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Art and design journalist Monica Khemsurov takes us to exhibitions around the Noho Design District and imparts an optimistic outlook for young designers in the city.
Khemsurov and her online design magazine Sight Unseen co-founder Jill Singer set up the Noho Design District in 2010, aiming to provide an alternative platform to the ICFF trade fair.
"The idea was to be an offsite show for New York design week, in which young designers could show their work," she says. "We wanted to make a neighbourhood that felt more intimate and had more of a fun, experimental feel than what has been shown at New York design week in the past."
Noho is named after its location north of Houston Street in Manhattan, bounded by Broadway to the west and Bowery to the east. On the first stop of our tour, Khemsurov takes us to the district's hub exhibition Noho Next, curated by Sight Unseen and featuring new work by twelve American designers.
Next up is the Here & There of design for travel at the showroom of design studio Various Projects, which features a canoe made from Dacron, kevlar and wood by designers Colgate Searle and Matthias Pliessnig that Khensurov assures us is "fully functional, water safe and can be floated on a lake."
A braided textile piece woven by New York artist Dana Barnes is picked out at the preserved 19th Century Merchant's House Museum. "Sight Unseen invited seven American designers to install their work made with modern craft techniques," Khensurov explains.
We then go beneath the Standard East Village hotel to the Chez Andre nightclub to see the American Design Club's exhibition titled Trophy. "This show is about everyday trophies or objects that are momentos or that commemorate moments of your life," Khemsurov says.
Finally, she shares her thoughts on New York design scene's current status: "In the past five years, a lot of young designers have gone out on their own and started their own studios.
"A lot of people are producing their own work, which gives them more freedom to express themselves and make interesting and exciting design, so I think there's never been a better time for the New York design scene."
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