The Top Five Shows at WantedDesign 2013

Small show makes a big splash during New York Design Week.

No question that WantedDesign was where the action was this past Design Week in New York. Opening night had record-breaking attendance with lines around the block. (Luckily it was a beautiful evening and the postcard-perfect sunset entertained guests as they waited to enter the massive tunnel, located in the landmark Terminal Stores building on 11th Avenue.) When we got inside, we found a mixture of established manufacturers, up-and-coming designers, and fresh new talent from all over the world whose work gave the show a creative edge we’ve not felt in New York in a long time. As one high profile design industry friend from Miami told me, “Wanted made the trip up to New York worthwhile.”

Being an exhibitor at the show, I had to spend most of my time in Luis Pons’s booth, the designer with whom I collaborated on our puzzle-like “OPTICAL” table. Therefore I was unable to spend as much time in other booths as I would have liked. So I asked friends and guests to tell me about the most interesting designs they saw.

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For me it’s interesting to hear how people from different geographic areas and walks of life appreciate design. Here are some of their favorite things at WantedDesign:

1.   13&9:  “ Their furniture was stylish, cool, and yet comfortable. Their designs were very versatile. And they managed to seamlessly extend their design aesthetic to a variety of items, such as lamps, accessories, jewelry, and even clothing. The Octagonal dress they showed was very elegant and new.”–Karina Rasmussen, creative director, Danish Furniture Group.

Low furniture, by 13&9

Photo courtesy of WantedDesign

2.   Cappellini: “I really liked their furniture and how they displayed it–red chairs in the large mirrored boxes. The intensely red color cloth assembled with the heaviness of the fabric, made it stand out, but also revealed the warmth beneath. I liked their clear, sharp, modernistic look.“– Adrien Deseglise, architecture student, Pratt Institute and co-president of Latin Pratt.

Cappellini installation at WantedDesign

Photo by IkonPhoto+NudesignStudio.

Cappellini’s Capo chair by Doshi & Levien

Photo courtesy of WantedDesign

3.   Joe Doucet: “I loved the gold Fetish ashtray’s sleek, simple lines. That basic simplicity says it all. Very sculptural and exquisitely crafted of 24 carat gold. Everything in that booth was distinctive, very original.”– Mauricio Barrera, New York City based fashion production expert.

Cappellini’s Capo chair by Doshi & Levien

Photo courtsey of WantedDesign

4.  Oscar Ramos Rodriguez: “He was part of Design in Puerto Rico. His “3 T’s” table showed an ingenious utilitarian concept, his esthetic related to early Bauhaus and mid-century Danish design. These were my favorites.”–Louise Fishman, contemporary artist, painter.

3 T’s  Table, by Oscar Ramos Rodriguez

Photo courtesy of WantedDesign

5.   GT2P: “These guys are doing amazing work. They are combining new 3D printing technologies with craft tradition. I particularly liked the Royal Mahuida collection. Good example of how they are making regional handcraft into a sophisticated object that has appeal anywhere. It’s nice to see design from South America making a statement.”– Ronnie Lot Sergio, director, ViaLight, a Brazilian lighting manufacturer.

Royal Mahuida by GT2P

Photo courtesy of WantedDesign

My informants and I seem to be in agreement that Modern simplicity is especially appealing today. I wonder if that’s because at an event like WantedDesign, with so much on display, the basic simplicity of these objects stands out amidst the cacophony of offerings? Or is it because the Modern sensibility is just as appealing as it ever was? What do you think?

Paul Clemence is an award-winning photographer whose work is part of many collections, including the Mies van der Rohe Archives and housed by MoMA, New York.  He exhibits both in the U.S. and on the international fine art circuit, from classic B & W prints to large scale photo installations. A published author, his work can also be seen in major design and lifestyle publications. His “Architecture Photography” Facebook page receives over half a million hits monthly.

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