Thursday, May 7, 2009

Silent Beauty


I really wasn't sure whether or not to discuss Denver, Colorado's Newell Design. They're here, though, because it's quite obvious, even in photographs, that their detailing and craftsmanship are absolutely stunning.

Here's their "Interlocking Sideboard":
Click images for larger views.

The "Longboard Sideboard":

This is the "Gazelle Desk":

And last but not least, the "Reve" line, a desk:
End table:
And a dresser:

Now, the pieces are gorgeous, clearly, and have wonderful proportions and restraint, the materials are luxurious and refined. The problem I have, though, is that any one of these pieces could quite easily have been designed and created as much as eight or nine decades ago. Of course I love the Art Deco and Moderne eras, and if you live in a sleek house built in 1930, the style would work wonderfully. For me, personally, I think I'd just suggest seeking out some relevant and unique antique pieces instead.

The fact is, it's 2009, not 1929 or 1949. What would excite me a great deal more, especially considering that their detailing is so very impeccable, is if they would play with it, experiment, and take a few design risks. I want to see a group of craftspeople with this caliber of expertise look more closely at what it means to build, detail, and adorn a piece of furniture, examine what the rules are, and then start breaking those rules. As beautiful as the pieces may be, they're not really saying anything to me, they're not challenging me to see design in a new way. It's always equally unfortunate to see a group of designers with amazing and innovative ideas who don't have the skills to pull it off, but these people definitely do.

©2009, Ryan Witte

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