Maxine Snider’s Furniture Evolution

  • William Kissel

When Maxine Snider launched her signature collection in 1998, her focus was on creating spindly, light, and even a bit feminine-looking furniture inspired by delicate French designs of the 1920s and 1930s. Later, as the business expanded, she staged something of her own French revolution by abandoning the collection approach in order to concentrate on individual pieces with a more worldly point of view. To that end, this fall the Chicago-based custom furniture maker has introduced three new designs—the Library Desk, the New Hampshire Settee, and the Gambit Table—all inspired by completely different periods and furniture genres.

“Up until now my desks have been very lean and elegant, and I wanted to introduce a desk that really had some heft to it,” says Snider, whose quartered walnut and bronze Library Desk, a throwback to those of the early 20th century, incorporates a backside nook to hold books or decorative objects. “Typically, the desk floats in the middle of a room and the exposed back ends up being an off-putting panel, so I thought that aspect should be recognized and dealt with in an interesting, yet useful, way,” she says of the multifunctional design, which starts at around $12,500. Similarly, for her New Hampshire Settee, starting at around $6,500, Snider took some license with a classic Chippendale pattern and gave it a modern, angular reworking by removing the curvaceous cabriole legs and ornate back apron. Meanwhile, the sleek metal designs of the 1970s inspired the designer’s new Gambit coffee table, which is available in bronze or stainless steel in various sizes starting from $6,000. “Typically, when you see these polished metal base tables they are very straight forward and tubular. But in this case I wanted to create more structural and interesting views from the top and sides by forming the metal as interlocking pieces,” says the designer. Because all Maxine Snider designs are made by local artisans using a combination of handwork and modern technology, every piece can be customized in your choice of size, material, or detail. (312.527.4170, www.maxinesniderinc.com)

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