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Design Padawan Chris Hardy and Midcentury Master-Jedi Jens Risom Turn Out a Lovely Collection for Design Within Reach

All photos courtesy of Design Within Reach
All photos courtesy of Design Within Reach

Though the redbrick Terminal Stores depot in Manhattan's fringe West Chelsea neighborhood buzzed and echoed with the sounds of the Wanted Design showcase, part of New York Design Week, last week, Atlanta-based furnishings designer Chris Hardy was keeping rather calm about it all. In a dark button-up (done up all the way to the top, thank you) Hardy—born in 1984—walked Curbed through his most recent collection, done for Design Within Reach in collaboration with iconic midcentury furniture designer Jens Risom—now 99.

Working with the legendary Risom, "was a bit intimidating at first," Hardy admits. "But the first six months of the process just involved getting to know one another and digging through this incredible archive of material." That archive included handsome, comprehensive catalogues of work by the elder statesman of midcentury design, who deserves partial credit for the ascendance and fetishizing of all things 1950s and '60s. When the idea struck DWR to pair Risom with one of their young talents, Hardy's rugged-luxe aesthetic seemed likely to complement Risom's debonair pieces.

A four-drawer chest from the Ven Collection, in situ.

Risom's catalogues were a huge asset, Hardy notes, as they helped the two zero in on elements from Risom's previous hits for this new collection, aptly called Ven, a seeming nod to the meeting of the sensibilities of the young design Padawan and the Master Jedi. "The red here," Hardy says by way of example, sliding open a walnut drawer lined with a red-orange paper, "was a shade Risom used." Other touches, like the scalloped legs on the credenzas and bureaus that make up the ten-piece collection, or the horizontal—never vertical!—brass pulls, were subtle nods to Risom works of yore.

Risom's previous pieces grouped, rather than evenly distributed, horizontal drawer pulls. Here, they get a modern update in sleek brass.

More from the Hardy/Risom team is in the works for DWR, Hardy reports, though the exact what of it is still under wraps, despite Curbed's prying. If it's anything like this, it will be something to covet.


Risom + Hardy = Ven Storage Collection from Design Within Reach on Vimeo.

· Why Everyone is Obsessed With Midcentury Modern Design [Curbed]
· All NY Design Week coverage [Curbed]