Ah, the great city of Grand Rapids. Vibrant, beautiful, and bustling Beer City USA is buzzing with culture and filled to the brim with creativity. Maybe we’re biased, but, we’d even go as far as to say it’s THE creative hub for artisans around the globe, as it hosts the annual ArtPrize every Fall. As Team DOWN inc. continues to trend forecast for 2018, we dropped by the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts – right in our hometown – for the “Pantone Color of the Year” exhibit presented by Pantone and X-rite to highlight the 2018 color: Ultra Violet. You HAVE to check it out, and it’s so bright, you’ll want to bring your shades.
The gallery showcased the work of over 20 designers, artists, and manufacturers in the ever-vivid Pantone 18-3838. From rugs to watercolor, we were awed by this hue. The color is intended to forecast what our world needs these days; it’s complex with a vision that points us toward the future as it signifies inventiveness, imagination, mindfulness and connection.
We loved everything about this exhibit and are thrilled to share our visit with you. Being surrounded by deep purple was majestic, but our favorite part is that the art was a curation of work by local, national, and international artists and artisans, with a strong focus on Michigan-based design and manufacturing.
Featured above, is part of the exhibit from Scott Group studio – with an educational video on the art of rug weaving, this corner paid great homage to the design community of Furniture City, USA.
Up next, was a glorious and bright room stuffed to the brim with elegant layers of purple – to inspire the interior designer in all of us. As a down bedding manufacturer, we loved the opportunity to gain interior design inspiration to help relate to our many wonderful trade partner and designers – this cozy room SCREAMED royalty.
After that, we stepped into a tiny dim room – lit only by a pulsating purple orb; this piece was an immersive experience and perfect for a bit of relaxation (with a DOWN inc. Pillow, of course). For a color that begs for mindfulness and connection, how perfect is this idea?
Inspiration can be found in textiles, yarn, prints, jewelry, and interactive experiences. We found a ton of unique pieces – jewelry – flowers – even tokens and handmade art in the gift shop! Special touches and details like the flowers in the UICA shop, pops of colors hidden tactfully and discretely on the shelves, and even the museum uplighting – and flooring.
“The depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity,
spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.”
If you’re in Michigan, and in search of a creative day trip, we highly recommend this exhibit going on through the end of July! We encourage you to explore the effects of color on fine art on industrial design, jewelry, and interior setups. Design inspiration can be found everywhere, especially in your local community.
To say the least, we’re still seeing in purple, and we kind of love it.
Participating artists and designers:
Abbey Hunter, Brianne Farley, Conduit Studio, David Mahawili, Ellen Mueller, Heather Day, Hwa-Jeen Na, Paul Johnson, Jeffrey Augustine Songco, Melissa Eder, Meredith Olinger, Michael Pfleghaar, Morgan Hughes, Patrick Ethen, Ray Koh, Rhonda Urdang, Sarah Nguyen, Scott Group Studios, Steve Loar and Via Design in collaboration with Carlson Design, Diane Hasso Studio, Leigh’s Fashions and Rescom Electric