Stories from the New World spotlights seven outstanding emerging studios based in the US and Caribbean. Presenting newly commissioned works, the exhibition provides a snapshot of the “New World,” a term used hereto allude to the historical Euro-centricity of design discourse while signaling the arrival of a new generation of fresh, vital voices transforming the landscape of contemporary design.
Born and based in Philadelphia, PA, Tiarra Bell earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Furniture Design from RISD in 2020. Working primarily hand in wood, Bell’s pieces are directly inspired by her Christian faith. A meditative quality pervades her work as a physical manifestation of her values. Intrigued by the invisible, she often creates objects that feature portal-like forms.
In 2016, Bell was named a National YoungArts Foundation Finalist. She has since exhibited internationally, including the RISD X Mabeo exhibition presented at Milan Design Week in 2019 and the Do It (Home) exhibition curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist for YoungArts in Miami in 2020.
Tiarra Bell’s practice takes cues from apertures and portals, shaped by her own spiritualism. These rounded shapes involve joining and coopering ebonized wood into elongated structures, which are lined with gold leaf to provide an internal luminosity. The semi-conical form of Bondage focuses the viewer’s perspective, drawing their gaze upward to the heavens and on to something ‘other’ on the far side.
From Tiarra Bell’s Soul collection, the Dryness wall sconces are filled with light, augmented by the gold leaf that lines their ebonised oak frames. Whereas other artists find inspiration in material or technical experimentation, Bell’s work is driven by soulful investigation, offering a transcendental experience beyond the physical form of the object. She translates the words of the Bible into something visual, capturing a spiritual essence.
Christianity is Tiarra Bell’s guiding light, both personally and professionally. Working primarily by hand in wood, the Philadelphia-born and based artist crafts functional objects that embody the noblest, most inspiring values of her faith – self-reflection, redemption, and hope. Her mirrors, such as Dependency, are not tools of vanity but instead prompt introspection on the state of one’s soul.
Hailing from Cameroon and Martinique respectively, Tania Doumbe Fines and Elodie Dérond are the creative duo behind Ibiyanε. Named for the Batanga word “to know one another,” the design studio’s guiding principle is to nurture curiosity between people and cultures at a fundamental level, driven by a belief in the endless world of possibilities that conversations can open.
Finding a sense of self in community, exchange, and collaboration, the pair work together to create everyday objects, primarily in hand-sculpted wood, that marry functionalism with the storytelling power of design to re-center the canon on the heritage of the African diaspora.
Dérond earned a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Dynamics from École des sciences de la gestion (ESG UQAM) in Montreal in 2018. Doumbe Fines earned her BFA in Interior Design from the University of Montreal in 2016. The studio is currently based in Martinique.
From Cameroon and Martinique, Tania Doumbe Fines and Elodie Dérond of Ibiyane named their design studio after the Batanga word meaning “to know one another.” Working primarily in wood, they sculpt objects for everyday use, informed by exchanges in their everyday lives with family, friends, and community. Their work elevates the role of storytelling in design, and in turn nurtures conversations that centre the design canon on the heritage of the African diaspora.
Ibiyane’s new Alè collection (meaning then/now in Creole) draws inspiration from the duo’s collective memories of family. The collection is accompanied by an original poem in which they envision a scene – a multigenerational house, its human inhabitants, its interior objects, and the relationships it hosted – set in Martinique, where they currently reside. Together, collection and poem tie together the narratives and respective furniture items of three characters: grandchild, father and grandmother.
Tania and Elodie draw on a wealth personal heritage to inform their designs, yet ultimately update these traditional forms as part of their contemporary artistic practice. The handcarved stack laminated wood evokes both the legacy of Wendell Castle and the distinct forms of Caribbean and Sub-Saharan woodwork, reflecting on both physicality and comfort.
India-born, New York-based textile artist Anubha Sood earned her BFA in Fine Art and Textile Design from Srishti School in Bangalore before going on to receive her MFA from Parsons inaugural textile program in New York in 2020. While at Parsons, Sood developed a passion for fibers and living materials, and in 2020, she won the Sustainability Award from the first ever Global Design Graduate Show, a collaboration between ARTSTHREAD and i-D, sponsored by Gucci.
In India, Sood saw first-hand the environmental damage caused by textile production and fabric dying, which piqued her interest in systems of production and their entanglement with the natural world. Sood’s experimental practice is centered around a sustainable ecology of making. She sees the act of making as a personal healing process and a catalyst to physically engage with her environment.
Anubha Sood’s experimental practice is devoted to the study of bio-materials, from bacteria and human hair to her latest passion, seagrasses. Woven in kelp, linen, cotton, and rayon yarn, Sood’s Between Salt & Water collection draws attention to the decline of kelp forests and their role in maintaining Earth’s ecological balance. The pieces are both hand-crafted sculptural objects of contemplation and living entities that will evolve with the passage of time. Her tapestry-like weavings are ultra-contemporary, even futuristic, yet could have been developed 1000 years ago.
When she has woven the kelp and seaweed into a continuous fabric, Anubha Sood moulds the cloth around domestic items. As the natural material dries, its salt content crystallises and causes it to hold its shape, resulting in the writhing and rippling form seen in Living Structure I. The salt layer also acts to preserve the living material underneath, since as living organisms their impermanence is inevitable, and it is unknown how long each work will survive for.
The Between Salt & Water artworks are all hand-dyed with dyes Anubha Sood extracts from colourful seaweed examples she has collected from around the world. However, the seaweed responds directly to its environment and when exposed to varying levels of humidity its colour can change, as well as its form and even smell. Dealing with organic material necessitates ceding control, and the artist is happy to be led by the experimental process.
Having witnessed the environmental and social toll exacted by the textile industry in her native India, Sood’s work critiques current production systems, while visualising a more equitable, sustainable path forward. At the same time, she sees the intuitive act of making as a personal healing process and a catalyst to physically engage with her environment. The collection acts as a reminder to engage with our land and water with urgency and care.
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Colorado-based ceramic artist Isabella Maroon earned her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, MI (2020).
While at Cranbrook, Maroon transformed the focus of her practice from figurative to abstract work—and literally broke her attachment to her earlier work by smashing the lot. The shards and shattered fragments left behind by that destructive act are given a second life in Maroon’s new work, symbolizing memory’s role in defining who we are and who we might become.
Maroon’s work has been exhibited nationally in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, and Detroit.
Isabella Maroon builds upon her ongoing exploration of memory, destruction, and resurrection in this series. Vessel I consists of stacked elements that are shaped separately over time and composed into a unified whole, with the present and the past joined in homage to our ever-evolving identities. The figurative realism of her previous work is inverted, and her current designs instead represent the interior world of a human body, and the conflicting currents and recurring processes that play within all of us.
The ceramic layers of Vessel II are recycled with various glazes, which melt when subjected to high firing temperatures. Their molten forms are amalgamated by Isabella Maroon, and stacked vertically. She plays with their dematerialisation, caught somewhere between liquid drops and a self-supporting structure.
While pursuing her MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Colorado-based ceramicist Isabella Maroon had a moment of clarity and completely transformed the focus of her practice from figurative to abstract work. She began smashing old works into shards that could find a second life in new artworks, which became her In Parts collection. Stand demonstrates the compositional thought with which the old shards are incorporated into the novel form, recycled through acts of cathartic destruction.
Born in New York and raised in Ohio, architect-designer Jerome Byron earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute in 2010 and his Master of Architecture degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 2014. Over the past 10 years he has spent time working in Los Angeles, New York, and Berlin, most notably at the offices of Francis Kéré and Barkow Leibinger.
Byron opened his own studio in 2017 to pursue ground-up architectural works as well as interior design, art direction, and materials-focused furniture design. He experiments with industrial materials like metal, concrete, and glass fiber, transforming them through color, form, proportion, and movement with the intention of disrupting their traditional Brutalist, oppressive connotations.
Architect-designer Jerome Byron is fascinated by the industrial materials that make up the American built environment. Through his practice, he elevates the humble and pedestrianplywood, concrete, and sheet metal, for example – into highly considered, richly resolved structures, interiors, and objects. Alongside his natural aptitude for proportional composition, he has cited both his architectural education and his time spent skateboarding as key experiences that inform his approach to material, form, and movement.
Each of Jerome Byron’s steel furniture pieces are carefully considered, small scale architectural studies. The metal sheets are only a few millimetres thick, and the supporting beams and girders are constructed to notch together with very few connections between each component. Their elegant designs showcase Byron’s admiration for the economical geometry of 1970’s Italian designers, such as Vico Magistretti and Angelo Mangiarotti.
Jerome Byron’s Patina collection explores surface treatments on steel forms through processes that represent controlled destruction. Each patina is achieved by coating the metal in corrosive substances and then chemically sealing the effect against further transformation. The forceful alteration of the metal, but as a means of preservation rather than decay, highlights Byron’s ongoing exploration of cultural pressures in contemporary life.
Maryam Turkey is an Iraqi-American artist and designer based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2009, she moved with her family as refugees to the United States where she attended Baltimore School for the Arts high school and learned traditional painting. She continued her art and design education at Pratt Institute, earning a Bachelor’s Degree of Industrial Design in 2017.
Shortly after graduation, Turkey launched her studio, specializing in functional art. Across a range of media, each of Turkey’s designs is imbued with a unique story that gives it a reason to exist. In 2018, she won the Launch Pad Furniture Category at WantedDesign in New York. She was then awarded a residency at the Museum of Art and Design, followed by a residency at the World Trade Center.
Walking around Illumination, light and shadows shift, calling to mind narrow shafts of sunlight bursting through gaps in Manhattan’s dense vertical skyline. From her studio on the 28th floor of the World Trade Centre, Maryam Turkey has a unique perspective to track the sun’s path through New York. Coating sections of her sculpture’s plaster in resin darkens the material but also adds a reflective luminosity, altering the material’s perception.
The towering Illumination light sculpture, from Maryam Turkey’s Between Rise and Fall collection, imagines a hybrid cityscape inspired by the two metropolises that have shaped her life, Baghdad where she was raised and New York where her family immigrated as refugees in 2009. The structure evokes vacant buildings, both Baghdadi homes abandoned amid war and the skyscrapers of New York, paused mid-construction during the Covid pandemic. The exposed brass rods that support the artwork reference the structural rebars that are only seen when a building is in an incomplete state, either partially constructed or destroyed.
Maryam Turkey creates her structures from a recipe of paper-pulp, plaster and pigments she has developed, which is applied over a hard structure of either wood or metal. The natural materials represent the spontaneously constructed buildings that form the cityscape of Baghdad, often made from limited resources. Similarly, much of Turkey’s practice is shaped by intuition and instinct, embracing the beauty of the resulting “imperfections” and the mark of the hand.
The Reflection mirror uses its glass and resin-coated components to form a composition in motion, reactive to changes in light throughout the day. In Turkey’s hands, this play of light and shadow, material and memory, becomes a reflection of humans’ ongoing power struggles. The solar cycle rising and falling over the architectural remnants of her artworks represents the seemingly endless human cycle of building, destroying and rebuilding.
Born in North Carolina and based in New York, Susannah Weaver earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Product Design with a focus on material research from Parsons School of Design in 2018. That same year, she was awarded the Rado Star Prize at WantedDesign for her graduation project, Felted Concrete. The experimental furniture and accessories collection united two unexpected materials—raw wool and cast concrete—to create a new, innovative hybrid material.
Weaver was introduced to alternative materials and raw fibers while working as a Student Researcher for the Healthy Materials Lab. Later, as an exchange student at Konstfack University in Stockholm, she developed a fine art practice, including life drawing, sculpture, and textile arts. She went on to be studio assistant for Studio Claudy Jongstra, where she honed her skills with fiber arts.
Susannah Weaver’s design practice is driven by material experimentation, in the great tradition of American modernist icons like Charles Eames and Marcel Breuer, as she investigates the practical and poetic potential of wedding wool with concrete. However, she also levels a penetrating critique against 20th-century design culture: its domination by males; its obsession with industrial production that engendered the current environmental crises; its conviction that designs could be standardised across communities and cultures, therefore blocking diverse voices from the conversation.
The hand-shaped form of the Pirouette light sculpture demonstrates the development of Susannah Weaver’s practice, as she advances the capabilities of her wool and concrete combinations into the nuanced, organic forms of her Memetic collection. Experimenting with colour, the wool is hand dyed into bright tones that move her artworks away from concrete’s brutalist connotations. Pirouette’s anthropomorphic form adds levity and a dancing movement to the artwork.
ADDED TO YOUR BASKET