Design Week Highlights

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Where: TOUCH New York
L.A.-based design company TOUCH transformed a raw warehouse space into an exhibit of sustainable and socially-designed products and installations, like Rodrigo Almeida's discarded trash bin sculptures and Claudia Araujo's rugs hand-woven from recycled bottle fibers. Even the space was eco-designed—some displays were built from shipping pallets found in dumpsters and the event's carbon footprint was offset.

What: Banner Bags
Made from the billboards famously banned in Sao Paulo—these bags mean out-of-home still haunts the streets, only this time, on citizens' shoulders. TOUCH and Sao Paulo design group StraaT repurposed ad banners into water-proof exteriors for graphic totes lined with "chita," traditional Brazilian fabrics.

Where: Hardcore New Finnish Design
Capturing the spectrum of modern (at times bizarre) Finnish design, the showcase featured items like urban-inspired textiles (think: silhouette industrial cranes) from Fokus Fabrik and DIY cutlery that punches out of aluminum sheets from Helsinki- based Arihiro Miyake. Strangest Find went to Pentagon Design for life-size painted farm animal statues that intended to show how paint provides a tactile experience. Visitors were, of course, encouraged to pet.

What: Future Mobile
Provoke Design, who works with companies like Nokia, presented three future phone concepts. "Express" is the 21st-century mood ring: a cell that changes color with the user's mindset. "Feel" simulates human touch, so couples can feel a loved one via phone, a bit like a radio-controlled vibrator. For counterculture kids, "Share" enables social networking: Subgroup members tag content to locations, creating virtual community in actual space.

Where: Bring it to the Table
Brooklyn design gallery and store, spring design&art, launched a show that plays on the table as a place for discussion. The exhibit consists of an actual dinner table, where featured artists were given a "place setting" for their work, which include twisty straw toxic drinks from Rich Greco and sugar creations from Natasha Chetiyawardana.

What: Chow Chart
Designer Brett Snyder's placemat chart brings the locavore's argument to the table. On a world map, Snyder shows how ingredients in a typical home-cooked dinner are part of global production and consumption. Illustrating the great distance food travels, Snyder links food and global impact, going beyond cost and calories.

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