Colony’s Residency Returns With a Fresh Crop of Design Talents

Alara Alkan, Steph Betesh of Ember Studio, Maggie Pei, and Thomas Yang were selected for the second annual design residency, which culminates with an exhibition at the gallery’s newly opened outpost in Tribeca.

Colony’s gallery at 196 West Broadway. Photography by Brooke Holm

Last year, Colony founder Jean Lin and art director Madeleine Parsons debuted the Designers’ Residency: a first-of-its-kind incubator program that aims to introduce American design talents to the global market and ensure their success within an industry often fraught with high barriers to entry. After a successful first iteration that saw an intensive eight-month learning program focused on product development and design entrepreneurship, the inaugural class—Ingemar Hagen-Keith, Alexis Tingey, and Ginger Gordon—enjoyed an exhibition at Colony’s studio and walked away with newfound career wisdom.

Lin and Parsons were eager to bring the residency back and announced an open call for applications, which attracted interest from designers across the country. Four designers were selected for the second class: Alara Alkan, a Turkish-American furniture designer whose pieces explore how nature alters the material world; Steph Betesh, whose Ember Studio focuses on creating long-lasting spaces with an eclectic mix of objects and materials; Maggie Pei, who world-builds by summoning obscured beauty from artful oddities; and Thomas Yang, whose studio melds culture, memory, and inherited techniques to create objects of ritual.

Pieces by the second class will be on display at Colony’s newly opened Tribeca gallery until July 13. Once the show concludes, each designer will be added to Colony’s permanent roster of independent American talents, joining such heavy hitters as Bec BrittainStudio Paolo FerrariBari Ziperstein, and Vonnegut/Kraft. “We take our role as the vanguard of American design very seriously,” Lin says. “The Designers’ Residency and the studios we launch through it have become our ongoing contribution to the greater whole, shaping a future where designers are thoughtful, community-minded, and creatively authentic.”

(FROM LEFT) A lighting fixture by Alara Alkan; photography by Madra Baranova. Wall-mounted cabinet by Maggie Pei.
(FROM LEFT) Chair by Thomas Yang. Side Table by Ember Studio.

All images courtesy of Colony.

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