LA*SHO Opens Tomorrow Featuring Ellen’s Design Challenge Alums And MoreAuthor:Abigail Stone
The first ever LA*SHO opens Friday night at Think Tank in the Arts District of Los Angeles. Part party, part design show, it brings together contemporary designers and makers from around the country. The show’s been curated by Cleveland-based furniture maker Jason Radcliffe of 44 Steel, who’s been presenting F*SHO in Cleveland since 2009. A contestant on Spike’s Framework, Radcliffe’s invited many of his colleagues from that show and from HGTV’s Ellen’s Design Challenge to participate. Partygoers who stumble upon pieces that intrigue them will be able to purchase them on the spot or make private appointments to return on Saturday.
We sat down with two familiar faces—Leslie Shapiro Joyal and Gaspar de Jesus from Ellen’s Design Challenge—to find out about the pieces they’re bringing to the show and what they learned as contestants.
CH+D: Leslie, let’s start with you, tell me about the some of the designs we’ll be seeing at LA*SHO.
Leslie Shapiro Joyal: I’m bringing Cocoon daybed (see above image). It’s one of my trademark pieces. I focus a lot on solid wood and this is a very large, solid wood piece. I’m also bringing some lounge chairs, the Sirk table, Otto-to-go (an upholstered ottoman), and a wooden wall hanging. It’s a piece that’s become very near and dear to my heart. It came out of the first challenge on the show which was to take this big box that we’d received and design something that would represent us as designers. I’d been designing wall panels for a client and it arose out of that. It’s very strong and minimal, but I don’t think it translated very well on the show.
Gaspar, what are you going to be presenting at the show?
Gaspar de Jesus: I’m going to be presenting three of the four pieces from my new collection. It’s inspired by steam-punk style, which I like, but I find too busy and not very functional. I wanted to bring in those elements but make it functional and beautiful. They’re different from my previous work, which is more sculptural. I’m also the Sofia lounge chair and a very conceptual, sculptural piece made out of stainless steel that represents strength and beauty and femininity. It’s called the Madonna chair.
What were some of the most valuable lessons you both feel you took away from being on the show and from Ellen?
Leslie: I was the oldest designer on the show and I run a business. Everything had gotten very business oriented and I lost some of the fun that got me into design in the first place. I was the hardware store geek that stayed up all night building things! Being around the energy of younger designers made me realize that I’d stopped having as much fun, so that has been a great lesson for me. It’s gotten me back into building and getting dirty and creating just for the sake of creating. I love the process and I learned that you have to find time for it.
What was your take away, Gaspar?
Gaspar: It’s interesting to hear Leslie say that because for me it was the opposite. I’m very artistic, so I learned to think a little bit more about functionality. I’d always worried that if I only thought about functionality that I was going to make a piece that already exists, that’s boring, that’s been done before, but that’s not the case! As an artist, your fingerprint will be there in whatever you do. I learned that I have to trust my instinct, to let go, and to stop over-thinking.
Learning to trust yourself is a very valuable creative lesson.
Leslie: It’s challenging when they give you only 15 minutes to design!
Gaspar: You have to dig fast and deep into your knowledge and your instincts and you realize abilities that you didn’t know you had! It’s also valuable to see how other designers approach the same problem, but come out with a whole different solution. It opens you up to an array of possibilities you might not have recognized before.
Visit The Show:
Friday, April 10, 2015 from 5pm-11pm
Think Tank Gallery in the Arts District
939 Maple Ave South, Los Angeles, CA 90015
*The show will be open by appointment only on Saturday, April 11
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