Design USA: Contemporary Innovation


The way we perceive objects is tied to their construction, among other things. Sometimes, however, novel materials and construction techniques inspire designers to rethink and redesign products—to approach the traditional and familiar from a fresh perspective. The pairing of contrasting fabrics in Maria Cornejo’s fashion demonstrates the influence that the deceptively simple choice of material has upon a garment’s silhouette. Similarly, the bronze façade of Billie Tsien and Tod Williams’ American Folk Art Museum evokes a feeling of tension and apprehension created by the fact that such a heavy piece appears to float in air. Rick Joy’s architecture produces original spaces with a distinctly modernist flavor while using rammed earth, a centuries-old, low-tech building material. Julie Bargmann’s designs demonstrate what can be done with unwanted resources. Her work on remediated sites tackles the difficult question of how to reverse the adverse effects of industrial “progress.”