design, furniture and lifestyle in bklyn, ny

Bklyn Designs' Carl Hum Talks about a Focused Show and Local Creativity

by Brooklyn Modern | March 22nd, 2009

Carl Hum is the president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, which presents BKLYN DESIGNS.  I wanted to talk to him about this year’s upcoming show and find out what to expect.

Brooklyn Modern: Why are there so many talented designers working in Brooklyn?
Carl Hum: Brooklyn has always been a creative outpost, particularly when rents in Manhattan increased to such a point that young designers and creative types needed to look elsewhere. Brooklyn is the natural place they came to because of the creative energy offered by its varied neighborhoods. Also, Brooklyn is the home of Pratt Institute – our nation’s leading design institution. It’s only natural for people to create in the same location where they first received inspiration.

Business Week Article on Pratt

Brooklyn Modern: Is there something about the actual infrastructure of Brooklyn that adds to the creativity?
Carl Hum: Brooklyn enjoys a rich manufacturing history and its architecture reveals that. In many ways, the borough’s building stock and availability of large open spaces to create and produce is a great attraction for producers.


Treehouse and 3rd Ward are workspaces located in Brooklyn for designers.

Brooklyn Modern: What will this show be like?
Carl Hum: There’s a lot of energy with this year’s show as we have a great line-up of new exhibitors and veteran exhibitors with their cutting-edge and innovative designs. We will be smaller as only a select group of 45 exhibitors will participate but that only means that the best of the best will be shown. We mean that literally as a jury will then select the best five exhibitors from the show to exhibit at ICFF under the BKLYN DESIGNS banner.


Click to visit ICFF.

Brooklyn Modern: There’s a recession out there. How do you see the local design scene handling this?
Carl Hum: Fortunately, our designers in Brooklyn are smaller and thus, more nimble than most firms to react more immediately to market demands than larger firms. Nonetheless, the economy is on everyone’s mind and we are aware of that. In deference to this issue, we will be assembling a panel discussion on whether high-design can be low-cost.

eric manigianuhuru

Eric Manigian and Uhuru are two well-established
Brooklyn-based furniture makers exhibiting this year.

Brooklyn Modern: Why should aspiring furniture designers showcase their work in this venue?
Carl Hum: Every year, our attendance to the three-day show gets bigger and bigger. Last year, we had over 6,500 people ranging from buyers, to trade publications, to industry insiders, to the design-conscious public came to the show. If you want to be seen, you have to be at BKLYN DESIGNS.

BKLYN DESIGNS happens May 8-10. Visit to learn more.

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