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.
The Bolotas collection (2015) was initially inspired by stone walls, but the name came from the first prototype that appeared to be soft and round like an acorn (‘bolotas’ means acorn in Portuguese). Each piece is covered with sustainable leather, prepared with an environmentally-friendly tanning process. The brothers decided to use natural skins to bring comfort to the design: pillows of sheepskin for the armchair and the sofa carefully arranged on a stainless steel structure with feet made from Brazilian Ipe wood, which is naturally fire, bug and water-resistant. The Aubergine color was created in a series of eight pieces and sells for about $25,000 at auction.
Photographed in the Friedman Benda Booth at the 2019 Salon Art + Design.
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.
Cabinet Measures: 55¼ in. (140.3 cm.) High, 45 3/8 in. (115.3 cm.) Wide, 17 in. (43.2 cm.) Deep
This collaboration featured Frank’s highly developed personal style which focused on elements of Viennese elegance and Swedish functionalism. He wanted to incorporate natural forms and colors into his interiors, so that the inhabitants could breathe freely in the enclosed spaces. He believed that “ornament and complexity create peacefulness and get rid of the disturbing aspect of pure functional form.” A perfect example of this ideology is the Flora cabinet.
For the cabinet’s exterior, Frank (who also designed textiles) used hand-colored botanical prints from Carl Lindman’s book, Bilder ur Nordens Flora, which he then delicately applied onto the mahogany front and sides of the piece. Oak was also used in the manufacturing process, and the birch interior is fitted with four adjustable shelves. The contrast between the delicate floral motifs and heavy wooden form instills the cabinet with a light, playful and organic sense. Contrasting materials evoke an echo of the past, but create an indisputably modern piece.
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.
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.
Jean Marie Fiori is a French sculptor born in Limoges. He graduated from the National School of Fine Arts (École Nationale des Beaux-arts) in Paris, where he is now based. Formerly a painter, Fiori is devoted to sculpture and more specifically, to the representation of animals. During the years, the artist/designer improved his mastery of bronze and enriched his imaginary bestiary of designed furniture and monumental installations. In 2010, Fiori was selected by the Chinese Official Committee of World Expo in Shanghai to create a set of urban furniture consisting of five benches. Inspired by traditional Chinese symbols, he reinterpreted turtle, bull, tiger, buffalo and duck. Over time, he developed a language of plastic arts closer to that of the Decorative Arts. He transformed deer into chairs and falcons into tables, with a sense of humor and his own originality specific to his works. This Tiger Chimney / Fire Place in patinated bronze was produced in a signed and numbered edition of 8 plus 4 Artist Proofs. Inquire Here for pricing.
Photographed at the Salon Art + Design 2019 in NYC.