CULTURE: How a Revolution in “Ugly” Design Is Upending Conventions of Beauty

Call it sloppy, weird, retro, kitsch, maybe even ugly. What it isn’t: symmetrical, refined, or uniform. Young and established artists and designers alike, working across a variety of media, are finding their voice in the beauty of the imperfect, carving or hacking their materials, or casting objects in unconventional media.

You can see it in New York-based designer Katie Stout’s irreverent, girlish vanity mirrors and floppy hat rugs; in Brooklyn-based Misha Kahn’s engorged, sculptural tables and chairs; and in Detroit artist Chris Schanck’s wonderfully textured cast furniture. Or take American designer Liz Collins, who experiments with bold colors, energetic zigzags, and hanging warps in her textiles—woven forms that artfully straddle the line between order and chaos.

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