Avenue Road hosted a panel discussion on the role of national identity in design at the company’s Flatiron, New York City, showroom on May 13. Moderated by Wallpaper editor Pei-Ru Keh with guests Christophe Delcourt, Marcel Wolterinck, Sebastian Herkner, Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu, the discussion centered on the role of national identity but also broadened to address the function of design. “The idea of where we come from,” said Keh, who introduced herself as something of an international citizen—born in Singapore, she now works in New York for a British magazine—“has always informed where we go.”
Panelists Pushelberg, Yabu, Wolterinck, Herkner and Delcourt
As Ontario native Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg explained, “I do think we’re a product of where we come from,” yet design is also about who is on the receiving end: “What’s key is that there is emotional resonance for the person who uses it, with some sense of history” as well as a consideration of the future. “Who are we designing for? What will make this authentic or real?”
Guests enjoyed Avenue Road's showroom, appointed with pieces from the panelists' collections.
Herkner, who designed the stunning and popular Bell Table, which along with the Bleecker Street Table was exhibited in the Avenue Road showroom, noted that “a product should become a companion for your life.” He stressed the importance of relationships between designer and material, saying that his creative “starting point is very often the material and the craftsmanship.” Herkner’s Bell Table is composed of glass developed from a “very old” glass manufacturer based in Bavaria.
Gum and Mat, by Christophe Delcourt
Wolterinck's Fossano sofa
Bell Tables in Montana Blue by Herkner
Panelists and party guests mingled among Avenue Road’s collection preview, replete with a custom floral display created by Dutch-born Wolterinck. The collection featured seating from Yabu Pushelberg including the Park Place Chair, Park Place Stool and Rue Saint-Honore Stool; as well as Wolterinck’s lush Fossano Sofa, Giaveno Table and Arenzano Cabinet and the GUM Chair and NEJ Table from Delcourt, among other recently released pieces.