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FORM&SEEK // Proximity

December 2, 2021 - January 2, 2022


On view December 2, 2021–January 2, 2022
Opening reception Sunday, December 5 (3–5pm)

Nationale welcomes Proximity, the first collaborative exhibition with Form&Seek Collective and the gallery. The Form&Seek Design Studio focuses on newly developed processes and contemporary craft techniques that prioritize creating unique products and experiences. Featuring work from artists Irina Flore, Ákos Huber, Karen Lee, Laura Papp, and Bilge Nur Saltik, these designers bring together form, function, play and materiality within the gallery space. Proximity seeks to decode the relationship and meaning between these larger themes and how they manifest themselves in the objects on view. The works seem to be asking if inanimate objects can present with emotive qualities – if so, how can those objects embody human characteristics like empathy, sensitivity, and warmth?

Presented here are pieces that contort their form and veer from compositional expectations. In bringing their ideas to life, the five artists push the boundaries of their own craft and methodology, bending it to their will. Huber demonstrates to us the Chair of the Moment—a cantilevered chair whose pillars feel stern and sturdy, like concrete pillars, but is at once inviting, its canvas seat natural and familiar. Similarly, Flore’s 3D printed Extraordinary Objects may appear foreign at first but remain relative in their utility. Their function demands first an understanding of their construction and their relationship to the user before they can be put into practice. Papp utilizes a single piece of material for her twisted case pieces, shaping the fabric into a dynamic sculpture that doubles also as storage. Lee’s Pleasure Vessels rely on an understanding of the relationship between her disparate mediums – glass and wood – and have the viewer engage and build their own relationship within that context. From sketching to execution, Saltik presents with her Frosting Collection a re-examining of design technology that is simplified, creating a final object that is as clean-cut in its execution as it is in its purpose.

Proximity asks for a union between end-user and creator, through which the works on display facilitate a symbiosis between the material and its purpose. In observing these pieces and dissecting them from idea to execution, we as viewers imbue them with our own anthropomorphic traits. In this way, the objects truly come alive.

Irina Flore
// www.irinaflore.com
Irina Flore is a multidisciplinary designer and the founder of Studio Flore, a design studio focusing on design research, functional art objects, and innovative products. She received her MFA and BFA in Design, graduating with honors from Haute école des arts du Rhin, Strasbourg, France. She worked as an assistant designer in the Studio Sebastian Herkner in Frankfurt, Germany, where she collaborated on notable projects. Her work has been presented internationally in museums, artistic events, galleries, and design shows such as Edit Napoli, Fuori Salone Milan, Interior Design Show Vancouver, Detroit Month of Design. She has been awarded the 2014 Design and Tradition Prize at the Alsacian Museum in Strasbourg, France, where her work is now part of the permanent museum collection. She was also the winner of the 2019 Prototype Award at the Interior Design Show in Vancouver, Canada, and was selected as a finalist for the Gray Awards 2021 in the product category. Her work has been featured in renowned design magazines, including Dezeen, AD France, Gray Magazine, Sight Unseen, Luxe Interiors+Design, and Damn.

Ákos Huber // www.akoshuber.com
Ákos Huber (Hungary, 1989) is a designer working on various scales. His work has covered many fields ranging from furniture design to architecture, from drawings to sculptural works. He completed his master’s degree in architecture at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. Huber has lived, worked and explored art, design and architecture in different global cities such as Budapest, Berlin, Munich, London, and Portland, OR. Cultural diversity, traveling, observing nature, and landscapes are always a great source of inspiration for his designs. His work has been featured in renowned design and architecture magazines, including Designboom, Design Milk, and Architect Magazine. His designs were selected as a finalist and exhibited in the framework of international design contests such as LAMP (Vancouver, BC) and Streatseats (Portland, OR).

Bilge Nur Saltik // www.formandseek.com
Bilge Nur Saltik is a designer, curator, and maker based in Detroit, MI. She received her MFA in Design Products Department from Royal College of Art, London and her BA in Industrial Design and Graphic Design from Yeditepe University, Istanbul. Saltik is the founder and creative director of Form&Seek, a design studio that creates and curates uniquely crafted products and experiences. Saltik won the New Design Britain Award (2014) and was selected as one of “Top 20 designers under 35” by New York Magazine (2013). Her work has been exhibited internationally in prestigious institutions such as Victoria&Albert Museum (London), Cooper Hewitt Museum (NYC), and Het Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam), and published in Wired, Evening Standard, ICON Magazine, and Frame among others publications. Saltik is an active member of the Detroit design community, where she was awarded “Notable Woman in Design” in 2020 and serves as a Design Network board member of Design Core Detroit.

Karen Lee // www.karenlee.us
Karen Lee is a materials designer and collaborator of communal objects who is presently based in Portland, OR. Lee holds a BFA in Textiles Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA in 3D Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She has been featured on Dezeen, Sight Unseen, and Artsy and has exhibited work in Design Week Portland, Design Month Detroit, and International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City. Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Cranbrook Museum of Art and was longlisted for the Dezeen Awards 2020 in furniture design. She has taught in the Color and Materials Design Graduate Studies and Craft and Materials Undergraduate Studies at the College for Creative Studies, as well as the Applied Craft and Design MFA program at Pacific Northwest College of the Arts. She will be teaching in the Product Design department at University of Oregon in Fall 2021.

Laura Papp // www.laurapapp.com
Laura Papp graduated from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest with an accessory and shoe designer Master degree. She studied on a scholarship at Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, Italy. Previously, Papp worked in various fields, such as sculpture, graphic, storefront, jewelry design, and photography and lived in Rome, Berlin, and Guangzhou before moving to Portland, OR. Her designs have won the FORM prize at the Ambiente fair in Frankfurt and have been presented internationally in museums, events, and galleries in Milan (Italy), Saarbrucken (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Rauland (Norway), Tallinn (Estonia), Dubai (UAE), Doha (Qatar), Kerkrade (Netherlands), and Budapest (Hungary). Papp’s work has been featured in publications such as Terrific Fashion, Domino, Glocal, and Azure Magazine, and on renowned platforms like Dezeen, Designboom, Design-milk, Domus, HVG, and Concept Kicks.




Wheelchair accessible
BIPOC artist(s), Women-owned, Women curated, Women artist(s)
Event Type
Gallery, Visual Art, Other
Pandemic Info


15 SE 22nd Ave
Portland, OR 97214 United States
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