We’re full steam ahead on our Coast to Coast series with Design Milk where we, Colony, a NY-based community of independent furniture, lighting, textiles and objects designers, set out to explore the United States in the name of design, discovery and inspiration. We have Detroit, Nashville and New Orleans under our belt, and the fourth city on our tour was less a single city and more a region in New Mexico. Technically billed as a trip to Santa Fe, we actually visited Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos for a better understanding of what makes the creative hub of the Southwest tick.
Santa Fe and the surrounding communities embody a humble hospitality that first revealed itself to us with our welcome from El Rey Court, an achingly charming and cool spot off the original Route 66. The rooms are decorated with a uniquely southwestern flare that is both laid back and beautifully considered, making it perfect for just about anyone. Another warm welcome was extended by the wonderfully appointed Terra Restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, who hosted us for a lavish New Mexican meal, topped off with a decadent New Mexican hot chocolate, melting both the homemade marshmallow and my heart.
Even with a full itinerary, it felt like our trip was cut short. Perhaps because of the geographical sprawl of the landscape, or because of the depth of our conversations, we simply ran out of time to see everything and meet everyone we wanted to. With the studio visits that we were able to squeeze in, we found a community of makers, designers and artists hailing from all over the country, choosing to call New Mexico home. We found institutions that maintain a symbiotic relationship with the artists they support and celebrate, and we found heartstopping beauty at every turn.
The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
MoCNA is the country’s only museum for exhibiting, collecting and interpreting the most progressive work of contemporary Native artists. MoCNA is dedicated solely to advancing the scholarship, discourse and interpretation of contemporary Native art for regional, national and international audiences.
An Albuquerque-based product designer who works with cast concrete by day, Dom Riccobene is also a secretly precise artist and filmmaker. Marrying the two with an industrial CNC, when the lights come down at night, Dom transforms into a viral sensation. His plywood, CNC sculptures are only the end result of a beautifully documented process that is equally poetic and mesmerizing.
Boyd & Allister
Technically exquisite and creatively frenetic, Jonathan Boyd of Boyd & Allister just loves to make things. And it shows in the work he produces out of his Santa Fe-based shop. Jonathan recently transformed his home into a Boyd & Allister showcase, making everything from floor to ceiling, with an adjacent Airbnb, with many Boyd & Allister touches including a bed canopy accent Jonathan knit himself.
Chad Manley Design
Lured to Taos with promises of red carpet treatment, Chad Manley, woodworker and metalsmith, did not disappoint. Wife Juniper, and kiddos Otto and Quin welcomed us with a full breakfast spread, a tour of their avocado green house and studio. Quirky yet refined, Chads work skates the line between sculpture and furniture, with some utterly unique results.
French and French Interiors
French and French Interiors The husband and wife team of Heather and Matt French have a shop chalk full of both local treasures and familiar names. Together they create warm interiors with thoughtfully considered color and pattern, a rarity in Santa Fe. Matt has spearheaded a new collection of decorative lighting with hand-blown glass details and collaborations with local artists, such as ceramicist Lucrecia Troncoso, to be sold under the French and French label.
SITE Santa Fe
Santa Fe Designed by SHoP Architects, and led by our good friend, SHop Director of Cultural Projects, Ayumi Sugiyama, the new building for this Southwest bastion for contemporary art, SITE Santa Fe, expanded and renovated the repurposed former beer warehouse into a new landmark within the city. The folded, perforated aluminum system defining the exterior of the building was carefully calibrated to be appropriate both for the site’s immediate context in an old railyard, as well as in contrast to the traditional construction methods and effects that prevail in the surrounding cityscape.
Special thanks to El Rey Court and Terra at Four Seasons.