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.
My press comp to 2019’s Salon Art + Design included a much-appreciated perk of access to the Collectors Lounge, which featured a strikingly curated collection of unique art furniture from UK-based Sollands Gallery. Located in Mayfair, an affluent area in the West End of London, Sollands boasts elegant, contemporary pieces bearing the signature style of designer Grazyna (Gra) Solland. Gra, as she is called, is known for her strong sculptural statements, bold use of colors, and highly innovative and individual designs using high-end, luxurious materials. Working with both traditional and contemporary methods, together with a keen attention to detail and exacting quality, are hallmarks of Gra’s exquisite creations.
My favorite piece in the lounge was the vibrant, red lacquered Circ Coffee Table (2017). Having spent many years working on her STACK pieces, Gra decided she would like to further develop the theme, but in a much bolder manner. To create Circ, she regulated the wedge shapes and worked with circular shapes in a singular color.
Photographed in the Sollands Collectors Lounge at the 2019 Salon Art + Design in NYC.
With the cancellation of all of this year’s many annual art and design shows, it’s been challenging to continually source beautiful things to feature in this weekly column. Fortunately, the design stores appear to have reopened, as I discovered quite by accident when I walked past Caligaris and was sucked in off the street after catching a glimpse of this beauty in the window.
Meet the Coco Lounge Chair, upholstered in a stunning Jubilee Pink velvet rose print; the product of a collaboration between Calligaris and Italian fashion brand Blumarine, by designer Anna Molinari. The Rose is one of Molinari’s most popular motifs. This version of the Coco chair was launched during 2019 Design Week.
In addition to the red-on-pink, and pink-on-pink rose print, the chair is also available upholstered with black roses on a grey background, with the tubular frame available in a variety of metallic finishes, to suit your taste and decor. This chair has a retail price point of $1,563. You can see more photos of all textile designs and finishes Here.
Calligaris is Located at 220 East 57th Street in New York City.
An undeniable showstopper of the 2019 Salon Art + Design show in NYC, the translucent, rainbow-hued Minosse Glass Block Chair remains one of the most breathtaking pieces on the floor. Comprising a range of glass blocks set individually by hand, Minosserecalls ‘the labyrinthine geometries of mythic palaces belonging to ancient civilizations.’
An original design by Milan-based studiopluz, the chair was exhibited by London’s WonderGlass gallery as an integral part of its site-specific Dark Matter installation. Exploring the transformation of matter, sound, cosmic geometry, and light, Dark Matter was created in a collaboration that also included Tokyo-based studio, Curiosity by Gwenael Nicolas.
The throne-like chair pushes the boundaries of glass manipulation, allowing for the piece to represent advancements in color combination with the glass surface used as a white canvas upon which paint is applied by hand. The process is impossible to replicate, thus allowing each piece to celebrate individual authenticity as an integral part of its design resolution.
Photographed in November of 2019 at the Salon Art + Design at the NYC Armory.
What caught my eye immediately on flyers for the 2019 edition of The Salon Art + Design show was the included image of a vibrant Pink version of Chris Schanck’s Puff and Stuff Chair (2019). With it its quilted, glossy velvet upholstery and biomorphic sculptural base comprised of steel, aluminum, polystyrene, polyuria, aluminum foil and resin, the chair manages to look both organic and highly stylized simultaneously. The Pink Puff and Stuff Chair became my number-one-must-see item at the fair, but sadly my dream was not fully realized.
Puff and Stuff Chair Installation View
Friedman Benda, who represent the designer, chose to display Puff and Stuff only in a Sage Green. I was disappointed, sure; but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to write about the chair. Because, look at how awesome it is.
It looks like the walls of a futuristic space cave — and please note that no two are alike. These chairs and the accompanying peach-hued pedestal table are inspired by Schanck’s2018 solo exhibit at Friedman Benda entitled Unhomely, which focused on the designer’s acclaimed sculptural approach.
Unhomely featured 15 works with independent, stand-alone narratives woven into an otherworldly landscape. Synthesizing premeditation and spontaneity, Schanck’s highly individualized, low-tech, idiosyncratic technique, Alufoil (in which industrial and discarded materials are sculpted, covered in aluminum foil and then sealed with resin) was conceived in 2011 during his MFA studies. The process begins with Schanck’s imaginative drawings and models, which are then executed by a team of artists and collaborators apprenticed in his Alufoil method.
Hybrids of sculpture and furniture, Schanck’s bold constructions blend biomorphic forms with elaborately crafted symbolism. These assemblages draw from a wide range of influences ranging from Brutalist and Art Deco architecture to ancient Egyptian, Anatolian and Aztec iconography. Skirting the line between refinement and camp, Schanck’s figurative, at times anatomical, creations reference science fiction films and conjure up visions of ancient aliens, hidden cavernous chambers, and monolithic space operas.
Despite overt references to fantasy and meta-fiction, Schanck’s assemblages are grounded in the reality of humanity’s relentless inventiveness. “In my work,” the Detroit native admits, “I take inspiration from the people and forms around me and dip them into a futuristic skin.”
Photographed in the booth for Friedman Benda at the Salon Art + Design 2019 in NYC.
Furniture designer Misha Kahn’s work exists at the intersection of design and sculpture, exploring a wide variety of media and scales. Kahn’s approach melds an array of processes, from casting, carving, welding and weaving, to imaginative and singular modes of production. According to John Maeda, former president of the Rhode Island School of Design (where Kahn earned his BFA in furniture design in 2011), “Misha creates work for a parallel wonderland, where traditional perception of material and structure is pushed to the edges of the room to make space for one big party.”
This whimsical wall sconce, with its crown-like polished bronze fixture and extended lime green glass hand takes its name from the French word for ‘enchanted,’ which is commonly translated as ‘nice to meet you.” You might also hear “Enchanté” uttered by a character in a cheesy movie while kissing the back of a lady’s hand, which I am told is considered rude.
This piece is produced on-demand and can be purchased for $18,000 at this link.
Photographed in the Friedman Benda Gallery Booth at The Salon Art and Design in New York.
What a treat it is to experience the Pierre Cardin exhibit Future Fashion, currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum. I admit to being unaware that Cardin also made furniture until I saw a selection of his amazing woodwork staged amongst his retro-space-age fashions. This cabinet, which emulates a sunset above ocean waves, is from 2018.
Cardin’s passion for woodworking began as a child in central France. Later, he created furniture inspired by the skies, landscapes, and forms of nature, using traditional woodworking and lacquer techniques that correspond to the handiwork in haute couture fashion. For this reason, Cardin described his handmade cabinets, tables, dressers, and chairs as “couture furniture” and utilitarian sculptures. Cardin intends his furniture, like sculpture, to be place so that the viewer can see if from all sides and directions.
Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion Will be on View at The Brooklyn Museum Through January 5th, 2020.