If you haven’t visited the Kehoe Iron Works Building or the Trustees’ Garden lately, you’re in for a treat when Unique Design X Group takes over the space to celebrate contemporary design, art and architecture.
The five-day event features an international cadre of designers united to showcase a selection of their fun and funky functional art. And if you like skateboarding, you’re in luck too – the event features a fully functional, design-driven object park.
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The Collectible Design Fair returns to Savannah on Wednesday and runs through Sunday, showcasing the multidisciplinary work of 19 artists from 12 countries around the world.
Artists and their works are selected based on a series of criteria.
“We look for incredibly forward-thinking and relevant artistic concepts behind each artist’s creativity and excellence in their material choices to express those concepts,” said Morgan Morris, Founder and Director of Unique Design X.
“We are also interested in sustainable approaches to how they work and show their pieces, as well as the wise use of intersections in the practice of collectible design to innovate and push the boundaries of creative practice to new horizons. .”
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Burkinabe artist Hamed Ouattara works with discarded oil drums to create pieces reminiscent of mid-century office furniture. He works by hand and reuses metal for new functional forms. His work balances form and function in a robust, substantial and unique way – a perfect example of collectible design.
“The field of collectible design or ‘functional art’ sits at the intersection of different areas of creative practice,” Morris pointed out. “Architects, fashion designers, artists as well as product or industrial designers are all known to create collectible design works that are either limited editions or unique objects with a function, but a function that is sometimes an option.”
Spanish artist Luna Paiva forges metal to create shapes. A graduate of La Sorbonne and NYU, she mainly works in sculpture and installation. One of Paiva’s cast metal chairs is shown, and it plays with the idea of functionality, in that although its function is ostensibly for sitting, due to the hard, pointed materials of the shape, the chair does not invite to sit down – its function is optional.
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Each year, Unique Design X Group commissions an artist to design a temporary skatepark in partnership with Tony Hawk’s skatepark project for underserved youth. This year, British Nigerian artist, Yinka Ilori, is rolling out the park of skate-able objects featured outdoors in Trustees’ Garden. Known for his large, brightly colored works and bold, intricate patterns, Ilori creates parks all over the world. His most recent last December in Miami featured ramps and rails of bright yellows, pinks, greens and oranges.
This year, proceeds from the event also benefit Savannah nonprofits Urban Hope and Greenbriar Children’s Center.
“We strongly believe that the fusion of skate art and design can uplift communities and encourage innovation through diverse multicultural exchange,” Morris said. “We also want to forge strong local ties in each of the cities where our international nomadic platform is based. Having our annual event hosted at Trustees Garden, the first experimental botanical garden established in 1732, is our dream to plant seeds for future generations and connect Savannah to global creative communities in a peaceful and harmonious way across the culture.
Unique Design X Group is a women-founded “traveling boutique” design trade show that celebrates collectible design and its community of designers. Since 2019, the group has organized events in Shanghai, Paris, Moscow, Miami and Savannah.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
What: The Collectible Design Fair
Where: Trustees Garden, 660 East Broughton Street, Savannah
When: Wednesday, April 27 to Sunday, May 1, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $20 general, $10 students and seniors