Posts tagged with "Furniture":

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Specsheet > Objects of Common Space: Residential Furniture

Residential furnishings that range from the mundane to the otherworldly—here is a selection of new furniture that physically and conceptually reinvigorates traditional and expected forms. Kreten Side Table Souda Industrial, organic, and sculptural, each of these side tables is completely unique. Original pieces designed by Isaac Friedman-Heiman are created in Souda's Brooklyn studio by casting concrete into a spandex mold. This unique material combination delivers forms with naturally occurring air bubbles and color variations. The side tables are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Hi-Lo Shelving Moving Mountains
Equally sculptural and functional, this shelving unit is comprised of common plywood, fractured marble, and bright blue paint. The juxtaposition of high and low materials underline the stepped form, creating a graphic play between textures and color.
Chaise Klein Agency
Cleverly nicknamed "the long chair," the Chaise exposes the strength of two materials: steel and leather. The design is afforded by rolled sheet metal that sustains the weight of the resting area on top of the seemingly floating plane.
Sylva Daybed Coil + Drift
Wood grain and textured fabric come together in this six-legged daybed. The white-oak base is composed of a rounded-edge frame and distinctive hand-shaped legs, which taper on two sides. The sumptuous cushion is crafted with subtle tufting and meticulous seaming.
CAN 1 HAY
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec designed CAN 1 to go beyond practicality and comfort to reinvigorate the entire idea of the sofa. Reinterpreted as something relaxed and accessible, it comes flat-packed and can be easily assembled at home from three basic elements: frame, cover, and cushions.
Slip Chair Erickson Aesthetics Made of matte Horween leather, wenge wood, and waved cord, this chair is elegantly assembled by inserting the wooden seat and legs into the seat back. The backside reveals the cord stitching that holds the tanned seatback taught.
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An interview with Ineke Hans on the future of furniture design

Dutch furniture designer Ineke Hans works from London with her Holland-based studio to lead international manufacturers on projects that explore the future of furniture design. With works in museum collections and participation in furniture fairs and symposiums around the world, she has built a body of work that address global issues in design, the role of the designer, and the role of manufacturing. Recently she was asked to collaborate with the Kunsthalle Wien, a Viennese exhibitions space, to design a chair for an exhibit showcasing her recent work. Was ist Loos? [a pun that pairs the German phrase for ‘What is happening?’ with the name of architect Adolf Loos] explores Vienna as a site for design and production shaped by Adolf Loos and the Thonet brothers. The show also addresses broader questions, such as new ways to develop and distribute design concepts. The Architect's Newspaper spoke with her about conventional and innovative production methods, as well as the regional characteristics of design. The Architect’s Newspaper: What choices did you make to come up with a final chair design that is contemporary, yet inspired by 19th century architecture and design in Vienna? Ineke Hans: A few years before Kunsthalle Vienna invited me for this exhibition, they asked me to think about sitting objects for their public spaces, but I did not have much time then to work on it. This year I decided to go back to their initial request and design a new chair that could also be presented in the exhibition. In reference to the Viennese architect and designer Adolf Loos, who wrote modernist design manifesto Ornament & Crime  in 1908, the current exhibition asks where we are in design today. I approached Gebrüder Thonet Vienna because of their history in producing chairs for cultural places in Vienna and their past experience working with designers like Loos, Hans Wagner, and Josef Hoffmann.  The Thonet wood-bending technique invented a new way to make cheaper mass-produced furniture. Now the wood-bending technique is rather labor intensive. I decided to make a chair typology that fits the historical context with the techniques of our time, specifically CNC routering and laser cutting. What are your favorite design features of this chair? It is a stackable chair and good to place in rows for conferences—because of this, it works very well in contract environments. What obstacles, if any, were there in the design process? The prototyping was – as often in these cases – very last-minute. It all worked out very well and the models show the wonderful quality of Thonet manufacturing. In your opinion, how does your chair consider the role of manufacturing, both physically (in comparison to the other objects) and historically? Thonet was the first mass producer of furniture in the world, using a technology that speeded up making chairs in a semi-industrial way, offering affordable furniture. That process has become rather labor-intensive compared with furniture production in over the last century. With possibilities to combine digital production and handwork, it is interesting to look at some other aspects that are valuable for design today. They could fit 36 pieces of disassembled Thonet No 14s (and the screws needed to build them to be packed into a box measuring) in one cubic meter. This emancipated worldwide shipping (marking the beginnings of flat-pack furniture), becoming available in the U.S. to immigrants who arrived with big families and were in need of affordable furniture. Hundred of years later, IKEA started to flatpack. Today you could say we are at 'flatpack 3.0.’ With online sales and distribution of furniture, that means people expect 3-seat sofas to arrive at their homes through their letterbox. Flatpack is not an issue in this chair, the design is made with open source platform Opendesk. Nowadays, we have to think about production and materials of new items we design for the world, but also the meaning of things and how they relate to each other. The KHW chair is a new chair embedded in the rich historical design history of Vienna. Ineke Hans: Was ist Loos? is on view at the Kunsthalle Wien in Viena through December 11. For more information, visit the exhibition webpage.
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Meet the honorable mentions in our 2017 Best of Product Awards!

Last week we shared the winning designs from our largest-ever Products Awards across 15 sundry categories, including technology, textiles, HVAC, furniture, facades, and more. Scroll through the slideshow to see the the honorable mentions from each category, evaluated by our team of judges for innovation, aesthetics, performance, and value. You can find our winners and honorable mentions featured in our September issue—out September 6! The Best of Products Awards Jury: James Biber Partner, Biber Architects Olivia Martin Managing Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper William Menking Editor in Chief, The Architect’s Newspaper Patrick Parrish Owner, Patrick Parrish Gallery Tucker Viemeister Founder, Viemeister Industries Pilar Viladas Design writer and editor HONORABLE MENTIONS To view images of all honorable mentions, please click through the slideshow above. Finishes & Surfaces CONDUCT by Flavor Paper PUZZLE by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for Mutina for Stone Source Bath LINEA SHOWER BASE by Fiora VERGE WITH WASHBAR by Bradley Corp. Lighting SYMMETRY by Visa Lighting LIFT WITH BIOS by Pinnacle Architectural Lighting Textiles SIGNATURE & LEGACY COLLECTIONS by KnollTextiles SHADE by Chilewich Openings GPX FIREFLOOR SYSTEM by Safti First CURVED by Vitrocsa Technology & Innovation MATTERPORT PRO2 3D CAMERA by Matterport PORTABLE ULTRA SHORT THROW PROJECTOR by Sony Kitchen 4-DOOR FLEX REFRIGERATOR by Samsung VERTICAL BAR BLOCK by Henrybuilt Interior Commercial Furniture GLASSCUBE by CARVART KANSO BENCH by HBF Interior Residential Furniture STEMN SERIES by Fyrn DICHROIC TABLE by Rottet Collection Structural FIRE AND WATER BARRIER TAPE by 3M SCHLUTER-DITRA-HEAT-DUO by Schluter Systems Smart Home Systems EVOLVED MINNEAPOLIS FULL ESCUTCHEON HANDLESET by Baldwin Hardware PANOVISTA MAX by Renson Facades PHOTOVOLTAIC FACADE by Onyx Solar TRIANGULAR RAINSCREEN PANEL by Shildan HVAC EME3625DFL LOUVER by Ruskin AIRFLOW PANEL by Architectural Applications Outdoor Public GO OUTDOORTABLE by Landscape Forms ULURU by Metalco srl/id metalco, Inc. Outdoor Residential CLOUD BENCH by Bend Goods VERTICAL LOUNGER by DEESAWAT  
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Jenny Sabin’s selling stools from her MoMA PS1 installation

At MoMA PS1 this year, Jenny Sabin's Lumen gave many a reason to look up through the SolarActive and photo-luminescent thread knitted funnels. Look down, however, and you would have spotted an array of equally exquisite "spool stools" that complimented the installation. The last Warm Up—the last chance to see Lumen—is this weekend. The stools, however, are available to purchase through Jenny Sabin Studio's website. There you can own one (or more) of the 100 stools that were used during the installation's three-month run. Though three variations of the seat were produced, all were made in a similar fashion. To make the "spool stool," recycled plywood spools, carved into serrated pinwheels were placed at either end while a robot—named Sulla—spun woven micro-cord thread in a hyperbolic fashion around their perimeter. Each stool is also topped and bottomed by CNC cut caps, which, to Jenny Sabin Studio's own admission, may be a tad word from usage, but are in general in great condition. Three stool sizes are on sale. The smallest, priced at $150, is able to double-up as a side table, while the medium and large–sized stools, $200 and $250 respectively, can seat up to three people and be used as table as well. The stools are available to purchase at jennysabin.com but there's no delivery—they must be picked up from MoMA PS1.
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Jerry Helling on helming Bernhardt Design, America’s changing tastes, and more

In 1981, Lenoir, North Carolina–based Bernhardt Furniture Company founded Bernhardt Design with a mission to focus more internationally and to cultivate a roster of established and new talent. Jerry Helling has been president and creative director of Bernhardt Design since 1991 and has established a number of initiatives, including an interdisciplinary course with the world-renowned ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena and ICFF Studio, a scholarship program that provides exposure for emerging designers. Helling and The Architect's Newspaper's Editor-in-Chief William Menking discuss Bernhardt Design’s past, present, and future.

The Architect’s Newspaper: You have been president and creative director of Bernhardt Design since 1991, and in that time it has become a company known to value good contemporary furniture design. Were you brought into the company to push design thinking, or did you come to realize its importance in the marketplace?

Jerry Helling: I’m usually accused of being ahead of the curve, which is probably accurate. I had a hard time understanding why the American market was still so rooted in historical reproductions when other countries were doing interesting contemporary design. I decided to change direction and see if we could find a market in America for well-designed contemporary furniture. It was a big risk and it took ten years to really catch on. Some of our best pieces were discontinued in the early 2000s because people didn’t understand them or want them at the time. You must remember this was before the re-emergence of the Eameses and the entire midcentury catalogue. Design Within Reach hadn’t opened yet in the mid-’90s, so it was difficult to educate an audience on the value of original design.

Do you see contemporary furniture becoming more appreciated by American consumers?

Yes, definitely—it is fashionable and it sells, so everyone is interested in it now. There are a number of reasons why this entire phenomenon has coalesced and it is hard to pinpoint a turning point.

Design became a business buzzword and many studies and books were written about design thinking in everything we do. The media started covering design in a major way and that brought it into the public consciousness, and Design Within Reach’s outreach to consumers helped too. The idea that everything goes in cycles also played a role; in America we were ready for a new modern design cycle, which the Europeans had adopted after the Second World War and continue to support. The interesting point of all this is that at first, you think it is driven by the younger generation, when in fact the baby boomers are fueling the demand. They are leaving their homes filled with family antiques and want to downsize with modern furniture and accessories. I find the younger generation more eclectic, combining modern furniture with flea market items, IKEA, and traditional furniture. They are less likely to be driven by trends.

You are well known for your support of design education and mentoring of young designers. What brought you to focus on education?

It was purely a matter of need. While design students receive a wonderful education in design, they don’t receive much guidance regarding what to do after they graduate. How do you present your ideas and concepts to manufacturers? How do you create designs that can be manufactured and that people want to buy? This has been the basis of our annual program with ArtCenter College of Design—striving to give students a real-life design experience before they graduate. From there we moved on to creating ICFF Studio, a platform to help young designers once they have graduated and need exposure to manufacturers, retail, and the press.

What initiatives are you working on at the moment that excite you?

I’m pleased that we are presenting the American Design Honors award to a wonderful couple from Oregon called Studio Gorm. They are doing interesting and exciting work and I Iook forward to people being introduced to them.

We are also doing a project under the title of “The Creatives.” It features actor Terry Crews, Grammy-nominated singer Tift Merritt, and Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia. People will have to visit ICFF to see what it is all about, but I can say their work is great and you won’t be disappointed!

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Furniture designer Jonathan Nesci on his move to modernist mecca Columbus, Indiana

You might say that furniture designer Jonathan Nesci is doing things in reverse. Rather than starting his career in a small town and ending with his work selling at auction in the big city, he is making a go at high design in a small community. After working at the Wright design auction house in Chicago, Nesci made the seemingly unconventional move away from the furniture mecca to a small town in south-central Indiana. But that small town was none other than Columbus, Indiana, the modernist playground. Nesci sat down with AN Midwest Editor Matthew Messner to discuss.

The Architect’s Newspaper: Why the move from Chicago to Columbus, Indiana?

Jonathan Nesci: Primarily, my move was a family decision. During the financial mess of 2008–2009, my time at Wright had come to an end and I felt like we needed a fresh start. I felt like I could really work from anywhere, and the thought of my kids getting a chance to grow up in a place like Columbus was and continues to be very appealing. This is not meant to ignore my obvious connection to the architecture, but on a whole the appeal of Columbus is very broad.

Have you found living surrounded by many masterpieces of modernist architecture to be beneficial to your work?

It’s undeniable. It’s energizing to see the Henry Moore sculpture at different times of day, or catch a different view of an Eero Saarinen project that I hadn’t seen before. So much of my design work is informed by the past; I feel very fortunate to get to interact with these places on a regular basis. It’s also encouraging to see some great examples of the built environment really working for people. Architecture and design can make a difference and are doing so here. Not just for me but for an entire community. That’s really powerful.

You are often associated with the architecture community, especially through collaborations and exhibitions. What do you take from those formal or informal relationships?

I’m eternally grateful for the connections to my peers in the design and architecture community. These relationships inform and inspire me. Columbus is my creative island, but it’s important for me to travel and see other ways of working and learn from my contemporaries. I have so much respect for work that rises above the norm, and I admire those who are pioneers in this industry. I feel like my world is all about connections and dialogue.

Your work is directly tied to the manufacturing process. Could you talk about your relationship to the people who make it?

My hope is that the relationship between designer and producer makes both of us better at what we do. This collaboration pushes design and fabrication further, and it’s this fusion of ideas that excites me. I guess the most significant change since moving to Columbus is developing a great relationship with numerous local firms, specifically Noblitt Fabricating. It’s rewarding and beneficial to see multiple projects through with the same team.

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WantedDesign’s founders on can’t-miss events for architects at this year’s show

WantedDesign 2017 will kick off its seventh year during NYCxDESIGN on May 17. Each year, WantedDesign puts on a series of workshops, launches, conversations, and events to bring together designers of different disciplines and backgrounds. The weeklong event is split between Manhattan and Brooklyn, a move made in 2015 to acknowledge Brooklyn’s growing influence in the design community. To continue growing WantedDesign Brooklyn, a new event was added this year, WANTED Career Day, which will provide young designers opportunities to network with professionals, companies, manufacturers, and brands. WantedDesign Brooklyn will start off the week of festivities at Industry City in Sunset Park on May 17, with WantedDesign Manhattan kicking off on May 20 at the Terminal Stores building in West Chelsea. Both events will conclude on May 23. In anticipation of WantedDesign, The Architect’s Newspaper spoke with its co-founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat about what architects can expect at WantedDesign and what they hope the event will do for the design community. The Architect’s Newspaper: WantedDesign focuses a lot on connectivity: designers to manufacturers, students to professionals, U.S. designers to international designers, etc. Are you hoping to forge a long-lasting difference in how different professions in the design world work together? Odile and Claire: Absolutely. We strongly believe that great ideas [and] great projects come from great people from diverse backgrounds working together. We build [on this] year after year…and this is certainly the most interesting part of what we are doing: building solid and long lasting exchanges, resulting in sustainable and long-term collaborations. Speaking of connectivity, how do you see architects and product designers working together in the future and pushing design forward?  Architects and product designers are definitely two different “families,” even if there is more and more crossover and architects going to products and vice versa. There is certainly a specific learning and skills needed for each activity, and one can’t replace the other, but working together is a great thing and for sure pushes design forward. The WANTED Career Day is a new event this year. What led you to start this event? What are you hoping will come out of this for the candidates and recruiters involved? May is the time [that brings into] town all professionals, established names of the industry, as well as freshly graduated students starting their creative career and dreaming about meeting those professionals. We have this mix at WantedDesign of established and young talents and design schools… we are committed to supporting young creatives. All year long, we [had] companies telling us they are looking to hire and are desperate to find good candidates. We thought it was just bon sens to organize this, and also feel that’s part of our responsibility, and part of NYCxDESIGN’s mission to facilitate job opportunities. Our goal is certainly to make good “matches,” and to organize a new Career Day during the year, and certainly in May 2018. How do you see events like WantedDesign influencing the design community and sparking innovation? We offer a platform that is very different from any other design fair or trade shows, offering manufacturers and designers a place for creative and storytelling installations, that very often offer different approaches, visions, or capabilities. We certainly propose a new way to inspire and connect people that is more engaging [and] more exciting. We envision WantedDesign more as a design forum and not just a place to launch products…. Equally, [it’s] a place to share ideas [and] engage meaningful conversations and collaborations. Maybe the way we influence the design community is in emphasizing the quality of the relationships and in building a valuable and rich network. For visitors coming to WantedDesign from an architecture background, what would you say is the most interesting event(s) for them to attend? We will very much [be] focusing and talking about well-being and about [the] responsibility that comes with design and production. [A] few great installations to look at specifically for architects at WantedDesign Manhattan this year: Mohawk Group, Wolf Gordon, and certainly 3M presenting the latest innovative materials/surface collection. The Wanted Interiors /Creative Life Space presented by Sony Life Space UX will be really interesting as well. That’s a new program that we are particularly enthusiastic to launch this year. It reflects our search for [a] new way for our visitors, and in particular architects, to discover products and possible application, interpretation, and transformation. [A] few not to be missed talks at WantedDesign Manhattan for this audience: Saturday, May 20, 2pm-3pm – “Designing for Movement” – Conversation Room at Grimshaw. Moderated by Susan S. Szenasy, Publisher/Editor in Chief, Metropolis Magazine, with Randy Fiser, chief executive officer, American Society of Interior Designers, Joseph White, director of workplace strategy, design, and management, Herman Miller, Anastasia Su, co-founder and creative director of 13&9 and Martin Lesjak, co-founder and creative director of 13&9 and CEO of INNOCAD Architecture. Sunday, May 21, 2pm-3pm – 2017 Color + Design Vision – At Mohawk Gallery. Join Royce Epstein, director of design segment for Mohawk Group, as she presents the 2017 forecast of color and design trends. This inspirational lecture looks at how cultural shifts affect design, and how trends today impact design across multiple disciplines to create a new visual language. One talk to put on the calendar as well at WantedDesign Brooklyn: Thursday, May 18, 6pm-8pm – Adapt & Reuse: New approaches for recycling Urban Fabric. A discussion presented by WantedDesign and New Practice New York AIA NY with David van der Leer, Van Alen Institute, Daniel Pittman, design director, A/D/O, Thomas McKnight, executive vice president, planning, development & transportation, NYC EDC, and Andrew Kimball, CEO, Industry City. Moderated by Carol Loewenson, FAIA, partner at Mitchell | Giurgola Architects, with special guests Stacey Anderson and Karen Zabarsky of MakerPark. For more information about the events going on at WantedDesign or for tickets, visit the WantedDesign website here.
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You can see entire landscapes in this recently released furniture series

Powdered glass, dyed sand, silica, coffee—these are the materials designer Fernando Mastrangelo used to craft his latest furniture series, dubbed "Escape." As exotic as those materials may seem, they're just the tip of the iceberg for New York–based Mastrangelo. His studio has experimented extensively with unusual castings, using salt, sugar, corn, salt, cement, sprinkles, metal beads, and more, in its sculptures and furniture. Mastrangelo recently collaborated with SHoP Architects to cast entire walls in Thakoon, a newly-minted Soho boutique clothing store (look for it the most recent edition of AN Interior!). "Escape," which recently made its debut in Milan, finds fresh inspiration in the natural world. The series "is inspired by the perfect compositions of landscapes and horizons, which are at once harsh and geometric, yet soft and gentle," Mastrangelo told The Architect's Newspaper. "I wanted to create objects that capture that language, and the profound sense of calm and contemplation that stems from a connection to nature. This is the first time we’ve cast powdered glass, which has a unique luminous quality that really makes the pieces feel alive." The new collection is now on view at the Maison Gerard (53 East 10th Street, New York) from April 13th to May 5th.
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Adam Nathaniel Furman designs hyper-vibrant furniture installation for Milan Design Week 2017

London-based Adam Nathaniel Furman once described a project of his as "eye gougingly colorful." The work in question was a conceptual reaction to the monolithic concrete Corviale housing scheme in Rome. A designer, critic, and champion of postmodernism, Furman has now designed four equally colorful works with an Italian inflection. This time, however, no eye gouging is necessary. Furman was commissioned by Camp Design Gallery for the Milan Design Week/Fuori Salone 2017 to create this new installation, titled 4 Characters in the First Act and curated by Marco Sammicheli. It comprises furniture described by Furman as "bursting with personality." The four pieces are all named. Introducing: Angiolo (aside unit); Anselmo (a table); Annibale (a cupboard with legs); and Augusto (a triangle cupboard). Drawing inspiration from Italy, and what Furman describes as "its incredible ability to always mix, and synthesize, influences from all around the world," the highly decorative pieces draw from Korean, Balian, Thai, and Chinese imagery. Furman continued, noting how the styles he draws upon have been "updated with a bright, glowing, and joyful 21st century aesthetic." The four A's (Angiolo, Anselmo, Annibale, and Augusto) have been made with traditional Italian craft, using hand-made Lombard timber carpentry and painted steel. "Imagine a Thai business lady, and an Italian backpacker, spending a long, exciting, passion and drug-fuelled night together in a Chinese club," said Furman. "Well these pieces are the embodiment of this kind of wonderful, sensual and aesthetic trans-continental exchange." "In an age of increasing isolationism and gloom, this is a collection that picks up on Marco Polo's legacy, and is the celebratory, colorful expression of a desire to travel, and to meet and make exciting, strange new things," he added.
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In new exhibition, Erwin Wurm uses midcentury furniture to subvert your free will

It’s usually not a good idea to put your feet through a vintage wooden bench, but, in his latest show, artist Erwin Wurm is asking visitors to do just that.

In Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures series, which began in 1997, members of the public follow the artist’s written directions to realize a sculpture—moving around a low plinth to engage (or subvert) the everyday function of fruit, cleaning supplies, and here, midcentury modern furniture.

The latest iteration of these short sculptures references Ethics, Spinzoa's seminal philosophic work that questioned the existence of free will. The success of the art, Wurm says, is directly correlated with how well the person follows his instructions. 

Today, at Ethics demonstrated in geometrical ordervisitors to Lehmann Maupin will realize the sculptures of the Austrian artist via famous furniture he has enhanced with embroidered and carved directions. The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) sat down with Wurm to discuss Alvar Aalto, the strangeness of everyday objects, and the stubborn persistence of midcentury design:

AN: Why did you turn to Spinoza for this exhibition?

Erwin Wurm: Spinoza, especially in [Ethics], he said free will doesn't exist, it's God's will. Scientists now have determined that free will really doesn't exist. Now, 500 years later, I'm asking the same questions. This I find exciting and interesting. When people accept my invitation to follow my instructions, they give up their free will.

Do people ever try to exert their own free will and not follow the directions?

Sure, they can, they're allowed to. But then it's not a piece of mine. Actually, when you Google "one minute sculptures," you see many one minute sculptures, people use the idea. It's nice, it's interesting, but it's no longer a piece of mine.

Why did you decide to use midcentury modern furniture in these latest One Minute Sculptures?

Since 15 years ago, midcentury furniture came back in a big way. When you open a magazine about housing or interior design, these midcentury furnishings are there. They became such a big thing. I found it exciting, and it raised questions for me. People start to define themselves through furniture. When you see the buildings and apartments of famous and successful people, you don't see the people. You see the furniture.

Why did you select the pieces that you did?

I used Alvar Aalto because I always found him exciting. He’s from Finland, and he has this specific relationship to American design. We got the furniture at an auction in Chicago.

Some of the furniture in the series are very expensive, and because of that, there's a meaning people assign to the pieces beyond the design. How do you hope to question the relationship people have with high-value objects?

Every material around is the basis for a new art piece. Recently, in Austria, I had a big show that included three artworks from very famous artists, including Robert Rauschenberg. I added a Rauschenberg to a piece of mine, so I started a discussion that not only every object, or mood, or thought could be the start of a new piece, but also already-finished art can be the start of a new work.

You use humor in your work to draw people in, but that humor can mask as much as it reveals. What do you hope people get out of their engagement with your sculptures?

It's not so much the humor I'm interested in, it's the paradox. What I like in humor is part of the paradox.

For me, to be in this world, to connect with the world, to be able to look from another perspective of reality. We all live in the same world, but we all live in different realities—your reality is very different from mine, or from a person in the wilderness, still hunting with bow and arrows, but we all live in the same time. I find it exciting to change perspective, to look at the world from a different angle, that's what my work is about, I think.

What's the relationship between the melting buildings' organic excess (pictured, left) and the furniture's precise geometry?

They are both objects of our world, created by human beings. The furniture and the architecture, or the telephone, all these things. I always try to transfer or deform them, so the beginning is the same but the form is different. I changed the meaning of the object. One is an object with which you can relate specifically by following the instructions I give, and the other one is not an open piece, so you just can look.

In past iterations of the Organization of Love you used bottles to create a particular relationship between people. Why use an ottoman this time?

It's exciting to use larger objects. At the beginning, the objects were small. Our interfering in the world uses a specific language which is related to a specific time. This inhabits a certain understanding of reality, certain political and social constructions. The 1950s were different than the 90s, or now. In the 50s the midcentury furniture related to this postwar society. This created a totally different aesthetic than nowadays. I'm interested in all these things that interfere in between.

Many midcentury designers wanted their furniture to be beautiful, functional, and available to the masses. But now that ottoman retails for like, $4,000.

I know.

How does that change people's attitudes towards the objects?

The icon was one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. An icon needs mass media to exist, and all this furniture are kind of icons now. And that interests me. That's one of the reasons I use these objects.

This big company in Austria, it built these wooden banded structures—chairs for the working class—that very quickly became chairs for the upper class. That was not only because of the aesthetics but also an [evolving] understanding of early industrial design. Prouvé was the same, early on, Royère, Jeanneret—these French designers, they're extremely expensive now.

Do you have midcentury furniture in your home?

Yes, I have Prouvé and all these things. But I caught myself, I stepped into the same trap that everyone did, because I got attracted all of a sudden by a certain understanding of quality which is only dealing in an interest of time, meaning that contemporary design is less valuable under certain circumstances than an older design. This relays a very specific understanding of how societies function, how the market functions, and how desire functions.

All of a sudden, we desire something that is rarer than what is produced now. Look at cars. We love [these] big new cars, but the old cars—with their much more extraordinary form—attract so many people. But those cars were not extraordinary in the past—they look extraordinary now in relation to mass design of the present. That discrepancy is exciting.

When you realized you were attracted to the value the furniture represents—when did you start to question that?

I started to question it when I came to my house and realized that it looked like one of those interiors magazines, because they all have Prouvé and Perriand, and whatever they're called, and Aalto, and all the American designers. It was no longer a specific taste, it turned into a common taste. So I wound up doing my own furniture by deconstructing old furniture from the 30s.

You're from an architecture publication, right?

Yes.

There are so many great designers now but they don't get the same attention. Maybe Magnusson and others, but they don't get the same prices. It's always interesting how things grow old, get out of the normal interest, disappear, and come back and become exciting. The same happens with art.

(This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.)

Ethics demonstrated in geometrical order runs through May 26. Check Lehmann Maupin's website for more information. 

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Remembering design industry veteran Jeffrey Osborne

Jeffrey Osborne and I were friends for more than three decades. So when I learned that he had died (on March 24th at age 72), the memories came rushing back, but in such a jumble that it’s still hard to untangle them. And there’s a lot to remember. I first met Jeff around 1979, when I worked at Interiors—my first job at a design magazine. He was then the Vice President of Design at Knoll, and he seemed to know everyone. During the ten years (1976-1986) that he held that job, he worked with a who’s who of contemporary designers and architects, on a series of forward-thinking, high-profile projects: Niels Diffrient’s Diffrient Chair; Joe D’Urso’s classic sectional sofa, table on wheels, and wire-glass coffee table; and furniture by Richard Meier and Robert Venturi, to name a few. Jeff would freely discuss the process of these projects, and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the designers he worked with. His generous sharing of information, insights, and opinions (pro and con) was a big influence on my development as a design journalist, having entered the field armed with just a B.A. in art history and a few months’ experience at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, where I worked on the launch of its monthly newspaper, Skyline. Jeff was also a generous host and connector of people. You’d see him at WESTWEEK in Los Angeles, NeoCon in Chicago, Designer’s Saturday in New York, or the Milan furniture fair, as well as at the Aspen design conference, where he was executive director for a time after leaving Knoll, and he would organize dinners in all these places, always at the newest or most storied restaurants (of which Jeff kept running lists in his Letts social calendar diaries). One I remember vividly—although not for the actual meal—was at The Musso & Frank Grill in Los Angeles, when Jeff, oblivious to a sign in the parking lot that read, “DO NOT BACK UP: SEVERE TIRE DAMAGE” did just that, and punctured the tires on his expensive rental car. (Completely out of character for Jeff, it provided me with more than one birthday toast.) At these dinners, you’d meet creative people of all types and ages—famous, just starting out, whatever. If Jeff liked you, you were invited along for the ride. Jeff was also a generous guest; instead of showing up with a bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers, he would appear with a case of wine or an armload of flowers. He was a founding board member—and an enthusiastic supporter—of Publicolor, the New York non-profit established by his friend Ruth Lande Shuman. Whenever we met, Jeff would invariably tell me what his other friends—of whom he was inordinately proud—were up to. A succession of New York apartments overflowed with visitors: someone sleeping on his sofa; a group of people for cocktails or dinner (or both); a mob of friends for his annual Academy Awards party. (Jeff, a meticulous moviegoer and odds-maker, would usually win the Oscar pool.) Entertaining at home was honed to a strict and efficient ritual: the cocktail snacks, for example, consisted of olives, cheese, crackers, and the pistachios that Jeff bought in bulk from Bazzini—and only Bazzini. Jeff’s aesthetic preferences were clearly defined. He wore custom-made bow ties, and preferred unconstructed (albeit perfectly tailored) jackets and charcoal flannel trousers to suits. But he wasn’t a fashion snob; for several summers, his preferred footwear was a canvas moccasin from Crocs. In addition to the consulting that he did, post-Knoll, for manufacturers (like Unifor) and designers (like Jeffrey Bernett), Jeff designed interiors, which followed a similarly strict set of rules. His paint colors were Benjamin Moore’s Black Iron, a very dark gray, for walls (in semi-gloss), and Collingwood, an off-white, for walls (in eggshell), and ceilings (flat finish). Black Iron is an unexpected but excellent backdrop for art, which Jeff sensibly insisted on hanging low enough that it was easy to see while seated. He thought just as much about how people live in a space as how the space looked, and as far as I can tell, he was never wrong. If you haven’t already guessed, Jeff had informed opinions on everything, and if he thought you were doing or thinking about something the wrong way, he’d say so bluntly—sometimes a little too bluntly. But anyone who knew him knew that Jeff cared as deeply about his friends as he did about design, and his passing is a great loss to both. A memorial service will be held on April 13th at 4 p.m., at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home, 1076 Madison Avenue. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to publicolor.org.
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Jens Risom, the man who helped introduce Scandinavian design to America, dies

Danish-American furniture designer Jens Risom passed away this month on December 9 in New Canaan, Connecticut at the age of 100. Risom moved to American shores in 1939 at the age of 23 and is best known for his Risom Lounge Chair. A product of his early work with German-American designer Hans G. Knoll, the chair hit the shelves in 1943, making use of unwanted military parachute straps. Risom's work helped paved the way for the emergence of midcentury modern design, riding the wave with compatriot Arne Jacobsen whose chair designs also dominated the 1950s and '60s. “Knoll had a car, and I didn’t,” said Risom speaking to New York Magazine last year, “and we drove around the country to any architect who had shown any interest in our furniture in New York, and stopped wherever there were people who’d liked our things. I don’t think we had a catalogue or anything—this was very primitive. We had drawings of things we had done.” The Danish-born designer was favored by many within the design world. Under Lyndon B. Johnson, a chair from Risom occupied the oval office and in 1961, and Risom even appeared alongside Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen in an edition of Playboy magazine. Risom too wasn't seldom afraid to speak his mind. When meeting Frank Lloyd Wright, Wright asked Risom what he thought of his furniture work. Risom responded: "Not much."