Interior by Tony Duquette
In my opinion, the notion that art is a precious entity to be relegated to being hung on the wall is far too limiting. Tony Duquette understood this axiom as early as the 1940’s.
What is it that makes something a work of art, and how do we (or better yet how should we) live with and experience art in our daily lives? And can a table or a lamp be considered art? I say yes.
In my ongoing search for incredible furnishings that are above the cut I look for pieces that transcend their purpose and becomes an object of beauty. And though the sticker price can often be trés cher, the appreciation and desire to elevate the aura of any living space should be the goal of the designer.
Let’s look at a few examples of furniture that I feel meet the criteria to be considered as ‘art furniture’.
Of course the first designer to consider is Wendell Castle, who is often credited with being the Father of the ‘art furniture’ movement. Trained as an industrial designer and a fine artist, his work exemplifies the fusion of both disciplines in creating fluid, sculpturally functional forms for over four decades. Here is a link to his website with a complete inventory of his furniture designs and where to make their purchase.
Interactive sculpture – gold chair by Wendell Castle
Herve Van der Straeten
My admiration for sculptural form as functional art leads me to my new fav rave, Herve Van der Straeten. Like Castle, he creates pieces with high visual impact. He started out as a jewelry designer and now devotes his energies to furniture. His designs are bold and defiant, yet elegant and sophisticated. Art collectors dream of owning his works for their prowess as functional sculpture. These lyrical creations can be procured through Ralph Pucci International in New York City, and Los Angeles. Here is the link on the Pucci website for Van der Straeten’s pieces.
A Van der Straeten table, where architecture and art meet.
With all of the creativity in the world, it is difficult to make only a few suggestions, but without doubt Pedro Friedeberg is one of the more iconic figures, and is world renown in both the art and design worlds. His works are collected by connoisseurs the world over. His pieces are allegorical, and hold many religious references – making them both surreal and identifiable to many. There is an active website where you can view his fine art and the furniture.
Pedro Friedeberg’s hand chair, and hand and feet table
Lianne Gold is another artist who is amongst the ranks of luminary designers represented by Ralph Pucci International. Her pieces are highly detailed, organic, and majestic in their simplicity. Never before have I seen lighting as carefully conceptualized as hers. You can see how she is inspired by the great Italian masters of lighting and sculpture. Here is the direct link to her collection at Pucci International.
Crystal and bronze table lamp by Lianne Gold
Nikolai and Simon Haas
There are always new artists to discover who are working in the design field to produce functional art pieces. There is a philosophical connect for certain artists that allows them to translate their work into the furnishings industry. The last artists to feature here are The Haas Brothers. Their designs are decidely primordial, and their offerings are limited to a concise collection. Born into an artistic environment, they learned much from their painter/stone carver father and writer/opera singer mother. When you look at their designs the pieces begin to make sense knowing this fact about them. R 20th Century is where (along with other illustrious artist/designers) they are represented. Here is the direct link to the Haas Brothers at R 20.
The Beast chair and ottoman by The Haas Brothers
The list of artists who are designing work for the interiors field is ever growing. I have only touched upon a few of my favorites. We here on the blog are always in search of new talent and resources, and are always happy to bring them to the design community’s attention.
If you know an artisan working in the decorative arts who you think deserves some attention, let us know. We would like to help spread the exciting news of their arrival into the arena of design.
Written by Carl Lana