Expanded and updated for its second year, Furnishing Utopia: Shaker Design Influence Now explores the significance of Shaker design on modernism and its context within today’s global design community. More than 50 original objects by 15 international leading design studios were shown alongside the original Shaker artifacts that served as inspiration. Also on view, a selection of new DWR collections from participating Furnishing Utopia designers Studio Tolvanen, Norm Architects, and Gabriel Tan.
Furnishing Utopia’s mission is to provide designers with direct exposure to original Shaker artifacts and demonstrate how the group’s ideas still prove influential today. In collaboration with the Hancock Shaker Village and the Mt. Lebanon Shaker Museum, Furnishing Utopia hosted design workshops, giving a group of 15 international designers access to an extensive archive of objects and engaging them in a dialog with the museum’s curators. Following the workshops, the designers were invited to produce designs that translate the ingenuity and aesthetics of Shaker objects into modern forms relevant to contemporary life.
Building off of the success of last year’s presentation, this year Furnishing Utopia welcomes the addition of four designers – three from Norway, with the support of the Norwegian Consulate General New York, and one from the Netherlands – to its roster of international design studios: Anderssen & Voll, Lars Beller Fjetland, Vera & Kyte, Bertjan Pot. The original designers include Studio Gorm, Zoe Mowat, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, Chris Speece, Hallgeir Homstvedt, Norm Architects, Jonah Takagi, Gabriel Tan, Studio Tolvanen, Tom Bonamici, and Urbancase.