BKLYN DESIGNS Builds Up the Brooklyn-Made Brand
Starting May 5, the Brooklyn-centric show will feature designers ranging from fresh-faced label Ot/tra to established favorites, like Casa Kids, Think Fabricate, Aimée Wilder, and Todd Bracher.
“BKLYN DESIGNS kicks off NYCxDESIGN,” says Andrew Hoan, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (BCC). “We set the pace.” Launched in 2003 to highlight the borough’s particularly fertile creative economy, the event has also helped establish the artisanal Brooklyn-Made brand: promoting fabrication rather than production, and workshops as much as studios. “We love making changes to the show to keep things fresh from one year to the next,” says Hoan. “The focus of BKLYN DESIGNS has changed with the times and the growth of the borough. We now look to a greater variety of makers, so we are not only the ‘wood show’ that BKLYN DESIGNS opened with 14 years ago.” The BCC has brought in architecture, technology, textiles, ceramics, fashion, and accessories, while continuing to welcome start-ups and emerging studios alongside well-known brands.
This year, the show will include exhibitors ranging from fresh-faced labels Ot/tra and Makers Market to established favorites like furniture makers Casa Kids and Think Fabricate, art-inflected-wallpaper designer Aimée Wilder, and Brooklyn Navy Yard–based Todd Bracher, the keynote speaker. The work will be shown against eight-foot-high, gallery-style walls and will be accompanied by three days of lectures; a small marketplace dubbed BKLYN BUYS selling jewelry, ceramics, and small objects; live demos and workshops hosted by the Textile Arts Center and Pratt SCPS; and a pop-up shop showcasing local designers by the American Design Club (which will also create one-of-a-kind corn-hole boards for the opening-night party hosted by Metropolis).
For the first time, the show will include site-specific installations and clusters of studios from the same neighborhood, highlighting the borough’s creative hubs and strong sense of community. While continuing to focus on collaborations and interactive displays with partners like AphroChic and the Rockwell Group’s Imagination Playground, it has also begun to forge closer links to the architecture and larger design communities.
Brooklyn Expo Center
72 Noble St.