By Regina Connell and Nicole Bemboom.
Last weekend was the mammoth Dwell on Design show in LA. It bills itself as the country’s largest modern design event and with 30,758 design aficionados swarming the floors, they may well be right!
We were there at our 100% CA booth (which we co-curated with Forest Dickey of Varian Designs) and were swamped with people excited about the work of the incredible artisans we were highlighting … but perhaps you’ve heard enough about that already? (Though we are chuffed that 100% CA and its makers showed up in a number of “Best of” lists including two shout outs each for our Heather Palmer in the Hollywood Reporter and DesignMilk and for Marcus Papay on CBS and Architizer.)
Nicole Bemboom and I were barely able to get out on the show floor to see what was new and exciting but we managed to … and this is what we found.
This year, Dwell continued to have more work from independent makers to balance the larger, more “corporate” booths. The smaller but more numerous indie maker booths were, we were rather thrilled to say, absolutely mobbed. This is where the juice was, folks.
Dwell’s starting to feel a little like a reunion weekend for us with so many Handful of Salt profilees in there: Brandon Morrison of Whyrhymer, Golden Gate Bridge Design and Furniture, Sarah Loertscher (whose work featured in our recent print edition), John Liston (outside of our booth), Haand, and Melina and Dodd Raissnia of Peace Industry. Great people, great work.
Before we launch into that, though, a big shout out to the Furniture Society Faculty Selects which deserved its generous chunk of floorspace with gloriously wrought furniture from various designers.
The most visually compelling piece was the bent ash wood Yumi Chair from Laura Kishimoto of RISD. Not practical as a chair (unless one’s been rather unhealthily obsessive about the gym) but gorgeous as a piece of sculpture. But equally stunning, though more subtle was Sarah Marriage’s Leviathan Desk: wickedly seductive in a very proper way.
Loved the clean lines of pretty much everything in the Cerno booth. Handcrafted in Southern California. I’m busily looking for places in the house to include a couple of pieces. These pendants would look great over one of the crisp modern, handcrafted sideboards from WFOUR Designs.
Of course, we obsessed over Rich Brilliant and Willing and their incomparable style meets substance designs.
Loved Oakland-based Ensconce Designs with their sophisticated, refined-industrial aesthetic.
Okum Made‘s gorgeous, handmade in LA, desktop objects are making it a lot easier to get back to work this summer.
Last year, Dwell had an entire section for kids. (An aside. This explosion of great design for kids always makes us wonder: is this purely about saving the aesthetic sensibilities of parents, or will it actually infuse future generations with improved design sensibilities? Or will those children run in the opposite direction, and embrace the dark side of seventies or eighties style? Time will tell.) This year, there was less of a focus on kids, but we were still charmed with was North Forty Designs’ Playforms Shop, a research-based groups with designs for kids (or more likely their design-obsessed parents.)
Now, what really had people buzzing was the amazing heated outdoor furniture (yes you read right) of Galanter and Jones. So decadent. So lovely. So incredibly necessary.
Speaking of necessary: Dwell has turned into quite the place to go for modern sculptures for ears and necks (aka jewelry.) Thrilled to see the lovely and charismatic Vanessa Gade’s new Linea line (saw more than a few people at Dwell sporting her delicious pieces), along with the work of Sarah Loertscher, Colleen Mauer, and Alice Roche.