Boston Home Spring 2010: Next Generation Design

Introducing the up-and-coming design pros who will shape the way we build our homes, decorate our living rooms, spend our free time, and think about the city in the decade to come.

The Provocateur
Chris Grimley, 38

Cofounder of Pink Comma Gallery and Over, Under design studio; writer, book designer, and educator (most recently at Northeastern). Degree: Architecture, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Résumé: Machado and Silvetti Associates, Boston. Focus: Multidisciplinary design and research; bringing together Boston’s next generation of thinkers. Design heroes: Architect Gordon Bunshaft (1909–1990); British architectural theorists Alison and Peter Smithson. Recent exhibit: "Heroic: Boston Concrete 1957–1976," which explores the city’s modernist roots. Why Boston? "Like Toronto, it’s a small city with big ideas. Thankfully, we’re getting beyond looking at the cityscape as an architectural artifact." How can Boston foster the next generation of designers? "We need to trust our young designers enough to give them projects—they’re invested in the city, and they’re here to stay."

The Philanthropist
David Gamble, 41

Principal of Gamble Associates; founder, Community Design Resource Center, Boston; educator, Northeastern and Harvard. Degree: Architecture, Harvard. Résumé: M & P Design, Zurich; Rob Krier/Christoph Kohl, Berlin; Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, Cambridge. Focus: Urban design, specifically the impact of institutional growth on transitional neighborhoods. Why teach? "It broadens my approach. Today’s students are looking to make a real difference." Why volunteer? "Young designers need real-world experience, and nonprofits need design services. Why not align the need with the demand?" Why Boston? "Competition is tough, but there’s an infectious spirit of collaboration here, especially among younger practitioners."

 

ARTISTS

Rescuers
Tony Bevilacqua, 30, and Alicia Cornwell, 27, Chroma Lab

Bostonian Tony Bevilacqua, an artist and decorative painter, and Texan Alicia Cornwell, an art historian, take "old things that need a second chance" (e.g., vintage writing desks and night tables) and transform them into playful pieces using low-VOC paints and finishes. The Boston-based pair, who formed their furniture company in 2008, also design quirky clocks and wall treatments, such as murals. Always up for a challenge, they welcome custom orders, and even the ugliest bureau can be salvaged in their expert hands. "There really is a market in Boston," Bevilacqua says. "People like things that are punchy and fun."

Urban Magician
Janet Echelman, 43, Janet Echelman Sculpture

Janet Echelman uses light and a web of steel cables to create large urban works that respond to natural forces such as wind, sunlight, and water. She began using nets after a 1996 trip to India to lecture on a Fulbright grant. There, she observed fishermen hauling their catches, and that moment inspired several installations here and abroad, including Her Secret Is Patience, a 145-foot-high sculpture in downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space Park. "My strategy is to let my work be choreographed by nature," says Echelman, who lives in Brookline with her husband and two children.

Accessory Talents
Jessica Rosenkrantz, 26, and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, 23, Nervous System

MIT grads Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg combine their knowledge of science and nature to generate organically patterned jewelry and home -accessories. The couple formed their Amherst-based company in 2007 as they were wrapping up their studies, he in math, she in biology and architecture. At the heart of their work is the software they developed, which uses pattern-generating algorithms to create unique designs. The result: beautiful adornments made of everything from rubber to gold, available online and in domestic and international boutiques. Because the pair is constantly learning about naturally occurring patterns, the design possibilities are endless.