Best of the Best 2011: Decor: Furniture: Delaunay Collection
Since 1997, Craig Van Den Brulle has guided exquisite pieces by some of the 20th century’s best designers through his namesake Manhattan furniture gallery and into the hands of serious collectors and top interior decorators. Now he is channeling that energy and expertise into his own series of limited-edition furnishings—a blend of handcraftsmanship and technology that he calls the Delaunay Collection.
"I wanted to seize the potential of new technology," says Van Den Brulle. "I was seeing computer imaging used in architecture and art, and it inspired me to see if it was possible in my own designs."
While the Delaunay Collection is not Van Den Brulle’s first foray into design (his past creations were sleek and often made from Lucite), it marks his first exploration of the nexus between design and technology. The Delaunay pieces—a dining table ($72,500), a chair ($28,000), and a mirror ($31,200), limited to no more than 15 steel, chrome, and bronze pieces of each make—are bold and hard edged with geometric flair. Van Den Brulle says he was inspired by furnishings of the 1960s and ’70s from designers such as Fred Brouard, Ado Chale, and Willy Daro, who used materials like malachite, resin, bronze, and agate.
The Delaunay table, chair, and mirror started as hand-drawn renderings reminiscent of rock formations and broken glass. Next, Van Den Brulle used 3-D computer imaging programs to engineer the construction and perfect the designs. State-of-the-art laser soldering transforms the designs into actual objects, composed layer by layer. No fewer than 10 artisans in three workshops in the Northeast construct each piece, over a period of three to six months.
The glass-top dining table is especially captivating, perhaps owing to its ample dimensions (84 x 42 x 30.5 inches). The sleek interlocking triangles of the base not only catch the eye, but also illustrate, according to Van Den Brulle, the principles of the Delaunay triangulation, a complex operation in geometry.
The mathematics of the Delaunay Collection proved complex indeed. "It can take months to figure out how to construct each piece and to work out the details and finishes," says Van Den Brulle; the table, for example, took over a year to design and went through more than 100 different iterations. He expects to add a dresser and a lamp to the line later this year. "It’s been a challenging learning process, and satisfying to create something so technologically complex," he says. "This collection showed me the possibilities were endless."
Craig Van Den Brulle, 212.925.6760, www.craigvandenbrulle.com