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Designs of the times — a recession special at Brooklyn Designs

The Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn Designs, the exhibition of the borough’s finest home furnishing makers, rears its sleek, contemporary head again next week. Even if you’re feeling the pinch of the recession, you don’t have to decorate your entire apartment only with Ikea products (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Sure, pieces of the custom-made tropical hardwood (read: expensive) furniture will be on display from May 8–10, but if you’re only in the market for an accessory that looks good next to your family heirloom, rather than purchasing something to bequeath to the future generations, the DUMBO-based show will be a factory of ideas from 45 designers, all working in Brooklyn.

“There are some items that are reachable for varying income levels,” said Carl Hum, the head of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, himself the owner of a teakettle and throw pillows from last year’s showcase.

And don’t be shy about browsing the big-ticket items because they’re built to last.

“You get what you pay for. If you’re looking for something that’s going to last your lifetime and pass on to your children — that’s us,” said Corey Springer, the founder of furniture company, Wüd. “Our products are designed to last and are timeless.”

Since these are largely DUMBO, Williamsburg and Bushwick-based designers, the style is distinctly contemporary.

“There are a lot of independent designers that are creating and have more cutting-edge furnishing than you would see in the D and D Building,” said wallpaper designer Jill Malek, referring to the Design and Decoration Building in Manhattan, which houses more than a hundred showrooms of what Malek called “more traditional” style.

One caution: don’t show up at the festival’s main base in St. Ann’s Warehouse on Water Street looking to make a purchase on the spot. There won’t be any shopping area this time, unlike past years when there was a commercial pavilion.

The weekend includes symposiums, a DUMBO gallery tour and award ceremonies.

In addition, Brooklyn Designs includes a spinoff on the ubiquitous tours of historical Brooklyn brownstone houses with self-guided tours ($50 per ticket) of five nearby homes that were selected to both inspire professional designers and excite their fans.

Design for living

Everyone’s worried about money these days, so The Brooklyn Paper sought out the best under $300 deals from designers at next weekend’s Brooklyn Designs.

Ace of vase
Make one of these vases or bowls from Further Design’s Groove Series the centerpiece of your dining room ($140–$200). Visit www.furthurdesign.com

UM bop!
Go dairy chic with these hip, colorful wood milking stools from UM. They’re “eco-friendly” too! ($290). Visit www.umproject.com

Rock around the clock
Get your child the coolest rocking chair on the block with the sleek Mod Rocker from children’s designer Igloo Play ($285 and up, depending on veneer). Visit www.iglooplay.com.

If these walls could talk
Why would anyone want a paperless society when he or she can deck the walls with Jill Malek’s wallpaper designs ($150 per roll)? Visit www.jillmalek.com.

Out of the closet
Wüd’s custom-built armoire at $6,000 blows our budget right out of the water, but this piece is so good looking that even Narcissus would break his egotistical stare to gaze admirably upon this handsome wardrobe. Visit www.wudfurniture.com.

Legal pot
Your flowers will thank you when you put them in this stainless steel container from Warp Designs. In fact, this killer pot is so awesome it should be illegal ($249 and up). Visit www.wardesignsnyc.com.

Brooklyn Designs at St. Ann’s Warehouse [38 Water St., between Main and Dock streets in DUMBO, (718) 875-1000 ext. 111]. For info and tickets, visit www.brooklyndesigns.net.

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