Q&A: Parachute Market

Forget what you know about pop-ups and craft fairs—this weekend's biannual Los Angeles design happening Parachute Market is neither (so you can leave your expertise in Korean-Mexican street food and your floral head wreath at home). “We’re not just setting up a bunch of tables and putting stuff on them,” says the event’s founder, Coryander Friend, whose background is in set design. “We want to erase the craft fair element because we think that there are craft fairs that are doing a really good job of it, and that’s not what we’re looking to do.” Instead, the immersive exhibition, now in its second year and co-curated by JF Chen’s Bianca Chen, is aiming to create a communal experience that brings LA’s most innovative vintage dealers together with a group of artists Chen and Friend have dubbed “Future Collected”—high-end makers including Jason Koharik, Doug McCullough, and Atelier de Troupe—who are referencing the ’50s and ’60s with new designs imbued with a lasting quality.

Parachute Market | Lonny.com
(Coryander Friend and Bianca Chen, photos by Ken Tisuthiwongse  courtesy Parachute Market)
JF Chen’s new 30,000-square-foot antiques showroom will debut to the public as the event’s venue: “Having it here will bring a totally different crowd on both ends to Parachute,” says Chen. “We’ll have interior designers mixing with Downtown people—it’s opening up two different worlds,” she says. Those worlds collide tomorrow night during the fair’s First Access opening party (tickets are still available here). We caught up with the pair, who are expanding the fair into an e-commerce site.

Can you tell us how you arrived at the fair’s theme Ever Present?
CF: We didn’t want to say 'timeless,' although that’s a lovely word. The whole idea is that we’re celebrating what we believe has lasted, will last, and is lasting right now. It’s not even about: will that thing physically last for a hundred years? But: is that an idea that you’ll look at in a hundred years and be like, yes!—and it’s still being referenced today.

Q&A: Parachute Market
(A suspended Greg Lynn sculpture installed in the new JF Chen showroom. Photo courtesy of Parachute Market) 
Can you give us an example of a designer you feel is at the forefront of this Future Collected movement?
BC: Jason Koherik, who is one of our featured artists, and is totally self-taught. He’s a real sleeper—he works in several mediums and trained as a sculptor and a fine artist before he started making furniture. His pieces are very referential to vintage modernism in many forms, and he makes exquisite lighting and obsessively searches for vintage pieces that he redoes. Also artist Nikki Marx—Reform Gallery will be displaying her [wearable feather pieces]—they’re showing her stuff from the ’70s and also her new designs.

Q&A: Parachute Market
(A vintage photo of Nikki Marx's wearable feather piece. Photo courtesy of Parachute Market)
This year you're introducing Market Market, a section of the fair showcasing smaller items across all price points. Can you tell us what we can expect to find there?
CF: Retail concept designer Phil Otto made us this amazing Normcore-meets-geometric flat pack design that will serve as a retail environment for smaller items such as ceramics, scents, and jewelry. We’ll have pieces by Victoria Morris, who makes beautiful lamps and pottery; Morgan Peck, who does really amazing ceramics; and Clare Vivier, who is making a limited-edition clutch with the gold Parachute logo. We’re bringing in a few fashion people who are really interested in being shown in the home interiors world—I think there’s a whole other breed of designer now who is just as inspired by interiors as they are by fashion, and is making fashion around those thoughts.
Q&A: Parachute Market
(A chair by Parachute Market participant Scout Regalia. Photo courtesy of Parachute Market.)
Why do you think this style of fair works well in LA?
BC: What LA doesn’t have is a design fair for designers in this kind of category: people who are making really high quality work but aren’t necessarily well-known, like Stephen Kenn, Scout Regalia and Chris Earle. They’re under-the-radar but they’re people whose names should be out there.

Q&A: Parachute Market
(Parachute Market artist Victoria Morris at work in her ceramic studio. Courtesy of Parachute Market)
Why is presentation such an important part of the equation for you?
CF: My background is in set design, so the context of that is always storytelling; there’s a spirit to how you present something. With the zeitgeist of the pop up—which we are not—I saw that that art form was being left out; we’re conscious of that and not having just a bunch of booths that visitors pass through. People want to stay for a couple of hours and commune. We want people to have conversations—not just show up, be seen, and leave.
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