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'PUBLIC ACCESS' at NYC Design Week 5/18-6/3

Events – May 2023

For NYC Design Week 2023, Kaarem is excited to be part of the ‘PUBLIC ACCESS’ exhibition, along with 37 international designers across 19 cities and 12 countries to explore ways in which design can inspire communal acts of sharing.

Furnishing Utopia returns to NYCxDesign this May, 2023 to pose a foundational question to the design world: How can we expand our creative practices through acts of care and empathy?

This debut installment of ‘PUBLIC ACCESS’ features works by 37 international designers, from 19 cities, 12 countries exploring ways in which design can inspire communal acts of sharing. The resulting work is an evolving array of offerings designed and built in-situ, some sharing community resources, some connecting with nature, or others igniting a sense of wonderment. All respond to their unique locations with an invitation for the public to engage freely.

Kaarem’s contribution is the Rotating Chess Board, a two-sided table made with found materials - leftover wooden squares, a metal bracket, and aluminum wire. Attached to a rail via wire loops, it supports 270 degree rotation, allowing for both private and public use.

Core to our inspiration is the value of resourcefulness present in every aspect of Vietnamese life. In approaching problem solving, the first step is always ingenuity - how to create a fix or enhancement, using materials at hand. Since Que regularly hosts a chess club, it made sense to create a playing board with additional utilitarian use.

The Rotating Chess Board can be found attached to a low rail that separates Que’s back patio from the hustle and bustle of Nguyen Huu Canh street. The patio is outfitted with benches and tables typically found in public parks throughout Saigon. Nestled amongst these items, the chess board acts as an invitation of both play and private space for public use.

The two-part exhibition of PUBLIC ACCESS will be showcased at two distinct locations in the Brooklyn Navy Yard neighborhood. The first location is Head Hi @HeadHi_ny, an organization dedicated to design and architecture publications with an emphasis on cultural programming.

The second location is Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (@bkgreenway) @Naval Cemetery Landscape in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 200-year-old historical site that serves as a sacred grove and a memorial meadow for public use.

Location 1: Indoor Exhibit at @HeadHi_ny, 146 Flushing ave, Brooklyn, NY. On view from 5/18 - 6/3

Location 2: Outdoor Exhibit @bkgreenway @NavalCemeteryLandscape , 63 Williamsburg St W, Brooklyn, NY 11249. On view from 5/18 - 5/25

@furnishing_utopia @PublicAccess.World #PublicAccessDesigns #DesignForCare #DesignForSharing #NavalCemeteryLandscape ​

Curation & creative direction by Jean Lee of ​​Ladies​ and Gentlemen Studio.
Web & Print design by Lulu Wolf.
Additional support provided by the Norwegian Consulate General New York ​and Vestre​


Creative Director

Chuong Pham

Project Manager

Elaine Tran


Que by Kaarem
118 Pham Viet Chanh
Phuong 19, Binh Thanh District
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Kathy Minh Bach
Khuyen Lai
Maika Alissa Nguyen Sontrop
Nam Nguyen
Tran Thuy Vy Nguyen