As a celebration of all things out of the ordinary - I wanted to shed light on both a studio and a gallery that, in my opinion, aims to revive the artistic and theatrical qualities of furniture. Coming from an artistic background, it pains me to walk into an interior space of any kind, and feel absolutely nothing.
I believe the world is too remarkable to be uninspired, and this mantra should be applied to interior design.
Whilst living in Florence, Italy, I became increasingly captivated and inspired by designs that spawned out of the Italian Radical Movement of the 1960's - 70's. These artists challenged the status quo of materials and structure – and the 'stick-it to the man' attitude produced some radical and audacious pieces of furniture. The studios that developed from this movement pushed the boundaries of form and functionality, and thankfully their influence live on.
Take the 'Donna' chair by Gaetano Pesce, (image left) in a photo by Klaus Zaugg, 1969.
Pesce, an Italian industrial designer who became inspired by mirroring anthropomorphic shapes and created the chair based on prehistoric female fertility figures.
Pesce claimed that the ball-like footrest element of the chair symbolised "the prejudice and oppression” that he saw to be “holding women captive in the 1960s".
Very much revolutionary and unconventional for its time, the chair stood on its own without a supporting structure, and made from a dense foam rubber.
The legacy of the Donna chair remains and is considered an international icon today thanks to B&B Italia who produce the chair. (image right)
Nowadays, thanks to e-commerce and the internet, we have such greater access to International brands, markets and trends. People have the opportunity to find inspiration and really curate their living spaces, particularly in comparison to previous generations - who solely made a house a home from what was available around them. Now I'm not suggesting everyone live in a surreal fairyland (although, that does sound like heaven to me), but rather that it’s okay to embrace a little more artistic flair. Not limited to hanging a painting on the wall; bringing something artistic into your space could be as simple as adding a distinctive set of legs on a chair, displaying a funky set of ceramic bowls, or if feeling a little bolder; introducing a gold grouting, or inset between tiles, or perhaps a wacky lamp, like my personal favourite, the 'Stalk' lamp by Migaloo Home. (below)
When it comes to incorporating a little flair, it would be sacrilegious of me not to mention the Haas Brothers. I first come across the Haas Brothers (the LA based twins Simon and Nikolai Haas) at Design Basel in 2015, and I can honestly say, my world has never been the same. I am forever itching for a way to find a home for their insanely imaginative pieces of furniture and ornaments. I follow their every move, and have watched their studio gain continued success in their field – it brings me much joy. Crafting unique and meticulously detailed pieces, their pieces are owned by the likes of Lady Gaga and Donatella Versace - the pieces aren't cheap, but boy do they impress! (See some of their pieces below)
Another design house more than worthy of a mention is the Carpenters Workshop Gallery. I first came across this gallery at Design Days back in 2015. The Gallery produce and exhibit functional sculptures by rising and established International artists and designers that work outside the traditional territories of expression.
The gallery is actively involved in the research and production of the works exhibited, most of which are produced in limited editions. They operate a selection process guided by the research of an 'emotional, artistic and historical relevance; a relevance that appears as an evidence’. Producing an array of artists that are truly inspiring, their works exist in a realm that transcends above the ‘norm’ of interior design and art. I really hope to see them back in the region soon!
A couple of my personal favourite artists represented by Carpenters Workshop gallery are Vincent Dubourg and Studio Job.