Design Within Reach Creates the New Classics

These three collections commissioned by the steadfast design company put the spotlight on emerging talent.

Edel Media Unit designed by Jenkins & Uhnger

Design Within Reach is known for its collections of both midcentury masters and contemporary stalwarts, from the sculptural classics of Charles and Ray Eames onto the groundbreaking textiles of Sandy Chilewich. These days, however, DWR is very much invested in the future, seeking out and cultivating the emerging talents of the 21st century. Below are a few of Surface’s favorites from DWR’s most recent commissions, soon to be, no doubt, the classics of decades to come.

Hew Side Tables designed by Patrick Kim

Hew Side Table by Patrick Kim

As a self-proclaimed wood hoarder, Brooklyn-based designer Patrick Kim keeps his studio stocked with scraps, which he uses to make tiny models on the lathe in lieu of sketching plans on the computer. When DWR approached him to design a line of side tables, he was challenged not only to create pieces “that had a sculptural quality and character,” he says, but to “push my process to the limits.” He made almost 100 models, and together they made a selection, and through DWR’s global contacts found the best factory for production. Thanks to their support, the resulting line of sculptural Hew Side Tables includes the largest piece he’s ever made. “To see the tables for the first time was a revelatory moment,” he says.

Edel Media Unit designed by Jenkins & Uhnger

Edel Collection by Jenkins & Uhnger

In their Oslo studio, Thomas Jenkins and Sverre Uhnger work to their respective strengths. “With my background as a design engineer and Sverre’s as a very experienced cabinet maker,” says Jenkins, “our continuous dialogue allows us to explore each other’s fields, new manufacturing techniques, and details to produce our best work.” For the Edel Collection, DWR approached the duo with a very specific brief in terms of size and number of items, then gave them the freedom to explore. Using the design language of their Scandinavian heritage combined with 3-D molding technology, they created a three-part wooden storage series. “The thin edge of the cabinet gives elegance whilst the signature cutaway details in the handles invite you to explore the inside,” says Jenkins.

Pleat Drum table lamp designed by Takagi Homstvedt

Pleat Drum Collection by Takagi Homstvedt

In 2016, Chicago-based Jonah Takagi and Oslo-based Hallgeir Homstvedt united under a collaboration for the Norwegian Consulate in New York, and have maintained a happy, long-distance working relationship ever since. For the Pleat Drum collection, DWR became like a third collaborator. “They have such a wealth of knowledge,” says Takagi, that helped shape the final product. The resulting lamps were on a familiar, relatable form that becomes more distinct the closer you look at the fine details, whether it’s the fine pleating that adds a subtle texture to the shade, or the slight dome of the base. “It’s important in our collaborative work for objects to offer something new to the viewer,” says Takagi. “We were looking for a way to take a timeless design and differentiate it from your grandmother’s pleated lamp.”

(Photos: Mark Seelen. Courtesy Design Within Reach)

Surface Studios is the brand marketing unit of Surface Media.

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