Name: Emmanuel Olunkwa
Hometown: Los Angeles
Now lives: In a one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn’s Stuyvesant Heights neighborhood.
Claim to fame: Mr. Olunkwa is a filmmaker, freelance magazine editor and furniture designer who has just been appointed the new editor of Pin-Up magazine. He considers his interdisciplinary practice to be in keeping with the mantra of Marshall McLuhan, the communication theorist who taught that “the medium is the message”. “I’m from the Tumblr generation,” he said. “I’ve always been able to sort of manage my world. “
Big cut: Growing up in Los Angeles, Mr. Olunkwa first became interested in design by examining his hometown real estate with a critical eye. “I was always involved in who built the friends’ houses or what major renovations were done,” he said.
He moved to New York City in 2014 to study race and architecture at the New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts. In 2019, he enrolled in a prestigious and versatile program at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.
During this time, he also oversaw November Magazine, a brain-based “publishing and programming company” he helped found in 2020, and was editor-in-chief of The Broadcast, a virtual publication of the Pioneer Works gallery. “Everything has pretty much picked up for me over the past year,” he said.
Latest project: This month, he took the helm of Pin-Up, a biannual New York-based cheeky architecture publication. (Felix Burrichter, founder and former editor of the magazine, takes on the new role of Creative Director.) “Pin-Up prides itself on its rigorous optimism, so I want to continue to complicate what this idea of ’architectural entertainment’ can mean. ” he said.
Next thing: As a furniture designer, Mr. Olunkwa is known for his flower-shaped side tables and sculptural high-quality plywood chairs (starting at $ 650 and sold on eandko.com and at Picture Room in Brooklyn) . A new capsule collection of furniture will be marketed by Ssense this fall. “When I started living on my own last year, I started making furniture because I wanted my space to reflect me for the first time,” he said.
In-depth play: For his doctoral thesis at Columbia University (he obtained a Masters of Science in May), he dissected the spatiality of “Slave Play,” Jeremy O. Harris’ Tony-nominated production on racism and sexual issues. . “It’s really incisive work that allows people to examine how we position ourselves as viewers of art and identity,” he said.