Revealing Beauty: Q&A with Cooper Hewitt Senior Curator Ellen Lupton

Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial is the fifth installment of the museum’s signature contemporary design exhibition series. With a focus on aesthetic innovation, Beauty celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses. Curated by Andrea Lipps, Assistant Curator, and Ellen Lupton, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design, the exhibition features more than 250 works by 63 designers and teams from around the globe, and is organized around seven themes: extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental, and transformative.
The exhibition is on view until August 21st and is not to be missed. The book is as much inspiring as the exhibit so if you don’t have a chance to visit you definitely should get the book.
WantedDesign asked a few questions to Ellen Lupton, curator of the exhibit, to get her personal vision on Beauty and learn more about the theme and the process of building the exhibition.

PolyThread knitted textile pavilion, 2015-16; Designed by Jenny E. Sabin, Jenny Sabin Studio; Design Team: Martin Miller, Charles Cupples; Fabricated by Shima Seiki, WHOLEGARMENT; Engineering Design by Arup; Fabric finishing by Andrew Dahlgren; 3D seamless Whole Garment digitally knit cone elements, photoluminescent, solar active and drake yarns; twill tape; aluminum armature; Commissioned by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

PolyThread knitted textile pavilion, 2015-16; Designed by Jenny E. Sabin, Jenny Sabin Studio; Design Team: Martin Miller, Charles Cupples; Fabricated by Shima Seiki, WHOLEGARMENT; Engineering Design by Arup; Fabric finishing by Andrew Dahlgren; 3D seamless Whole Garment digitally knit cone elements, photoluminescent, solar active and drake yarns; twill tape; aluminum armature; Commissioned by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

WantedDesign: Why the topic of beauty in 2016? Do you feel a strong desire, or need, for beauty in our society?
Ellen Lupton: Andrea Lipps and I both worked on the previous Triennial, which focused on heavy issues such as climate change and global poverty. We wanted to turn in a different direction with this exhibition, because the sensual side of design is also important. Yes, designers are problem-solvers, but they also create ideas, sensations, and experiences that stimulate the mind and body. This side of design sometimes gets overlooked in today’s discourse.

WD: Standards of beauty evolve with time and are the products of an era. How would you define beauty today?
EL: Beauty is a reaction. We each have our own experience, based on our time, place, culture, and personal drives and cravings. Beauty is what we see, grasp, behold, and respond to. Beauty is the ultimate user experience. It’s an invitation. It demands interaction between people and objects.

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RADO STAR PRIZE WINNER KIMBERLY MARKEL

featuredKimMarkel

Design-driven Swiss watchmaker Rado served as the Official partner of two New York design events: NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s official celebration of the global design scene and WantedDesign. As part of this city-wide celebration of design, Rado launched the first-ever U.S. edition of the Rado Star Prize, which is held internationally to promote the work of young designers. The stateside edition of the Rado Star Prize focused on exploring the concept of lightness and “a lighter way of living” – a theme embodied by Rado’s latest lightweight and minimalist watch collections.

Beacon, NY-based designer, Kimberly Markel, was announced as the winner of first U.S. Rado Star Prize during the May 7th NYCxDESIGN ceremony which took place at WantedDesign Brooklyn at Industry City. Markel won the prize for her Glow Collection –  handcrafted from reclaimed plastic bonded with resin. This collection uses the unusual qualities of discarded plastics coming from soda bottles to styrofoam, lunch trays or eyeglasses, to make new pieces. The resulting aesthetic is soft looking, colorful, translucent, and imperfect. After a career in environmental policy, Markel worked at a foundry making large sculptures for artists like Jeff Koons. There, she started making her own work, and developing a process and material that would allow her to use existing materials in the objects she created, to truly have a lighter impact on the world. Not only was Markelthe winner of the Rado Star Prize U.S., but she also received the NYCxDESIGN award for Best Chair.

After this successful presence during NYCxDESIGN, Markel shared with WantedDesign a little bit more about her background and studio

NYCXDesign AWARDS and PARTY MOMA May 14, 2016 © Julienne Schaer

© Julienne Schaer

WD: Tell us a little bit about you: your multidisciplinary education, your background.
KM: My education is in public policy, specifically, in environmental policy. I did my undergrad and grad work at Carnegie Mellon. CMU supports interdisciplinary studies, and I combined my coursework with a number of art and design classes. Nothing exists in isolation and the university promotes that exploration.
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Best of Launch Pad 2016 goes to Tomnuk Design

Launch Pad and Jury-72

This year, the Launch Pad received more than 3400 online votes, revealing the public enthusiasm to discover new designers at WantedDesign. Our 2016 Launch Pad edition was a huge success with more than 120 applications from which 32 designers from 13 countries were selected to present.
Canadian designer Jordan Tonmuk, from Tomnuk Design, was honored as the Best of Launch Pad 2016 winner, combining the Jury and Public votes, for his innovative lighting system. The ‘Lune’ collection consists of a pendant fixture and a wall sconce. Both of these designs control the light intensity through the rotation of the opposing disc, revealing more light as the disc rotates outwards on its axis.

Launch Pad and Jury-011

Jordan commented about his Launch Pad success story: “My involvement with WantedDesign has most certainly been one to remember. Not only is the Launch Pad an amazing platform for up and coming designers, it is a show that puts you on a international stage to be recognized. Although Wanted is relatively new to the NYC design world, I think it has been showcasing some of the most forward thinking, contemporary work during NYCxDESIGN.
Participating in the 2016 Launch Pad has given me a place to show what I’m able to do, and get that work in front of those who should see it. The plain fact of design shows is that they are expensive, but necessary. The Launch helps people like me focus on their products as the main area of investment while providing a affordable arena to showcase those products.More…

Thank you for visiting us during NYCxDESIGN

Opening WD-150 copy

A huge thank you to the more than 17,000 visitors who visited WantedDesign both in Manhattan and in Brooklyn during NYCxDESIGN. Along with our partners, we kicked off NYCxDESIGN at WantedDesign Brooklyn at Industry City on Saturday, May 7, with an event that welcomed thousands of people to launch the city’s 14-day celebration of design. WantedDesign Brooklyn was host to the Design Schools Workshop with 27 students from around the globe, installations that celebrated craft and collaboration, including Libs Elliott’s Unity Quilt created by the community; exhibitions of student work from Parsons and SVA; the Rado Star Prize presentation by Rado; and the launch of OuiDesign which included the Transatlantic Creative Exchange and we trust in wood by matali crasset and Vent des Forets, along with numerous other conversations, installations and exhibitions.
At WantedDesign Manhattan, the Conversation Series was as engaging as ever, the Launch Pad returned and was won by Canadian lighting and furniture designer Jordan Tomnuk. The second American Design Honors presented alongside Bernhardt Design was awarded to Steven Haulenbeek, who’s beautiful work was a favorite of the weekend. International design was presented from Argentina, Mexico, Norway, France, Tunisia, New Zealand, Colombia, Poland, the Netherlands and more. In both Manhattan and Brooklyn, WantedDesign connected international designers with interior designers, architects, retailers, manufacturers, media and design lovers from around the world.More…

Last day to visit WantedDesign Brooklyn, Tuesday May 17

BROOKLYN SUNDAY web

Come visit us today at WantedDesign Brooklyn until 6pm.
Address: Industry City in Sunset Park, 274 36th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232 –  Subway access: D, N, R (36th St. Station)