Snug Vase, SNUG STUDIO
This weekend, I was back in New York City and walking around NoHo/East Village when I came across a tiny exhibit under a pop-up tent. Entitled Growth: An Exhibition of Designs for Plants, it needless to say captured my attention. So, I ducked my head under the tent flap to see what was happening.
A quote by W. B. Yeats set the tone for the exhibit. It read,
“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
5th26 x Huseyin Artik, 5TH26
Presented by the American Design Club (AmDC), the exhibit featured different kinds of objects that could be used to grow, house and sustain growth. Positioned in rows along tables or affixed to the fabric walls, the various works of art (and accompanying plant material) ran the length of the tent. I happened on the exhibit at the very moment the sun broke out, bathing the space in a warm afternoon glow that was vaguely reminiscent of a small-scale greenhouse.
Sorta Diamond Geo Plant Habitat, REAL OK DESIGN W/BRETT GRAY
Every year since 2008, the American Design Club has run a theme-based show and asked designers to submit their works, from which the strongest pieces are selected. This year’s show focuses on original and functional designs that ‘encourage the growth of something natural in a man-made world.’ An artist manning the exhibit informed me that 58 artists were selected from the over 200 applicants.
Plant Temple, IN.SEK
The designs ranged in style from mini zen gardens housed in trays, to origami-like vases and eggshell pitchers from which plants sprouted or were displayed. Most of the artworks reflected the forms of the plants they housed, providing an interesting juxtaposition between natural and man-made objects.
Medusa, JENNY WONG-STANLEY
Cove, RYAN HEINZ
Still others drew upon natural objects to display their plant materials (and accompanying tools.)
Concrescence, VAKO DESIGN
I loved this plant container fashioned from wire mesh and its jaunty, egg-themed partner.
Whisp, MUZZ DESIGN
The tent walls provided the perfect backdrop for a series of minimalist plant sculptures. These two pieces caught my eye:
Type 9, AABSTRACT STUDIO
Ali, CHIEN HUANG
About the American Design Club
The American Design Club was founded in 2008 to provide an avenue for US-based designers to share their works with a broader public. Each year, the club runs a theme-based show and challenges artists to create objects to fit the theme’s parameters. In the process, the show provides a platform for designers to exchange ideas and connect with each other.
Past shows have included such interesting themes as Awards We Live With, which displayed trophy objects in their many forms, Raw + Unfiltered, which highlighted a material or process in its most natural, unfiltered state and Objects of Defense & Protection, in which designers created objects or tools that would help a person deal with an intruder.
Since its first show eight years ago, the American Design Club has seen a large number of designers emerge into the spotlight as a result of the added exposure. (The tent might be small, but it sure packs a punch.) For more about this year’s artists and their plant-themed works, as well as many more, behind-the-scenes photos, check out American Design Club @_amdc_ . The show is on view until May 11 in the newly renovated Astor Place Plaza.