Salon Art + Design — which made a triumphant return to the Park Avenue Armory from November 11th through 15th after being waylaid in 2020 by Covid — always flaunts more than its fair share of ‘Oh Wow!’ moments, but this stunning Wedge sofa and ottoman from Todd Merrill Studio was far and away one of my favorites this time around. Because just look at it. It’s insane, right?
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.
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.
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.
Best known as an Art Deco metalsmith, Edgar Brandt (1880 – 1960) studied metal working at the Ecole nationale professionnelle of Vierzon and established himself in Paris in 1902. There, he began his blacksmith career; his creations first being marked by the Art nouveau aesthetic. Thanks to his extraordinary technical mastery and ingenuity, he received overwhelming numbers of commissions.
In 1925, Brandt opened an art gallery, where he exhibited pieces created by his contemporaries, as well as some of his works and collaborations, such as the ones with Daum or Lalique. This Modernist Table Lamp (1931) features an S-shaped body on a circular base, in nickel-plated metal, with 2 deep-etched glass cylinders. At 8.5-inches wide at the base, and 12.5-inches high, each lamp is stamped (at the base) with the artist’s Signature: E. Brandt, and Daum Nancy France, for the crystal studio and its location, is etched on the glass. Price point is unknown.
Photographed in the Booth for Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts at the Fall 2019 Salon Art + Design in NYC
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, Minosse recalls ‘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.
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’s 2018 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.