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Harry Allen obtained a suckling pig that had died of natural causes, and instead of roasting it, he cast it in resin and created this piggy bank. He’s such an animal fan that he donates $10 of every pig bank sale to the Humane Society. The bank is part of the New York artist’s Reality Series, an ongoing collection of “sampled” forms reimagined with function. The level of detail is amazing: We particularly love the critter's smooth nose and tiny tail. A shiny silver pig sits on our dining table and holds our loose change. With a slot on his back and a cork in his belly, he becomes a shiny amalgam of the decorative and the useful.
You could say Reality “bit” for industrial designer Harry Allen. A New Jersey native with a master’s degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute, he founded New-York-based Harry Allen Design in 1993. Since then, he has designed furniture, lighting, objects and interiors for a wide variety of international clients. Harry’s work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn, Denver and Philadelphia Museums of Art.
But his design-world star turn was his 2007 piggy bank that replicated the real critter, cast in resin from a deceased farm animal. It spawned a series of similarly archetypal cast objects that he christened Reality. “It was this sort of weird detour in my career,” he says. “But I wasn’t not going to do it just because it didn’t fit into my previous body of work.“ That sensibility has informed his work since, from a tractor-shaped seat on a stool for Umbra Shift to a fragmented flask container for Marc Jacobs’ scent Bang. Harry muses, “I’m constantly trying to hit a bullseye in people’s brains.”
From Williamsburg's cobblestone streets, Brooklyn-based Areaware straddles the line between functional and humorous in a standout range of products for everyday life. Founder Noel Wiggins comes from a long line of artists but ultimately found he himself going a different way. "I come to it from a kind of problem-solving idea. Painting, honestly, wasn't collaborative enough for me," he says. "You have to be a really kind of solitary person to be an effective painter."
With his roster of contributing designers, Wiggins nurtures both emerging and established talent with an eye for realizing objects that are both thoughtful and practical. And Areaware is always on the search for new voices, sponsoring student initiatives at New York's Parsons The New School of Design and Rochester Institute of Technology. Recognized by the likes of Fast Company, Dwell andVanity Fair, the collection includes signature items from Harry Allen, Brendan Ravenhill and David Weeks, among others. "We believe that appreciation for beauty is central to what it means to be alive," Wiggins says. "And we want to embody this principle in even the simplest things."