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Symbols by the Plate
Husband-and-wife jewelry designers Murat and Beth Bugdaycay, the duo behind the New York brand Foundrae, make pieces freighted with meaning. Their jewelry employs a lexicon of symbols culled from a host of esoteric traditions and expressive of what they term “tenets,” such as Strength, Karma and Dream. Now they’ve teamed up with another family-run business, the Milan-based Laboratorio Paravicini, makers of fine tableware, on a line of nine hand-painted gilded porcelain plates featuring the same suggestive runic vocabulary. The idea behind the Tenets collection, explains Beth, is to create modern heirlooms. “I have a lot passed down in my family,” she says. “When you touch those pieces, you know how many other loving hands also used them. There’s a feeling that you’re a part of a legacy of love.” From $65, foundrae.com.
Artistic collaboration is a political act, according to the painter Tschabalala Self — whose richly colored mixed-material canvases interrogate notions of the Black female body — one she thinks Black creatives across various disciplines ought to engage in. “When there’s an opportunity to show camaraderie or allegiance to one another, it’s great to take it,” she says. So when the luxury retailer Yoox invited her to curate a small edition of design objects, Self asked her friends Brandon Blackwood, a fashion designer, and Reginald Sylvester II, an artist, to work with her. The resulting two-piece “Our House” collection, launching Oct. 19, comprises an exclusive iteration of Blackwood’s chic, boxy Kuei bag in leather, which he adorned with an allover pattern lifted by Self from her 2016 work “Bellyphat,” as well as a voluptuous vessel in charcoal-dyed cement by Sylvester that can serve as both vase and candleholder. The latter piece’s packaging includes a drawing by Self of its sculptural, almost figurative form, constituting a de facto bonus artwork. From $350, yoox.com.
The Dance of Diaspora
With her first book, “Untitled,” which was recently shortlisted for Aperture’s PhotoBook Awards, the photographer Sasha Phyars-Burgess arrives with a highly developed style somewhere between portraiture and social documentary. The monograph’s first part, titled “There (Yankee),” explores the artist’s Trinidadian heritage as seen through the eyes of a first-generation American born in Brooklyn. Many other photos from the book depict Black nightlife and party cultures, and deploy dance as a metaphor as much as a physical act: In a multiway interview with the artists Juliana Huxtable and Carolyn Lazard that accompanies the images, Phyars-Burgess likens the production and circulation of Black art to a dance circle: All are welcome to watch, but only those forming part of the circle glean its deepest meaning. Shot in black and white, primarily with a large-format film camera, Phyars-Burgess’s pictures convey subtle narrative cues via dazzling dramas of light, shape and shadow, uncovering an uncanny magic at the heart of everyday interactions. $60, becapricious.com.
The Snake in the Garden of Design
Not long after the South Africa-based designer Rich Mnisi launched his eponymous line of bold, gender-fluid fashion in 2015, he began experimenting with making furniture. “I realized I could think of designing furniture the same way I design clothing: by accommodating the human body,” he says. “I designed the first prototype to feel like an embrace from my great-grandmother.” Indeed, Mnisi’s couches, chaises and sofas bear a remarkable resemblance to recumbent female figures à la Henry Moore, a phenomenon in evidence in his first full collection of furniture, now on view at Southern Guild gallery in Cape Town. Such sinuousness can also have a dark side, however: One of the most striking objects of the six-piece collection is the Nyoka console (Nyoka, which is also the title of the show, means “snake” in Xitsonga), which features a writhing serpentine form whose head is hidden behind a painted and beaded curtain. “I often play with the concept of duality,” says Mnisi. “So much good can be born of confronting fear.” southernguild.co.za.
Nikolaj Hansson may be a self-described skateboarder at heart, but during the pandemic he developed a passion for tennis while playing on the courts in Faelledparken, Copenhagen’s largest park. Soon, Hansson — a veteran of the Danish design world, having worked as a communications consultant for Tekla Fabrics and Muuto — got to noticing, as any sartorially sensitive serve-and-volleyer must, the parlous state of tennis fashion, saturated as it is with “high-level performance brands,” in his words, with scant regard for style. So he stepped into the breach and developed his own brand, Palmes Tennis Society, a line of classic tennis wear for both on and off the court. Its cotton polos, paneled shorts and houndstooth Shetland-wool blazer reference just enough retro preppy chic without going full country club. But perhaps Palmes’s classiest vintage nod is its Leo vest, inspired by the sweater-vests of erstwhile tennis style icons like Björn Borg and Boris Becker. It’s fitted to allow for freedom of movement mid-forehand, but also layers well with an oxford. From $50, palmes.co.
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