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Design Guru Stefan Beckman Brings The Essence Of Summer To Barneys Home

Stefan Beckman, the legendary set designer behind some of fashion’s biggest moments, lends his creative eye to Barneys Madison Avenue with a summer pop-up and newly launched beach towel line. Here, he shares the inspiration behind the Heatwave curation and his favorite summer essentials.

When you think of fashion’s most memorable runway shows, it’s likely that Stefan Beckman was the creative force behind the set. From curating spaces for Marc Jacobs collections over the years to collaborating on editorial campaigns, events, and even museum exhibits, Beckman is an expert at creating inspiring environments.

Now he’s taking his expertise to our home floor, where we’re launching an exciting summer pop-up entitled Heatwave. The curation is up all summer long on the ninth floor of Barneys Madison Avenue and features a thoughtful selection of summer supplies, including colorful décor, swimwear, accessories, and more. The space also includes beach towels from Beckman’s new design venture, Lateral Objects, which is inspired by bold ‘60s Californian art and ‘70s graphics. To help curate your own colorful finds for the home and entertaining essentials, we talked to the designer firsthand about his inspiration and summer must-haves.

The Window: How did this partnership come about?
It was great working with a selection of so many amazing items from different departments. Because I recently launched a design line called Lateral Objects that includes beach towels, I wanted to come up with a summer pop-up concept. We went with “Heatwave” as a name, and everything is curated into more of a lifestyle shop, as you’ll find bits for the home but also a little fashion, cosmetics, and sun products mixed in.

What was the inspiration behind Lateral Objects—why beach towels?
The idea behind the line is to create interesting and unique products. With summer’s arrival and the fact that I love the beach, towels were a great starting-off point. I really love bold, graphic design, so I played into that with interesting colors and design details. Overall, there will be many more fun things rolling out in the future.

How do you ideate a concept behind a collection or products? Where do you begin?
It all starts by identifying a feeling. For Heatwave it was thinking about what speaks to summer, whether that’s an emotional or visual response. From there you can work in graphic imagery reminiscent of the beach, and we then silk-screened prints onto plywood for the displays. There were so many fun and bold products in the store, especially the towels, so that really complemented the colors of the installation to make everything pop.

Has designing products been a natural progression for you?
It has and feels like I’ve come full circle. I’ve been doing set design for a long time and have worked with so many amazing brands on experiences. Being able to do it on my own now is amazing. Plus, I love small details, from the labels to the graphics, and think it’s important to tell a story by curating a brand’s world.

Speaking to your impressive career as a set designer, what are some of the most memorable shows you’ve worked on?
There’s been a lot. Last month, I did the Louis Vuitton show at JFK’s TWA Flight Center. It was epic to work in that iconic space and really transform it. We filled it with tons of tropical plants from all over the country, from Florida to California, and donated it all to the botanical gardens after. I’ve also had an incredible collaboration with Marc Jacobs and his shows over the years, and have done fashion campaigns with Prada and Miu Miu recently. The best thing about my job is that I’m able to do so many different types of projects, which keeps it interesting.

Any must-see exhibits this summer?
I recently saw a great color painting at the Whitney Museum’s exhibit called “Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s.” It’s on show through August and amazing.

SHOP THE HEATWAVE CURATION

"These colorful Thomas Fuchs melamine plates are perfect for a lunch by the pool."
"I love the packaging for this South Korea–based candle line. All have witty names and smell great."
"Not a bad gift to give your host."
"These resin pitchers look like works of art. Strange and cool."
"One of my faves from my new towel collection. This design is based off of a tennis court, yet done abstractly."
"These beautiful dessert plates would be the perfect end for any summer dinner. I love the mix-and-match assortment."
"A funny and effortless straw beach tote."
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