Mushrooms, oysters, Tongues, and tulips are some of the iconic shapes French designer Pierre Paulin (1927–2009) was best known for creating. Having trained under Parisian designer Marcel Gascion, Paulin was influenced by the Scandinavian aesthetic as well as American pre-fabricated designs by Charles and Ray Eames, and Florence Knoll. Continue reading Eye On Design: Multimo Sofa By Pierre Paulin
Henri Lédéchaux bred the French hybrid rose Madame Ferdinand Janin in 1875. It was imported into the United States in 1886, where it was renamed American Beauty.
Kiff Slemmons‘ neckpiece Circumspect (2003) is an object that does what it is and is what it does. Composed of lenses and mirrors collected and categorized for a purpose that the collecting itself reveals, it is both a tool of taxonomic assessment and a record of a taxonomic class of useful and evocative things.
Denying the role of jewelry as something only to be looked at, it meets and counters the gaze — returning agency to those being seen. It also asks us to emulate what it facilitates: the art of careful looking as a way of understanding.
Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.
In 1968, Arline Fisch visited the Gold Museum in Lima, Peru, where she came across a tiny pre-Columbian fragment of woven gold. This trip marked a pivotal point in her artistic practice, resulting in her unique, textile-derived approach to jewelry. Copper Wire Cuff, in which the artist ran copper wire through a knitting machine as if it were a strand of yarn, is an example of the type of work inspired by this encounter.
The melding of textile technique and body ornament reflects the confluence of a broader range of interests and pursuits, including the artists’s introduction to weaving at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and her self-directed study of jewelry in museum collections worldwide.
Photographed at the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.
The celebrated French artist César (born Cesare Baldaccini) was a founding member in 1960 of the Nouveaux Réalistes group. His amorphous bronze and glass Expansion Table (1977) is one of the rare works in which César applied his Expansion technique to a functional object. Whereas he also created a handful of bronze ashtrays, lamps, as well as the console commissioned by Henri Samuel, the Expansion Table is the object in which César philosophy — his belief that life and art are one entity, indivisible —achieves its apex.
Some background on César’s Expansions: One of the artist’s great breakthroughs in the late 1960s took the form of sculptural spills called Expansions. Realized with liquid polyurethane foam, a novel material at the time, each spill involved actively pouring specifically tinted foam, allowing it to expand, and then leaving it to set in a process that resulted in soft forms several times larger than their original liquid volume.
César was moved by this material’s freedom and energy — rather than conforming to the matrix of a mold, it actually spread and expanded in what would famously become a critically admired analog for the new spirit of liberation that marked the era. As Pierre Restany noted in 1970, “César’s expansions reveal a new phase in his work, the phase of maturity: the mastering of the technique allied to the freedom of form.”
Photographed at at Demisch Danant, Located at 30 West 12th Street in NYC.
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 Metropolitan Museum of Art does not often invite visitors to sit directly on the art, but they have made an exception for these Washington Skeleton Side Chairs (2013), designed by Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, which can be found in the gallery where the 2020 Holiday Tree is on display.
These delicately balanced, precisely engineered chairs emerged from the design process for the façade of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which opened in Washington DC in 2016. David Adjaye developed an intricate lattice form that was an investigation of the geometry, materiality, light and shadow.
Both functional in its shading role, and poetic in its abstract visual qualities, this screen borrowed from African design patterns but also paid homage to the history of enslaved blacksmiths and their ironwork for ornamental gates in southern cities such as New Orleans and Charleston.
Utilizing the smaller scale of furniture as an agile testing ground for these architectural ideas, Adjaye produced what he describes as a “narrative about skin, form and structure.“ Here, he shapes the skeletal, ribbed surfaces to mimic the form of a seated person, resulting in a cantilevered, ergonomic silhouette that almost disappears when in use. Made of die-cast aluminum, then powder coated and copper plated, the chairs are manufactured by Knoll International.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.