American Design Hot List 2023
New York, sarah-burns.com
We first discovered the work of Sarah Burns through her hardware designs, and then through Old Jewelry, the store she both runs and designs for that’s right next door to Superhouse gallery in Chinatown. She also creates furniture, objects, interiors, and murals — all with the same downtown-cool aesthetic. We love a multi-talented creative working across mediums, and have no doubt that when Burns drops her first official furniture collection, by way of a solo show at Marta in L.A. this spring, we’re going to covet every piece.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
I guess I’m not sure what American design is today, or I don’t really think about what it is, at least. Everything is intersecting now. In general things are less regional and more global, and the arts reflect that, making the question a difficult one.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
I’ll be completing my first solid-silver jewelry collection for Old Jewelry (which will be released and available at the Old Jewelry Store in Chinatown, NYC). The collection includes two rings, a pin, a pair of earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace. I also have a solo exhibition at Marta in L.A. in the spring. It will be my first design exhibition, as I’ve mainly contributed to group shows and done custom work for private clients. Marta is one of my favorite galleries, and I’ve really enjoyed working with them. I feel very lucky.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
I like art and historical design, and I’m inspired by my peers working now. But I’m also inspired by the more understated qualities of vernacular furniture and architecture, the different kinds of ambition. The beauty of these more everyday objects feels like the byproduct of the maker’s personal interests as well as their limitations, whether financial or material, skill or time. The furniture I design isn’t meant to be broadly impressive, but to function specifically and earnestly. It often ends up blending in with its surroundings, intentionally, and hopefully there’s a gesture or two in each piece that elicits something more emotional. I try to employ a light touch and work with what Fischli & Weiss would call a ‘casual precision.’