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Week of October 19, 2020

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: furniture inspired by robots, our favorites from the 2020 Design Academy Eindhoven graduate shows, and a carpeted chair by Max Lamb that's apropos for COVID life.
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A Plywood Pioneer and Champion of Eco-Modern Design Whose Work is Ripe for Rediscovery

Even though two of Peter Danko’s chair designs are in MoMA's permanent collection, many of his works were never all that commercially successful, leading him to view himself as something of an underdog. But the first time we discovered Danko's 1980 Bodyform chair on one of our early sourcing excursions, there was no question of whether to snap it up. Both it and and many of Danko's other designs are pieces of art and sculpture, and are ripe to be rediscovered by a generation that truly values those qualities.
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Designer Mac Collins Mines His Family History To Imagine Brighter Black Futures

Mac Collins's Iklwa series debuted at London Craft Week this month, produced by legacy manufacturer Benchmark. Comprising two lounge chairs — one large and one small — and a side table, the collection is named for a style of short spear used by the Zulu, the chair featuring armrests that echo its shape. It's a compelling introduction to the 25-year-old's distinct yet disruptive approach, informed by his Jamaican heritage as well as his background in art and sculpture.
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Week of September 28, 2020

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: LRNCE makes her first lamps, a New York designer releases a Memphis-style mirror to rival the Ultrafragola, and India Mahdavi opens a project space for experimental installations like the one pictured above.
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6 Up-and-Coming Chinese Designers to Watch

A trinity of qualities anoints China as one to watch in the independent design landscape: a raft of regional, incubating talent; prodigious market demand; and design and production innovation. We recently spoke with six talents from the rising creative class to get an accurate read on a burgeoning design scene in China — which is increasingly showing itself to be not only uniquely Chinese but also distinctly of-the-moment.
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Though He Designs for Of-the-Moment Brands, Mario Tsai Isn’t Inspired By Trends

When Hangzhou-based designer Mario Tsai was growing up, he’d take apart the electronics in the house. Luckily for him, his parents were forgiving. He’d also collect old, tossed-out electric components and scrap pieces of wood to make new things. “I made many things that adults would consider strange,” he says, but that early freedom to explore has proven foundational for his design practice. A research-centered approach is the basis of Mario Tsai Studio, founded in the summer of 2014, which produces elegant, contemporary furniture and conceptual lighting design.
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Guest Editor Yoko Choy Explores the Work in Progress That is Chinese Design

Chinese design is still finding its way and is too diverse to be captured in a neat single identity. So while the global community may be eager to create a brand for this emerging body of work, defining it is still a work in progress. In the 15 years I’ve been working as a design journalist, I’ve been asked constantly, “What is Chinese Design”? I, too, have been asking myself that same question. And I feel that now I’m finally seeing an answer (or answers) and am proud to share my discoveries, some of which formed the basis for my guest-editor curation this week.
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A Round Table on the Ethics of Working With Artisans, and How to Respectfully Bridge Cultural and Geographic Divides

Over the last year, I've been laying the foundation for a new company that aims to connect Thailand and the U.S. through the universal languages of craft and design. I found myself thinking about how designers can foster a respectful, non-exploitive engagement when they're creating products with artisan communities rather than in factories, so I organized a roundtable discussion on the topic with three participants who have experience in bridging barriers of geography or culture: Peter Mabeo of Mabeo Furniture, Casa Wabi director Carla Sodi, and Tantuvi founder Arati Rao.
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By Innovating Local Materials and Manufacturing, This Bangkok Studio Is Redefining Thai Design

Decha Archjananun and Ploypan Theerachai, the couple behind the Bangkok-based product and furniture-design studio Thinkk, named their practice after their core professional pursuit: to think past the obvious and propose a new narrative for what it means to be “made in Thailand.” It’s a theme they’ve explored not only in their own work, but through exhibitions and projects they’ve organized since graduating from European design schools (ECAL and Konstfack) and returning to Thailand to found their studio in 2011.
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This Melbourne Designer Gave Himself Six Months to Develop His Very First Collection — And Knocked It Out of the Park

Zachary Frankel was working as a jewelry designer in Melbourne, Australia when he came across an image of a simple chair and was struck by how perfectly it seemed to do its job. “I was taken by how restrained and elegant it was,” he says. It ignited his curiosity in working with timber. After some time, Frankel devised a plan to find his own voice and broaden his exploration of materials. He’d give himself six months to create a collection with no commercial obligation; he’d make furniture just for the fun of it. If he liked what he made, great, he’d share it publicly. If not, he’d have half a year’s worth of getting better acquainted with his craft and it would inform where he would take things next. At worst, his house would be full of interesting experiments.
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Donate $10 For a Chance to Win a Chair, a Palm Springs Stay, and more in Our Design For Progress Fundraiser

This week, while we take a much-needed summer break on this site, we're harnessing the power of our platform on Instagram for a summer 2020 Design for Progress fundraiser, which will take the form of a series of five raffles raising money for five non-profits. Now through August 31, each $10 donation you make buys you one "ticket" to win a floor lamp donated by FLOS USA, a chair donated by Hay, a floor lamp donated by Lightology, a table lamp donated by ANDlight, or a two-night stay at a stunning mid-century house in Palm Springs.
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