Published May 17, 2021
A Children’s Classic Comes to Life
Featuring: Fort Makers
By Jen Levisen
"In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of —"
Goodnight Moon, the classic children’s book, has been brought to life by New York-based design studio and artist collective, Fort Makers.
The exhibition, Goodnight House, reinterprets the bunny’s bedroom with newly commissioned artwork and home goods, created by contemporary artists and designers. Through the artists’ reimaginings of various objects found within the book’s bedroom setting, Goodnight House explores how the book has been woven into America’s cultural understanding of comfort, sleep, compassion, and imagination.
Goodnight Moon, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, was first published in 1947. It’s a short, rhyming poem describing a young rabbit’s bedtime ritual of saying repetitive, meditative, good night wishes to everything from inanimate bedroom objects — including a red balloon, a pair of socks, a toy house, and a bowl of mush — to the air, the stars, the moon, and even the house.
“When Goodnight Moon was first published, the New York Public Library’s chief children’s librarian disliked the book so much that the library didn’t carry it for 25 years,” says Nana Spears, Fort Makers’ Co-Founder and Creative Director. “Despite the librarian’s opposition to a progressive wave of children’s literature, and even though the book had poor sales in its first year, Goodnight Moon eventually gained universal affection and became one of the most famous childrens’ books of all time.”
Taking inspiration from Hurd's original illustrations, Fort Makers enlisted a group of artists to reimagine the bunny's bedroom as artworks and home goods, including an upholstered bed and handwoven textiles by Liz Collins, ceramic table lamps by Sameule Harvey, a cloud-shaped bedside table and storage unit by CHIAOZZA, character-inspired candles by Janie Korn, a ceramic mantlepiece clock by Keith Simpson, and a black balloon sconce by Spears and Fort Maker’s Co-Founder Noah Spencer, among other works.
“Since the advent of kindergarten, artists and designers have been absorbed with the power of play and the role it has in fostering creativity in both children and adults,” says Spencer. “This power has always been at the forefront of Fort Makers’ design philosophy, and is a tenet we try to reaffirm in new, innovative ways with each exhibition we produce.”
The Goodnight House exhibition will be open through June 10, grab tickets and more information here.
Fort Makers is a New York-based design studio and artist collective that designs bold, colorful, and tactile objects and environments through the lens of American craft. Offering exclusive, piece-unique and limited-edition collections of art objects, handmade furniture, and sculptural lighting, Fort Makers creates inventive, playful pieces that people can live with forever. Founded in 2008 by Nana Spears, Noah Spencer and Naomi Clark, Fort Makers also includes artists Jason Bauer, Ramona Gonzales, Tamika Rivera, Keith Simpson, and Shino Takeda. Fort Makers opened its first exhibition in September, 2019, at 38 Orchard Street in Manhattan. The gallery transforms every three months, hosting quarterly, immersive installations and exhibitions.
Goodnight House photography by Joe Kramm, courtesy of Fort Makers.