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Designers, architects, interior designers, craftsmen, editors, manufacturers and more converged in New York last weekend (May 18-21) for Wanted Design at the historic Terminal Store in Chelsea. Focused on the exchange of ideas rather than products, the event found people engaged in lively practice and discussion throughout the weekend: students designed modern lighting fixtures, editors and designers engaged in a robust conversation series, and workshops and exhibitions focused on the creative and clever usage of materials new and old.
A highlight was Lightfalls (pictured above), a lighting installation between collaborators 3M Architectural Markets and designer Todd Bracher. The exhibition describes itself as a "high-end lighting installation that capitalizes on the laws of physics to distribute light from a single LED source over a dramatically, large space."
The complex symmetry of the Lightfalls installation is indicative of a trend in lighting fixtures toward eye-catching geometries, as in this pendant light (below) from the Possini Euro Collection.
Possini Euro Planet Chrome and Black Pendant Chandelier
Lighting was clearly high on the agenda at this year's event. The Design Students Challenge found students from six design schools (three from France and three from the United States) creating designer lighting fixtures under the constraints of using one material per design, one conceptual tool (computer software), and one fabrication tool (a laser cutting machine). Core 77 magazine, the media sponsor for the contest, posted photos of the contest on their website.
While most of the completed student designs landed squarely within established contemporary idioms, they were cleverly constructed and aesthetically refined. It was also clear as one looked over the results: contemporary chandeliers always make an excellent focal point for the room.
Manhattan Neon, who maintains a studio in the same building as Wanted Design, continued the trend toward lighting by providing three neon workshops during the event. It was great to see a throwback medium like neon used in a contemporary environment.
There were furniture design studios, vendors, technology providers, even a boutique bicycle designer on hand. All told, the event brought in approximately 50 exhibitors and sponsors and, while there was a commercial focus to some of the exhibition booths, this was very much a place to meet, exchange and create. This playful, collaborative environment bodes well for the event's future success, and I look forward to seeing even better things to come next year.
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