Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ornamentally Speaking

Once again this year I went to check out the Architectural Digest Home Design Show. This one is not quite as gargantuan as some of the other trade shows, a fair percentage of it is kind of pillows-and-curtainsy--which doesn't interest me as much--and so it's much more manageable. I think I may have actually seen more stuff I liked this year than last. I also bumped into quite a few people, including Zem Joaquin, who runs and whom I'd written about in the magazine. Coincidentally, the friend I was with had also been with me when Zem gave a talk at ABC Carpet about their new line of eco-friendly products. She was very nice and she's extremely knowledgeable about all things Green; I highly recommend her site. 

Anyway, I'd like to talk about some of my favorite stuff this year, in no particular order. First up is New York City's Brad Ascalon Studios. The first piece is the one I saw at the show, a coffee table called "Spindle," for Ligne Roset:
It's a really sleek design and kind of clever. There seemed to be quite a lot of these kind of pieces at the show this year, incorporating reinterpreted traditional elements into new work. Interesting here that the spindle isn't supporting anything. Personally, I think I'd find this more dynamic if the brackets on the right side were bigger and more robust, and there were no brackets at all on the left side. Then there'd just be the tiniest sliver of an opening between the two sheets of glass, so close to touching but not. Perhaps I'm missing the point, though, that the spindle doesn't actually need to be there, so it becomes purely ornamental.

He did something sort of similar with his "Period" table for Sintesi:
Here just the silhouette of a traditional table leg, represented very graphically by bent strips of metal.
It's interesting to me how this one maneuver gives an otherwise very machined looking piece an uncommon modern elegance. I'm also glad to see that there are designers out there who aren't scared of a little ornamentation. Everyone knows I love Minimalism, but it has its time and place, and anymore, I wonder if it isn't getting cold and stale.

He's also done a couple cool packaging designs for makeup, by the way, which you can find on his website.

©2009, Ryan Witte

1 comment:

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