Welcome to a new column here, for now just categorized as ‘Sofia’s Notes.’ I’ve realized I have a lot to share, from various stories about my adventures in design to lessons learned while growing Ottra. I started my career in magazine publishing and when I look back on what truly fueled me back then, it was the writing and storytelling. I'm ready to do more of that.
Today’s installment is just a simple roundup of Brooklyn designers I saw at the most recent ICFF and Wanted Design shows during NYCxDesign. The first design show I ever got to cover some 20 years ago was BKLYN Designs (no longer happening, unfortunately) and I was so excited to shine a light on the work happening in my borough. When I attended ICFF/Wanted back in May, I intentionally looked out for Brooklyn designers, if only to recreate just a bit of the BKLYN Designs experience. Some of these names are new to me, others are peers and neighbors here in Red Hook. I hope you’ll give them all a look.
I’ll start with all of our neighbors (and if you ever want to come and do studio visits with all of us at once, we can set that up!). Bowen Liu launched a series of cast glass tables that are both timely and timeless. Natalie Shook from Piscina was there sharing a sculptural modular shelving unit that can be configured in various ways. I’ve admired Erin Lorek’s cast glass lighting for a few years now, and it was so good to finally see it in person. And right next to Erin, Hachi Collections shared pieces including the arched Polynet Cabinet and elegant NAMI Dining Chairs.
I was drawn to the debut collection from Forces at Play. Founded by three friends that spend their days working in product, hospitality, and residential design, the brand features a small but strong selection of locally-made pieces, including a lounge chair I could envision in a variety of interiors, a softly-shaped coffee table, and a whimsical wall mirror.
Nearby, I saw the latest from Rosie Li, MONDAYS, and Wallpaper Projects in a shared booth. The three brands–for lighting, ceramics, and wallcoverings–all seem to have something I love, which is a contemporary twist on more traditional forms and methods. Shown above: two of Rosie Li’s pieces with ceramics created by MONDAYS.
And lastly, my appreciation for unconventional and innovative materials was certainly satiated. The three Brooklyn companies that caught my eye: Virginia Sin’s sinuous ceramic tabletop goods and lighting; Concrete Poetics for unique outdoor planters; and bold, refreshing indoor/outdoor rugs made with plastic from discarded bottles by Tantuvi.