Colony Launches Four New Studios Through the Designers’ Residency

In the summer of 2023, we showcased the inaugural Designers’ Residency from the New York-based design gallery and strategy firm, Colony. We’re happy to report that the program was an undeniable success and has returned for a second year! Colony’s founder, Jean Lin, and art director, Madeleine Parsons, set out with the intention to connect a world of emerging talent with the international design market, lending their knowledge and experience to the sometimes harrowing process. To assist with the financial burdens that come with scaling, Colony subsidizes shop space and employs the residents at the gallery, offering professional studio and curation experience.

In 2024, four newly established studios – Alara Alkan Studio, Ember Studio, MPei Studio, and Thomas Yang Studio – completed the intense 8-month program and will now be added to Colony’s offerings created by independent American design talents.

“From the start of the selection process last spring, we were drawn to the authenticity of these designers’ distinctive voices and curious about how they might influence one another throughout the design process,” Parsons reflects. “While the collections presenting this June stand very much apart from each other aesthetically, they embody The Designers’ Residency Program’s collective power. Support, research sharing, and critical conversations accelerate the process of building something as personal as an eponymous studio. The work is only as beautiful as the community that created it.”

A minimalist room features wooden furniture, a small cabinet, a chair, a lit candle on a wall mount, two floor lamps with fabric shades, and assorted plants and flowers.

Jia-Ciasa collection by Thomas Yang

Taiwanese and Northern-Italian designer, Thomas Yang, has released his first collection entitled Jia-Ciasa as a result of the program. Designed around the concepts of culture, memory, and inherited techniques, the five furniture pieces and seven wall-mounted objects sit at the crossroads of craft and utility, with great respect for cultural and physical context. Every object aims to elevate their daily use, turning habitual tasks into venerable rituals that are beautifully ordinary.

A simple wooden chair with a square frame and straight backrest, placed on a wooden floor against a beige wall.

Ama Chair, by Thomas Yang, represents the embodiment of Yang’s own ama, or grandmother, featuring a balance of opposing forces – delicate but tough, serious but funny – to achieve stillness.

A wooden cabinet with dovetail joints stands in a corner, holding books, adorned with a vase of flowers on top. Nearby, a blue potted plant sits on a windowsill, and artwork is displayed on the wall.

Cabinet of Memories, by Thomas Yang, is based on the proportions of a traditional East-Asian cabinet and derived from recollections of family heirlooms.

A wooden wall-mounted organizer with hanging items: a lit candle, a small broom, and a vase holding purple flowers.

A series of modular Wall Hooks inspired by the Shaker craft movement, by Thomas Yang.

A person with medium-length hair wearing a sweater sits indoors with a neutral expression. Shelves with books and a partially visible abstract artwork are in the background. The image is in black and white.

Thomas Yang

A small cabinet with open doors hangs on a wall, surrounded by various black and white inkblot art pieces. Below it, a white mantel displays candles, books, a small vase with flowers, and other objects.

Wonder Cabinet by Maggie Pei

Maggie Pei’s interest in objects, their narratives, histories, and their beauty coalesce into the Wonder Chamber Collection. Borrowing from the German word “Wunderkammer,” the series includes four whimsical wall-mounted Wonder Chambers that are similar in form but vastly different in terms of material and meaning. It also includes the Park Bench, which incorporates a salvaged pair of park bench ends, as an exploration of opposing forces.

A black wall cabinet with a peaked roof is open, revealing a rod with several hanging tassels inside. There are stacks of books on a shelf beneath the cabinet.

Wonder Cabinet by Maggie Pei

A dark-colored, multi-drawer storage unit with handles shaped like faces, standing in front of a white fireplace.

Maggie Pei’s Apothecary Floor Lamp takes the form of ancient Chinese apothecary cabinets.

A sunlit room with sheer curtains, a minimalist white bench, and a few small plants by the window.

Park Bench by Maggie Pei

Black and white photo of a person with long hair sitting in a uniquely designed bench with large, round backrest, and decorated armrests.

Maggie Pei

A chair with a blanket faces a small wooden table with red candles and a green glass. A minimalist wall lamp is mounted on a brick wall, next to a sheer curtained window.

Remnant Side Table + Trio Swivel Chair by Stephanie Betesh

Focused on creating lasting, livable spaces that will only get better with time, Stephanie Betesh’s Entwine Series includes intentional objects reflective of the designer herself. The four pieces give material, proportion, and scale a remix in an effort to celebrate the unexpectedness of the human spirit. Individuality and charm can be found in each piece, further inviting you to experience moments of human connection.

A room with wooden flooring displays various floral arrangements in vases on modern side tables against a backdrop of white curtains.

Remnant Side Table + Duo Side Table by Stephanie Betesh

Two vases with uneven, wildflower arrangements sit on a surface with stacked books and decorative, pumpkin-like objects around them. The background is plain and softly lit.

Stephanie Betesh

A minimalist wall sconce and vase with orange flowers against a white brick wall.

Rift Sconce by Stephanie Betesh

A woman with long dark hair, wearing a light-colored blazer over a turtleneck, stands in front of a textured wall. Shadows and light create patterns on the wall behind her.

Stephanie Betesh of Ember Studio

A modern wooden furniture set includes a bench, a low table, a cabinet with two doors, and two lamps on either side, all displayed against a plain white background.

Alara Alkan \\\ Photo: Madra Baranova

The Temporal Tides Collection is the first by Turkish-American designer, Alara Alkan under her eponymous studio’s name. Beginning with a curiosity for nature’s ability to alter materials through exposure to its elements, the collection’s four pieces toe the line between fragility and strength. Alkan has used the above in her favor to reveal the inherent properties of various materials, looking to tides, wind, and sunlight for inspiration.

A light wooden cabinet with a partially open door, featuring a simple design and textured paneling on the front.

Maelen Cabinet by Alara Alkan \\\ Photo: Madra Baranova

A table lamp with a wooden, cone-shaped base and a white, slightly tilted lampshade placed on a white surface against a light gray background.

Madra Table Lamp by Alara Alkan \\\ Photo: Madra Baranova

A modern floor lamp with a conical wooden base and a slightly tilted white shade against a plain background.

Madra Floor Lamp by Alara Alkan \\\ Photo: Madra Baranova

A woman with dark hair tied back, wearing a textured light-colored top and pants, smiles while leaning her elbows on a surface in front of her. The image captures the creative ambiance of designer in black and white.

Alara Alkan

“The Designers’ Residency and the studios we launch through it have become our ongoing contribution to the greater whole,” Jean Lin shares. “Shaping a future where designers are thoughtful, community-minded, and creatively authentic.

Works from Alara Alkan Studio, Ember Studio, MPei Studio, and Thomas Yang Studio will be on view at Colony’s gallery, 196 W Broadway, through July 12, 2024. Applications for the 2024-2025 residency program are open until June 28, 2024 – apply here.

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