The Ingenious Creations of an Instagram Club of Basketmakers | The Slowdown - Culture, Nature, Future
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A round basket with a blue cushion and small cat figurine sitting inside.
Courtesy Basketclub/Christopher Specce

After a string of announcements from the organizers of Milan’s Salone del Mobile that the largest annual event for the design industry would be definitely happening in April, then that it was postponed two months to June, and then that it was finally, officially, canceled for 2020, many furniture and interior designers suddenly found their busiest, highest-stress season of launches and deadlines turned upside down. Toronto-based product designer Jamie Wolfond, who made a name early in his career for his pleasing, utilitarian designs as the founder of Good Thing, chooses to see this strange period of prolonged isolation and pause as a chance for “some inward focus time, just working on some kind of iterative process and following it,” he says. “That’s something we always try to do, but it’s always cut short by a deadline.” Over a Google Hangout one recent afternoon, as he fiddled with a tangle of colorful packing straps, Wolfond got to telling us about his latest point of obsession: basket weaving (yes, you heard us right).

In a creative quarantine twist, he teamed up with Adrianus Kundert, a Rotterdam-based designer whom he befriended on Instagram, and gathered a group of friends to launch @_basketclub_. The rules of Basketclub are simple: design one basket per week, in response to a simple brief in the form of a randomly chosen emoji. Loosely addressing the first five themes (🍊, 🐈, 🥖, 🏀, 🦜), the basket-weaving creations to date are hardly of the underwater variety, mind you, with an impressive range of styles, complexity, patterns, and materials, each made by contemporary talents, including Bertjan Pot, Studio Gorm, Shijeki Fujishiro, SCMP, and others, who’ve gotten us excited about the possibilities of this overlooked, age-old craft. Seems we’re not the only ones: Now five weeks in, the group has attracted a sizable following of online fans who, too, would like to be part of the club. While initially kept to a select few in order to stay accountable and motivated enough to complete the weekly exercise, Wolfond says, the gang is opening up the prompt for crowdsourced submissions in its sixth and final week with the following theme: ✉️. So go on now, and get weaving.

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Courtesy Assouline

Designed in 1972, at a time when a luxury watch made of steel was still a radical concept, Audemars Piguet’s nautical-inGQ editor Bill Prince, author of the new book Royal Oak: From Iconoclast to Icon (Assouline), coming out October 12. “It’s one of those works of culture that has managed to cut through time, in the sebigger than the era.”

Courtesy Slow Factory

In co-founding Slow Factory in 2012—a Brooklyn-based nonprofit dedicated to advocating for slow fashion and advancing climate justice and social eqthe latest guest on our Time Sensitive podcast—created a platform to further one of her life missions: to replace socially and environmentally harmful and outdated sy

Lidewij Edelkoort. (Photo: Thirza Schaap)

As one of the world’s foremost trend forecasters, Lidewij Edelkoort has advised companies ranging from Coca-Cola to Lacoste on everything from how to communicate with emerging youth archeTrend Union—that forecast market movements two or more years in advance. In the textile industry, her research has been used by fas

Courtesy the Chipstone Foundation

The first attempts to create language around matter—at least in the tradition of European philosophy—began with an obserhyle,” or that which receives form or definiteness. The notion of hyle proposes the idea of a universal basic substance from

Two collectors weighing their plastics. (Courtesy First Mile)

With the climate crisis a chief concern of worldly citizens, Fortune 500 corporations, the United Nations, and even the U.S. Department of Defense alike, a “made from recycled water bottles” origin story has practically become ubiquitous. Now more than ever shoppersFirst Mile, though, doesn’t see recycled bottles as a marketing ploy; they see them as a tool for empowering consumers to demand m

Photo: Tom Arber

The organ often shocks by the strength of its scale alone. Few other instruments, after all, can be so large as to necesOrgan Scholarships from Oxford’s Magdalen College in its 560-year history and, shortly thereafter, at age 21, becoming director of music f

Courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing

Writer Hannah Lewis says she practically fell in love with Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki when she first read the 2007The Healing Power of Forests, which he co-authored with ecologist Elgene O. Box. The book introduced the Miyawaki method, a reforestation technique Compendium of Scientific and Practical Findings Supporting Eco-Restoration to Address Global Warming, a bi-annual, open-access compilation of scientific studies, industry and government reports, and journalistic investigwrite an article about the approach for The Guardian in 2020, and a just-released book of her own: Mini-Forest Revolution: Using the Miyawaki Method to Rapidly Rewild the World (Chelsea Green Publishing).

Installation view of “Objects in Sculpture.” (Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

“What is the texture of scale? Can a surface be eliminated? Can space expand?” Viewers encounter these and other questioObjects in Sculpture” (through Oct. 10), Minnesota-based designer Jonathan Muecke’s first solo presentation in a major museum. For Muecke, a

J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library, viewed from 36th Street. (Photo: Brett Beyer. Courtesy the Morgan Library & Museum, New York)

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Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s Shaku chair for Koyori. (Photo: Hiroshi Iwasaki)

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(Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani)

In 1918, Dutch architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld developed the first iteration of his influential Red Blue Chair. A member of the de Stijl art and architecture movement, which espoused the belief that a post-World War I Europe couldDer Aesthet, and to attach it under the seat: “When I sit, I do not want / to sit like my seat-flesh likes / but rather like my seabeyond the point of intersection. By magnifying these oft-hidden details, Rietveld forged a new transparency in design—and spoU-Joints: A Taxonomy of Connections, an independently-published compendium from architect Andrea Caputo and design professor Anniina Koivu, who served as e

Rebecca van Bergen. (Photo: Wesley Law)

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Manitoga house designed by Russel Wright

Last week, the Earth slid between the moon and sun, inciting a heady lunar eclipse that transformed our usual relationshManitoga, a stunning midcentury home turned design center that’s nestled between a granite quarry and a mossy slope in upstate NDesigning Nature” (through November 14). Fittingly, the first piece visitors encounter is the Eclipse Ceiling Lamp, designed by the contFormafantasma in 2016, which casts new, entrancing light on its surroundings.

Wolfhouse tarot cards

Nestled in a cozy pocket of Newburgh, in New York’s Hudson Valley, is an architectural gem designed in 1949 by Philip Jograppling with how to address Johnson’s legacy in the aftermath of his fascist views becoming more widely known—the property was purchased and restored by Jiminie Ha,With Projects, and art director Jeremy Parker. Determined to establish the residence as a symbol of inclusivity, the two have reimagiWolfhouse, a community-focused cultural space and incubator with public programming centered around art, architecture, and design

One of Alvaro Catalán de Ocón’s Plastic Rivers rugs. (Courtesy Alvaro Catalán de Ocón)

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The main space in Kvadrat’s New York showroom. (Photo: Daniele Ansidei)

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The Castor Kids Chair, by Karimoku. (Courtesy Nalata Nalata)

If you look around your living space, there’s a good chance that all the furniture in it is designed for adult use and cNalata Nalata’s upcoming exhibition, “Starter Chair” (May 14–22),  celebrates furniture that was lovingly made on a different scale—one specifically for children.

Sagmeister 123’s Progress Shirt and Opinion Coat. (Courtesy Sagmeister 123)

Stefan Sagmeister is a contemporary polymath. Following his curiosity through many forms, the Austrian-born, New York–baobjects, installations, and participatory artworks throughout his decades-long career. (Sagmeister speaks about some of these projects and others on Ep. 8 of our Time Sensitive podcast, and on Ep.106 of our At a Distance podcast.) While his output, at first glance, might appear to move wildly between subjects, a closer look reveals a consistent i

Petit Pli clothing

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Ceramic vessels by Omar Sosa

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A patchwork tapestry by Megumi Shauna Arai.

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Cartier's Milan flagship store

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Sky High Farm Workwear’s recycled denim chore coat and double-knee pants. (Photo: ​​Ramie Ahmed)

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Nuno textiles book

There is something universally comforting—deeply intoxicating, even—about petting a soft, warm coat, deep with pile. MayFuwa Fuwa ( “fuzzy,” in Japanese): “I reach out to touch the fluffy, soft fur, gently run my hand over the broad nape of the neck

Toto Washlet C200

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Canopy raised bed

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Playfool's Forest Crayons

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Soft Baroque’s coffee table for Vaarnii. (Courtesy Vaarnii)

Despite being among the most abundant tree species in Finland, pine has been largely overlooked and underutilized as a fVaarnii seeks to revive the use of pine in furniture making, and with it, forge a new era in Finnish design that celebrates the

A Letter from Mother Teresa, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Siddharth Sunder. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)

A gold dial Titan quartz wristwatch with a worn-out brown leather strap. A 32-caliber Colt pistol. A dekchi, or brass cooking pot for cooking the traditional rice dish biryani. A signed letter from Mother Teresa. An Imperial Bank of India checkbook. These are but five items in the collection ofMuseum of Material Memory, an online repository of objects from across the Indian subcontinent, dating from or before the 1970s, including books,

Lord Jones CBD bath salts

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Lorne M. Buchman

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Dior Spa Cheval Blanc Paris

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Black denim fabric with pink cross stitches

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The Reverso watch

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Cartier's Pixelage necklace

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The Amant Foundation in Brooklyn.

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Gold jewelry from Loren Teetelli’s Viking Trove collection.

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A holographic necklace with a yellow gem at the center

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The interior of Google's first retail store.

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Entrepreneur Jaé Joseph

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A diamond necklace with large turquoise gems

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Author and potter Bonnie Kemske in her studio

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A white ceramic kettle on a white background.

In 1983, the British fashion designer Margaret Howell made the first of many visits to Japan, where she discovered toolsAffinities: 50 Years of Design, a new short film directed by artist Emily Richardson that celebrates the distinctive work that Howell—now 74 and with Ep. 44 of our Time Sensitive podcast). The film is on view via the brand’s website and, along with a presentation of drawings and artifacts from Howell’s pe

Decorated room screens and sculptures

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A navy blue watch on a desk next to a picture of the moon

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A white ceramic lamp on a wood table.

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The interior of Beverly's pop-up, with a large indigo textile and cookware hanging on a white wall.

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Three white, off-kilter sculptures on a white background.

Artist Eric Oglander gravitates toward materials that collapse time and space, and holds an unwavering faith in the powetihngs.com, and plans to open a brick-and-mortar shop of the same name in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens later this year). IP.E.,” is on view through May 15.

A large tray of compost heading into a white container surrounded by plants.

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Two Case containers with multicolored salads inside.

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A wide-blade rip saw.

As the vaccine rollout continues, previously closed galleries and museums have, thankfully, continued to steadily reopenWhen Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan,” on view through July 11, presents an ode to the tradition of Japanese architecture and handcraft. On display are an atōryō. The collection of beautiful saws, chisels, and planes demonstrate the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Japanese joiner

Brown bowls on a dark yellow background.

East Fork imbues traditional clay tableware with a sense of delight, resulting in pieces that are instantly recognizable. The commonth)—while its expansion into the lifestyle realm, with online recipes and carefully culled pantry items, such as black gar Your products often immediately sell out. A few months ago, an article in the New York Post called your passionate fans the “new potheads.” What makes East Fork’s pieces so covetable?

An old sweater darned with purple thread.

Recent studies attest to what the crafters among us have known for a long time: that the rhythmic, repetitive nature of knitting, crocCelia Pym, working with her hands is more than a stress-relieving pastime—it’s instinctive. She grew up in a family where repairi

A kintsugi kit on a wooden table, next to several repaired plates.

Is our obsession with newness an ailment of capitalism? Kintsugi, the traditional Japanese art of mending broken pottery, has been around for more than four centuries—but its philosophkintsukuroi, meaning “golden repair”—sees breakage as a valuable asset that adds to an object’s history. Fragments are pieced back

A textile in bright streaks of gold, blue, and red.

Textile designer Anni Albers, who was born in Berlin at the turn of the 20th century, brought a modernist touch and expe“In a Slow Manner,” the first presentation at Paris’s Maison du Danemark since it completed an extensive renovation. Opening Feb. 3, the sh

Three white Dally soap dispensers on a concrete wall.

Hand-wringing and hand-washing seem to be defining this time warp of a pandemic. When it comes to the latter, we’re partSlowdown hand-wash set from the New York upstart Dally Goods—not just for its name (which, to be clear, we’re not connected to), but its ethosExperts say fantasy can provide a way through difficult times; if harmless daydreaming can get us through this moment, we’ll happily indulge in a bit of wanderlust where we can find

Glen Adamson in a dark jacket and shirt, smiling at the camera.

Technology and industry often get much of the credit for fueling the United States’ development, but for curator, writerCraft: An American History (Bloomsbury), out next week, Adamson shows how skilled laborers shaped the nation, telling remarkable, often surprising

A pair of white denchers with gold and rose-gold grills.

Dental grills might seem like a latter-day invention, but they’re actually anything but. Decorative tooth accessories weRi Serax, whose outrageous embellishments are worn inside the mouths of rap and R&B artists including Jpegmafia, Princess Nokia,

Screens from the Kama app featuring suggestions and techniques.

The culture of wellness tends to focus on trends, like meditation hacks or CBD gummies. But a new app devotes itself to Kama turns to leading neuroscientists, psychologists, somatic therapists, and other experts to help us better our bedroom hasaid in an interview with Forbes that she sees the company as a response to a “sex and intimacy recession” that’s happening around the world. “Our body

Two wooden boxes, one with a clear top and one with a wooden top.

Wood boxes are something of a national treasure in Japan, where Buddhist monks began tucking stoles, prayer beads, and okiribako—boxes handcrafted from paulownia, a native tree with lightweight, durable, water-resistant timber—into the mainstream. Masuda Kiribako, which has been skillfully producing traditional receptacles since 1929.

Marbled black tondela vessels in a gallery.

Three years ago, French furniture and object designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance—whose clients include Baccarat, Bernhardt Made in Situ that champions the traditional crafts, techniques, and materials of the region through objects he designs and makes witsoenga. How did the idea for Made in Situ come about?

A waving Ghanan pakurigo basket.

Imagine shopping a trove of objects that are at once elegant and ethically made—no post-purchase consumer guilt necessarGoodee, an online marketplace of homewares and clothing that make a positive impact on people and the planet. Founded by Montrundulating Pakurigo baskets handwoven by artisans in Ghana from locally sourced vetiver grass, vegan seaweed soap that cleverly uses coriander seeds and peppercorns as exfoliants, and the sought-after Goodee Hoodie, recently released in three new colors (dusty rose, Egyptian blue, and alabaster) and made from Egyptian cotton by the Kotn. There’s also a handsome German Douglas pine daybed from Danish B Corp Skagerak, topped with Kvadrat upholstery, and a Japanese windmill palm fiber “corner brush” designed to dust the undustable. Feel like decking the halls? Try these multihued Jipi Baubles tree ornaments, handmade from Jipijapa palm tree leaves by Colombian artisans in the Andes. For those on our gift lists, including the

An astronaut on the moon, with a dome reflected in their visor.

That we’ve all likely considered relocating to another planet at some point this year may be no bad thing, according to In a recent study published in the journal PLOS One, the group describes their experiments with the organic polymer chitin that demonstrate its viability as a building matEp. 16 of our Time Sensitive podcast)—with a mineral equivalent to Martian soil. They used it to successfully construct an array of objects, including a worProject Olympus, a research initiative looking to develop structures that can be 3D-printed out of lunar dust. Working with the Austin-he recently told Fast Company. “It’s actually going to make construction on Earth even faster, even cheaper.”