Collective Design Fair Has Crocheted Chairs, and a Nap Lab

Who knew a furniture fair had such a sense of humor?

Crochet chairs by Olek at Todd Merrill Contemporary. Photo: Cait Munro

The organizers of Collective Design, which takes place from May 13–17 at Skylight Clarkson Square, have figured out what Frieze Week fair-goers really want: a mellow, artfully designed place to nap. One of the fair’s many curated projects—which are by far its strongest assets—is the “Nap Lab,” which is presented by design collectives Print All Over Me and Various Projects. (We would have gone with “Nap Lounge” as an homage to Frieze 2014’s much-lampooned “Gap Lounge,” but no one asked us.)

“We wanted to be the first nap environment for the trade show circuit,” Print All Over Me’s Jesse Finkelstein told artnet News during the opening. Finkelstein then went on to describe the lounge’s surreal aesthetic as “Beetlejuice-inspired.”

This display of public napping arrives in the wake of the Marina Abramovic Institute’s installation at Art Basel in Miami Beach last December, where the grandmother of performance art arranged colorful cots for exhausted fair-goers to relax on.

The nap room is just one of the many booths and installations loosely inspired by childhood. Primary colors, crafts, and an Id-driven approach to existence dominate much of the fair, while both subtle and not-so-subtle references to kink provide the requisite amount of edge.

Gufram booth, installation view. Photo: Cait Munro

Gufram booth, installation view.
Photo: Cait Munro

At the booth of Italian furniture manufacturer Gufram, a set of black lips adorned with a lip ring doubles as a (surprisingly comfortable) couch, part of the company’s “Fetish Pop” series. Nearby, a human-sized plastic cactus is suggestively nestled between two eggs, a pale pink bar of Maurizio Cattelan’s branded Toiletpaper soap, and a tombstone, prove that even furniture fairs can have a sense of humor.

Friedman Benda booth, installation view. Photo: Cait Munro

Friedman Benda booth, installation view.
Photo: Cait Munro

Sometimes, the inner child represented at the fair is a little bit bratty—in the best way possible. At Todd Merrill Contemporary, the artist Olek has created psychedelic crochet armchairs embellished with uber-quotable slogans such as, “Fuck With Me at Your Own Risk,” and “Damn I Wish I Had You.”

Crochet makes a second appearance with the American Design Club, where textile and fashion designer Liz Collins is wrapping a staircase and elevated platform in yarn. Opposite Collins is Ashira Israel, another American Design Club affiliate, who has turned the environment into her own personal studio, crafting a series of stackable, playful ceramic objects installed throughout the space.

Ashira Israel installation at American Design Club. Photo: Cait Munro

Ashira Israel installation at American Design Club.
Photo: Cait Munro

“They make you imagine all kinds of possibilities,” Israel told artnet News. “I love seeing [the works] all together, because when you have a whole table full of them, you imagine a city or a building—some crazy little world.”

And at the end of the day, isn’t piquing the imagination what childhood—and Frieze Week—is all about? That, and creative napping solutions.

For more Frieze Week coverage, see 6 Must-See Gallery Shows This Frieze Week, Victoria Siddall’s Guide to Frieze New York and What Not to Miss, and All the Frieze Week Happenings You Need to Know.

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