Experimental vessel concepts go on view during San Francisco Design Week

A variety of vessels on pedestals

Digital design startup Canoa has commissioned and exhibited vessel design concepts by 27 artists and designers based in San Francisco.

Presented during San Francisco Design Week 2024, the Vessel group show was curated by local interior designer Anand Sheth in order to showcase the wide range of talents that operate in the city, including sculptors and furniture designers.

Sofa and chairs in room
Canoa and interior designer Anand Sheth put on a group show during San Francisco Design Week

“Vessel explored myriad ways an artist may interpret the idea of a vessel as literally defined or personally interpreted,” Sheth said.

“The concept of a vessel has been with me for a while, it’s how I consider my relationship to myself, my immigrant family, my city, my industry. I was eager to explore this personal value to people who share the Bay Area with me, and I knew they would interpret and iterate on it in fascinating ways.”

According to Sheth, only five of the twenty-seven exhibitors actually designed vases.

Furniture designer Caleb Ferris explored the sometimes indiscriminate use osf mythological symbolism in historical European decorative arts in a walnut and silk vase with serpent ornaments.

Chairs and seating in a room
Joe Ferriso made wall-mounted cherry wood artwork, while Othr Space, Lynette Nicole Becantur and NJ Roseti made vessels

Design duo Soft Geometry created a vase out of curved steel tubing so that there could be two openings to hold flowers or other items.

Working with paper mache vellum, cotton rope, wheat paste, brass, oak wood, and paint, interior designer Sergio Mondragon created a vase inspired by a 15th-century Aztec brazier as the rope forms often found in Mexican pinatas.

“For the other twenty-two artists, an alternate interpretation emerged, which is resultant of factors like their personal experiences, their primary medium, a desired collaboration, a project they’ve set aside in the past, or a reinterpretation of their primary medium — seeing their own work and self through a new lens,” Sheth said.

Woodworker and artist Joe Ferriso combined cherry wood, acrylic, and shellac in an organic wall-mounted artwork to demonstrate how a painting can be a vessel for colour.

Little jars and vessels on pedestals
Designers including Caleb Ferris and Becky Carter made vessels out of materials including walnut and glass

Landscape architect Anooshey Rahim painted an abstract motif on an upcycled wooden buoy found in San Francisco Bay.

“For many of the Vessel participants, they tried something completely outside of what might have been predicted, whether it was a medium, a full concept, or choice material,” said Canoa head of creative Alma Lopez.

chairs and stools in room with plant


San Francisco exhibition features "off-center" Bay Area furniture design

“The majority stepped into new, completely foreign territories or dedicated expansions of their practice that had been siloed or dormant in their primary practices.”

Interior designer Becky Carter’s concept comprises a steel bowl-like frame enclosed by a sheet of glass and foam.

An open window with plants
Lina Bonderenko made an assortment of small clay objects

The one-night exhibition was displayed on the top floor of the historic Goodman Building in an apartment on the level above Pallas Gallery.

Vessel is the first in a series of exhibitions and will be on show this week for LA Design Weekend.

Black canlesMeryl Pataky made a glass candleholder

The shows are being curated by noted creatives like Sheth, who have a close connection to and in-depth knowledge of the local creative scenes.

“We are eager to celebrate the process of design at each destination and build deserved recognition and momentum behind their respective art-design circles,” said Elizabeth Wert, Canoa’s head of brand.

Other furniture exhibitions in San Francisco included a group show last year that focused on “off center” design.

San Francisco Design Week ran from 3 to 13 June, 2024 Vessel was on view for one night on 7 June and will also be presented at the Fig and Olive studio during Los Angeles Design Weekend, held from 21 to 23 June, 2024.

The photography is by Bryson Malone

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