Lawndale Art Center's yearly Design Fair is among the cultural offerings that have contributed to Houston's ever-flourishing obsession with design. For one weekend only, the forward-thinking art hub will be seized by a number of dealers, each showcasing an all-encompassing gamut of furniture, glass, ceramics, lighting, books, metalwork and fashion — everything from 20th-century modern to avant garde contemporary style.
How to take it all in?
Amid the more than 20 vendors at the shopping binge, set for Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lawndale, with a preview Friday night, is a special section dubbed The Texas Co-Op, a test lab of sorts that includes demos and interaction with 3-D printing.
Co-Op curators Scott Cartwright and Jenny Lynn Weitz-Amaré Cartwright hope to incite collaboration to bloom new design ideas between emerging creatives Nick Bontrager, Tony Garbarini, Kellee Kimbro, Keith Moy and Daniel Szymanowski.
From Antiques of River Oaks' 9,000-square-foot building on West Alabama comes an eclectic melange of occasional tables, chairs and lighting, including Guy Martin chairs crafted from brass, whose corset-laced steel cable back glistens at the slightest touch of light. A set of six chairs by Andrea Branzi are crowned by a solid beechwood that cascades from the back to the arm rests and down to the floor.
Find Bari Ziperstein funky wearable art — forged from a combination of stoneware, slip, wire and dyed suede — at Bzippy & Company. Many of her pieces are mused by the music of Fleetwood Mac and California desert landscapes. Perfect for the tall, lanky gal, long necklaces from the Wican Cowboy collection are designed to hang just below the waist.
The straightforward message in Manready Mercantile's goods is: You can be a dude and indulge in cosmetics that make you pretty.
There's always a hidden treasure to be found at Exquisite Corpse, Booksellers, whose literary bank of mostly out-of-print books focus on art, architecture and design. You may sense a hint of Eastern aesthetic in the products made by Evens, a project from Texas-based textile designer Kate dePara. The simple yet timeless garments have a story to tell.
San Antonio-native Justin Parr founded FL!GHT in 2002 with a mission to educate consumers on the difference between commercial goods and objects whose provenance stems from fine art or craft ideology. That philosophy is readily evident in his hand blown Pyrex cups and tumblers.
The straightforward message in Manready Mercantile's essential oils, soaps, wood treatment concoctions, lotions and vintage letter-pressed paper goods is: You can be a dude and indulge in cosmetics that make you pretty. Beyond personal beauty aids, look for the four-piece Gentlemen's Glassware. Each is dipped in a black polymer to render a rugged vessel suitable for an afternoon whiskey.
Don't be shy to chuckle at the pieces offered by Nanny Inez. From her South Austin boutique she presents whimsical housewares, wall art, ceramics and apothecary by designers Donna Wilson, Hay, Zuzunaga, Pop Chart Labs, Rob Ryan, SCP and Wolfum. Saint Cloud Boutique in Rice Village aims to curate an assembly of independently produced goods. That includes cabana bracelets in lapis and mother of pearl by Kathryn and Elizabeth Fortunato and gold pieces by Houston-native Candice Pool.
The fun continues inside Urban Izzy, a fashionable shop on wheels that recommends hand dyed clothes by Jessica Dolan, cards and pocket mirrors by Jessica Lopez and ties re-purposed into jewelry by Lindsay Burnes.
Also on the scene are merchandise from Carol Piper Rugs, Don Browne, Fibers for Peace, Forma Revivo, Hidden Vices, ModMade Goods, mrspkandoz, Oudvark, ph Design Shop, Sal Miel Jewelry, Settlement Goods and Smith's Opticians.
Lawndale Art Center's Design Fair 2013 begins with a Preview Party on Friday, 6-9 p.m., co-chaired by Martha Claire Tompkins and Pepper Paratore. Admission is $75 per person, $60 for Lawndale members, and includes admission on Fair Days on Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Entry on Fair Days is $5.