Paraphernalia exhibit explores "objects that shape us" in New York

An exhibit curated by local designers Eliza Axelson-Chidsey and Jess Fügler included a children’s rocking horse and a “self-heimlich tool” as part of an exploration of everyday objects during NYCxDesign week.

The Paraphernalia show took place during this year’s NYCxDesign week in an East Village studio and displayed a diverse set of objects including jewellery, flat-pack furniture and a “grooming kit” for plants.

Angela Bracco created 3D-printed hanging planters while Gregory Beson created furniture from various woods

“Paraphernalia is an exhibition showcasing work from sixteen established and up-and-coming artists and designers, which presents a diverse array of objects that accompany us through work, play, anxieties, and ambitions,” said the team.

“Without a problem to solve or narrative to support, these fourteen interpretations of paraphernalia can be clustered into groups, from psychological motivations to examining and remaking tools, and ultimately, the objects that shape us.”

Si Yi Li created a “grooming kit” for plants

As part of an ongoing series, designer Angela Bracco fabricated cylindrical hanging planters out of a light yellow and blue 3D-printed polymer.

Affixed to the wall, the grouping of planters “contemplates the potential of rewilding as a catalyst for inducing behavioral shifts” and encourages a closer connection to nature under climate change.

Silver suitcases
Craig Barrow created nested storage containers while co-curator Eliza Axelson-Chidsey displayed a glass vessel

Similarly, London-based designer Si Yi Li created Innatralis, a “grooming kit” for plants, that calls into question humanity’s intervention in nature, according to the designer.

The kit encompasses colourful bands of acrylic clipped to a plant’s leaves. Over time, they grow to twist and turn in response to the grip.

Wooden structure and wall hangings
“Emotional tools” by artists Taryn Cassella and Anthony Nguyễn hung next to a tabletop dice game by Michael Douglas Too

“Innatralis questions our troubled relationship with the living by proposing a direct commitment to the service of the plant,” said Li.

Berlin-based designer Craig Barrow created a series of nested storage containers out of anodised aluminium that were stacked in descending volume and covered in splotches of Jesmonite accents.

Vases on pedestal
Emrys Berkower and Daniel Michalik co-presented glass objects and tools, while Pete Oyle explored the art of dressing with a deconstructed closet

The material choice reflected the contents of original shipping containers that informed their design, most commonly used to transport car parts.

Artists Taryn Cassella and Anthony Nguyễn together created Dons, a collection of “emotional tools for end times” made of nylon webbing, velcro and buckles that hung on a far corner.

Rocking horse and broom
Co-curator Jess Fügler created a wooden rocking horse, which sat next to a “self-Heimlich tool” by Jonah Takagi

“Expressed in fervent and obsessive ‘functionality,’ the impotence of these objects betrays a futility, frenzy and paranoia in their making,” said Cassella and Nguyễn. “We are preparing ourselves for surviving ourselves.”

Next to the collection sat a dice game by Michael Douglas Too that encourages users to bring their own rules to the small wooden arena topped by a steel-covered light.

Wooden lamp and stool
A flat-pack lamp and table by Isabel Alonso explored society’s relationship to furniture

Other wooden objects included a “formal meditation on dressing” by designer Pete Oyler, which consisted of hangers of varying lengths draped on a wooden frame and a children’s rocking horse by co-curator Jess Fügler representative of humanity’s “historic fear of the wild”.

On the same plinth, an aluminium “self-Heimlich tool” by Jonah Takagi leaned against the wall. The tool is utilized by standing on its base and pushing the small wooden knob into the sternum.

“[It is] a self-Heimlich tool for those living alone and afraid of choking,” said the team.

Isabel Alonso’s Defocus flat-pack furniture collection was also constructed of wood and explored high-quality flat-pack furniture as opposed to the waste-producing standards of contemporary society. Gregory Beson explored “the definition of function” through three gently curved pieces of cypress, reclaimed redwood and plane wood.

A bracelet in a case
A bracelet by Avantika Agarwal represented personal stories

Smaller objects included a glass vessel that referenced 17th-century flower vases and a communal smoking device by co-curator Eliza Axelson-Chidsey, as well as glass tabletop objects by Emrys Berkower that were displayed with the cork tools used to make them by Daniel Michalik.

A bracelet made of silver, teak and silk by Avantika Agarwal and a collection of aluminium pill containers by Henry Julier represented personal stories for both designers.

Pill containers on stand
Henry Julier created pill containers to hold a daily regimen

Julier, who designed the pill containers to hold his daily regimen, said he created different sizes for home and to take to work although each container displays the pills in an “organized” and “calming” layout.

“It’s like a calender and it functions as a physical reminder of when I need to reorder,” Julier told Dezeen. “It was nice to do something for myself, for my specific needs.”

Other exhibits on show during NYCxDesign included a collection of lamps made by designers around the world and a Red Hook apartment building filled with collectible designs by Verso.

The images are by Michael Popp.

Paraphernalia was on show from 21-23 May at 616 E 9th Street in New York City during NYCxDesign. See Dezeen Events Guide for more architecture and design events around the world.

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