The year New Yorkers went nuts for pink, rediscovered 1980s postmodernism and made design political, reports Sam Eichblatt
Why New York’s annual design event featured pink, politics and postmodernism
If 2016 was the year a particular shade of retro-vibe pastel became Millennial Pink, then we hit Peak Pink in 2017. At this year’s NYC x Design – the three-month design festival that includes the ‘luxury furniture’ festival ICFF – the shade was everywhere. Its continued relevance and association with gender fluidity was even the subject of a New York feature.
The blush obsession dovetails neatly with young designers’ rediscovery of the Memphis Group, the short-lived Pop Art-inspired 1980s movement led by Ettore Sottsass. Away from the social-media frenzy, however, other designers (many of them working outside the main centres)are quietly producing work that draws on the country’s industrial-design heritage, Shaker-style craft, and sustainable production to establish a pragmatic, timeless American design vernacular.
In response to the current political climate, some designers withdrew from large commercial events in favour of smaller, more maker-focused shows such as Site Unseen. Others, such as Egg Collective, the star of last year’s festival, worked with an alternative voice in Designing Women NYC, and Chelsea’s Chamber Gallery offered outright dissent with a roster of female- and female-identifying artists in Room with its Own Rules, the “parallel, post-patriarchal reality in which an all-female show is a normal phenomenon”.