Month of Modern Celebrates Emerging Local Designers

To be modern is to be related to the present. But the term “modern design” encompasses much more, and it’s this myriad of progressive inspiration, creativity and vision that Month of Modern ( sets out to celebrate.

Now in its fifth year, Month of Modern is a month-long extravaganza of design-related events hosted by Boulder’s HMH Architecture + Interiors. Aiming to give back to the community by promoting local designers and celebrating their crafts, Month of Modern provides Boulder the opportunity to exchange new ideas centered around modern architecture, design, lifestyles, art and culture.

“Boulder’s history of modern design, the high quality of craftsmanship and a desire to simplify our lifestyles has fueled a resurgence of modern design,” says HMH Architecture + Interiors Principal and Month of Modern Co-founder, Cherie Goff. “We are excited to highlight the great history of modernism in Boulder as well as the talented architects, artists and designers working today.”

On October 25th, the Month of Modern Wrap Party will further celebrate the work of local designers with the first ever Emerging Designer Showcase in collaboration with Todd Reed Jewelry. The event, featuring live music, a pop-up lounge by Rifugio Modern, food by Blackbelly, desserts by Daydream Desserts and cocktails prime for the celebratory clinking of glasses, will culminate in the presentation of the Emerging Designer Award to an up-and-coming local talent in modern design.

We chatted with some of these nominated creatives about what being a modern designer means to them. 



Alexander Giray | @alexandergiraydesigns | 

Alexander finds inspiration for the artfully crafted furniture pieces of Alexander Gíray Designs from a variety of sources, drawing from a childhood spent redesigning and reimagining everything around him to studying rock faces while climbing. A Danish Modernism enthusiast, Alexander works to achieve a balance of the modern, vintage and functional in his furniture, always keeping in mind ways to translate the romanticism of the past into a modern concept.

What does being a modern designer mean to you?

“As a modern designer, it’s my job to challenge what I see around me. Modern design is a mindset in which you constantly reimagine the now and challenge the status quo. It should make you reconsider what you know, inspire you and even confuse you at times, encouraging you to push out of established norms and be bold.”



Ava Goldberg | @animalhandmade | 

Maximal pattern on a minimal form is Ava’s motto as she crafts the embossed leather goods that make up her Animal Handmade brand. Having grown up in a creative, entrepreneurial family, Ava is inspired by the mysteries and beauties of existence, and she often uses animal forms in her designs as a metaphor for human experience. Ava works to blend concise lines, a textural feel and an almost hieroglyphic distillation of her ideas into her unique, visceral designs.

What does being a modern designer mean to you?

“I’m a designer working in this specific moment in time, meaning I consciously and unconsciously refer to the art of the past while bringing my reactions and interpretations of the present into my work. It’s a messy scramble of history and influence, time and place, and my personal perspective — one that won’t ever be untangled.”


Printmaking & Mixed Media

Heather Kahn-Pyatt | @heather.k.pyatt |

Heather has a diverse artistic background, from gaining a formal education in painting, art history and art theory to designing custom rugs as part of a family business, designing sustainable homes in Boulder County, and teaching color theory and two-dimensional design at the University of Colorado Boulder. Yet now, Heather has returned to her loves of printmaking, painting and drawing, creating abstract, graphically appealing print pieces that marry all the artistic influences she’s explored throughout her career.

What does being a modern artist mean to you?

“Being a modern artist today means focusing on strong design and craft— having a sensibility and deep respect for every material you choose and highlighting its properties and capabilities. Modern art should celebrate both beauty and innovation while maintaining a simplicity and clarity of form.”




Frankie Toan | 

For Frankie, creating art is an opportunity to understand and describe his reactions to and interactions and relationships with the world around him. Frankie works to forge connections between his art and its viewers, bringing a semi-fantastical style and bright color palette to his large-scale, interactive F.E. Toan pieces that represent his musings on timely, relevant topics, such as social media.

What does being a modern artist mean to you?

“I try to make art that comments on our world today and helps me better understand my lived experience. Artists are always trying to expand what art is and, with these expanded definitions of art, I feel free to explore as an artist with endless possibilities.”