DWR Displays 50 Objects Inspired by Shaker Design

For “Furnishing Utopia: Shaker Design Influence Now,” Design Within Reach asked North American and European designers to re-imagine classic Shaker artifacts.

All images courtesy the designers and manufacturers

At its Soho studio, Design Within Reach (DWR) presents Furnishing Utopia: Shaker Design Influence Now, an exhibition of 50 objects created by North American and European designers and inspired by the unique design philosophy of the Shakers.

The Furnishing Utopia project began in 2015, when Studio Gorm, the Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts, and the Mount Lebanon Shaker Museum in upstate New York invited 15 designers to a two-week-long workshop where they could interact with artifacts created by Shaker communities at two historic sites. These austere artifacts, known for exerting a huge influence on American Modernists in the first half of the 20th century, inspired the designers to create a collection of objects.

This year’s collection continues that effort, with 11 North American designers from that  group returning to create furniture, textiles, and objects for everyday use. They are joined by three Norwegian design studios—Anderssen & Voll, Lars Beller Fjetland, and Vera & Kyte—as well as Bertjan Pot from the Netherlands; all interpreted the Shakers’ ethos with an eye to traditions from their own countries. At DWR, these pieces will be displayed alongside original Shaker artifacts, allowing visitors to see how a minimalist aesthetic dating back two centuries continues to be relevant to our lives.

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