Furnishing Utopia, which we first spotted at Sight Unseen OFFSITE, is a minimalist collection created in collaboration by the Hancock Shaker Village and the Mt. Lebanon Shaker Museum with 12 renowned international designers. A week-long workshop was conducted at two preserved Shaker sites, allowing the designers to access an extensive archive of objects as well as engage in a dialogue with the museum’s curators.
Often credited as the first minimalists, the Shakers and their furniture have inspired countless modernist and contemporary designers all over the world. However, their presence is confined to a limited number of sites within the United States, and individuals rarely have the opportunity to interact and experience these pieces in person.
Furnishing Utopia’s mission is to provide designers with direct exposure to original Shaker artifacts, and as a result, invited twelve designers from six countries to produce designs that translate the ingenuity and aesthetics of Shaker objects into modern forms.
Photography by Charlie Schuck and Natasha Felker.