By Regina Connell
Perhaps it was because we had a booth there, and were in the thick of things (thanks, everyone for coming by) but LA’s Dwell on Design this year was more fun, more diverse, looser that it’s been before. And – or because of that – there was some damned good design. Here are some of our picks.
We loved our friend Brian Schmitt‘s fabulous design for his Aspect Pendant Lamps, which somehow manage to feel 110% of the moment, while perfectly classic. (We’ve always loved his mobiles.) Turns out Dwell loved Schmitt Design’s work, too: they won the Dwell on Design Award for Best lighting. Congrats, Brian, well-deserved.
We were blown away by the work of Spencer Nikosey and his line, Killspencer. Gorgeous and genius leather goods (mostly for men, but infinitely stealable by women) made in a factory he created in Los Angeles. Want want want his dopp kit that unfolds flat into a folio.
We also noticed a trend for furniture that folded, origami-like, from flat to functional. We were charmed by the Flux Junior chair (why no original chair? Oh well, we could imagine.) Loved the colors, and despite the fact that it’s out of polypropylene … we just couldn’t help ourselves, the design is brilliant. (Not a surprise, it’s designed and made in the Netherlands, and distributed by US-based Cool Kids Company.)
Not everyone can afford custom kitchens, so here’s a smart alternative: IKEA bases with doors and drawers from LA-based John McDonald’s Semihandmade. From DIY (unpainted) to Classic, Specialty and Premium (think luscious reclaimed, bamboo, and exotic woods), the options are yours. You get a well-made, hand-finished kitchen. And you don’t get that unmistakable “look” that comes from our friends at the Swedish design giant.
We loved the great furniture from Hard Goods (another Dwell Design Awards winner.) Always big fans of concrete, we just loved the way it got brought into furniture you’d actually want to have.
Great glass is always hard to find, and it was wonderful to meet Josie Gluck and Michael Schunke of Vetro Vero. Yes, they do some lovely modern work with colors that pop and glow and shimmer. But we particularly loved the danger and edge of these black goblets.
There’s a lovely playfulness to San Francisco-based Vanessa Gade‘s jewelry, and it looks even better in person. Unfussy, architectural, and infinitely wearable.
On the softer side of things, we’ve always adored the tea towels of Studio Patro‘s Christina Weber and it was great to see her back at Dwell this year in the Remodelista pop up. The challenge with Christina’s designs is choosing just one. Or two. Or three.
Finally, sometimes it’s the serendipitous that’s the best about these shows. Case in point was noted British sculptor and stone mason Gary March who showed up on Day One wearing a stunning mini-sculpture on a cord around his neck. It was made out of soap, because he had a little time to kill at his hotel, and because, as he said, “I try to make something every day.” Day two, it got even better (though the photography didn’t, unfortunately). Sometimes best in show isn’t quite what you expect it to be.