Take a minute to imagine the journey a piece of furniture takes: from an idea – it is designed, made, shipped, sold, moved and loved. But then what? What happens next when an object is no longer suitable for the home it has been welcomed into?
It is fair to say that some things you own you would hand on but, like great artwork or architecture, the value is in the creation and creator. Even in luxury goods, jewellery and fashion – we seek out names that bring with them a timeless appeal and an underlying trust that they have been made to last.
It is not uncommon for designers in the world of luxury to turn their hand to furniture and objects. Fabien Baron, most commonly known for his work as art director of French Vogue, has designed chairs for American company Bernhardt Design, and icons like Ralph Lauren have developed their own collections of furniture to extend on their brand's qualities.
The Edwardian luxury of Ralph Lauren's Clivedon bed.
Lauren’s Clivedon Bed, inspired by an antique bench and the style of the Chesterfield sofa, is carved out of mahogany and wrapped in leather upholstery tufted with pewter nails. A masterpiece of craftsmanship, perhaps created to out-sleep the designer and makers themselves, it is a contemporary heirloom of Edwardian style.
Ralph Lauren was born in the Bronx, right at the top of the New York City metro map, which was designed in 1972 by the late Massimo Vignelli and is iconic to New Yorkers as Milton Glaser’s I Heart NY symbol. A Milanese graphic designer Vignelli, with his wife Lella, also turned his hand to furniture with the Creso Table for Acerbis – designed in 1988 but only recently put into production.
Similar in form to the Paracarro table by designed in 1970 by fellow Italian Giovanni Offredi, both are a centrepiece for any dining room with their brutalist bases elevating a surface of natural material. A balancing act of aesthetic and technical precision, it is what Offredi became renowned for with a serious dose of minimalism.
Giovanni Offredi's Paracarro table, a design classic that is incredibly hard to find.
Working across disciplines isn’t just limited to designers of fashion or graphics. Architects too have their fun designing everything from skyscrapers to teaspoons and for anyone who has read MoMA’s Young Frank, Architect – you would know that Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright have also designed chairs.
So too have Patricia Urquiola and Piero Lissoni, household names through the halls of the Milan furniture fair. They are in fact architects whose buildings, like their furniture, are created to endure the tests of time across the globe.
Lissoni’s Pop armchair, designed with Carlo Tamborini for Kartell, employs the brand's signature material – plastic – encapsulating an upholstered seat creating a contrast of materials that is also seen in Cini Boeri’s sofas for Gavina Knoll (now known as Knoll). Instead of plastic, Boeri uses fibreglass and her elegant blending of eco-aware 'pleather' with harder, human-made materials reminds us of Lauren’s bed though perhaps not so Edwardian.
Ironically, or perhaps serendipitously, the iconic Knoll logo was also designed by our friend Massimo Vignelli and has stood the test of time since 1972 showing that – like a home, a work of art, or a piece of furniture – great design is here for life.
To enquire about finding a new home for a design classic or find one, contact DesignConsigned.com.au
WRITTEN BY HouseLab