Posts tagged with "Furniture":

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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."
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From two of the minds behind Hem, this Finnish company plans to reinvigorate furniture manufacturing

“I’ve worked with many designers over the years and I used to try to give my own input and opinions,” said design entrepreneur Stefan Mahlberg, of his latest venture, Aito. “Gradually I learned that it’s useless, because who am I to say what the consumer might want?”

Aito, the latest venture from Mahlberg and Cezary Górzyński, two of the minds behind Scandinavian design giants Flexhouse, Hem, and One Nordic, is an attempt to push the furniture industry forward by taking a step back. Aito, a Finnish word that appropriately translates to “genuine,” is a multifaceted brand that revolves around creating the highest quality product at the best value by leveraging the network of manufacturers and producers the team built through its previous companies.

On one level, independent designers and brands can work with Aito to produce virtually any furniture for any project. So, if a designer needs to furnish a hotel, retail store, or restaurant, he or she can utilize Aito to source the best materials and reliable factories to produce the necessary chairs, tables, or shelves—eliminating weeks of legwork and mitigating risk. That same furniture could then be for sale through Aito. “Projects are wasted opportunities to build interesting products and then make sure they are available,” explained Mahlberg. Already, Tom Dixon, Harri Koskinen, and Ateljé Sotamaa are confirmed to be working with Aito, as well as many others yet to be disclosed.

What makes Aito radically different from conventional high-design brands is the level to which it is focused on its clients. “The consumer will determine whether or not the product is interesting,” said Mahlberg. So while the company’s connections and its designers’ portfolios are universally impressive, “Many of these things have no relation to each other except that people want an authentic, well-made product—they are night and day in terms of design,” Mahlberg said. He went on to explain that while brands who represent Scandinavian design, like HAY, Muuto, and Hem, have “well-curated, nice collections, we also need a broader take on the aesthetic.”

On another level, Aito is working within Flexhouse and its in-house design teams to produce its own projects. Conveniently, Aito was able to move into Hem’s old Helsinki office-workshop after Hem was sold this past February. The industrial space already had many of the components that Aito needed: A paint shop, woodworking and metal working machinery, as well as CNC-milling, vacuum pressing, and upholstering capabilities.

With this setup, Aito has everything it needs to create prototypes, one-off furniture, and even run small series. Having purchased the rights to classic Finnish designers’ work, Aito will also use its new home to produce and sell legacy remakes of pieces by Ilmari Tapiovaara and Eero Aarnio. The plan, explained Mahlberg, is to reintroduce older models that he and his team feel will resonate with a broad audience.

The company will fully launch spring 2017, but a showroom is opening in Toronto this fall and furniture will begin to be sold at the end of this year.

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L.A.-based design studio Commune debuts first collaboration with West Elm

West Elm is no stranger to collaborating with small design studios and up-and-coming artists that tend to have their own cult following. The new collection designed by Los Angeles-based Commune mixes midcentury touches that West Elm is known for, with an appreciation for craftsmanship and holistic design portrayed in all of Commune's projects. Commune is a multidisciplinary firm that works across myriad fields including architecture, interior design, graphic design, product management, and brand management. Most recently they completed an exhibition design at LACMA as well as multiple residential and commercial projects in Los Angeles. The diverse collection could easily complement any existing West Elm styles while also providing some fresh textiles like shearling and graphic art prints that rework classic images. “Our collection with Commune focuses on modular pieces that transition from lounging to entertaining—in a palette of neutral colors and natural textures that will patina over time to evoke a relaxed, effortless interior," Johanna Uurasjarvi, senior vice president of design at West Elm, stated in a press release. The 50-plus piece collection of furnishings, textiles, home accessories, planters, rugs, and wall art is available this week, exclusively at Westelm.com.
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IKEA to launch line of furniture made from recycled materials

The popular Swedish furniture producer IKEA has said it will release a new line made almost entirely of recycled materials. For example, the OGDER kitchen chairs (designed in collaboration with Stockholm-based designers From Us With Love) are made of a combination of reclaimed wood and recycled plastic bottles; the chair will come in a number of different sizes and colors. The KUNGSBACKA kitchen island, seen below, is similarly made from 99% recycled materials. These materials are partly sourced from the IKEA factory in China. The idea for the line was actually sparked when IKEA realized their factory had a virtual graveyard of damaged, unused products that could be recycled. Look for the its release next February, 2017.
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MADWORKSHOP unveils “Sanke,” an outdoor furniture installation at MOCA

Martin Architecture and Design Workshop (MADWORKSHOP) recently unveiled Sanke, an installation of custom public furniture designed by Sonia Lui, currently a fellow at the foundation. The installation is located in the courtyard of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, designed in 1986 by Arata Isozaki. Lui developed the Sanke concept while she was a student in a summer 2015 studio—called Re-Defining Public Furniture & Fixtures Design—that MADWORKSHOP founders David Martin, formerly atAC Martin, and Mary Martin sponsored at the Art Center College of Design. The project was chosen out of six other student schemes to be fabricated for MOCA’s courtyard and to potentially become a mass-produced furniture line. The foundation mentored Lui through the design and fabrication process of her multi-level communal seating system. Sanke includes fixed outdoor tables and seating for 10 to 12 people. Its closely-packed smattering of brightly colored chairs and tables are sized at varying heights for differing age groups and uses. The project is designed to encourage human interaction among luncheon crowds of local workers, business people, and tourists who use the courtyards along Grand Avenue. With busy tourist and leisure destinations like the Disney Concert Hall and Broad Museum just across the street and down the block, the installation will likely be a welcome addition to the large, open courtyard space.   The design of the public furniture installation is also a product of themes explored in MADWORKSHOP’s studio, including speculations on how shifting social mores and evolving technology are causing adaptations in furniture and fixtures. According to text on MADWORKSHOP’s site, “Furnishings will play a critical role in bridging the gap between technology and the possibilities for new behaviors in outdoor space.”
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Fernando Mastrangelo’s MMaterial collection uses hand-dyed cements to produce multihued furniture

Featured at the third annual Sight Unseen OFFSITE fair, Brookyn-based artist Fernando Mastrangelo calls his Fade Series of the MMATERIAL line “functional sculptures.” They're the result of a minimalist aesthetic blended with sculptural craftsmanship. The pieces are composed of hand-dyed cements transforming a rugged material into simplistic blends of color to create ombre effects. Much of Mastrangelo's work uses aggregates such as rock, sand, glass, and silica in addition to hand-dyed cements. These elements are fused together in Mastrangelo’s casting process which uses salt, sugar, sand, coffee, and corn. This range of materials results in distinct tables, desks, cylinders, and custom pieces that can seem reminiscent of vast landscapes. Each piece is unique.
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designjunction + Dwell on Design opens

designjunction + Dwell on Design opened May 13 in Chelsea’s ArtBeam space with nearly 30 design brands and a series of talks, kicking off with an architecture breakfast with AN’s senior editor Matt Shaw with Kai-Uwe Bergmann, partner at BIG Architects. A departure from the architecture-focused keynotes of Dwell on Designs past, this year’s speaker is illustrator Bob Gill (best known for his 1968 cover art for George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music album), who will discuss his experiences of the changing design landscape over the past 65 years. Other speakers throughout the weekend include New York designers such as Sandy Chilewich, Stephanie Goto, David Weeks, and Gregory Buntain of Fort Standard. The loft-style space was filled with international designers both large and small, from heavy hitters like Artek and Muuto to independent designers, such as U.K.–based Melin Tregwynt and Croatian design platform Stufff Concept Store, among many others. WeWork created a pop-up workspace, encouraging visitors to try out the modern office and a cafe by Vitra that also offers places to sit and linger. Some standout wares included British Dyke & Dean’s Spatterware enamelware, lighting company’s Haberdashery stunning Leaf installation, and Stufff’s Ili Ili lamps and Lacescape coffee table. design junction + Dwell on Design will run through May 15, 2016.