American Design Club Presents: ThreatPosted: March 9, 2012
“Threat” opens its doors tonight at Present Company in Williamsburg. A curated design exhibition, it is the next in the American Design Club‘s series of theme-based product shows. Kiel Mead, one of the founders of the club, jokes, “This show is evil, but there’s also something so playful about it.”
When asked to explain the inspiration for the Threat theme, Mead describes the sudden moment of fear and suspicion that an intruder has entered the home. “You’ve just heard something in the other room. What would you want to grab to defend yourself?”
And with that assignment, the chosen designers prove themselves both witty and refined. Reigning in creatives from Brooklyn to Chicago to Seattle and San Francisco, the final featured designers show that there’s more than one way to protect oneself from threatening situations. “People are trying to be funny with this and that’s what we were going after primarily: the humor of the situation. Taking fear and turning it on its head.”
“We’ve come up with a theme for which no one does or should have already made in their studio. No one’s sitting around making weapons.” And with that in mind, Kiel explains some of the clever thinking behind some of the pieces.
The Principals present the Bat Rack, which functions dually as a coat rack and an attack weapon. “This one’s cool because you literally just swing it into the wall and where it sticks is where it goes,” Kiel explains. It smartly makes clever use out of a studded bat, a classic defense icon.
The Defensemat from Reed Wilson has a more preventative slant. Avoid all confrontation with this one and maybe even charm your attacker in the meantime with your wit. Kiel explains, “We’ve never had an opportunity to show things that are more graphic [than product design]. This is not about someone’s graphic talent, it’s about delivering a one liner.”
Sebastian Errazuriz’s Protection Chair boasts technical beauty and precision through the hand carved detailing in the underbelly of the chair. The sculpted relief perfectly houses the handgun of inspiration.
One interesting thing about the American Design Club shows is that they allow the designers to interpret their ideas into a specific theme through materials they are currently exploring. Kiel Mead’s Threat Sticks are a colorful assortment of particularly piercing pieces of driftwood. The material concept relates to his latest Driftwood Hooks designs.
Daniel Michalik, a cork-enthusiast uses the Threat theme to create these over-sized and somewhat comical versions of the traditionally more discreet brass knuckles concept. The CorKnuckles puff up the victim’s theoretic feathers and enhance the tough-guy persona.
And not all designs need to be confrontational. “With Take What You Want, if someone breaks into your house, you stay in your bed,” Mead explains. “You put it on your head and inside is a ‘happy place’, “.
The Shields design from Persico + Dublin have yet another solution for protection: Hide. Rather than confront the intruder, the Shields, made from recycled wooden pallets come off the wall and act as a barrier between you and your potential attacker. In the meantime, they hang elegantly on the wall secretly waiting to defend you.
The Antidote, made to look like a walking stick, houses poison dart tips to be launched at the attacker. In the case of unforeseen backfire, the antidote waits by its side to revive you back to health.
And Sara Ebert’s In Case Vase ensures a perfect blade-like edge on every one of her bottle-like weapons.
It’s a coincidence that Threat opens during The Armory Show weekend. The latter, after all, features art, not design. But Threat certainly walks the line between the two. “We as a group do that,” says Mead. “We give you things that are handmade or in limited edition but it’s about consuming for us more than it is about making a beautiful piece of art. I think the line between art & design is constantly being blurred.”
And as if the allure of seeing innovative designers’ work isn’t enough, 10 well-known designers including the likes of Lindsey Adelman, Jason Miller and David Weeks have embellished, carved or otherwise manipulated one X-Bat each for the show. The designer-styled bats will be raffled off to 10 lucky recipients.
Many of the exhibiting designers will be in attendance at the show tonight. A selection of pieces will be available for sale on Fab.com directly following the show. A $10 donation is suggested in support of the continued efforts of the American Design Club. So come for the design, the party, or the complimentary drinks, but don’t miss Threat. Present Company is located at 29 Wythe Street in Williamsburg. The fun starts at 6:00.