Text and Interview: Alec Coiro
Cover Photo: Hatnim Lee
Images Courtesy of Egg Collective
It really hit home this year that the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center is becoming more and more about the off-site shows. And as much as this trend is driven by a sense of who-wants-to-shlep-to-the-damn-Javitz-Center, it is equally driven by the innovation on display off-site.
Egg Collective’s “Designing Women” is a perfect example of this. An exquisite show that succeeds on a number of levels. Here are a few: the designs themselves, shining light on the brilliance of women working in design in NYC, and the way the designs mesh together to form a masterpiece of interior design. This last and by no means least level is facilitated by the off-site space and would not have been possible in a booth.
The show brings together a few Ravelin favorites from past articles: Lindsey Adelman’s nautical, organic light fixture “Knotty Bulb Pendant” and Moving Mountains’ comfortably modern “Chaise Lounger.” A non-exhaustive list of other standout designers includes Anna Karlin’s amazingly geometric furniture and mirrors. And, speaking of mirrors, the artist and designer Yolande Milan Batteau is behind Callidus Guild’s opulent creations which straddle the line between mirror and objects of art. Dana Barns’ giant “Rigger’s Knot” employs its size and the right context to become an unexpectedly perfect design piece. Maria Moyer, Natalie Herrera of High Gloss: Ceramics, and Julianne Ahn of Object and Totem create ceramic pieces that are forward-thinking and adventurous in their own unique ways. Complimenting these ceramics is Deborah Ehrlich’s beautiful handmade glassware. Lara Appleton of Kinder Modern adds a playful splash of color with her carpets. There is also appropriately architectural jewelry by Caroline Ventura’s BRVTVS. And, of course, Egg Collective’s own Isla Coffee table is a masterwork of understated elegance, symmetry, and craft.
We were lucky enough to be in touch with Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis, and Hillary Petrie of Egg Collective to find out more about the show.
Can you tell us a little about Egg Collective outside of the “Designing Women” show? How long have you been a collective? And what was the impetus behind your formation?
We officially launched Egg Collective in the Spring of 2012. So, we just turned 5!
Working with one another, and for ourselves, was a dream we had for many years prior to forming the company. We met one another when we were freshmen in Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. It was during those four years in undergrad that we became best friends, started collaborating with one another and fell in love with the wood shop and furniture design. The seeds for Egg Collective we planted during those years in St. Louis.
I’m amazed by how seamlessly the pieces in the show fit together. When you were putting “Designing Women” together, did you think more about which designers you wanted to have involved or which designers would best complement each other? Or is that a false dichotomy?
I don’t think we made that distinction. The top priority for the show was to build community. We saw “Designing Women” as an opportunity to gather together a group of strong/dynamic/creative/powerful women who are all operating in close proximity to one another. The hope being that through this gathering, we could foster connections among the designers, bring together voices across NYC, and raise awareness of women’s issues. We also wanted the show to extend beyond the design community, so we partnered with Girls Inc of NYC an organization that is committed to inspiring girls to be “strong, smart, and bold”.
As for the visuals and the pairing of work in the show, we reached out to women whose work we respect. From there the curation of the show was an organic, and fun, process.
What did you learn in the course of putting the show together and working with the women involved?
Just how bad ass all the ladies really are! It was amazing meeting each of the designers (most of which we didn’t know prior to the show) and learning more of each of their stories. It takes grit to make it in NYC. We have a show full of women who have carved out their own niche and really made names for themselves. It’s truly incredible and worth celebrating!
It takes grit to make it in NYC. We have a show full of women who have carved out their own niche and really made names for themselves. It’s truly incredible and worth celebrating!
You describe part of the inspiration for “Designing Women” as a “re-thinking.” Can you tell us about this re-thinking?
This re-thinking is a lot of things. We are coming into our own as women in the design world and in the world at large, and that in and of itself is eye opening. At this point in our lives/careers, we can look around with a new perspective and see things more clearly than we could when we started the business 5 years ago.
More specifically though, we were spurred into action because of the recent political climate — the election of Donald Trump, his words on the campaign trail, and the emergence of the Alt-Right. We do not want this country to go backward. Prior generations have fought for equal rights for women and minorities; this generation also needs to stand up and fight. We can’t be complacent or turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of others. As Martin Luther King said ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’.
The show helps to support Girls, Inc NYC. It seems like a fantastic institution. How did you become involved with it?
As we mentioned previously, we wanted the show to be about community building. Therefore, we wanted to work with a locally based charity whose mission aligned with our intentions for the show. Girls Inc of NYC was a natural fit. Improving women’s rights starts with empowering girls — they are the next generation!