Suitable for either indoor or outdoor use, Jonathan Trayte’s MelonMelonTangerine loveseat (2019) brings together different colors, textures and forms supported by a tubular frame of powder-coated steel in a warm, sunshine yellow.
Installation View with Bikini Squash Sculpture
The seat incorporates a variety of natural and man-made fabrics including a nylon-weave lower ‘shelf,’ black leather seats, cowhide upholstered seatbacks, and leather headrests, with furry wool armrest covering and polished brass accents. A mounted disc of polished marble provides a small table for holding your afternoon cocktails, or whatever you please.
J. Pierpont Morgan amassed large holdings of medieval art and seventeenth-and-eighteenth-century French decorative art from the collection of interior decorator Georges Hoentschel. Grasping the collection’s importance to artists and designers, Morgan immediately donated many decorative works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Even the financier may not have fully realized what an impact his gift would have. It led to a new wing, which opened in 1910, and the creation of The Met’s Decorative Arts department, which was the first of its kind in an American museum.
Several chairs from the Hoentschel collection have distinguished provenances, including this Neoclassical Armchair (1788) by Georges Jacob, who was one of the most important joiners (a person who constructs the wooden components of a building, such as stairs, doors, and door and window frames) of the late eighteenth century. The seat was made for the gaming room at the Chateau de Saint Cloud, a summer residence of the French royal family.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Making the Met at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
An iconic and dramatic lounge chair created by Hans Wegner in 1950, the Flag Halyard Armchair has a sculptural and engineered stainless steel frame with a seat and back made of plaited flag halyard. Comfort is added with a longhaired sheepskin throw and an adjustable leather headrest.
The story goes that Wegner conceived this design while on the beach towards the end of the 1940s. He supposedly modeled the grid-like seat in a sand dune, presumably with some old rope that lay close by (a halyard is a line that hoists or covers a sail). The chair went into production in the 1950s and its unlikely combination of rope, painted and chrome-plated steel, sheepskin and linen are still unprecedented in furniture manufacture. Wegner’s motivation in using such contrasting materials was apparently not to exploit their textural interplay but more simply to demonstrate his ability to design innovative, practical and comfortable furniture – in any material.
As Hans Wegner conceived the idea for this chair while at the beach, the wide-set and low frame is naturally perfect for an afternoon rest, especially when matched with the cozy comfort of a sheepskin throw and down feather filled headrest. Reproductions of this chair, perfectly balanced and built with a solid stainless steel frame and 240 meters of textured flag line, create a modern industrial beauty that upholds the iconic style of the original Danish design, and can be found for as little as $1,650. An original will set you back about $14,000.
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.
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.