This week we stopped by the Cooper Hewitt to check out "Why Design Now?" — the National Design Triennial that explores the work of current designers tackling BIG issues: sustainability, fair trade, affordability...all the social and environmental challenges that design has the potential to address.
Among the products on display were many that Apartment Therapy readers will recognize: Trove wallpaper, Heath ceramics, MUJI furnishings. Here are a few notable brands we saw at the show; for a deeper overview, visit the Cooper Hewitt online.
- Trove Wallpaper: Made from nontoxic and archival inks with a washable wax-based coating, NY-based Trove's wallpaper line is durable and recyclable. Available online through Trove.
- Isabella Stools by Ryan Frank: Created by South African designer Ryan Frank, these stools are made of strawboard, a formaldehyde-free alternative to pressboard or particleboard. Available through MatteriaShop for €275.
- Alabama Chanin: Located in Florence, Alabama, this company works with local artisans to create limited-edition, hand sewn textiles and clothing. Available online (various prices) through Alabama Chanin.
- Multiple Family: Dutch designer Jetske de Groot disassembles old chairs, then uses fiberglass-reinforced epoxy bonds to fuse their parts together into new hybrid seating. These are one-of-a-kind pieces; check her site for more info.
- MUJI: This Japanese retailer (whose name means "no brand") creates high-quality furniture that's accessible and inexpensive, like the $425 twin Ash Wood Bed by Naoto Fukasawa. Available in-store at MUJI.
- Jar Tops by Jorre van Ast: Manufactured by Dutch company Royal VKB, these lids are designed to screw onto standard glass jars. Available through the MOMA Store for $25 a set.
- Steelcase: The Cobi Chair — designed by a team including Tom Lloyd, Bruce Smith, and Luke Pearson — can be easily disassembled for recycling or reupholstery, earning it Cradle to Cradle certification from MBDC. Available through the Steelcase Store, starting at $440.
- Heath Ceramics: Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic produce their tableware in California using local manufacturing and handcrafted techniques, carrying on founder Edith Heath's commitment to handmade pottery. Available online through Heath Ceramics.
- Odegard: Stephanie Odegard's company produces rugs with GoodWeave certification, a form of fair trade that seeks to end illegal child labor practices in the rug industry. A portion of rug sales goes to support educational programs for children in Southeast Asia. Available through Odegard showrooms.
- Maharam: Their "Gather" textiles are made in the US from 92 percent wool (plus 8 percent nylon) sourced from free-range sheep. Available to the trade through Maharam.
• MORE INFORMATION: Why Design Now? at the Cooper Hewitt