From March 21–24, some 40,000 design devotees will fill New York’s Piers 92 and 94 for the 18th annual Architectural Digest Design Show to peruse vignettes from more than 400 brands. It’s March Madness in the design set—a playground of furniture, lighting, and ideas that gives show-goers a chance to shop, source, and connect with designers. For Justin Nelson, founder of Bend, Oregon-based Fernweh Woodworking, that connection is priceless.
“I’ve done smaller craft and art shows,” the former marine officer says. “But this is my first east coast show, and my first big design show.” Nelson, who launched Fernweh in 2015, will exhibit a line of walnut furniture, including nesting side tables and his award-winning Sling Chair—a seat interior designer Emily Henderson recently featured in her Portland renovation house project. Nelson will also present Fernweh’s new charcoal ash finish option, which has a deep, dark satin finish that, due to the nature of American Ash wood, has a very visible grain.
As for the inspiration behind the new collection, Nelson credits the ethical design philosophy and work of the late furniture designer Sam Maloof, and renowned Danish furniture designer Hans Wegner. “In a world where cheap mass-produced furniture is everywhere, we have lost something by almost exclusively designing furniture that is made by a machine,” he says. “There is value in including furniture with soul into any design plan. Each of our pieces is a soulful, handcrafted statement piece, no matter what angle it is viewed from.”
The Architectural Digest Design Show, March 21–24, New York; addesignshow.com