In 2011 Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat started the exhibition adventure that over the years has attracted brands from all over the world (this year the participating nations range from the USA to Canada, Guatemala, Argentina and Mexico, Denmark, Japan, Italy and Israel and many others), creating a cultural bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and even changing the traditional exhibition concept to create a lively meeting place dedicated to dialogue in order to reach the heart of design.
How was the exhibition born, what was the idea at the beginning?
When we started, there was no official design week in NYC. We really felt something was missing and there was poor visibility for design in New York, We wanted to build a platform for international designers and brands where design would be seen from the perspective of commerce, trade and culture altogether. We wanted to be a place to talk about American design. We were excited to have the city of New York to support design and later to become part NYCxDESIGN, which we are active members of the steering committee.
Manhattan and Brooklyn: what are the features and the differences of the two events and locations?
WantedDesign Manhattan takes place at the Terminal Stores. This place is nothing like a usual convention center, it has lots of character and it feels really NYC too with the brick walls and the industrial look. There we’re more geared towards trade and business. Our visitors are buyers, interior designers, architects and professionals looking for new opportunities to do business.
In Brooklyn at Industry City we offer a cultural point of view on Design. We welcome emerging talents with the design School workshop and exhibits from the same schools too. The approach is different and we are more presenting projects, rather than products.
The exhibition’s concept is unconventional: which design approach do you propose?
WantedDesign is a place for conversations and connections. This is what will result in long term relationships for future business between our visitors and exhibitors. Our visitors can be buyers, interior designers, designers and professionals or mere design amateurs. We also develop original programs such as the Launch Pad, or Look Book, to our conversation series that create more content and themes for the visitors and makes it easy to know what you’re looking for in the show. It is a very personal and human scale fair.
What are the novelties 2018?
We’ve created a program called Look Book. This selection of 12 North American studios is oriented to high end interior designers and architects, the ones that lie to work with bespoke orders for their projects. The idea again was to create a tool – an actual book – that would be a portfolio distributed to our network in order to facilitate connections, during the show and then after the show. In Brooklyn we have commissioned Camille Walala, a French London based artist to create a permanent Mural on one of the facades of Industry City…. This artwork is part of OUI design an initiative of the Cultural of the French Embassy to foster creative exchanges between France and the US in the field of design. We are also extending our partnership with industry City that has now become such a hub for the creative community in NYC after we steeled there for the first time 5 years ago. We created a new umbrella called IC Design Festival by WantedDesign, that will encompass our exhibits in the factory floor and also other initiatives such as the open studios for 2 days on May 19 and 20.
Oliver Haslegrave as the 2018 recipient of the American Design Honors: what are the reasons?
We are thrilled to present Oliver Haslegrave as the 4th recipient of American Design Honors. His diverse background, curiosity, sensibility and original creative path are reflected in both his interiors projects and his collection called Homework. He really has a strong design voice in addition to be a successful entrepreneur. He started as an interior designer, a storyteller in the first place, and his ability to develop narratives through spaces and objects has been really appealing to us and Jerry Helling, CEO of Bernhardt Design. Who we created this award with. As American Design Honors program recipient, Haslegrave will showcase his latest pieces form this “Homework” collection in an original installation at WantedDesign Manhattan.