Form & Fancy

  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
    David Wiseman, who is based in Los Angeles, created an artistic and architectural work that represents a New York couple’s ­family tree. The piece continues to grow with the client’s family. Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
    David Wiseman, who is based in Los Angeles, created an artistic and architectural work that represents a New York couple’s ­family tree. The piece continues to grow with the client’s family. Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
    David Wiseman, who is based in Los Angeles, created an artistic and architectural work that represents a New York couple’s ­family tree. The piece continues to grow with the client’s family. Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
    David Wiseman, who is based in Los Angeles, created an artistic and architectural work that represents a New York couple’s ­family tree. The piece continues to grow with the client’s family. Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
    David Wiseman, who is based in Los Angeles, created an artistic and architectural work that represents a New York couple’s ­family tree. The piece continues to grow with the client’s family. Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Carin Katt
    Marc Newson’s riveted-aluminum-clad Lockheed Lounge sold at auction for $1.8 million, underscoring the soaring demand for contemporary furniture. Photo by Carin Katt
  • While Newson’s piece was influenced by industrial design, many of his peers draw inspiration from nature. Interior designer Kathy Taslitz’s oversize seashells reference her walks along the beach.
  • Photo by Michael David Rose
    For Old Leaf, Kathy Taslitz reimagined a leaf as a bronze table Photo by Michael David Rose
  • Hervé Van der Straeten’s table is made from a series of stacked pipes.
  • Photo by Cécil Mathieu
    the chain on Hubert le Gall’s Mon Yeti suggests the lamp may run away if not restrained Photo by Cécil Mathieu
  • Photo by Ben Cope
    the Haas Brothers’ Beast collection fits furnishings with bronze paws and hooves and carved wooden horns Photo by Ben Cope
  • The sculpture Mouton de Pierre, by the late François-Xavier Lalanne, fetched $7.5 million at auction in 2011.
  • Photo by Johansen Krause
    The architect Peter Marino commissioned François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne to craft the branched chandelier for the dining room of this Palm Beach home. Photo by Johansen Krause
  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Sherry Griffin
  • Photo by Carin Katt
  • Photo by Michael David Rose
  • Photo by Cécil Mathieu
  • Photo by Ben Cope
  • Photo by Johansen Krause
<< Back to Home & Style, March 2014
  • Sheila Gibson Stoodley

The demand for contemporary designs has been soaring of late, says Zesty Meyers, a cofounder of R & Company, the Manhattan gallery that represents Wiseman and the Haas Brothers. “The design market has been blowing up,” he says. “The last 10 years have seen insane growth in 20th- and 21st-century furniture.” Auction results support his assertion. In 2009, Marc Newson’s 1985 landmark piece Lockheed Lounge, a chaise-shaped structure clad in the type of riveted aluminum that covers an airplane’s fuselage and wings, sold for £1.1 million ($1.8 million) at Phillips de Pury London. Mouton de Pierre—a circa 1979 sculpture by the late François-Xavier Lalanne comprising 10 sheep made of painted epoxy stone and patinated bronze—fetched $7.5 million at a 2011 auction of 20th-century art and design at Christie’s New York.

Aside from a feel for the fanciful, the earlier-­mentioned artists and designers share another trait: They are technical masters. Wiseman makes his own bronze and porcelain on-site at his Los Angeles studio. The Haas twins trained under their father, a carpenter and stone-carver from Texas; now they employ him. At her studio in downtown Los Angeles, located next to a foundry, Taslitz uses the lost-wax method to cast her bronze sculptures. Le Gall is essentially self-taught. Van der Straeten had some formal schooling but learned mostly by wrestling with the problems the furniture designs posed to him. He opened his furniture workshop in 1999 and visits it weekly. “It’s very satisfying,” he says of owning his own shop. “It allows me to change whatever I want, to improve my design, and to discover something new. It’s like having a sports car: I can change gears very quickly.”

Though running a workshop and managing employees can be taxing, Van der Straeten finds it well worth the effort. “One of my luxuries is I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want, and I can make it right,” he says. “I work only on pieces that make me happy in terms of their quality and creativity. They’re not just collectible decorative items. I hope they’re more than that, and I hope people can feel that when they see the pieces.”  

Jean de Merry (Hubert le Gall), 212.715.0646, www.jeandemerry.com; Ralph Pucci International Showrooms (Hervé Van der Straeten), 212.633.0452, www.ralphpucci.net; R & Company (David Wiseman, the Haas Brothers), 212.343.7979, www.r-and-company.com; Kathy Taslitz, 847.835.1861, www.kathytaslitz.com

 

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