During my sneak peek view of The South’s Next Wave: Design Challenge at Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), it  felt like the day before a big school project was due partly because of the hurried pace; everyone was working to get everything in place before that evening’s kick off.

The featured gala opening promised to be where the action was, full of performance artists and a chichi crowd gawking at the featured designs.

The mid-morning tour by curators David Goodrowe and Tim Hobby was quick and to the point.  Their own display set the tone of the show, collaborating with their own efforts in “Shattered Boundaries,” a vignette of an ivory couture gown designed by Tim Hobby.

As for the genesis of this show, Hobby noted that there was a call for designers of interior spaces and  object designers that were then paired up to create an exhibition to compete for a grand prize of $6,000.  Every MODA visitors will be asked to vote on their favorite vignette and the highest total will win.

The participants were chosen by a jury and Atlanta based artists were favored because of the three week set up commitment. What you have are sixteen displays.

Once you walk down the entrance hallway, the interior wall is covered with slick collage photo montage of the designers literally swinging from the rafters in all type of weird contorted faces and positions next to short bios and info.

C. David Trivino, Esq. with Michael Habachy in the background

There are sixteen subdivided cubical style divisions that serve as host to the sixteen works. You can walk through the exhibit with a guide; each work has a corresponding number from 0-16.

They all have a unique perspective, but let me note a few that caught my attention:

Number 6– Darkly, Deeply, Beautiful Blue: Interior by cg creative interiors: Caryn Grossman & Chris Buxbaum with cake by Lisa Humphreys. Sets a new mode for “let them eat cake” as the silver rose petal lined floor transforms an all blue room with a larger portrait print of a wicked subject that has a safety pen through the nose.  It screams excitement and the cute stiletto cake is whimsical.

Number 16– Sound Lounge: Interior by Michael Habachy and Guitars by Peter Solomon makes for the perfect “purple” rain room. With sounds thumping, the guitar tones that were made by the guitar on display have a full purple transformation. From the purple hue carpet to the comfy couch, it screams royalty. It is part club meets “man cave”. I could not resist and remarked to designer Habachy that it needed a “stripper pole” as the ultimate toy.

Number 15– Liquid Runway: Interior by Jarno Kettunen and Glass Dresses & artwork by Kathleen Plate is the ultimate “green” venture. Note: I mean “green” not being the color but environmentally friendly kind. Plate takes glass bottles of sake and coke then slices them into cylinder rings where she fires them and makes some clear rings. She then configures them into a shell and then a series of women’s dresses.  Plate does note that you can’t sit down with these crystal creations, but they make for a remarkable effect. She also has a light fixture chandelier made from similar rings in the exhibit entrance.

Kettunen then was going to paint the background with Coca-Cola laden paint while the opening gala was in progress.

Energy Required Exhibit Number 9

Number 9– Energy Required: Interior by Thom Brown and chair & boat by Michael Kress takes on a spaghetti mess of orange electric cord extension. What you get is a ripple wave effect, of which on top is a boat prototype model of a luxury liner alongside a floating chair. Curator Tim Hobby noted he loved that chair and most of these design objects are for sale.

Number 5– Wicked Games, Tahiti, Return of the Black Prince’s Ruby (the diamond jubilee edition): Interior by Nancy Van Devender and furniture by Amy Wikman.  In this idealized game room is a game that moves seamlessly on the wall in a frantic pace.

Number 2– Heart of Darkness: Interior by Bill Musso Group– Bill Musso, Lauren Sardo, Lauren Noel Dott, Todd Falconbury, Wigs by Quron Hicks, Handbags by Tamara Bowens & Ray Bergeron.  The blood red bleeds throughout the pieces as a sudden mirror has exploded, with smoke exuding from the corner. Mixed in are modern chic wooden hand bags about.  This room is full of energy, curiosity, and an Alice in Wonderland adventure feel of another dimension. The wigs create a vision of style and wonder.

This MODA show is a different experience after the post modern show at the High Museum of Art across the street. However, MODA seems to struggle in its exhibits as it balances interesting exhibits versus those installations that will last the test of time and push the imagination.

Consistently, MODA has always done things their own way and this show is another spin of the wheel in an effort to establish their identity in the heart of Midtown.

The South’s Next Wave Design Challenge runs through March 31, 2013, for details and information: http://www.museumofdesign.org/


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