As temperatures climb and plants bloom, New York City is inching closer to its official reopening on July 1st. What better way to celebrate this long-anticipated moment than with an exhibition of 20 distinct designs that champion post-pandemic social interaction within the outdoor sphere. Popular Brooklyn-based furniture studio Kin & Company is mounting Inside~Out in the Garden from May 13th to June 24th. This second annual group show brings together works from New York’s ever-resilient crop of independent makers. Initially planned for last year, the exhibition debuts works meticulously crafted during the long months of quarantine.
Presented in the ground floor gallery and back garden of the INC Architecture-designed Saint Marks Place, a new residential development on the border of Brooklyn neighborhoods Park Slope and Boerum Hill, Inside~Out in the Garden incorporates bespoke pieces by Charles Osawa, Kyle May, and Lauren Hunter, Micah Rosenblatt, Yuko Nishikawa, Liz Collins with Likeminded Objects, Malcolm Majer, Sebastián Arroyo, Trey Jones Studio, and Erickson Aesthe, among others.
Held as part of this year’s semi-in-person and semi-virtual New York Design Week, the show is one of the first physical events to be held in over a year. The theme of outdoor living, often a hard typology for designers to fully master without being kitschy, seems like an appropriate medium for society to emerge from hibernation and re-engage in social activity. Bringing together a wide variety of furnishing, sculptures, vessels, and even play-sets, Inside~Out in the Garden reveals a shared sense of cautious optimism and suggests how things might return to normal.
Combining a classic swing set profile with a chain-linked swing and a blue marble sphere base, The Ol Ball and Chain Swing Set by Rosenblatt affirms that the events of the past year haven’t deterred the American design scene’s playful spirit. Explorations in form and color are also evident in Majer’s bright yellow Chair and Ford Bostwick’s organic Flo Stool. Charles Osawa’s Trash Lamp and Daniel Michalik’s Pegboard Chair demonstrate that a new understanding of sustainability and resourcefulness has taken root in the past year. Walter Mingledorff’s Offering Stool and Sarah Sear’s Patina Planter show that a more considered approach to material experimentation and craft has also emerged. Many of these works function indoors as well as they do outdoors, which hints at the what return of shared indoor activity might look like.
Header image: Sway by Kickie Chudikova