Freedom and boundaries

Sally Wheaton hushcha

Three sculptural vessels by ceramic artist Jennifer McCurdy inspired the room vignette created by Wheaton Hushcha of Wheaton Huscha Design Inc., Minneapolis. "They have a lot of movement, a lot of upward spiraling energy," said Hushcha, who has a degree in ceramics herself. "I love the confluence between sculptural and functional." She added a hand-dyed felted wool throw by fiber artist Anne Vincent. "The texture is just so yummy, and I love the way she handles the dyes." The antique iron bench, a Renaissance-revival piece from the 1920s, is Hushcha's own. "I like the structure and classicism that some of the older pieces offer," she said. "I love combining that with contemporary, for a more up-to-date sensibility." For the show, she'll add two Chinese period chairs and a painting by her husband, artist Leon Hushcha. "It was important to me to show how special individually crafted pieces can be incorporated into a room setting, without seeming precious, but integrated."

organic modern Greg Walsh

Walsh of Walsh Design Group, Minneapolis, got inspired by Scott McGlasson's work, then realized the furniture maker was based in St. Paul. "He's right in our own back yard," Walsh said. He appreciated the "organic nature" of McGlasson's pieces, and their "modern, clean approach." McGlasson's console and sheepskin-topped stools showcase the natural character of the wood, Walsh said. And McGlasson's floor lamp showcases its bright-red cord. "He lets the materials be what they are." Also inspiring to Walsh was a handmade wool rug by fiber artist Carol Sobieniak, a wire sculpture by artist Donna D'Aquino ("there's a delicate aspect; it's a nice contrast to Scott's pieces, which have mass and weight") and a piece of reclaimed billboard art by Twin Cities artist Jay Nuhring. "It has a clean graphic quality, but as you get close, you see the pixelation, and the detailed surface becomes interesting texturally." For the show, Walsh will add custom digital-printed wallpaper, in colors to match the rug.

'eccentric minimalism' Robb Whittlef

The inspiration for designer Whittlef's room vignette was a grouping of vases by glass artist Hideaki Miyamura. Whittlef was drawn to the pieces' "simplicity of shape and depth of finish. They're earthy natural colors with a bit of metallic quality to them." To complement the glass vases, Whittlef chose carved furniture from the Holly Hunt showroom and a photo of the Mojave Desert. "It was taken using old photographic equipment, but it looks contemporary," he said. "I like to marry those sensibilities." The giant clamshell on a custom stand is from Whittlef's personal warehouse at his Historic Studio in St. Louis Park. And for the show, he'll add hand-plastered walls and vintage tile flooring salvaged from the solarium of Liberace's former house in Los Angeles, which Whittlef recently helped remodel. "It's cream with rust and green — very '60s, and incredibly showy en masse. With the Liberace movie coming out ["Behind the Candelabra," starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, premiering next month on HBO], it's fun."

celebrating tradition RSP architects

The design team from RSP Architects took a different approach to decorating their room. Instead of decorating it as a residential setting, they created a "celebration space" for their inspiration artist and her object, a ceramic sake set by artist Lynda Ladwig. "It's just so beautifully simple," said senior designer Mark Ostrom. "We wanted it to be a focal point and not get lost." The team had talked with Ladwig as a group, and were struck by her desire that her objects be used, rather than displayed to gather dust. So instead of just placing the sake set on a table, the designers decided to invite visitors to interact with it and the space, by sharing a wish or celebratory moment in their lives and writing a few words about it on a piece of paper. The wishes will be collected and displayed on wires from the ceiling to create an origami-inspired installation that will grow and change throughout the show.

Kim Palmer