Well, this is a crazy busy time of year, and I've been working on a pretty big project which you'll hear about soon enough. So I'm getting way behind on my posts. I hope to remedy that in the next few months.
To start discussing the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, I thought I'd return quickly to a designer I've posted about before, Denis Collura. I think I've bumped into Denis every year since I first noticed his work, and I'm pleased to say that he's become a very good professional acquaintance. I always enjoy talking to him and his work is consistently fantastic.
As his work progresses, it seems to be getting more robust, more muscular, and more mechanically sophisticated. Honestly, in all these years, I don't think I've seen a single designer do hardware better than this guy, and I've seen quite a few. A new piece this year, "Burst," shows off his talents beautifully:
--Click images for larger.
There's something very visually familiar--almost Rococo or something--in what he's doing. At the same time, there is no question that this fixture is entirely new. I think that's what I love most about it.
It's difficult to see from this angle, but there are a few different lengths of arm. The first tier is rotated into a different position from the second, so they overlap in an intriguing way: there's something very straightforward and simple about this, but it's executed in a way that it becomes more complex, but without being loud about it.
I was terribly impressed by the "Gustav" lights, both wall-mounted and floor:
The mechanical operation of these pieces has become a stylistic element of their design. It's taken Collura's metalwork to a whole new level, which I find exciting.
--Definitely click on that to see how forceful it is.
Not so much with the nickel wall version, but when I first saw the brass one, I told him it looked sort of Steampunk to me. The only difference being maybe that the brass isn't antiqued, and of course, the lampshade.
If you held a gun to my head and forced me to come up with something I'd improve upon in these pieces, I'd have a very difficult time. But I think I'd have to say the shades. That's not to say that they don't often work perfectly. In fact, in most cases, they beautifully amplify what's so great about this work: the fact that it pulls from so many and such disparate historical references. In other cases, I wonder if the shades don't fall a little bit short of the exquisite craftsmanship of the hardware and get swallowed up by it.
The first thing that popped into my head was a collaboration. But it would be very difficult to find existing work by another designer that compliments Collura's, remains true to the stylistic vision, and wouldn't overshadow it, either. It's a big shoe to fill. Some of the most interesting work in lampshades that I've seen is by a British company called Noodle, but stylistically that's all wrong, and they appear to have gone out of business, unfortunately.
Now I'm thinking I can imagine something that, from afar, would have this late-1950s/ early-'60s sensibility that works so perfectly, but upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be some crazy, high-tech DuPont fabric with metallic and glass fibers in it. I imagine also fabric with metallic fibers that mimic the detailing in the metal hardware. Or, since I'm always fascinated with CNC technology, complex three-dimensional textiles.
As I indicated, this is truly a minor point. In whatever direction in goes, I'll be watching anxiously to see how Collura's work evolves.
©2010, Ryan Witte