The List’s Project Spotlight column features unparalleled projects created by our forward-thinking List members. By going straight to the source—and having the designers demystify the methods behind their designs—we hope to enlighten and inspire our creative audience to further push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of design.
There’s NYCxDesign week, which we all know well, and then there’s Next Level.
Aptly named, the “Next Level” group show (on view through May 24) showcases hyper-curated installations, which include works by List members AVO, Fort Standard, and VOLK Furniture. Below, Brian Volk-Zimmerman, who helms the latter brand, takes us through his latest collection.
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Overview: The collection we are presenting at Next Level NYC is comprised of three re-imagined designs from our St. Charles and Sebastian Collections. Color has often been a part of our brand aesthetic and the selected pieces, originally presented in muted tones, provide the perfect framework for the application of color in a bold and direct manner. The similar and repeating shapes, surfaces and upholstery of the pieces are color-blocked, serving to both highlight and to disrupt the harmony and balance of the collection’s repeated forms.
Inspiration: The project itself was a bit of an inspiration in that, as a designer-run show, Next Level provided the freedom and license to pursue ideas outside of our comfort zone. Donald Judd has long been a source of inspiration for the brand, so the idea of using color to reinterpret a few of our most minimal pieces felt like a natural avenue for exploration. While color has had a role to play in a number of our designs, this is the first time it serves as the focal point of a piece or collection.
Materials: We are probably best known for designs that mix a variety of materials. These pieces, however, are primarily fabricated from solid wood. We chose white oak because we felt that it was important that the wood be visible through the color and its grain can stand up to the lacquer. Originally, the frames of the pieces were to be finished with a natural oil but we ultimately chose to use a black lacquer instead, which allows the framework to recede visually and emphasizes the color-blocked forms.
Takeaway: This project was conceived as a re-imagining of several designs through the dynamic use of color but may have opened up a new area of exploration for the brand and nearly limitless options for designers looking to completely integrate our designs into their projects.
Next Level NYC (718 Broadway, NY, NY) is open May 18–24.
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(Photos: Courtesy James Chororos Photography)