At Zona Maco, Agnes’s First Solo Exhibition is Bestrewn With Symbols of Luck

When the Guatemala City-based duo Agnes first burst onto the scene in 2017, they did so in a decidedly iconic fashion: Their debut collection was immediately embraced by the international design community, with splashy press clips, interesting placements, and influential commissions (AGO Projects founders Rodman Primack and Rudy Weissenberg asked the two to create a rug for their own CDMX home, which was later featured in our book, How to Live With Objects). Now AGO is spotlighting Agnes’s sophomore collection at their Mexico City–based gallery as part of the designers’ first solo exhibition, which opened during last month’s Zona Maco festivities. 
More

This Melbourne Exhibition Signals a Return to Romanticism in Design

We've been dancing around naming it for a while — or we've been calling it other, less expansive, more niche things — but it's official: Romanticism is creeping back into design. Following a similar moment in fashion — which saw things like Alessandro Michele’s peacock-y looks for Gucci or, really, anything from Harris Reed’s eponymous line — we’ve slowly clocked the appearance of flowing skirts around simple stools and lamps, intricately patterned floral wallpapers, deep oxblood-colored furniture pieces, and dramatic gestures like tapestries hung on apartment walls — all hinting at design’s turn to embrace its romantic side. A counter to the simplified geometries and washed-out hues of the Millennial aesthetic? A reflection of society’s current highly emotive state? Whatever the reason for this shift, the recent work of trans-Pacific duo BMDO marks a significant step in that direction, and their self-professed “playful, dark, social, and emotional” work is currently on view through this weekend at Oigall Projects gallery in Melbourne.
More

An Exhibition of 100 Hooks Has Us Totally Rethinking Our Wall-Mounting Game

The humble coat hook might be the most simple and effective design humans ever invented. It solves the problem so well that it’s often taken for granted (as most genius inventions are) and little attention is paid to its ingenuity, because it just works. Well, humble no more — the hook is celebrated in all its weird and wonderful variations in an exhibition called 100 Hooks presented by the estate of American sculptor JB Blunk. A hundred versions — by names like Jasper Morrison and Ilse Crawford as well as young artists and designers from across the US, UK, Europe, Mexico, and Japan — are all designed, at least nominally, for hanging clothing, towels, bags, hats, art, or whatever else needs storing or displaying. 
More

In His Latest Solo Exhibition, Magnus Pettersen’s Glass Orbs Evoke a Sense of Metaphysical Disturbance

In Norwegian designer Magnus Pettersen’s latest solo exhibition, which was on view at QB Gallery in Oslo last month, a new series of sculptures was presented, which purport, per the press materials, to transgress the boundary between artworks and functional objects. But that isn't remotely the most interesting thing about the pieces; pretty much everything published on this site at this point achieves that with equal aplomb. For us, the most interesting thing is the addition of wood, yes, especially in brilliantly tinted hues like emergency orange. But more important is the inclusion of tiny glass orbs, perched on the arms or backs or smack dab in the middle of several of the seats, which sometimes prevent the pieces from being functional objects at all. Why are they there? What is their meaning? Has Pettersen recently discovered astrology?
More

Eny Lee Parker’s “Pretty Secrets” Exhibition Puts the Spotlight on 7 Major New Female & Nonbinary Talents

We’ve been Eny Lee Parker stans ever since she debuted her first collection with Sight Unseen at our 2017 Offsite show, and it’s been rewarding to watch her meteoric rise from breakout star to global name. Recently, the New York–based artist and designer has been doing her own part to highlight a new generation of emerging talent, the latest by curating a showcase of works by seven female or nonbinary designers in collaboration with Spring New York.
More

A New Exhibition of Black Designers Explores the Role Aesthetics Play in Social, Economic, and Racial Justice Efforts

In 2017, Little Wing Lee of Brooklyn’s Studio & Projects founded Black Folks in Design, an international network for Black design across disciplines: interiors, architecture, fashion, graphic design, and more. BFiD was ostensibly founded in order to foster community but Lee's aims also go way beyond that, based on the idea that design and aesthetics aren’t simply a luxury but part of everyday life — that our environments shape us — and therefore play a role in social, economic, and racial justice efforts. Last year, Lee curated Spotlight I, an inaugural showcase of Black designers at the Ace Hotel in Brooklyn. Now the collective’s Spotlight II is up at the Verso gallery in Tribeca, with pieces that reflect and incorporate traditions – cultural, familial, stylistic – while also looking forward.
More

EJR Barnes On Cast Glass, Instagram, “Freaky Stuff,” and His Excellent New Show at Emma Scully Gallery

Elliot Barnes’s work is full of historical references and subtle echoes that are at once familiar but hard to pin down. It’s not so much an expression of nostalgia as it is a longing for a time and place that never actually existed. In his work, Barnes messes with temporality, giving shape to things that feel anachronistic or out of time — and that are both sophisticated and a little mischievous. In his first solo show, A Room on East 79th Street at the Emma Scully Gallery in New York, the self-taught designer has created a dreamscape in the form of a living room.
More

Need a Cheat Sheet to the Current Norwegian Design Scene? Take Notes

For this year’s Unika Auction, the third iteration of the contemporary Norwegian design showcase, FOLD Oslo invited 30 designers, from up-and-comers to established Norwegian names, to create new pieces. (Unika means unique in Norwegian). "Choosing designers to be part of this Unika exhibition was challenging, but also very exciting, as the Norwegian design scene has exploded with talented designers, craftspeople, and artists in recent years,” says FOLD member Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng. There are a wealth of materials here, which both represent and spring from longstanding Norwegian craft traditions in textiles, woodworking, glass, and aluminum. What connects it all for Øfstedal Eng, aside from geographic provenance, is a shared approach: a combination of preservation and innovation that leads to enduring work.
More

Each Piece in Kim Mupangilai’s Debut Furniture Collection is a Meditation on Cross-Cultural Identity

Each of the pieces in Kim Mupangilaï’s debut furniture collection, on view in a solo exhibition called HUE/I/AM – HUE/AM/I through August 20 at Superhouse Vitrine, is comprised of numerous, sometimes unexpected aspects that all cohere. Without being heavy-handed, and as the name of the show implies, the collection embodies the ways we might understand and conceive of our own identities.
More

This Surrealism-Tinged Exhibition Includes Flamboyant Salad Sculptures and Snail-Bedecked Stools

On view through October 1, French curator Anne-Laure Lestage has imagined a Surrealist-inspired exhibition called House of Dreamers at Villa Empain, a storied Art Deco jewel of a building in Brussels. The group show offers visitors the chance to wander through the rooms of a home furnished with imaginative objects that fall somewhere between art and design, making a case for mixing the surreal with the decorative. Here, a tablescape boasts a flamboyant salad sculpture centerpiece; there, a wooden stool is covered in spiral snail shells. In another room, ferns grow from a planter shaped like a medieval castle. 
More

A New Design Gallery in Berlin Gives a Long-Overdue Platform to Up-and-Coming German Studios

Despite being a longtime haven for artists and creatives — with its (formerly) cheap rents and surplus of accessible studio and exhibition spaces — Berlin never really made any sort of cohesive mark on the contemporary furniture-design world. That's why I got so excited recently when I heard about Forma, a new pop-up design gallery on the Spree river showing mostly contemporary work by mostly German or Germany-based designers like Nazara Lazaro, Carsten in der Elst, and Haus Otto — as well as why its founder, Vanessa Heepen, almost didn’t go through with it.
More

At the Venice Design Biennial, Popping Up in an Out-of-Season Beach Cabana and a 100-Year-Old Bocce Court

Behind a battered green door on a quiet canal snaking through Venice’s Dorsoduro neighbourhood, far from the shoulder-to-shoulder throngs of tourists that populate the narrow corridors close to Piazza San Marco, is the city’s last bocce court, opened over a century ago. Most days, the area’s elderly residents convene there to throw bowls, gossip, and sip apéritifs (usually a ruby red Select spritz). But for a few weeks this May and June the sports club has given up one of their precious lanes to an entirely novel endeavor, the recently opened Venice Design Biennale.
More