Launch Party for 1stdibs’ Contemporary Furniture Platform

Singer, songwriter, architect and designer Martina Guandalini with furniture designer Sergio Mannino

Last week, 1stdibs celebrated the launch of its contemporary furniture section, with a cocktail party in the Sky Room of Manhattan’s New Museum — a fitting space for a fete toasting what’s next in design.

The party centered around a curated collection of seating being offered on 1stdibs, including the Densen armchair by Egg Collective, Woven stool by Vedat Ulgen of Thislexik and a carbon-fiber F1 lounge chair by Philip Caggiano (which in-the-know party guests attested is far more comfortable than one might think).

Less overtly chair-y, though no less handsome, were Ian Stell’s zigzagging Three-Stool bench; May Furniture’s stone-like Sphere, a fiberglass ball with a hole in it; and Fernando Mastrangelo’s green drum made of cement and rock salt, which could be a seat or side table or a sculpture.

The stars of the party (clockwise from top left): Woven stool by Thislexik, Densen chair by Egg Collective, cement and rock salt drum by Fernando Mastrangelo, F1 lounge chair by Philip Caggiano, Sling chair by Workstead, Lincoln chair by Asher Israelow, Three-Stool bench by Ian Stell, DK chair by Uhuru Design, Sphere by May Furniture and Goddard chair by Pinch Design in Martyn Thompson fabric

“It’s just usable art, really,” says furniture designer and art director Anna Karlin, reflecting on the direction many contemporary designers are now heading with their work, a theory made further evident by the pieces on display.

Karlin, who’s known for her geometric Chess stool, sculptural lighting and glassware, says she herself likes to create works that are both modern and loud. “The test that I give to myself has become, ‘Would I want it in my house?’ And if I don’t want it in my house, then why am I making it?’”

Bennett Leifer

Interior designer Bennett Leifer

Interior designer Bennett Leifer, for his part, says the clients he is working with are embracing the new and different. “I presented today in Watermill [on Long Island] to clients, and they want to do Hunt Slonem wallpaper in a bathroom. So then we bought a whole collection of Hunt Slonem art to hang in the adjacent bedroom. The clients that are savvy about art and design are really looking to make a statement.”

Christian Lopez Swafford, who alongside Lauren Larson comprises the arty design duo Material Lust, says the innovations happening in design have made this moment an exciting time to be working — especially in New York.

Lauren Larson, Christian Swafford, Beth Klein, Erin Roth

Left to right: Lauren Larson and Christian Swafford of Material Lust with 1stdibbers Beth Klein and Erin Roth

“Because our work is very different from everyone else’s, we just focus on what we are doing, and I feel like you can’t really do that anywhere else, at least not in this country,” Swafford said. “What we are doing is just one little part to the whole New York design story right now. It’s a really interesting scene at the moment.”

Larson added: “We never want to follow trends or be known for one thing. Our last collection was called Geometry Is God, and now we are saying geometry is dead. It is important to keep pushing forward.”

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