Brooklyn in the House
During the last ten years Brooklyn has emerged as a vital scene for art and design in New York City. With skyrocketing Manhattan real estate prices, artists and designers have been choosing to locate their studios in more affordable sections of the outer borough—Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick, Red Hook, and Bedford-Stuyvesant—and a new generation of cottage industries is popping up in former industrial spaces, such as the Brooklyn Navy Yard and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). The growing success of Brooklyn Designs (this year’s show attracted 4,400 visitors in its three-day run) and the strong presence of Brooklyn exhibitors at this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair reflect the strength of the new work coming from the borough. There is no distinctive “Brooklyn style,” but handcrafted pieces, custom work, and small-batch productions are common. It’s also encouraging to see young designers like Carlos Salgado and Bart Bettencourt, of Scrapile, and Bill Gray, of HereThere Designs, taking an enterprising environmental approach to product design. The products featured here are testament to an enthusiastic energy and homegrown talent in American design.