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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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Lichen Portrait

From Their Artfully Curated Brooklyn Design Shop, Guest Editors Lichen NYC Are Helping to Democratize Design

By definition, “lichen” is a moss composed of two or sometimes many organisms operating in a symbiotic relationship with one another. In 2017, we opened the doors to Lichen NYC, our take on accessible furniture — both vintage and contemporary — settled harmoniously into a single space, with an aim to represent that spirit of symbiosis and inclusion in the design community. Our goal, in first one store, and now another, is to push design forward by empowering individuals with knowledge of past designs and helping them make sense of how to incorporate those pieces into current living scenarios
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Inside Creative Growth, the Always Inspiring Oakland-Based Incubator For Artists With Disabilities

While the work of Creative Growth artists has hung in the MoMA and Brooklyn Museum, has been emblazoned on designer accessories by Marc Jacobs, has been commissioned by Facebook, and has been scooped up by everyone from celebrities to the most prestigious galleries and dealers, there are still many people who are happening upon it for the first time. Here, 10 artists on the current Creative Growth roster whose work we find especially compelling.
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Duro Olowu’s Mind-Expanding Chicago Exhibition Crosses Time, Place, Gender, and Race

Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago, the highly anticipated exhibition curated by the Nigerian-born British designer, was up for only two weeks at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago before the pandemic shutdown of last March. But when the MCA re-opened, it thankfully extended the show's run into early fall. Walking through the rooms — teeming with over 300 works Olowu selected from the city’s public and private art collections — was a bit like scrolling through a really engaging, unpredictable Instagram account, but without the glazed exhaustion and listlessness that comes from being so online. Or the frustration of being on the outside looking in. This was a show that welcomed you.
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Photo by Myleen Hollero

Peek Into The Private Library Of Instagram’s Coolest Book Dealer

Press SF is interested in a refined but never rarefied melange of burgeoning artist’s movements and localized design, the kitschy and the iconoclastic, sourced from library sales and small secondhand bookstores with “a lot of different buyers and a lot of different viewpoints.”
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DS & Durga Set Themselves Apart By Appealing to More Than Just Our Sense of Smell

"Perfume is armchair travel." This year, as we find ourselves collectively and forcibly grounded, DS & Durga’s tagline has taken on a new significance: Fragrance’s transporting ability, whether it be to carry us back in time to a familiar place or offer a portal to a destination we’ve never experienced, is more powerful and desirable than ever.
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The Fantastical Fungi (And Other Subjects) of Phyllis Ma’s Supernatural Still Lifes

Photographer and animator Phyllis Ma’s work is centered around what she calls “special nothings:” ordinary objects that, in the right context, can appear “magical, surreal, or even uncanny.” Fuzzy flowers nuzzling each other, a block of aspic the exact dimensions of an iPhone, a phallic gherkin covered in warty bumps — all resplendent in hyper-stylized settings and hyper-saturated hues. Recently, Ma — who was born in China and immigrated to Brooklyn when she was eight — turned her lens on the mushroom kingdom.
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Guest Editor Fiorella Valdesolo on Mushrooms and the Interconnectedness of All Things

Today, meet Fiorella Valdesolo, a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and consultant who is probably best known for her role as co-founder and editor-in-chief of the food magazine Gather Journal (whose erstwhile print issues we still hoard). All of the stories we’ll be posting between now and Friday have been either written or chosen by Fiorella; they center around the interconnectedness of all things — and, in a way, why we need each other now more than ever.
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Buzao opener

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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