Designers in Philadelphia to Check Out
Are you looking for unique furnishings and decorative objects for your Philly home? Skip the trip to Ikea or West Elm and check out the work of designers and artists based in the area. You’ll find one-of-a-kind items that are conversation starters.
When it comes to decorating your home, you have two options. You can find what you need at the big box, national retailers located throughout Philly, such as Ikea in South Philadelphia and West Elm in Center City. But, then you end up with a home that looks like everyone else’s. Another option is to explore the offerings from local artists and designers in Philadelphia. Since Philly is full of art and design schools, from Tyler School of Art at Temple to Philadelphia University, it’s little surprise that it’s also a city teeming with local designers and artists.
Heirloom Home Studio
Based in Glenside, Heirloom Home Studio creates kitchen and tableware inspired by the “farm to table movement.” The design studio’s collection includes porcelain berry baskets, modeled after the paper containers blueberries and strawberries are sold in at farmers’ markets, as well as porcelain bowls in the shape of vegetables, such as artichokes and cauliflower.
Bahdeebahdu was created through a partnership of two designers in Philadelphia, R.J. Thornburg, an interior designer, and Warren Muller, a sculptor who works with lighting. The firm has created designs for companies in Philly such as the Westin Hotel and Digitas Health, as well as in private homes. Muller’s lighting fixtures, which are often large and multifaceted, tend to be the focal point of their collaborations.
Tara Vaughan Ceramics
Tara Vaughan grew up in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and now works in Philadelphia. She began working with clay and ceramics after taking an art class as an elective during her freshman year at St. Joseph’s University. She hand builds all of her ceramic pieces, using techniques such as pinching and coiling. The functional pieces include a variety of planters, in different sizes and shapes, as well as bottles, vases, and platters. Her work is for sale at her Etsy shop, as well as at Art Star Gallery and Boutique in Northern Liberties.
The designers who make up Vestige Home happen to be brother and sister. Nicole, the sister, lives in Philly, while Luke, the brother, lives in California. The pair take turns traveling to each other to create their pieces, which include wooden serving and cutting boards, hanging planters, and wood framed mirrors. Although many of their pieces are primarily made of wood, they enjoy experimenting with a variety of materials and have also used metal and textiles in their work.
Artist Shannon Donovan works with ceramics and creates installations. She describes herself as a “visual translator,” who turns clay into ceramics, an idea into a sculpture, and a found object into a work of art. Some of her pieces have been created by taking casts of discarded objects, such as hubcaps and bones she’s found on nature walks, and transforming them into pieces of art.
When you purchase pieces made by local designers, you aren’t just getting a unique item for your home. You’re also helping support artists and designers who are living and working in Philly, making the city a more vibrant and creative place.