WESTWEEK 2019 was not about extinguishing the conversation about the gratification and exactness that has come from technology advances in the design industry; it was about distinguishing what design is now and where it came from. Hand-crafted work, sans the computer, is the backbone of the design industry. Unique irregularities come with anything handmade. During the conversations at WESTWEEK 2019: Artists + Artisans, designers and artists acknowledge imperfection at the industry’s base and uproot what makes imperfect design perfect.
(Above) Patrick Frey during his Keynote discussion with David Netto
A designer and artist’s work is an extension of them. Patrick Frey talked about how this extension translates differently between generations in his Keynote ‘Legacy and Looking Ahead: Patrick Frey and the Making of a Modern Fabric House’ with David Netto. “[My father, Pierre Frey] wanted to be different. I was his only son. [He said to me], ‘You’ll be different. Different in colors, different in texture, different in design,’” Frey recalls his father saying so. Check out the video below displaying Pierre Frey‘s ‘Le Manach’ Collection and printing process, paired with narration from Netto and Frey’s Keynote discussion as they played the video for the crowd. You’ll feel like you’re there with them!
For Frey, he extended the family practice of handcrafted work accompanying his own style. “It’s done with [my] hands, not with a machine. I don’t choose a design done by computer. I love the irregularity.” Click here for the full audio from Frey and Netto’s conversation.
In the Keynote, ‘Artisans Revealed: Sharing Your Own Brand Story’ presented by BOH, artist Amir Nikravan weighed in on being an artist today and how he is an extension of his brand. “You are the face of something that is an object that exists in the world, but you are tied to in a way that is very different than a large consumer brand that is going to go public or be sold off. You’re inextricably linked to that thing as a person,” Nikravan said. Contributing to this idea of an extended identity through one’s work, the panelists talked about the importance of not forcing product, remaining authentic to one’s work, and creating with intention. To listen to the full BOH Keynote, click here.
(Above) Erika Heet hosting Keynote discussion
In the ‘California Soul, Harnessing the Golden State Design Point-of-View’ Keynote presented by Interiors, moderator and Interiors’ Editor-in-Chief Erika Heet talks about the breadth of artists coming through in hand-crafted work and how it remains coveted. Panelist and artist Heather Levine always warns her clients that all of her ceramic pieces will return from the kiln in unique form. “There’s always an element of surprise with ceramics. You can’t match a glaze. You can’t match a color. You have to prepare [clients] for that. The surprises are the pleasant part of the process instead of being disappointed,” Levine said. Designers Kevin Kolanoski, Jeff Andrews and Gary Hutton also agree that the “soul” and “hand” presented in irregular pieces in the home are what people long for, and actually prefer. Click here to hear more.
Keynote presented from Interiors; (From Left) Jeff Andrews, Gary Hutton, Kevin Kolanowski, and Heather Levine
If humans are predestined for imperfection, our interiors should accommodate us accordingly. Designers William McLure and Mark D. Sikes sat down with Veranda’s Editor-In-Chief Steele Marcoux for a “Design is in the Details!” Keynote. During which, McLure and Sikes discuss the art of art collecting and how they layer it to appear effortless. “[It’s an] ‘Un-thoughtful thoughtfulness.’ It doesn’t look purposeful. It looks like you actually use the home and you live in it,” McLure said. Listen to the full discussion here.
(From Left) Designer Mark D. Sikes, President & CEO of Cohen Design Centers, Charles Cohen, Veranda’s Editor-In-Chief Steele Marcoux, and Designer William McLure
PDC’s first annual Student Day wrapped up WESTWEEK Artist + Artisans theme as UCLA design students presented their Paris Deco Off findings and experiences, tying back to the Market premise. They, too, reported on the widespread want and need for irregularity in art and design, and learned this from observing professionals who built their beloved businesses with their hands. Imperfect design shows history, hard work, and story. People love a good story.