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Manic Maker Monday: Preview BROOKLYN DESIGNS Participants

April 16, 2018

In interiors+sources’ latest Maker Monday, learn more about four designers heading to this year’s BROOKLYN DESIGNS event.

Brooklyn Designs is the premier design event in Brooklyn, N.Y., showcasing a cross section of design, architecture, and art. Taking place at the Brooklyn Museum from May 11-13, the 2018 edition is expected to attract thousands of visitors and will kick off the first week of NYCxDESIGN—New York’s annual celebration of design that takes place across the city’s five boroughs.

Founded by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in 2003, Brooklyn Designs was one of the first design fairs to shine a spotlight on the creative economy in Brooklyn and serves as an incubator for emerging designers and established brands. Demonstrating the collaborative spirit of design, the show features inspiring collective exhibits, pop-up lounges, installations, and hands-on demos.

In the latest addition to interiors+sources’ Maker Monday series, learn more about some of the makers who will participate in this year’s show and who will help celebrate the borough’s rich design heritage.

Shuya Design Studio

Established in 2012 by maker and furniture designer Shuya Iida, Shuya Design Studio creates contemporary furniture and product designs that are intended to deeply connect to the buyer’s lifestyle.

interiors+sources: How did you get your start?

Shuya Iida: The reason I got started as a furniture designer and furniture maker is because I love organizing human lifestyle. I went to product and furniture design school in Japan 10 years ago and then I came to New York. For the first few years, I worked at a Japanese furniture company and that's where I learned many of the skills needed to run a business in the U.S.

i+s: What is the hardest part of the creative process?

SI: The most difficult part for me is choosing the right materials. I use a variety of materials that could be natural or artificial. I combine these opposite kinds of material to create new designs, such as wood with plastic or marble with glass. Also, natural materials can still change over time and in that way they are alive. So, wood might bend after a while, marble might crack, or metal might rust. All materials have strengths and weaknesses, and so I am always keeping my eyes on this to find the best ways to combine them effectively.

i+s: What’s your favorite color?

SI: My favorite color is blue because I really love the sky. My dream is traveling to moon or to Mars and then to view the blue earth.

i+s: What do you think is next for the interior design industry?

SI: Looking to the future, we should be thinking about productivity. Nowadays, we can very easily find cheap interior decor or furniture but most of the products will be trash because of low quality, just like fast fashion. We have to design interiors, products, and furniture that will last into the next generations.

i+s: Where can people find your goods?

SI: Our goods can be found on our website and we have a furniture show room in Queens, N.Y., called Shuya Cafe de Ramen. My partner is a chef so this is a combination of a furniture show room and a restaurant. One of the concepts of Shuya Design is comfort. I want my customers to feel comfortable and I want my customers to actually use the furniture during [a] meal so they can imagine how this could fit in their living room.

CEO and maker Shuyia Iida’s furniture includes pieces like this standing cabinet (Porynet) and dining chair (Bow).

Katherine Forst Mosaics

Mosaic craftsman and designer Katherine Forst is committed to bringing the ancient art of mosaic to modern contexts without compromising the craftsmanship and rich artistic style developed and passed down through the ages.

interiors+sources: How did you get your start?

Katherine Forst: I wanted to do something that bridged the gap between the art and artisan worlds. I was living in Italy and found out about a course to become a certified professional mosaicist in Ravenna, the home of amazing Byzantine mosaics from the 5th and 6th centuries. After the course I apprenticed at a studio there and then decided to strike out on my own.

i+s: What inspires you?

KF: So many things. I love ancient Roman frescoes, Spanish baroque still lifes, Islamic art, azulejos, botanical illustration, the arts and crafts movement, Greek pebble mosaics…I could go on!

i+s: What is your favorite thing in your working environment?

KF: My hammer and hardie—the basic cutting tools for handmade mosaics. They are absolutely essential for getting all the little pieces to be different shapes and sizes.

i+s: Do you have any rituals for getting out of a design rut?

KF: I go back to what inspires me by looking at art/design books, pictures I’ve taken while traveling, and by visiting museums.

i+s: From what career or personal mistake have you learned the most?

KF: I was working on a mosaic early in my career and I made a decision while my mortar was wet that caused me a few extra weeks of work. I learned that I need to plan the whole process in advance and figure out potential issues beforehand.

i+s: Where can people find your goods?

KF: I mainly do custom work with private clients and through A+D firms. Photos of past work and information on custom pieces can be found at www.kforstmosaics.com and on my Instagram, @kforstmosaics.

Master mosaic Katherine Forst uses her hammer and hardie to create beautiful pieces like this floor medallion.


Will Kavesh is the founder and creative director of Token—a furniture design studio that provides well-crafted pieces that are richly artistic and warmly functional.

interiors+sources: How did you get your start?

Will Kavesh: Both my parents were artists and academics; my father specifically was a highly skilled builder and craftsperson. I grew up surrounded by creatives and people who think about and make things. 

i+s: Do you have any rituals for getting out of a design rut?

WK: Going to galleries and river rafting.

i+s: What’s your favorite color?

WK: As many painters have said, “When in doubt...add brown.”

i+s: What is your favorite design era?

WK: European arts and crafts/early modernism.

i+s: From what career or personal mistake have you learned the most?

WK: I think I learned the most from my post-graduate experience as a mechanical engineering teaching fellow.

i+s: Where can people find your goods?

WK: We will be debuting our new spring collection this May during NYCxDesign at both Brooklyn Designs and ICFF. You can also visit our showroom in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Designer Will Kavesh combines tradition with technology in pieces like the Barnet table and Diego chairs.

Five | Six Textiles

Founders Emma Wingfield and Laine Henry have created this home décor brand that aims to provide one-of-a-kind ethical textiles that socially benefit the artisans who crafted them.

interiors+sources: How did you get your start?

Emma Wingfield:  Five | Six Textiles started with a conversation and a desire to preserve a one-of-a-kind ancient form of textile production. We met the weaving collective in 2014 while on a research trip studying artistic development of master craftsmanship in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. After the initial meeting, Vali, the head of the weaving collective, came to our hotel and asked if we knew anyone willing to help them with product development and bringing their traditional forms of weaving to an international audience. Combining backgrounds in West African art and design with the collective’s craftsmanship and a successful Kickstarter campaign, we created a line of home goods that celebrate the beautiful, traditional motifs of this rural region and translate them into designs that seamlessly mesh with a well-traveled home.

i+s: What inspires you?

EW: Our master weavers and tailors in Waraniéné, Côte d’Ivoire. This village has produced woven textiles for hundreds of years. For generations, their process is passed down from parent to child. In a time when the creative process is quickly becoming mechanical, it is inspiring to see a community making beautiful products the same way they have been produced for centuries in designs unlike anything else found in the world.

i+s: What is the hardest part of the creative process?

EW: The distance. Our business relies on the partnership we have created with the weavers of Waraniéné. Although we travel to Côte d’Ivoire every year, the rest of the creative process is generally handled over WhatsApp and Facebook messengerwhich is challenging, needless to say.

i+s: From what career or personal mistake have you learned the most?

EW: Staying in jobs that we weren’t passionate about due to fear of what could come next. You don’t have to say yes to everything.

i+s: Where can people find your goods?

EW: Our website at fiveandsixtextiles.com or our Instagram, @fiveandsixtextiles.

Founders Emma Wingfield and Laine Henry blend traditional weaving techniques with modern aesthetics to create products for the contemporary home.

More Maker Monday

Maker Monday: How One Artist Found His New Calling in Design
Maker Monday: Alison Owen Explores Form and Function
Maker Monday: The AD Show Edition

About the Author

Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today. 

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