By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
We’re not talking about Ikea here, folks.
Manhattan may still be the home of fashion design, but Brooklyn is the place for home design. Thousands of people will be in DUMBO this weekend to check out the latest in contemporary furnishings, lighting and home accessories being produced in, and inspired by, Brooklyn at the 11th annual BKLYN DESIGNS show taking place at St. Ann’s Warehouse and Mark Jupiter’s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“This weekend’s BKLYN DESIGN show isn’t just Brooklyn’s premier design event, it’s a showcase for the kinds of jobs that are attracting the talented and creative people to our borough, and driving economic activity here to new heights,” said Carlo A. Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “We have an entire weekend full of events and workshops that blend design, architecture, technology and fun in a way that is Brooklyn through-and-through.”
Over the last 11 years, the show has gone from a small one with only a handful of people in attendance to a thriving event that has attracted 60 designers, including 10 from Japan, that will draw thousands. It’s become a must-visit show for the design community and the best place to see the next big thing.
It has expanded this year as well and will not only be held at St. Ann’s and Mark Jupiter’s, but at four other locations in DUMBO as well. The 10 designers from Japan are only being featured after they were hand-picked in a competition that was judged by editors of International Design Magazine, NY Magazine, remodelista.com, inhabitant.com and other interior decorators.
“Much in the same way Brooklynites have been inspired for generations by a myriad of cultures and nationalities that call our borough home, our friends from Osaka have taken the idea of Brooklyn and integrated it into their own designs,” Scissura said.
It makes sense that designers want to take place in it at it has been a stepping stone for many that have showed there in the past. Palo Samko, who designs handmade custom wood furniture, got his start at BKLYN DESIGNS in 2005 and he credits it with having helped launch his career.
“My first time at BLKYN DESIGNS was in 2005 and that was really my starting point of my career,” Samko said. “This show can really push you forward. That was my first ever show that I had ever done. I'm so glad that I did it. This is Brooklyn, it's the best place on the planet Earth. The whole world is coming here and establishing themselves.”
Casey Otis, a designer from Otis and Otis that uses the raw textures from metals like steel and bronze to make furniture and lighting, is trying to follow in Samko's footsteps and use BKLYN DESIGNS as a launching pad.
“I've been doing this for a couple of years now, but this is really my first show since I've started focusing on this full-time as a serious production," Otis said. "So I'm here trying to get my company going a little bit. I thought that this would be the best place to gain some exposure and show off my designs."
Sawyer DeVuyst, who also works with metal to make modern furniture with clean lines for SAW Handmade Furnishings, is not just starting out, but making his first trip to BKLYN DESIGNS.
“I think BKLYN DESIGNS is known for being a curated show where only the best furniture makers from Brooklyn are here,” DeVuyst said. “If you are in this field, this is the type of show that you want to do.”
The show will go on this weekend. For more information and directions, head to www.BKLYNDESIGNS.com.