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The collectible design gallery finds a home in a historic space in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.

A woman in baremeet and a gray boiler suit stands in front of a wooden console with vases of flowers on top.

Amanda Pratt, founder of Salon Design, in her gallery's recently opened New York space.

Last month Salon Design, a platform focused on female makers whose studios produce collectible design, opened its first New York showroom, located in the SoHo neighborhood. Founded three-and-a-half years ago by Amanda Pratt, principal of her namesake interior architecture practice, Amanda Pratt Design, Salon Design seeks to address the gender imbalance so often found in galleries, while also providing a space for both emerging and established talents to showcase and experiment with their work.

“Salon's thoughtfully curated group of artists intentionally reverses the gender ratios found at similar galleries with eighty percent of our roster being women,” Pratt says. “This slant toward the ‘feminine’ definitely impacts the type of work we show, which is visually stimulating, thoughtfully crafted, and challenges the boundaries between art and function.”

A bench and a small brass console site in front of a black wall with four porcelain plates hanging on it.

Work by Natalia Landowska, part of the METAMORPHOSIS show, hangs on the wall at Salon Design. Additional pieces in the show are the Bobbin bench and Butler table by Laun and the wooden textile by Elisa Strozyk.

The 2,500-square-foot gallery is housed in a building with a rich history of housing art and design. Purchased in the late nineteenth century by Catherine Wilkins, one of the first female real estate developers in New York, the building was renovated by renowned architect William Appleton Potter, who added unique design elements to the facade, including Italianate columns and slender cast-iron sunflowers on the frieze. After its completion in 1873, the property was sold to William Waldorf Astor in 1898, founder of the Waldorf Astoria and great-grandson of Jacob Astor.

“One of Salon's founding principles is the work we show is meant to last a lifetime,” says Pratt. “It is truly ageless. For that reason, showcasing contemporary work in historical spaces has a relevance beyond the juxtaposition of periods in design. I was taken by the cast-iron facade and historical references in the building's architecture, but it is equally important that the interior feels special and retains many of the original details. So many galleries are blank white spaces. Salon has been fortunate to find spaces that ‘feel’ like a home, allowing our clients to envision work as it is meant to exist. The fact that a female was behind the original development is truly kismet.”

A group of multi-colored art pieces hang on a wall. A table and two lamps with silicone fringe sit in front of them.

Work from Laun (tables and lamps) stands in front of Manon Steyaert’s series, Overflowing Color (hanging on the wall), as part of METAMORPHOSIS.

To celebrate its NYCxDESIGN opening, Salon mounted METAMORPHOSIS, a juried exhibition featuring the work of 20 makers including Laun, Christina Watka, Natalia Landowska, and Ashley Page, among others. An exploration of materials and the different—sometimes surprising—that the artists and designers used them, METAMORPHOSIS blended the high craftsmanship of art with furniture’s utilitarianism for a genre-crossing showcase full of moments of discovery. For example, both London-based artist Manon Steyaert and Los Angeles studio Laun worked with silicone; each presented radically different results. In Steyaert’s series, Overflowing Color, wall-hanging ovaloid silicone forms take on the look of fabric, while Laun’s Butler table lamp use ribbons of silicone to play with the dispersal of light.

“Metamorphosis references the concept of transformation,” Pratt explains. “In the context of the show, Metamorphosis explored how artists use the same materials or techniques to produce vastly different outcomes. While the one-of-a-kind works being presented are boundary-pushing explorations into materials, processes, and construction techniques, for me, the show was a celebration of creative individualism.”

A pendant light hangs over a large wooden rectangular bench.

A Brightbound x Windy Chien pendant hangs above Token's Sarsen bench at Salon Design.

This kind of exploration is something that Pratt hopes to continue to foster, specifically for emerging designers, who often struggle to fund their initial collections. She would like Salon Design to eventually offer a residency program for new makers—a cohort she notes, that is increasingly turning its efforts to embrace social responsibility in design.

“Our emerging voices are considering the environmental footprint of their studio practices, seeking out partnerships with organizations that pay living wages, and finding ways to honor and maintain heritage craft techniques, all without sacrificing originality, quality, and craft,” she says. “I am constantly astounded by the combination of raw talent and depth of feeling exhibited by our young makers. I cannot wait to see the growth and innovation that is sure to come.”

A group of abnormally shaped tables and a chair sit in front of a hand-painted floral wall.

Hand-painted wallpaper by Pictalab, Nube lounge by River Valadez, and Simple Shade 03 - Chalk & Putty Ombré pendant by Naomi Paul.

Images by Rafa Wielgus


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