The New Guard: Stories from the New World
A commitment to new blood, ideation and incubation.
Carpenters Workshop Gallery, New York
20th October – 22nd January 2021
THOUGH DESIGN GALLERIES are always on the hunt for new talent, it’s rare that they take the risk of dedicating an entire showcase to a new crop of designers at the same time. It’s more common to introduce newcomers one by one and step by step, cultivating interest and helping them to form their own voices and styles over time.
Carpenters Workshop Gallery, the international multi-venue platform, has taken the bold leap of showcasing seven of the collectible design world’s most-promising up-and-comers in one exhibition, ‘New Guard’. This show is part of the gallery’s ongoing initiative to support young creatives and give them the opportunity to develop their ideas and find audiences.
Curated by the co-founders of Anava Projects – Wava Carpenter and Anna Carnick (also Design Miami/’s Curatorial Director and the fair’s Editor-in-Chief) – alongside Ashlee Harrison, Carpenters’ Director of Americas, the exhibition explores the concept of the ‘New World’. Aligned with a renewed focus on questions of identity, heritage and the notion of place, it grapples with social, political, and cultural issues that were brought to the fore over the past two years.
Seven designers from in and around the US were commissioned to create new pieces that take the creative domains of art and design to task; asking the viewer and user to confront the pressing dilemmas of our time. The term ‘New World’ refers both to the historical connotation of the North and South America regions and also to the idea of highlighting a fresh perspective.
A more diverse and representative group of talents than is common in such surveys, these seven exhibitors are all decidedly conceptual and critical in their experimental and craft-driven practices. Their hand-wrought sculptural works push the boundaries of material and techniques.
“As a group, they use of-the-moment, experimental materials and processes, offering a unique perspective on place and identity while exploring timely personal, local and global issues,” Carpenter explains. “They share a penchant for organic, found and sustainable materials expressed in highly sculptural, narrative-driven forms.”
Whereas Jerome Byron’s painted steel pieces challenge the parameters of minimalism, the economy of means and monumentality, Tiarra Bell’s hand-crafted ceiling pendant, wall sconces, and mirrors – achieved in ebonised oak and gold leaf – are expressions of her faith.
Susannah Weaver conceived concrete-wool objects in modernist silhouettes that exude a sense of romanticism. Channeling her experience growing up in Baghdad and her adult life in New York, Maryam Turkey’s paper pulp lighting and mirrors are suggestive of both cities’ skylines, an imaginary hybridisation distilled in bulking, roughly-hewn forms.
Martinique-based Ibiyanε,, the studio of Elodie Dérond, and Tania Doumbe Fines all honour their Afro-Caribbean and Cameroonian backgrounds in hand-crafted wooden objects: odes to personal and shared memories.
“For so long, the design canon has been framed almost exclusively through a Euro-centric lens,” Carnick elucidates. “The emerging talents presented here offer a fresh perspective on design coming out of this place in this pivotal moment – their narrative-driven works reflect an important moment not just in design, but for the world at large.
“We’re so thrilled by each and every one of these exciting young talents. Each has a strong point of view and a wonderfully unique voice. And together, they offer a cohesive story about design in the ‘New World’ today.”
The New Guard: Stories from the New World at Carpenters Workshop Gallery, New York.