I love to look online at what interior, furniture and textile designers are doing at the leading, handmade and sometimes quite extreme, edges of design. It’s not that I could ever afford their creations, or that their creations would ever fit into my modest home and lifestyle.
But, like Miranda Priestly in that seminal scene from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, I appreciate how the influence of leading edge designers trickles down into the aesthetic of our more mainstream product offerings. And I also find it exciting and inspiring to have my senses jolted and stretched by the ‘shock of the new’. Here’s a few examples.
This Openwork Stool by ceramicist Alex Reed shows his efforts to push ceramics beyond conventional applications. The chair is constructed of an oak core, clad in ceramic and grout. The Openwork Stool utilizes the inherent power of small things coming together to form a larger structure. It also celebrates the depth of colour and quirks of the glazing and firing processes that makes ceramics, in all their forms, so fascinating and desirable.
Inspired by and named after a Nautilus shell, this rug designed by Atelier Février stretches our imagination of what shape a rug can be. And perhaps makes us think about the option of displaying a fabulous rug on our wall rather than our floor.
But it’s not only about the latest designs and designers.
Paul Evans (1931-1987) was an iconic American furniture designer, sculptor, and artist who is famous for his contributions to the American Craft Movement of the 1970s and for his work with the influential American manufacturer Directional Furniture.
Personally, I do love a bit of Brutalism!
Performer Lenny Kravitz, a collector of Evans pieces, describes his distinctive work as “stunningly beautiful, stunningly ugly, stunningly tacky, [and] stunningly sophisticated.” I’m not sure what that says about me …..
Design inspiration is everywhere and, in the end, it’s all about developing your own authentic style rather than acquiring someone else’s. But don’t overlook inspiration from those designers working now, or in earlier times, who push at the edges of design.
I think it’s healthy for all of us to be pushed way outside our comfort zone as often as possible. How else are we going to learn?
More info on these three designers via the links below.
1. Alex Reed
3. Paul Evans