When the highly esteemed designer Alexander Lamont asks the question, “What makes a design iconic?” you know the answer is going to be soulfully authentic. Though many product designers pay lip-service to what they believe should stand the test of time, Lamont dives deeper on the subject: “As well as being unique and impactful, an iconic design exudes symbolism and a richness of representation whether that be of a theme, person, place or time. An iconic design resonates with its audience and provokes reaction whether that be universally positive or controversial.” Noting that “iconic designs are those that will always be associated with the designer who created them,” and “they are the ones that will never lose their relevance or place in a collection,” he reveals a few of his own that we felt were worthy of repeating. The visuals of these illustrate this Design Diary post.
The Journey of Alexander Lamont
Lamont notes that his journey toward making the furniture, lighting, wall panels, and objects he produces, which require hard-won skills, took him to Thailand where he has built workshops that are celebrated for the pieces that flow from them. Lamont believes that objects have power; that they connect us to our most intimate selves and to the people, places, stories, and memories of our lives. He has an affinity for natural materials that grow old with grace. “I want the pieces that I create to become lifelong companions, friends of the house, each with its own energy, beauty and spirit,” he says. “I seek to bring a fresh point of view to the world of decorative arts, fine furniture, and traditional materials with luxurious and contemporary forms.” You’ll see this point of view front-and-center in the designs he deems his icons, which we feature below.
With his Ocean Armoire, he wanted the octopus to emerge from the depths through a forest of light-scattered coral that lives beneath the ocean. The polished-brass sculpture that serves as hardware to this elegant parchment-covered armoire is instantly recognizable. It stands out as the purest representation of the natural and organic themes that run through all of Alexander Lamont’s work.
He says of his Amaranth Lamp Table with its legs that take their inspiration from the traditional Chinese “leopard-foot” tables, appearing to take on a creature-like life of their own: “I sculpted the base in wax many times searching for an elegant way to offset legs and arms that are darkly patinated to black bronze tones.” He believes this piece is as iconic for its sculptural presence as it is for the materials and craftsmanship that it embodies.
Lamont’s silvered Magnificent mirror was inspired by Art Deco jewelry. He describes it as “a bracelet of interlocking parts that reflect and play with light.” It is composed of multiple convex sections that have been lacquered and gilded; the concave faces are covered with polished straw. This iconic piece with its complex internal construction hangs as a pure jewel-like expression of material and form.
Bronze is the first material that Alexander Lamont chose to manipulate. He was drawn to it for the sheer weight and impact of its presence and for its versatility as a sculptural and structural material. He says of his Carapace Uplight, “This most striking sculpted piece has a potent modernist form and creates a rich source of lighting.”
About his conception of his Pointillist Vessels, he notes, “In my search for textures that exude sculptural richness and tactile interest, nature is the biggest influence. We cannot improve upon the rough bark of a palm tree, or the forms of fruit and leaves. For this reason I use them directly, letting the powerful varying nature of surfaces interact with lacquer and bronze and silver.” Drawing from the texture and shape of the jack fruit, his Pointillist Vessels are powerfully organic pieces of sculpture that embody this philosophy.
With his Paglia Candleholders, he says, “I wanted to create a collection inspired by the shapes and contours of the thatched roofs found throughout England. The edges jut and overlap at the eaves where the birds live.” He adds, “The Paglia Candleholders are sculptural and organic, and at the same time nuanced and elegant as lighting elements for the dining table that catch and animate the linear texture of their surface. The collection draws on my memories of the place where I grew up.” This illustrates his belief that each piece he has tapped as an icon can connect us with our own sense of memory and travel.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the work of this thoughtful talent. The products he creates are only available to-the-trade or through retailers. To find a representative or a boutique near you, visit this page on the Alexander Lamont website.