20th Annual Fair Marked by Highest Attendance in Recent Years, Brisk Sales and New Design Competition and Awards
CHICAGO – SOFA CHICAGO, the world’s foremost fair devoted to Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art + Design, welcomed nearly 70 dealers from 11 countries exhibiting an array of ceramics, wood, glass, fiber, jewelry, metal and innovative design to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, November 1-3. More than 34,000 fairgoers attended SOFA CHICAGO in 2013, enjoying familiar favorites such as the Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Roadshow and the annual Lecture Series alongside dealer presentations that highlighted emerging artists and designers and extraordinary work from master artists. CONNECT, a design competition and exhibition featuring five top art and design universities, added an exciting new element to the fair’s 20th year, along with the LongHouse Reserve Special Recognition Awards for Best Booth Design and Best Artwork, and SOFA SELECTS, a program where noted curators, designers, and critics selected standout pieces at the fair.
Tim von Gal, Donna Davies, and Doug Miller
“Sharing SOFA CHICAGO’s landmark 20th annual fair with so many longtime supporters and art enthusiasts as well as our artists and dealers, was a truly energizing experience,” said Fair Director Donna Davies. “I’m also pleased with the response to several of our new programs and awards. Our audience is clearly curious about the very latest in art and design and SOFA will continue to be a major platform for this field going forward.”
The Opening Night Preview, on October 31, kicked off with an exclusive VIP party for 1,000 invited guests, toasting to the fair’s landmark anniversary. Founders Mark Lyman and Anne Meszko thanked enthusiastic collectors, artists and dealers for helping to build SOFA CHICAGO into the premier fair for material-based studio arts. Doug Miller and Tim von Gal, Principals of Urban Expositions, the Atlanta-based company that acquired SOFA CHICAGO in June, greeted SOFA patrons and shared their excitement for the field and the fair’s future success.
Civic and cultural officials and VIPs were also on hand to celebrate SOFA CHICAGO’s anniversary. SOFA CHICAGO attendees of note included Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, real estate developer Larry Silverstein and his wife Klara, collectors John Bryan, Doug and Dale Anderson, Dorothy Saxe, Jerome and Simona Chazen, Ron and Anita Wornick, Dudley and Lisa Anderson, John and Colleen Kotelly, Bruce and Judy Bendoff, John and Deb Gross and John Caroll, Publisher of Modern Luxury’s CS Magazine, SOFA CHICAGO’s exclusive media partner.
CONNECT jurors David Ling, David Ling Architect; Carole Hochman, Director, Barry Friedman Ltd; Diana Bitting, Editor-in-Chief, Modern Luxury’s CS Interiors; Brian Shannon, Fine Arts Specialist, Chubb Personal Insurance; Jason Pickleman, Principal, JNL Design
|Pratt Institute’s CONNECT space at SOFA CHICAGO 2013|
Representatives attending the fair’s Opening Night Preview from Chubb Personal Insurance, a SOFA CHICAGO sponsor for nine consecutive years, included Kathleen Tierney, Chief Operating Officer, Joanna McNamara, Strategic Development Manager, and Rob McGinley, Senior Marketing Analyst.
Chubb Personal Insurance’s support of SOFA CHICAGO extended to the new CONNECT program, a student design exhibition and competition that debuted in 2013 at SOFA CHICAGO. Five top art and design universities were selected to participate in the inaugural CONNECT, and each created unique lounge environments on the show floor. The CONNECT schools, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland); Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL); Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY); University of California, Davis (Davis, CA); and University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA), were also invited to collaborate with the internationally renowned Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Roadshow, to design pieces for display at the Chubb Personal Insurance booth as part of their overall CONNECT experience. Designed objects drafted by Pratt Institute and University of Iowa were selected by the Corning Museum of Glass for the project, and prototypes of the students’ glass works were displayed in the Chubb Personal Insurance booth at the fair.
The winning CONNECT school, Brooklyn-based Pratt Institute, was awarded a $2,500 cash prize from Chubb Personal Insurance representatives on Opening Night for their Chicago-inspired design, derived from the studies of Anish Kapoor’s reflective Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park. The design environment, made from recycled materials from the campus of Pratt Institute, featured imagery of some of Chicago’s most iconic structures, such as Marina City, the Aqua Tower and Navy Pier’s ferris wheel, illustrated through abstract floral and geometric patterns on cardboard posts that made up the installation.