By Regina Connell.
I love Chicago. It’s the city that just gets on with it. The Coasts have the dazzle factor, but Chicago has this tendency of getting things done without necessarily calling a lot of attention to itself. And it does it with style, plenty of it. This is a town that knows about design and art: it’s pretty much everywhere you look.
There are so few galleries that meld craft and design very well—NWBLK in San Francisco, Turtle and Hare in Oakland, Ippodo in New York, The Future Perfect and Studio Koto Koto online, and OEN and The New Craftsmen in the UK—so I’m always delighted when I discover a new one, and in particular when it’s in Chicago. Room406 by Troscan Design + Furnishings is in Chicago, showcases the work of American and international makers, and serves as a forum for international contemporary art and design through events, shows, and more.
The taste level is extraordinary. Some of my favorites: a hammered bronze bowl by Alexander Lamont; an antique carpenter’s axe from the 19th century; a luscious hand-loomed indigo throw by Brooklyn’s Hiroko Takeda. There’s also some lovely vintage, such as an Arne Jacobsen egg chair in black leather.
It also carries vintage pieces and gorgeous handcrafted furniture by Troscan. The team behind Troscan and Room406 consists of Deirdre Jordan and Bob Robinson, a husband-and-wife design team. Deirdre studied Design at University of Kansas, received her MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and served as the Design Director at Holly Hunt. Bob, who studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology and studied sculpture at SAIC, was trained as a master woodworker and luthier. He also apprenticed with the renowned studio furniture maker Wendy Maruyama.
Together and with their team, they design and make furniture in the West Grand Design District in Chicago.
On September 19 and running through October 31 2014, Room406 opens “Transcendent Objects,” an exhibition that explores how vessels, textiles, and design objects become communicators of ritual and meaning.
The exhibition will include work by the breathtakingly talented Japanese ceramic artist Ryota Aoki, our favorite Portland based ceramicist Lilith Rockett, and another one of our favorites, quiltmaker and artist Sarah Nishiura.
The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Japan America Society of Chicago. “Transcendent Objects” highlights how traditional forms can be given fresh interpretations and how exquisitely made objects can attain almost sacred meaning. The exhibition will include a wide range of refined black and white porcelain forms, lava ceramics, lighting and decorative objects by Ryota and Lilith, many of which are inspired by ancient tea rituals.
In addition, Sarah will make two quilts inspired by traditional Japanese Borocloths, which were made from scraps of worn clothing. One quilt will be made from mid-20th century Japanese indigo scraps mixed with recycled textiles and the second will be based on American patchwork quilting, which like Boro, can also incorporate scraps and rags. A good reason to get to the City of Broad Shoulders as soon as you can. Not that you needed an excuse.