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.
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.
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!
The word Nkondi means “hunter,” and it’s also the name of an idol (made by the Kongo people in the Congo region in central Africa) that contains an aggressive spirit meant to hunt down and punish wrongdoers.
The Nkondi Chair, which consists of a No 16 Bentwood Chair by Michael Thonet and hundreds of single-use plastic straws, embodies both the spirit and the act of wrongdoing. In the US, 500 million plastic straws are used and thrown away every single day, and with its artful combinations of colorful plastic straws on the legs, backrest and seat, the Nkondi chair brings attention to the massive plastic pollution on our planet. It also references the artwork created with recycled materials in many countries throughout Africa.
Nkondi is part of the the Metamorphosis Series, where designer Francis Assadi takes the Thonet No. 16 chair and transforms it into a new and vibrant work of art and design.
All of the Metamorphosis series chair are one-of-a-kind/collector’s pieces, handcrafted in New York. Find out more about the unique furniture of Francis Assadi Design Studio at This Link!
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.
The Landi Chair (1938) was among the examples of international design in the exhibition Die Gute Form (Good Form), which the designer Max Bill curated on behalf of the Swiss Werkbund — an organization established in 1913 to promote good design — and which travelled to venues in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and The Netherlands from 1941–51.
Landi Chair was designed by Hans Corey and manufactured from bent and pressed aluminum.
Landi Chair Installation View With Kitchen Clock (1953) and Sun Lamp By Max Bill (1951)
“We’ve tried in this exhibition to dispense as much as possible with ‘appearance’ and focus instead on what is modest, true [and] even good,” Bill wrote in the exhibition catalogue.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, The Value of Good Design, on View at The Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.
Canadian designer and visual artist Mara Minuzzo painted this solitary Pink Horn Chair as part of a marvelous series of Midcentury Chairs, which were on exhibit, along with a selection of her more abstract paintings, in the Lustre Contemporary booth at the recent Affordable Art Fair NYC, Spring Edition. You can see the full series of chairs, and lots more fantastic contemporary Pop art, by clicking on that link!
Robin Day’s prizewinning design for the Royal Festival Hall chair, created for entry into MoMA’s 1948 International Low-Cost Furniture Competition, helped to launch his career as an industrial designer. Day enjoyed a long-term consultancy with Hille, the chair’s manufacturer, as well as the establishment of a studio with his future wife, Lucienne.
Epitomizing the contemporary style and technological innovation of the 1951 Festival of Britain, the chair was featured in the couple’s Home and Gardens pavilion as well as in the lounge of the new Royal Festival. The chair also appeared in that year’s Milan Triennale and was soon put into production for an international market. Robin Day’s radical molded plywood seating design appears on the point of taking flight, as if lifted off its slender steel legs by the surge of energy and hope also expressed in the Festival of Britain that year. The lemon-yellow upholstery and copper-plated legs add to the extraordinary visual vitality of this sculptural piece.
The fabric hung in the background (left) is by Austrian-born textile designer Marian Mahler, a contemporary of Robin and Lucienne Day. The yellow textile on the right is a length of Lucienne’s1958 design Mezzanine, which was presented to the Museum by Denver-based Lucienne Day collectors Jill A. Wiltse and Kirk H. Brown III.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, The Value of Good Design, on View at The Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.