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.
Karl Lagerfeld (1938 – 2019), an avid collector of rare books, art and antiques, conceived of a series of accessories inspired by eighteenth-century French decorative arts for his autumn/winter 1985-86 collection. The fashion designer worked closely with milliner Kirsten Woodward to arrive at this Upholstered Chair Hat, and other witty translations of miniaturized furniture based on Lagerfeld’s sketched interpretations of original objects from reference photos.
The resulting hats were a playful pastiche of historical references, infused with elements of Surrealism and executed with vivid opulence that was often characteristic of 1980s fashion.
Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Ah, the cuteness. This super comfy smiling Shark Lounge Pillow was spotted at the recent NY Now Winter Market and we find it irresistible! A lounge pillow lets you effectively make a chair out of your bed, so you can read, watch TV, or mess around your electronic devices all day long! Made of soft, easy-care fleece with polyfiber fill, this pillow sells for $71.00 and is from I Scream products. You can purchase one for your shark-loving self on their website at This Link!
Cozy Chair Installation View in the Todd Merrill Studio Booth at The Salon New York (All Photos By Gail)
An annual favorite NYC design event is now behind us for the year, but you can bet I’ll be featuring many of the most spectacular pieces of art furniture from The Salon Art + Design in these pages in the coming weeks. Let’s kick off with a unique chair from Berlin-based, Bauhaus educated, multi-disciplinary designer Hannes Grebin, who has created upholstered seating inspired by questioning traditional domestic decor. Applying the principals of Cubism to design, Grebin masterfully deconstructs the traditional shapes and detailing of a ‘Dad’s Chair’ into simplified geometric shapes and interlocking planes. Presenting The Cozy Chair!
Grebin describes the chair as a ‘living sculpture,’ which puts the traditional views about comfort and taste into question. The Cozy Chair is a wing-back style that dates back centuries, but has here been re-analyzed, broken down and reassembled into something quite new and different.
It is both fractured and asymmetric, but perfectly meets the demands of ergonomics. Angular and yet cozy, sculptural and yet functional, Grebin has struck a unique balance that makes The Cozy Chair an alluring work of design. The faceted planes meet elegantly giving the chair changing perspectives with each glance. His design is both a deconstruction and commentary on the mechanization of modern life.
Working with a master upholster in Berlin, the resulting seating is hand-crafted with the highest possible level of materials and workmanship. Grebin, the son of two architects notes, “Ultimately, I didn’t want to make just furniture. It was much more important for me that although all objects function, the design objects should become objects for discussion, in order to lead the theoretical design discourse to new ways and approaches.”
A definite “Oh, Wow!” moment at the recent BDNY show — (boutique design for the hospitality industry) at Javits Center — occurred when I walked into the booth for Century Industries. Because: David Bowie Chair.
David Bowie Chair, Seat Detail
This gorgeous side chair, upholstered in vinyl imprinted with images of David Bowie from the Aladdin Sane era, is a show-stopper for sure. The chair was designed by Century designer Lenny Levine in collaboration with Heloise Godin, another talented designer in the firm’s Connecticut office. Lenny was happy to fill me in on the chair’s origin story.
David Bowie Chair Back Support Detail
“Heloise and I tried a few different mock-ups before deciding on the model you saw at BDNY,” Lenny told me. “Only two chairs of the Bowie print have been made so far. There’s another, slightly different version in our Connecticut showroom, with a black frame instead of chrome, where the artwork has darker tones, and there are no images of Bowie around the sides of the cushions. We have made this style of chair with different prints and metal finishes for shows such as HD (Hospitality Design) Expo in Las Vegas and HCD (Healthcare Design Conference & Expo) in New Orleans, which were both earlier this year. These design shows are all part of the launchpad for introducing the printed chair line.
Lenny enthusiastically admits to being a Bowie fan. “The image of David Bowie as Aladdin Sane was chosen because Bowie is synonymous with great art and high fashion. He is a seminal artist and his body of work is timeless; his sense of style beyond influential. David Bowie took risks, he pushed art and life to its fullest and, although he was British, he certainly invaded New York.”
Lenny explained that the chair was given a ‘Warhol‘ vibe, which then inspired Century to go with a Pop Art / Deco style for its booth at BDNY. “The lightening bolt on the face was oversized and colored a deep red and blue, giving it a bit of that Superhero feel. Although the vinyl appears to be distressed, that is a printing effect, making the faux leather appear to have texture.”
“The additional images used are from the same contact sheets from the original album and promotional photo shoot, but they have been treated graphically to evoke motion. The steel frame of the chair was also fabricated on our Montreal factory and finished in a smoked chrome. This finish and the chair’s unique filigree backing gives it an automotive spirit!”
This David Bowie chair is fit for a Rock Star, but priced at just $2500 (a steal), and Century will produce it on-demand for designers, hospitality, restaurants, etc. “We’re also getting requests from retailers to showcase the chair, based on our launch at BDNY,” Lenny added. Exciting! Visit Century on the web to inquire about the Bowie Chair at This Link!
Trained as a cabinet maker, Wenzel Friedrich immigrated to the US in 1853, settling in San Antonio, Texas. In 1880, he realized the potential of the Texas stockyards’ plentiful supply of steer horns for use in the making of furniture. It is likely that Friedrich was inspired by furniture he had seen in Europe, where antlers and other emblems of the hunt were used as décor as early as the 15th century. Friedrich’s horned furniture fulfilled the Victorian fancy for the unusual, as well as symbolizing the Wild West. Heating the horn made the material pliable, allowing Friedrich to create exaggerated curves for his pieces. If you happen to live in San Antonio, you can see examples of his work in the historic Oge House, which is now a Bed & Breakfast.
You can read more about Friedrich Wenzel’s horn furniture designs at This Link.
Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Manhattan.
Don’t think that I didn’t struggle with the decision of whether or not I should make the awesome YOMI chair a Pink Thing of The Day, because I did. But, ultimatlely, the design aspect won out. Because who doesn’t want to sit on an Inflatable Pink Chair? Plus it comes in other colors.
I’m a total sucker for inflatable furniture, because it reminds me of the sixties/pop aesthetic that I grew up loving and coveting, but which I was never able to embrace in my own home, because I was a child and my parents were super square. The inflatable home goods of that era were not so sturdy and maybe not as comfortable as they could be, but all that has changed thanks to the smart design approach of Mojow Furniture, makers of the YOMI chair.
Check out the cushion detail above and you can see that the YOMI is compartmentalized so that each section inflates separately and fully, and thus creates a more secure and comfortable sitting experience. And unlike inflatables of the past, the YOMI rests on a sturdy frame.
The Mojow YOMI chairs come in super trendy transparent or opaque colors, with a choice of black aluminum or wooden frame. Mojow furniture can be assembled and disassembled in a few minutes, then moved or stored easily. An electric pump is included with each chair. Mojow products are made of UV-treated PVC (thicker than a pool liner) and even have a rating for fire resistance!
Another cool aspect of the transparent YOMI is that you can personalize it by filling it with any solid objects you like, before inflating the cushions all the way. Feathers, glitter, branded items, little toys — you can totally create your own look! Make this chair a statement piece and design a room around it, or find the color that accents your existing decor.
-Simple and fast assembly and disassembly with an electric pump
-Easy to clean
-Easy transportation and storage
-Manufacturing warranty 1 year
Priced at just $465, with Free Shipping available, you can find out more about the YOMI Chair, and order one for yourself, at Mojow USA Dot Com!
Installation View with Eames Shelving Unit (All Photo By Gail)
This side char was the product of a team research project led by Marcel Breuer (1902 – 1981), a celebrated architect and émigré known for his tubular metal furniture, and designer of the original Whitney Museum Building on Madison Avenue in NYC. Collaborating with the US Forest Products Laboratory, he applied knowledge accumulated over fifteen years of experimentation, as well as new developments in high-frequency gluing, to plywood construction.
The team’s report boasted of the chair’s ability to carry a load of five hundred pounds, and the jury of MoMA’s International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture described the design ad “ingeniously articulated.”
Photographed as Part of The Exhibit The Value of Good Design, on Through June 15th, 2019 at The Museum of Modern Art in NYC.