British designer Faye Toogood believes that, whatever your domain of design expertise, the materials you can get your hands on are essential, “because you are always looking for a new way to interpret your designs and to explain your story.” This approach also pertains to her recent venture from designing signature interior spaces and environments (for high-profile clients), to furniture design.
Part of the exhibit What Would Have Been on view at Freidman Benda, her Maquette 259 seating (2020) realized in a rusty-peach-painted canvas over upholstery foam aligns with this aesthetic. Toogood’s products are designed with “honesty to the rawness and irregularity of the chosen material,” and are sculptural in form. Like her interior spaces, her furniture is considerate of both the two-dimensional design as well as three-dimensional space.
I love how it looks like a group of boulders just rolled together! Maquette 259 was manufactured in an limited edition of 8 pieces. Contact Friedman Benda Gallery in NYC for purchase information.
The classic Thonet Chair design gets a super artsy, post-modern treatment with Melting Thonet, from European design firm OrtaMiklos (which includes partners Leo Orta and Victor Miklos Andersen).
Generally informed by natural habitats and processes, the creative duo’s experimental approach activates their design works from the existing norms. Here, Michael Thonet’s innovative chair frame — created by bending wood with hot steam and forming it into curved, graceful shapes — is fabricated from a powder-coated steel, to create a frame that exaggerates the original’s bends and twists into an entirely different domain.
The absence of virtually all design shows for the year 2020 (Salon Art + Design, Architectural Digest Home Show, ICFF, and on and on) — which was probably my least favorite Covid cancelation — serves as the inspiration for Friedman Benda’s latest exhibit: What Would Have Been, which I visited a few weeks ago to get my design-fix on! The exhibition gives fans access to design that lost its intended platform; works shown briefly before museum doors closed or failed to open at all. A favorite piece in the gallery (and not just because it’s pink) was Chris Schank’s Grotto Mirror — which may look familiar to some readers.
The Grotto Mirror is part of Schanck’sUnhomely collection, which employs his Alufoil method of sculpting industrial and discarded materials, covering them in aluminum foil and then sealing each with resin.
Grotto Mirror Installation View
Each mirror is a unique piece and would surely be the center of attention in any room!
Would you like to relax and stretch out on a long, fluffy sofa the color of a giant egglant? Who wouldn’t? The Campana brothers are famed Brazilian furniture designers. Most celebrated for their design of the Vermelha chair — an iconic piece handmade from a huge length of rope, wrapped and woven to create the chair’s nest-like structure. As you can see by their Bolotas Sofa, in a vibrant shade of Aubergine, Umberto and Fernando Campana continue to create brightly colored, whimsical statement pieces for the home.
The Bolotas collection (2015) was initially inspired by stone walls, but the name came from the first prototype that appeared to be soft and round like an acorn (‘bolotas’ means acorn in Portuguese). Each piece is covered with sustainable leather, prepared with an environmentally-friendly tanning process. The brothers decided to use natural skins to bring comfort to the design: pillows of sheepskin for the armchair and the sofa carefully arranged on a stainless steel structure with feet made from Brazilian Ipe wood, which is naturally fire, bug and water-resistant. The Aubergine color was created in a series of eight pieces and sells for about $25,000 at auction.
Photographed in the Friedman Benda Booth at the 2019 Salon Art + Design.
LA-based designer Alex Brokamp is inspired by the Maya Angelou quote “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” When designing new pieces, his goal is to instill a meaningful connection between object and consumer that searches for a balance between physical and emotional attraction to an object.
Installation View at ICFF 2019
Brokamp’s commitment to combining technology, spatial awareness, and innovation has been a common theme throughout his work. The Collate Table Collection is no exception. The coffee and side tables in this collection are made using cutting-edge fabrication techniques and are inspired by process art; so the pieces celebrate the manner in which something is made being equally important as the outcome.
The Collate Tables are crafted from aluminum plates that have patterns cut into them using CNC (computer numerical control) toolpaths. The cellular shape of the tabletop allows thetoolpaths to create a playful pattern on the surface. This millwork not only gives insights into the high-tech fabrication process, but also creates an interesting dialogue and engaging experience for anyone looking at and walking around them.
The table treats the aluminum plate as the canvas and the toolpaths act as the brushstrokes. The finish on these aluminum tables can be anodized in several different color options as well.
Photographed in May 2019 at the ICFF at Javits Center, NYC.
In 1964, Italian designer Giancarlo Mattioli, guided by the era’s enthusiasm for space-age forms and materials, experimented with then-newly-available thermoplastic resins. The result was this Nesso Table Lamp, an object represented in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Invoking an otherworldly mushroom, the Nesso Lamp’s eye-catching shape provides diffused incandescent light. Produced by Artemide, the lamp is available for purchased from the MoMA Design Store (online only) at This Link.
It was at the 2019 Salon Art + Design that we spotted this very rare and early first edition of the Flora / Model 852 Cabinet (1937) created by Austrian architect and designer Josef Frank (1885 – 1967). The cabinet was part of a prolific collaboration with Estrid Ericson, of the Swedish interiors brand Svenskt Tenn, which produced and retailed the piece. This piece was manufactured in 1950.
Cabinet Measures: 55¼ in. (140.3 cm.) High, 45 3/8 in. (115.3 cm.) Wide, 17 in. (43.2 cm.) Deep
This collaboration featured Frank’s highly developed personal style which focused on elements of Viennese elegance and Swedish functionalism. He wanted to incorporate natural forms and colors into his interiors, so that the inhabitants could breathe freely in the enclosed spaces. He believed that “ornament and complexity create peacefulness and get rid of the disturbing aspect of pure functional form.” A perfect example of this ideology is the Flora cabinet.
For the cabinet’s exterior, Frank (who also designed textiles) used hand-colored botanical prints from Carl Lindman’s book, Bilder ur Nordens Flora, which he then delicately applied onto the mahogany front and sides of the piece. Oak was also used in the manufacturing process, and the birch interior is fitted with four adjustable shelves. The contrast between the delicate floral motifs and heavy wooden form instills the cabinet with a light, playful and organic sense. Contrasting materials evoke an echo of the past, but create an indisputably modern piece.