Marc Meiré, co-founder of German creative firm Meiré and Meiré, buys furniture for its sculptural looks. In his living room, a wooden Faye Toogood Spade chair has a back like a garden spade handle, while in the garden itself are angular Medici chairs by Konstantin Grcic for Italian brand Mattiazzi.
Furniture-as-art pieces increasingly permeate modern design. Milan’s furniture fair in April was a study in furniture as sculpture, including chairs, by Oki Sato’s design studio Nendo, based on the speech bubbles and gridlines of Manga comics.
London-based UK/Italian duo Oeuffice showed sculpted marble stools resembling elegant chesspieces, and Kartell launched a Nendo sculptural child’s rocking chair.
The realisation that most of us don’t need any more furniture, so it has to offer something extra is at the crux of the trend.
Go Modern in Fulham stocks the Nest armchair from Mogg, made of leaning upright timber rods, along with Bonaldo’s Amond dining table with a “hollow” folded metal base. The store’s owner, Tina Mahony, says new tech lets designers create pieces that “sit comfortably between the worlds of art and furniture”.
Brodie Neill of Made In Ratio created his wavy Cowrie chair, based on the geometry of a shell, using 3D scanning technology, having studied the science of a comfy seat to incorporate real usability.
Lamberti Décor’s Fluid Ribbon Chair, made of a bent, curved strip of metal or laminated bamboo, is influenced by biomechanics.
London-based Bodo Sperlein’s Contour collection, designed to show wood’s flexibility as a sculptural material, is meant to last a lifetime and be well used. He says: “Friends are surprised to see me using these pieces in an everyday setting, but that for me is important.”