As promised in my last Design Diary entry, which featured asymmetrical decorative elements and furnishings with organic shapes being exhibited around the world, I’m taking a look at what I’ve seen stateside that fits into these interesting categories. Why the fascination with the uneven in interiors? As Cecil Adams, the VP of Creative at Currey & Company, said during High Point Market, “The one thing that is off-kilter from the norm can make a room sing.” Denise McGaha concurs. During the debut of her new collection for Currey & Company, she noted, “By adding an asymmetrical element, you’re able to create tension, which always makes a space more interesting.” Her Coup chandelier and wall sconces, shown above in this image of the showroom by Beth Tilley Green, are excellent examples of this.
An Asymmetrical Slant Stateside
Design Miami/ opens tomorrow and a not-to-miss stand is the R & Company booth (G11). You will get to see the monumental sculptural tub carved from Pele de Tigre marble that has been dubbed "Bathy Bates" by its creators, the Haas Brothers. Along with this marvel carved from marble, other kick-ass designs that defy convention will be on view, as this gallery is famous for the avant-garde.
Also being shown at Design Miami/ is the Fragile Future Concrete Chandelier designed by Studio Drift. The stunning fixture will be on view in the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, booth G08. The limited edition of 8 is made of dandelion seed, concrete, phosphorous bronze and LEDs. “With Fragile Future III Studio Drift fuses nature and technology into a multidisciplinary light sculpture,” the gallery’s curators note. “The sculpture contains real dandelion seeds, which were picked by hand and are connected seed-by-seed to a LED lights.” Wow!
Barcelona-based carpet manufacturer Nanimarquina exhibits so many organically-inspired designs in their New York City showroom and at tradeshows around the world, and one of my favorites in quite some time is the Eurasia project designed by Metahaven. Shown above, this concept is one of their most colorful examples of a rug awash in depth, movement and sass that I’ve seen spring from the visions of their varied design collaborations.
Last month, Vitra’s Tribeca showroom was the scene of a celebration that launched a new collection by Artek and Heath. Classic mid-century design is brought a contemporary edge with the use of a time-honored technique developed by Heath when the company’s colors and glazes are applied to Artek’s iconic Stool 60 and Tea Trolley 900, both created by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. During the evening, a design dialogue with Marianne Goebl of Artek and Cathy Bailey and Tung Chiang of Heath was moderated by Debbie Millman.
Splendidly Askew During High Point
High Point was brimming with examples of asymmetrical and organic shapes. I spotted this wavy sculptural accent in The Howard Elliott Collection showroom. The decorative accessory is a contemporary take on an undulant log, which has been finished in a metallic silver plating. This brilliance is accentuated by a black patina that has been rubbed into the striations in the bark’s surface to create the depth you see. The juxtaposition of bright and dark make this a special piece when a hint of texture is desired; and I particularly love that the sculpture can be interpreted in many different ways—"Is it the long-lost scarf of a beautiful aristocrat that has been buoyed up by the wind?” your guests might ask. “No, it’s a contemporary take on a log,” you are ready to answer just as you decide it’s best to let each person believe what they see in the conversation-starter when they spy it in your living room!
Uber-talented designer Justin Shaulis, who is dishing on the inclusion of oversized glass pieces in the video for the manufacturer below, curates collections for Howard Elliott. During my walkthrough of the showroom, he told me he believes asymmetry and organic shapes bring sensuality, mystery and intrigue to interiors. I couldn’t agree more. The company’s president, Brian Berk, added, “We try to have a little fun and be a bit whimsical here at Howard Elliott. We love it when we can make someone giggle with one of our sculptures!”
I had a fascinating conversation with the company’s design guru Jody Ossman. He noted that by offering the number of beautiful accessories they produce, they are helping consumers build their own private art collections: “By choosing accessories that are eclectic, such as our offerings that exhibit asymmetry, they are able to easily bring added personality to a space while simultaneously building something of lasting value.” Hear, hear!
This carpet in Nourison’s Prismatic Collection had such a strong impression on me, it enticed me off the escalator in the IHFC building (apologies to the guy behind me as I twirled around and scampered back down!). The attention-grabbing shades of fiery orange, crimson and purple offset by the smoky charcoal and white accents bring excitement to this sensational swirling design with its modern lines. The area rug is hand-tufted from a wool blend that has been infused with glimmering silken highlights. Just gorgeous!
Tempaper’s Looking Glass pattern brought me a fascinating psychedelic experience when I viewed it up-close. The kaleidoscopic pattern holds paradox, as its interplay of asymmetrical shapes creates a cohesive design that is absolutely symmetrical. Interestingly enough, the wallpaper drew an unexpected calm from me when I took the time to meditate on its design. When I spoke with Julia Biancella, the founder and CEO of Tempaper, she said, “We love producing organic designs that complement our bold geometrics because both are needed to bring interest to interiors.” Colorways of the Looking Glass collection include Java, Beach Plum, Jade, and Cobalt (the Beach Plum and Jade are shown).
The upholstery material on the Snoopy chair, which I spotted in the Eleanor Rigby Home stand in Salon Suites, felt so fetching it was difficult to resist sinking into it. I was struck by how the ivory Suri Alpaca that covers the chair in a shaggy mane creates an organic universe all its own. Another attribute that makes it such a comfortable chair is the spring system. Creating seriously comfortable places to perch is something for which this manufacturer is so well-known, and the Snoopy is no exception.
I enjoyed catching up with Joni Vanderslice of the J Banks Design Group, who debuted a colorful new collection for EJ Victor during Market. She shared with me that she believes having a sense of color and balance is innate; that a pop of something, be it colorful or asymmetrical, keeps a room from being too serious. The horse sculpture with its playful bowing neck and pertly positioned ears in the image above definitely adds a whimsical element to this vignette from one of her team’s projects. But it also adds a lovely touch of seriousness given the sophisticated sculpture is made from what in its natural state is a mundane material.
I hope you enjoyed this little romp through the inconsistencies in shape and finish that make achieving balanced design with them such an intriguing feat. Next up, I’ll be presenting the new collection launched by Charles Spencer at Theodore Alexander during Market so check back soon.