AmDC x Outpost Journal: Hometown Homage


Last week, we introduced you to Outpost Journal, a magazine founded by Pete Oyler and Manya Rubinstein that investigates American creative scenes outside the likes of L.A. and New York, focusing on a different secondary city each year. This week, we’re showing you the results of the magazine’s recent collaboration with the American Design Club, which invited young designers to reflect on their own hometowns across the country, no matter how large or small. Exhibited earlier this month at the ever-changing New York boutique Story, as part of its Made in America showcase, the project — Hometown Homage — included a dozen or so objects intended to celebrate “the origins of our creative identities,” as AmDC co-founder Kiel Mead put it in the call for entries. “As creative professionals, the environments from which we come – whether a farm, small town, or large metropolis – help to shape our worldview. The AmDC challenged designers to look retrospectively at their hometown experiences to design an object that reflects their heritage, paying homage to their past with skill sets honed in the present.” The show itself closed on Friday, but Sight Unseen picked our favorite pieces to share with anyone who didn’t have the pleasure of seeing them in person.

Track Trivet by Cofield (Sara Ebert and Jason Pfaeffle)
“Both of the designers’ hometowns have and still do rely heavily on trains for both freight and passenger transportation. The Winchester and Western Railroad runs through Sara’s hometown, built to supply timber for the expansion of railroad system, as well as to transport apples for one of the region’s most important industries for the last century. The Long Island Railroad, running through Jason’s hometown, is part of the largest transportation network in North America and carries a quarter-million commuters daily. The Track Trivet references this important part of both New York and Virginia’s history and industry while providing contemporary and functional place to rest hot pots. The trivets can align end-to-end to create a larger, heat-resistant track.”

Tostonera (Plantain Press) by Carla Lores
“This is an updated stone plantain-press used to make tostones, found in Latin American cuisine. Tostones are best eaten after your cousin’s quinceañera after-party at Versailles on Calle Ocho, Miami’s very own version of the American Diner.”

Tofu of Kansas by Sensitive House
Tofu of Kansas places two modest subjects — a bland pre-historic food and a Great Plains state — under one examination light. Starting with a tour of a small tofu factory in Kansas, the book quickly widens to take in pre-history, history, present and future: from Song Dynasty poetry, to Henry Ford swinging an ax into a soy-paneled car, to Chris Penn using soy as a contraceptive on television, to the reader watching literal tofu coagulate in their fridge, by way of an origami envelope that holds a DIY tofu-making kit.”

Shaka Bottle Opener by Andrew Mau
“The Shaka is a gesture that can communicate a simple salutation, approval, or contentment. This solid cast-bronze bottle opener was designed to immortalize the laid-back qualities of surf culture, as experienced by Mau growing up in Honolulu.”

Little Boy table lamp by DAMM (Robert Zurn)
“The work done at the infamous Oak Ridge uranium plant was embodied in two simple shapes: a uranium cylinder and uranium rings. Inside ‘Little Boy,’ a nuclear chain reaction would begin when a stack of the uranium rings were shot onto the cylinder; DAMM used the exact dimensions of the bomb’s rings and cylinder to create the shade and base of this lamp.”

Whittled Flateware by BOWER (Danny Giannella and Tammer Hijazi)
“Tammer and Danny took inspiration from playing in the woods as kids, where they used to whittle tree branches into different forms with a pocket knife. To create their Whittled Flatware, they used whittled-wood forms to make molds for each utensil, then cast them in stainless steel. The result is flatware that unites the freedom and roughness of a child with the consideration of a designer.”
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Truss coat rack by Taylor Mckenzie-Veal
(Available for sale in the American Design Club’s online shop)
“Truss is a coat hanger inspired by Mckenzie-Veal’s hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana — ‘The Crossroads of America.’ The object takes its name and form from the ubiquitous structure that populates the many roads and public works of this heartland hub.”

The Portland Umbrella by Oliver William Henderson
“The Portland Umbrella is mesh umbrella with minimal rain cover, allowing visitors to Portland to get used to the rain while still providing them the familiar experience of holding onto an umbrella.”