A Scrappy Design Duo Grows Their Own Exhibition Series

By engaging their community of fellow creators, Leah Ring and Emma Holland Denvir are bringing the unconventional group show “Object Permanence” to the global stage.

Emma Holland Denvir and Leah Ring with mirrors by Lydia Cambron at “Object Permanence”

When Leah Ring first ran into Emma Holland Denvir, head of Hem’s U.S. business development, at the brand’s showroom in Los Angeles, they immediately struck up a conversation about the relative lack of activity within the city’s emerging design community. “I was feeling a bit dissatisfied,” says Ring, a natural go-getter whose product design studio, Another Human, actively participates in the national design sphere. “The annual Los Angeles Design Festival is gaining steam, but there aren’t many other opportunities for emerging product designers to show their work.”

Thus birthed “Object Permanence,” a quarterly series of one-night-only group shows in which the duo’s growing network playfully reimagines household objects. The first edition, held in March at Hem’s Los Angeles showroom, offered a treasure trove of custom candlesticks created by the likes of Mansi Shah, Alex Reed, and Jackie Rines. The following edition headlined Hem Fest at the Los Angeles Design Festival with an array of eye-catching ping-pong paddles. 

Mirrors by Kin & Company (left) and Joseph Algieri for “Object Permanence”

The duo quickly realized they were onto something when beloved design gallery The Future Perfect insisted on hosting an edition and an unexpected email from 1stdibs landed in Ring’s inbox. “I have a storefront with them through Another Human and my account manager wanted to learn more after seeing the show on Instagram.” A few weeks later, the e-commerce platform offered to host a month-long edition, which kicks off tonight at their Manhattan gallery space. 

Thanks to the company’s spacious digs and tight-knit relationships within the New York City design sphere, the fourth “Object Permanence” may be the most ambitious yet. “1stdibs brought in every facet of the organization and have been super open-minded about our creative direction,” says Ring, noting that she and Holland Denvir maintained full curatorial control, but were relieved of more tedious logistical duties. This time around, up-and-coming designers like Eny Lee Parker, Robert Sukrachand, Kin & Company, and Joseph Algieri harnessed their own unconventional design languages to rethink the traditional mirror. 

Mirrors by Steven Bukowski and Maryam Turkey for “Object Permanence”

The strength of this edition’s roster, coupled with the gargantuan influence of 1stdibs, lends credence to the notion that independent exhibition platforms seem to be catching on within the collectible design market, which often gives preferential treatment to the old guard. Shows like “Inside/Out,” “Next Level,” and Fernando Mastrangelo’s “In Good Company,”all hosted by independent New York makers, have become headlining events of their seasons. This forward momentum is inspiring Ring and Holland Denvir to branch out even further: “We’d love to bring “Object Permanence” to Milan or Miami as long as we can keep our original ethos in line,” says Holland Denvir. “More than anything, we want to build up our community.”

Ring seems to be on the same page. “I might shed some tears tonight.”

“Object Permanence” will display from Oct. 18–Nov. 8 at the 1stdibs Gallery, located at 269 11th Avenue, New York City. 

All Stories