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Brooklyn Designeyness

Last weekend, we checked out the Brooklyn Design fair in DUMBO, a painfully hip expo of furniture and interior goodies. I liked the sleek Cyclone Lounger, made of discarded Coney Island boardwalk wood by Uhuru, but it takes a lot of work to get those famous splinters out—$7,000-plus, actually. We'll be sticking to loungers from Lowe's, I'm afraid.


And if we were in this league, our first stop would be the drawing board of Juni Setiowati, a brilliant young Brooklyn furniture designer poised for discovery by the DUMBO crowd. I've actually flung myself on this exquisite modular bed/headboard unit she created for her fledgling U&I Design Studio, and been convinced it would suffuse my whole chaotic bedroom in serenity (while creating a secret ocean of storage space). The fair showcased a lot of self-consciously cutting-edge stuff, but nothing with this intuitive elegance. You heard it here first.


Funny thing was, we found cooler designey-ness on the nearby streets than at the $15-per-ticket fair. Like the contents of this barnlike Japanese antiques emporium, Shibui, tucked away in sleepy Vinegar Hill. Just about any of their exquisitely tooled ancient wood, stone, or woven thingamajigs would render a room instantly Zenalicious.

This piece is worthy of Madama Butterfly primping for Pinkerton; note the tiny bird cutouts under the mirror. Even their midcentury anime ephemera (right) are worth coveting.


But best of all, just hanging out on the street in front of a parking lot near a pita-bread bakery was this: the Ladder of Achievement Chair. Which rung are you on?


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