I did my design pitch at Apartment Therapy’s Design Evenings tonight. It was NERVE WRACKING!!! It’s been years since I’ve done a proper presentation. I prepped for a whole week and invited friends over to my apt for a dry run.
Doors opened at 6:30 PM. There was a huge line to get in, so I walked around and looked at things I normally can’t afford, though I admit I’ve indulged in the past. If you didn’t know, ABC Carpet and Home is UPSCALE!
I got in line 10 minutes before showtime. The gatekeepers cheerfully let me when I told them I was presenting. I made a beeline to the event coordinator Herma who was in the middle of calling me to find out where I was. OOPS! She ushered me into a hot, muggy, presentation space running the length of the store, decked out in luxe accessories, and filled with high-end furniture seating smartly dressed designer types. The room was abuzz with pre-show chatter a perfectly intimidating room.
I was introduced to the other independent designer Lucia Delbracio presenting that night. We both met with Maxwell, Apartment Therapy’s co-founder, who was bubbly, gracious, and a lot taller than I remembered him being (I’ve seen him at a past event). People are taller up close!
Having been a dancer in a past life, I don’t get stage fright. The moments before performing is a different matter. I had butterflies, and my gums were itchy! Lucia went first, and she looked calm as a cucumber.
When it was my turn I went on automatic, but I did have problems keeping the mic next to my face. DUH! I’m sure at points it was difficult for the audience to hear me. Here’s the gist of my presentation.
“There are two main things that made Relevé Design possible. Nunchuks and Dance. On the surface they seem unrelated, but I assure you there’s a logic.
Growing up in a poor family we couldn’t afford nunchuks. Very sad I know. We definitely couldn’t afford fancy designer nunchuks like these, so my dad made nunchuks from metal pipes and chains we had lying around the house and duct tape.
Unfortunately, my martial arts skills were way below average. In college I took up dance instead, along with fine arts and design. I trained myself to see beauty and potential in all art forms and materials.
There’s a lot money, time, energy, and design poured into everyday objects. Relevé Design comes from my desire to honor that. The “Relevé” part of the name is the ballet term meaning “to raise up”. When you see dancers standing on their toes, that’s a relever. So Relevé Design raises up or upcycles common discards like six-pack rings, into designed furniture and lighting fixtures.
I chose to work with six-pack rings, because they are relatively common and thrown away after one use. I wanted take them out of the waste stream and delay it from entering the recycling process, which is actually downcycling.
I explored a number of different constructions methods before settling on two. One method the plastic is strung on a metal ring radially. In the second method the plastic is woven directly on top of metal rings. I chose these methods because they don’t require adhesives or superfluous connectors. The structure of the lights are held together by the six-pack rings. They allow some designs to compress into a flatter shape for efficient shipping. With these two methods I was able create a variety of different forms.
They are inspired by plants and modern shapes and use from 100-400 six pack rings. Relevé Design’s first collection includes three versions of the lotus pendant, (96, 252, 432) the helianthus, pod, and allium. They are all currently handwoven in my studio and are available through my website.”