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8 Must-See Projects From This Year’s Venice Design Biennial

After a year of visiting virtual exhibitions, it’s a joy to finally start venturing out IRL again. Where I am here in Italy, things really began to pick up speed last week with the opening of the Venice Biennale, which always brings with it a slew of contemporaneous projects — one of which being the Venice Design Biennial, now in its third year. Curated by Venice Art Factory’s Luca Berta and Francesca Giubilei, this year’s theme was "Design as a Self Portrait" and featured work that spoke, loosely, to the notion of self-representation in design.
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A New Collection of Expressive Rugs Channels Art Deco and the Swedish Grace Movement

The 1920s were a great decade for Swedish design and architecture, birthing the short-lived Swedish Grace movement, which combined the decorative expressiveness of Art Deco and Neo-classicism with a signature Scandinavian restraint. They were also a great decade for rugs, as talents like Eileen Gray, artist Fernand Léger, and soon-to-be-artist Francis Bacon adorned floors with vibrant geometric compositions. A new collection from the Swedish company Nordic Knots, called Art Deco, channels that magical moment in time, with three rug designs that take inspiration from the period’s ethos, shapes, and colors.
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These Two New Collections of Art Carpets Started Out As Actual Paintings

Art carpets are usually handmade, are expensive to produce, and aren't necessarily that easy to incorporate into the average interior, which keeps them in the realm of the rarefied. Every time I see a collection I like, I take extra notice. This winter I found two: one being the latest limited-edition collection from my favorite Australian brand Zou Zou, and one being a series of one-of-a-kind client commissions by London designer Sussy Cazalet, which she shot inside the gallery Beton Brut.
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This Scandinavian Design Duo Just Launched 86 Cozy Pieces to Get You Through the Winter

2020 was necessarily quiet, all things considered, which makes it all the more special to come upon a fully realized vision like NJRD, the new Scandinavian home goods brand by Swedish duo Bernadotte & Kylberg. The studio was commissioned by Scandinavian retailer Nordic Nest to create an expansive debut collection that includes 86 pieces: striped and geometric rugs, ridged tableware in pastel porcelains, and recycled cotton throws in two different color schemes — one in blacks and whites, one in pinks and mustards — inspired by Sweden’s coolly colorful landscape.
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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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A Berlin Duo Whose Marriage of Art, Design, and Craft Is More Literal Than Most

When creatives describe their work as blurring the boundaries between design and art, it's rare that the effect is quite so literal as it is in the case of Berlin's Opt Studios — not only because it's the shared practice of a textile and product designer and her painter and sculptor husband, but also because the works themselves look like abstract artworks that just so happen to be hanging out on rugs and side tables.
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Week Of July 6, 2020

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: master glass blowers empowered lady edition, the dawn of the "rufflessance," two photo fundraisers to kickstart your art collection, and a London office that has us nostalgic for workplace life.
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Oyyo’s New Swedish Flat-Weaves Are a Master Class on the Reuse of Leftover Yarns

For Oyyo's new series, Landing Site Irregular, the focus was on the reuse of leftover dyed yarns to create experimental compositions in custom colors, such as vibrant-azure blue and light tangerine. Smaller in size than their original offerings, these rugs breathe new life into the yarn, but the geometric underpinnings remain, inspired by visionary architects and artists Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins’s theories on space and color.
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