Chris Held

Sitting down with the curator of the JONALDDUDD show and co-founder of furniture brand Nice Condo. 

Judd 1 Min

Among the group shows that define New York Design Week, JONALDDUDD is arguably the most provocative. Since launching its first showcase in 2015, the platform has exhibited a slew of independent talents with a stated mission of prioritizing self-expression over commercial conformity. Under the leadership of Chris Held, a designer in his own right, the platform has gained a cult following. After a few years hiatus, the highly anticipated event is back in 2024 and with an impressive roster of exhibitors to boot. Held and his life/business partner Sara Graham launched their own furniture brand Nice Condo last year with a similar value proposition: that of authenticity and the shared appreciation of handmade, craft-led design. Our travel curators Essentialist spoke with Held about what’s in store at this year’s show and what he and Graham are working on at Nice Condo. 

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Explore the full 2024 Guide to Design Week here.

Judd 2 Min

How has JONALDDUDD evolved over the past decade?
The core mission of JONALDDUDD has, from the beginning, been about providing a platform (literally and figuratively) for emerging and underrepresented designers. Under the umbrella of that mission, we aim to present a highly variable exhibition – one that shows work outside of trend, indiscriminate in material and process, as well as beyond our own curatorial taste if that’s possible.

What are some of the key highlights from this year’s lineup?
It’s the first year we’re working with a Curator in Residence program, Charles Constantine, head of New-York based design and manufacturing studio Bestcase. The final roster itself is formally and materially diverse by design and we attempted to avoid singular through-narratives as there are infinite explorations happening simultaneously. That said, we did see a lot of submissions focused on precise metal fabrication, which has become widely accessible.

Talk about the latest Nice Condo collection.
We launched a suite of furniture this past fall for Otras Formas Gallery in New York. The collection included a daybed, a console, and three stools. They all share a common formal and material language consisting of thick rounded volumes surfaced in matte linoleum, mixed with accents of burl wood veneer and leather. The forms and material pairings are more complex than in previous collections, and they definitely elevate the feel of the work.

What else are you working on for this year’s New York Design Week?
Among a number of projects, we created a one-off plate debuting with Superhouse Gallery for their exhibition that pairs 50 designer plates with chef-made desserts, so that’s pretty sweet. 

Judd 3 Min

May 17-20, 2024
43 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10013

This year’s exhibition is guest curated by Charles Constantine, co-founder and Creative Director of Bestcase, and will take place inside a former sex shop in SoHo.