are slated to go into production in the near future, making the show not just an aesthetic exercise, but a sound business proposition for These Uncertain Times. Picture that, indeed.

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