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5 artists to watch out for this weekend at BROOKLYN DESIGNS

May 8, 2019 Scott Enman
Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza are two artists worth watching this weekend at BROOKLYN DESIGNS. Photo by Mike Vorrasi

A three-day design show at the Brooklyn Navy Yard this weekend will feature raspberry stools, quintessentially Brooklyn stoops, glass lemonade sets and more.

BROOKLYN DESIGNS, the anchor fair of the citywide NYCxDESIGN begins Friday. Founded in 2003, the event celebrates Brooklyn’s creative community by fusing together design, architecture and art. Participants include designers, architects, builders, developers, industry influencers, educators, urban planners and consumers.

The show, presented by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, features more than 60 Brooklyn-based designers and includes installations, hands-on workshops, talks and design demonstrations.

Ahead of the event, which will take place in Building 77, we selected five Brooklyn artists to pay attention to this weekend.

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1. Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza, Bushwick
Chiao and Frezza's "Cloud Stool." Photo courtesy of the artists
Chiao and Frezza’s “Cloud Stool.” Photo courtesy of the artists

Chiao and Frezza, a married couple known collaboratively as CHIAOZZA, will be showcasing “Cloud Stools,” a pair of bulbous pink paper pulp seats reminiscent of raspberries. The chairs are part of a group exhibit showcasing outdoor furniture at the William Vale in Williamsburg.

“Generally, we like to be experimentally playful,” Frezza told the Brooklyn Eagle. “Always as a collaboration, we’re set up to play games with each other.”

The couple said they’re inspired by the gritty industrial elements of Bushwick, including a trash facility, a concrete factory and metal shops that they pass on the way to their studio.

“Work going on around us is very inspiring and the feeling that anything is possible,” Frezza said. “People doing so many different things makes it feel like there’s a lot of potential in the air.”


2. Steven Bukowski, Williamsburg
Steven Bukowski. Photo by Samuel Sachs Morgan
Steven Bukowski. Photo by Samuel Sachs Morgan

Few images are as quintessentially Brooklyn as a stoop. This year’s event will feature an exhibition curated by Cooler Gallery called The Stoop, where multiple artists will showcase their creations. Bukowski designed a planter for the project.

“The idea is that it’s a vernacular piece of furniture even though it’s an architectural element,” Bukowski said. “So we’re paying homage to that urban piece of furniture.”

“My work is very geometric and bold as of lately,” he added. “I’ve been implementing more color and more texture, which I have historically not really worked with. I hope that my work puts a smile on people’s face. I’m just trying to make fun, playful pieces that speak to the urban experience.”

3. Devra Freelander, East Williamsburg
Devra Freelander shows off her work. Photo courtesy of the artist
Devra Freelander shows off “Neon Ranges.” Photo courtesy of the artist

Freelander, a self-proclaimed millennial eco-feminist driven by concerns of climate change, will be showcasing a new series called “Neon Ranges,” featuring steel sculptures of mountains based on photographs she took while visiting the Arctic Circle.

“This line of work is all about communicating the experience of those mountains through a digital lens,” she said. “I bend the shapes of them in metal wire and they sort of look like neon lights, but they’re really analog. They’re just fluorescent spray-painted steel.”

4. Doug Johnston, Kensington
Doug Johnston. Photo courtesy of the artist
Doug Johnston. Photo courtesy of the artist

Johnston, like Bukowski, will be showcasing some work on The Stoop.

“For me personally, I like to show something a little bit different from what people might know of my work,” he said. “Most of my work is basketry or sculptural vessels made with rope that I sew together.”

For BROOKLYN DESIGNS, he’ll be creating three small glassware pieces: two tumblers and a small craft piece, which he made at Urban Glass.

5. Sophie Lou Jacobsen, Red Hook
Sophie Lou Jacobsen. Photo by Clement Pascal
Sophie Lou Jacobsen. Photo by Clement Pascal

Lou Jacobsen wears many hats. She’s a product designer who makes objects and furniture, but she also does interior design and graphics.

“I try to approach objects and design with a very simple and fresh perspective,” she said. “I think about objects compositionally, really how the overall geometry is working with the function and how it can be made in the most simple way possible using the least amount of materials.”

At BROOKLYN DESIGNS, she’ll be showcasing glass pieces that are part of a lemonade set.

A past project by Sophie Lou Jacobsen. Photo by Charlie Schuck
A past project by Sophie Lou Jacobsen. Photo by Charlie Schuck

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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