Design show creators Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, who launched their annual design exhibitions under the name WantedDesign and now have a store in Brooklyn’s Industry City space, bring their expertise to the South Street Seaport. The pair curated pop-up store Design Market, which remains open to the public through June. They shared their hopes for the project and highlighted some of the designers represented in the store.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
THE BEGINNINGOdile Hainaut:
We started WantedDesign in Manhattan six years ago. We were both French New Yorkers, both in the design world in New York for years, and we realized that we didn’t really have a design week strong in New York as we have in other cities in the world, and that New York was not on the map in design week and we thought that something was missing. We really wanted to bring more people in town and talk about design. And we thought that we could create a new kind of trade show more like a design forum, design platform, more human scale, curated with established brands, up and coming, and also strong highlights on American designers and manufacturers.
THE CONCEPTClaire Pijoulat:
The main goal for WantedDesign, and especially since we started Brooklyn, was bring design to the public and bring design awareness. So retail was the best way to do this, and to have smaller objects that are easier to relate to, easier to understand and easier to acquire is also a way to get people interested in design or get curious about design, to find out who’s the designer, where the piece is made. So all these things we’ve been putting together doing WantedDesign elements tell the story and tell the process, is now live at the store.
We were looking for a nice range of objects, things that we would like to have at home and going from a beautiful Alessi teapot that was designed in 1985 but then have next to it soap from Japan next to a candle that’s made in Brooklyn. It doesn’t have to be one style. It’s more about being good design and being well made.
Another component which is very important to us is to support some designers and makers that don’t have necessarily a large production and large visibility to the public. It’s great for us to support designers that are based at Industry City or in Brooklyn that we know well, and we know all the investment and all the time and all the talent they have. And it’s great for us to be able to sell the products of people we know and we appreciate and we think are good designers. It’s really again this balance between iconic pieces like an Alessi piece and a studio that we know very well and that we love and we want other people to love it, too.
There are two brands that we work with for WantedDesign and in the store that we know maybe a little better. A studio like Fort Makers for example, which is based in Brooklyn and does a lot of different things from wood to textiles, from art installation to products. This kind of studio, we’re very happy to present them because they don’t have a lot of exposure to the mass market. It’s very niche, so it’s nice to have them in the store. But then we have a studio that now is getting more and more attention like Juniper, who’s the lighting [company]. They are represented in other stores, but we have them there because they actually announced at WantedDesign in our event. So it’s also a collaboration. It’s very personal and it’s based on a lot of the relationships we have.