The Story of Bok Bar’s Furniture: Part 1
In part one of their mini blog-style sponsored post series, DesignPhiladelphia profiles the work of 4 designer teams who recently designed furniture for Bok Bar in South Philadelphia as part of this year's DesignPhiladelphia Festival. Look out for part two of the story here on the Artblog on September 15.

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This past February, Bok Bar commissioned eight local individuals and small teams of designers, makers, and artists to create bespoke furniture for Bok Bar. The teams that were chosen are diverse – from emerging visual artists to long-time Philly furniture designers. For 3 short months, the teams went through a concept design process lead by Scout’s in-house architects, Emma Rutherford, and Richard Hall, and co-founder/managing partner, Lindsey Scannapieco.

DesignPhiladelphia’s program manager, Sharon Leshner sat in on the Bok furniture design process and spoke with each design team. Here is a behind the scenes look at 4 of 9 teams behind the furniture. Look out for the following 4 posts on ArtBlog on September 15th.

BOK and CFAD Design Challenge
Chris Kendig Photography courtesy of Center for Architecture and Design.

You can meet the designers in person on Friday, October 13 during the DesignPhiladelphia Festival. Guillio Cappellini of the world renowned Italian furniture company, Cappellini, will moderate a panel of Bok Bar designers and artists. Get tickets and learn more.

DNL + DSN, Daniel Saldutti

Daniel Saldutti of DNL+DSN grew up in Washington State. As an Interior Design student, he spent his time making, “ I didn’t have any money, so I made things with whatever I could find”. After 3 years of working as an apprentice for a furniture designer, Daniel started to find his voice. “At a certain point, I wanted my style to come from within, rather than looking for trends to fit within” Daniel’s Philly-based company DNL+DSN embodies that unique style. When describing personality of the tables he made for Bok Bar, he explains that “They’re like an outfit, black t-shirt, good quality black jeans, and some funky shoes – the sneaker is the fold of steel on the edge of the table”.

BOK and CFAD Design Challenge
DNL + DSN, Daniel Saldutti. Photo courtesy of Center for Architecture and Design.
Bok Bar furniture design
DNL + DSN, Daniel Saldutti. Photo courtesy of Center for Architecture and Design.

Lydia Smith and Dianne Loftis

The Bok Bar furniture design competition marks Lydia and Dianne’s first ever collaboration. Both Lydia and Dianne arrived at the initial Bok meet and greet having freshly arrived in the US after a 1 year international fellowship. Lydia had been studying the cultural meaning of cemeteries, and Dianne, had been exploring geopolitics of contemporary art at exhibitions and cultural institutions. Despite their different interests, they both curiously found that they had a common interest in scaffolding, and strong desire to make artwork with construction materials. In Dianne’s words, “Scaffolding can be unintentionally beautiful” At Bok Bar, Lydia and Dianne designed and built lounge chairs made out of construction netting. Intentionally, gorgeous pieces.

BOK and CFAD Design Challenge
Inspiration for Dianne Loftis and Lydia Smith. Photo courtesy of Center for Architecture and Design.
BOK and CFAD Design Challenge
Dianne Loftis and Lydia Smith. Photo courtesy of Center for Architecture and Design.

Austin McInnis, Kyle Burke, and Eric Tsurumaki

Austin, Eric, and Kyle met as architecture students at Philadelphia University (now Jefferson). Eric shares that “We admired the same designers, we had similar design sensibilities, we evolved together”. The Bok Bar competition is the first time that the group is collaborating outside of the architecture studio. “During this process, we have had to take a collective step outside of our comfort zone – making a piece for production is an entirely different animal” While each architect has different tastes, they’ve found synergy in the humor of their Bok Bar piece. “This is our missed connections table, people might find themselves snaking around the table, finding creative ways to make connections.”

Inspiration for Austin McInnis, Kyle Burke, and Eric Tsurumaki. Photo courtesy of Center for Architecture and Design.
BOK and CFAD Design Challenge
Austin McInnis, Kyle Burke, and Eric Tsurumaki. Photo courtesy of Center for Architecture and Design.

KSS Architecture + StudioRON

The KSS + StudioRON partnership began with a “design blind date”. Beth Emig (KSS) and Justin Bernard (StudioRON), both Temple Alum, decided to collaborate on the Bok Bar competition somewhat “out of the blue”. The collective team of 10+ designers who worked on the furniture describe the process as being much different than what they typically do “in this process we’ve had the freedom to work through imagery we wouldn’t typically show to clients”. During the initial critique, the team shared whimsical collages of beach boardwalks, paired with renderings of dimensional seating – a mix of wood and pool noodles. The final design brings the beach vibe to Bok Bar, on the top of an old high school, in the heart of South Philly.

BOK and CFAD Design Challenge
Inspiration for KSS Architecture + StudioRON. Photo courtesy of Center for Architecture and Design.
BOK and CFAD Design Challenge
KSS Architecture + StudioRON. Photo courtesy of Center for Architecture and Design.

Meet the designers in person on Friday, October 13 during the DesignPhiladelphia Festival.

Tags

Austin McInnis, Bok Bar, Center for Architecture and Design, Chris Kendig Photography, Daniel Saldutti, designphiladelphia, DesignPhiladelphia Festival, Dianne Loftis, DNL + DSN, Eric Tsurumaki, Guillio Cappellini, KSS Architecture, Kyle Burke, Lydia Smith, StudioRON

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