Guerilla by Design-An ambush style furniture exhibition in downtown Minneapolis

What would you do if a group of 16 furniture designers invaded your space and replaced your items with furniture designed specifically for your site? Guerilla by Design is an ambush-style furniture exhibit by a group of local designers who are transforming the city’s design reputation by proving that smart and beautiful furniture design isn’t only reserved for New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Stylish furniture is being designed right here in the Twin Cities.


The show is happening Friday, August 10th from 2pm-7pm, Saturday, August 11th from 4pm-11pm with an opening party from 7pm-11pm, and Sunday, August 12th from 11am-3pm.  The space located at 25 N. 4th St. I had the opportunity of speaking with Maya Khaira, the show’s spokeswoman and local furniture designer about the inspiration behind the idea.

The Guerilla by Design Team

How did the idea come about?
I have a background in studio furniture where
designs are mostly pre­sented in a gallery con­text, like art, with min­i­mal inter­ac­tion from the viewer. I wanted to put together a show where the fur­ni­ture was pre­sented in a more lifestyled con­text with oppor­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple to actu­ally inter­act with the design.  I want to make design less intimidating and more accessible to a wider audience.  Chairs in my opinion are for sitting in.
Tal­ent was another thing that inspired the show. I know so many tal­ented design­ers in the Twin Cities, and I wanted to cre­ate a plat­form to show­case that tal­ent.  The Twin Cities really does have a very healthy design scene, but I felt like the designers were isolated in their own studios with minimal interaction with each other.  I wanted to bring all this talent together to prove you don’t have to go to New York or Milan for great design.  Great design is right here.  My hope is that an event like this could really start some kind of Midwestern Design Movement.

What process was used to select which furniture artists could participate in the show?
I studied furniture design at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design), so I know a lot of furniture designers in the Cities, and those designers know designers.  This is the first year for this event, so it was less of a juried process, and more of a “hey is this something you would be interested in” proposition.  I wasn’t sure I could get 15 people to commit to making multiple pieces of furniture
for what is basically an experiment.  But everyone I approached seemed really excited about the idea when I pitched it.

Tell me about the meaning behind the show’s title.
Guerilla refers to a fighter in an irregular army that fights a larger power using sabotage or harassment.   I wanted to take the spirit of the word minus the violence and create an independent design army that can pop up anywhere at anytime. But instead of sabotage I think we are using grass roots organization and DIY spirit to make a place in the design world for ourselves. Sometimes it is hard to get your voice heard in the design world. We are Guerilla By Design…but also by necessity.

By Lucas Mark

How often are you planning on doing a pop-up exhibit?
I would love for this to be a once a year event with a different Twin Cities location every year. Ideally it would be great to expand its reach outside the Twin Cities to become an event for Midwestern designers to meet up.
 In the future I would love to have a Guerilla By Design where we swoop into someones private home and have designers replace all of their furniture with pieces custom designed for their space, and then open it to the public. 


Chair by SOLV
What do you want visitors to take away from the show?
I want people to feel like design is alive here and it is for everyone.
Can you buy the pieces in the show?
Everything in the show will be available for purchase.  All the Guerilla Designers with furniture in the show will be at the opening event on August 11th from 7-11pm.  It is a great opportunity to talk to the designers if you are interested in commissioning custom pieces.

An Ambush Style Furniture Exhibition

Opening Event with Drinks, Design, & DJ –
Saturday August 11th 2012, 7pm to 11pm


Exhibition open to the public -Free

August 10th – 12th 2012

Friday Aug 10th 2-7pm
Saturday Aug 11th 4-11pm
Sunday Aug 12 11-3pm

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  • Cpriesz

    Great Show Guerrilla by Design! Congrats Nate and Erin at Tandem Made as well as all the other artists!

  • Tom Balko

    I’d love to check this out! Is it happening again this year?

    • twincitiesdesignscene

      Hi Tom,

      No word yet on when their next show is, but some of the designers currently have their furniture featured in a window display in downtown Minneapolis on 7th Street and Hennepin Avenue. Here is the link to their Facebook photo album:

      -Jennie, Twin Cities Design Scene