Steampunk comes to the Pier Show

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Bruce and Melanie Rosenbaum are taking some of their Steampunked Home on the road, specifically to The Pier Antique show in New York. See the press release below.  -Jake


NOV. 13 & 14, 2010

Think Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.  Think Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll.  Mix mad-scientist speculation with Victorian sensibility and throw in a bit of Sci-Fi.  What do you have?  Steampunk – one of the most fascinating design and lifestyle trends today.  At the upcoming Pier Show, Nov. 13 & 14 on Pier 94, Steampunk will take center stage when ten of its most avid admirers and practitioners present the Steampunk House – – a fantastic, futuristic exhibit devoted to Steampunk creations and design ideas for the home. 

With everything on display for sale, this innovative Steampunk House marries the best of bygone eras with the comfort and convenience of modern day living.  The results at first boggle the eye, but are nothing short of spectacular!

“Steampunk design showcases how form and function, creativity and fun, reuse, restoration and reimagining can transform objects, giving them a second life.,” notes Bruce & Melanie Rosenbaum of ModVic, who have contributed their Steampunk expertise to the organizing of the Pier show exhibit and sale.  “In this sense, it is the ultimate expression of going green with antiques.”  Steampunk design takes the best parts of a bygone era and infuses the modern comforts and technology of the present day. 

Steampunk is all about technology – a world where human intellect and wonder intersect with science.  During the early nineteenth century, a scientist could make anything in his basement.  It might be clunky looking, but it was compelling and interesting.  And, yes, it would work!  The whimsical bicycle sculptures that Jaak Demarest will bring to the Pier Show’s Steampunk House are a case in point.   Clunky, weird, eye-catching, they are classic Steampunk!

In technology today, most of the working parts are hidden from view.  No one cares to see how the device or appliance functions, as long as it works.  Not so with Steampunk, where all of the working parts are exposed.  Steampunk relies on “modding,” an expression derived from the verb “modify.”  Creators of Steampunk will take an object – often an antique find – and modify it to perform a function that was not originally intended.

Examples abound in the Pier Show’s Steampunk House.  At the center of the exhibit is a Steampunk Time Machine Antique Master Bathroom Computer Workstation created by Bruce Rosenbaum and Plumber Artist Walter Parker from Old School Plumbing.  This amazing piece is made of mostly antique bathroom fixtures and parts, but serves as a computer station.  Steve Brook’s reworked Steampunk Guitars are another powerful example.  Vintage gages, working gears, such novelties as soap bar humbuckers, adorn his guitars, giving them new life as a work of art.  “Throughout history, the Arts and Engineering Sciences have been interwoven.  Leonardo da Vinci’s body of work is a prime example of this interaction,” he notes.  Todd Cahill, a professional model maker, creates and builds high-end model steam engines and mechanical sculptures. A skilled draftsman as well, his steam engine prints are as meticulous as a da Vinci drawing.

And nowhere will you find more material for your Steampunk project than at the Pier Show. Vintage pill cases, thread cutters, gardening and kitchen implements, cutlery, old plumbing, cast off iron parts from machines, gears and vintage watch hands – all become part of a Steampunk creation.  Dealers specializing in industrial design – furniture, fixtures, and lighting that comes from old factories, warehouses, and buildings – already are familiar with the basic concepts of Steampunk.  By recycling these industrial finds into sleek, polished furnishings, they have given us a hint of what Steampunk has taken to even greater heights.

How to live with Steampunk?  Imaginatively and beautifully!  Steampunk as a trend is gaining nationwide attention.  Major magazines such as Victorian Homes, Old House Journal, and Globe Home Magazine have been quick to pick up on the trend in editorial spreads that featured the Steampunk home. Decorating in “Steampunk style” can be simple.  A plain room can be instantly “steampunked” by adding a cog heavy clock or a wall display of “Steampunk” objects.  Theme rooms, such as a dirigible-inspired bath, a mad scientist den, or a library with an explorer theme – are also ways to integrate Steampunk into the home. David Erickson’s antique modernized Steampunk stoves are in demand for Victorian home renovations and in the modern kitchen where they instantly become the “center of attention.”  He will have several outstanding examples at the Pier Show.  Even a computer can be steampunked by adding an old-fashioned, custom-made keyboard.  Or try tucking your cell phone into a brass cover that looks like an antique cigarette case.  That’s Steampunk too!

In fashion, Steampunk flourishes.  You can see it in Manhattan’s “Alphabet City” where young female club goers don black combat boots, pink paisley bloomers, a white lace corset with a black flannel shirt.  That’s Steampunk at its colorful best.  Steampunk can also be “Fusion Fashion” – a mix of vintage garb with contemporary pieces.  Picture a pair of fitted jeans with a purple velvet waistcoat, white peasant shirt and finished off with a neon-colored silk tie.  You’ll find plenty of vintage fashion at the Pier Show’s Fashion Alley to complete your Steampunk look.

Who’s into Steampunk?  Everyone!  No, it’s not just for rebellious teenagers, although Steampunk is far less scary than Goth for concerned parents.  Vampires inhabit the Goth world and they’re very scary.  Steampunks take watches seriously and no one is scared of a pocket watch.  In fact, some folks see steampunk as a fashionable backlash to Goth and Punk.  You’ll find Steampunkers in their 30s and 50s.  After a trip to the Pier Show, you may become one too!

Show hours are Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm.  Admission is $15.  Pier 94 is located at 55th Street and 12th Avenue, New York City.  Contact: Bruce Rosenbaum 781-784-0250 or for more information. Also visit