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It’s Frieze Week here in New York, but it’s also a big design week for the city. There’s the Collective Design Fair taking place, ICFF at the Javits Center, and WantedDesign, taking place in both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
A part of NYCxDESIGN, WantedDesign launched in 2011 by Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, and includes installations, pop-up stores, interactive experiences, workshops, and engaging talks. We spoke with the founders about this year’s edition, open through the 18th (in Manhattan) and the 19th (in Brooklyn).
WHITEWALL: You founded WantedDesign together. How did that collaboration come about?
ODILE HAINAUT & CLAIRE PIJOULAT: We were lucky to get introduced to each other by a common friend in October 2010. We were both working in the design field for years in New York, and on recent design exhibitions, and we were both frustrated to not have a “real” design week in New York.
We had started to think about creating a new platform in conjunction with the ICFF, and after an afternoon of conversation and brainstorming, we realized we shared the same vision, same passion and had complementary skills and experience. So we simply decided to do it together. It was the right time, the right idea, and I guess we formed the right team. The first edition of WantedDesign was in May 2011.
WW: You were both originally based in France, but moved to New York for work. What makes the New York design scene exciting, and what do you hope WantedDesign contributes to both NYCxDESIGN and the design world in general?
OH&CP: The design scene right now is interesting in the U.S., with the up-and-coming creative generation of designers and a renaissance of the “making movement,” in particular in Brooklyn. It is an incredible privilege to live in New York, where there is such a concentration of talents, organizations, schools, and museums.
WW: You’ve added a Brooklyn branch to coincide with the fifth year of the fair. How did that evolve and what are your goals for the new location?
OH&CP: We had the chance to start a program last year at Industry City, which is a wonderful industrial district, home to a growing community of designers, innovators and makers. We were looking for a way to grow, to include multidisciplinary installations and to give a bigger presence to research and to design schools. The WantedDesign Design Schools Workshop will take place at Industry City, and we will have dedicated exhibition space for student presentations and experimental projects. This year will be led by Centro (Mexico), and will include Art Center School for Design and Savannah College of Art and Design. The theme explored by the students is “Design Forever.” Brooklyn will host the Parsons Festival, with presentations from more than 10 of their programs, as well as the Pratt students exhibition, ENSCI – Les ateliers exhibition, and the 20 best projects from a textile competition organized by Edelkoort Inc.
WantedDesign Manhattan is more trade-focused. Being in the Terminal Stores building, the venue has great architecture, is centrally located and is now part of our identity; it offers the right scale for the qualitative experience we are looking to offer to both the participants and the visitors. But we also have in Manhattan The Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD-Bridgeport) Alumni exhibit, Students of the School of Visual Arts’ MFA in Products of Design design Performance, Parsons+Alpi installation, and The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, from Maine.
Our fifth anniversary will also be marked by the launch of our new “American Design Honors” initiative as one of our goals since year one has been to promote and support American design. This year, the recipient of the American Design Honors program is the New York based designer trio Egg Collective.
Also exciting this year, the Launch Pad, a place where we aim to help designers bring their prototypes to life, has more exhibitors than ever before – 25 international design studios and independent designers.
WW: What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years of the fair?
OH&CP: We hope WantedDesign will continue to grow in quality, bringing a diverse panorama of the industry, continue to surprise, support young designers and help them in building their career, help young and established manufacturers to develop their businesses, and present the results of connections that have happened during years past at WantedDesign. We like the idea of being an international design forum, with conversations and events throughout the year, and a big celebration in New York in May.
Our goal is to continue to establish interesting partnerships with other U.S. and international organizations that share our vision.