The design world is over angularity. Instead, creatives are basking in Art Deco elegance and reveling in postmodern playfulness. As such, the arc has become a prominent silhouette. Designers are experimenting with softer geometries; lines aren’t exactly organic, but neither are they rigid. Pieces, no matter how decadent, feel approachable. Given that some of these new introductions were conceived in the COVID era, longing for levity is hardly surprising. Our examples lean into lightheartedness and evoke emotion.
Lara Bohinc references kisses and confections in describing her “Afternoon Tea” collection, noting that she aimed for pieces that make you feel loved. Her smile-shaped armchair certainly does. Alnoor has long developed work that encourages desire, connection, and ultimately, attachment. Indeed, it’s impossible to get around that with a mirror. Ara Thorose, meanwhile, cites optimism and transformation in interviews, while Arthur Vallin strives for pieces that convey balance and permanence. His rare marble practically caresses the eye.
Ulu, Ara Thorose
Armenian American designer Ara Thorose approached his Ulu table as though it were a brain teaser. The Cranbrook grad asked himself: What’s the most efficient way a circle could travel through a cube? His answer is a playful side table with custom silk upholstery over a foam-covered steel base. It looks like Windows’s 3-D Pipes screensaver come to life in your living room. The simple, transparent glass top offers maximum utility and showcases Thorose’s geometric acrobatics. $7,000
Kissing Armchair, Bohinc Studio
Craving comfort during the pandemic, Slovenian-born, London-based Lara Bohinc tended toward silhouettes that cocoon. Shaped like a smile, with the frame as the lips and the seat as the tongue, the Kissing armchair is not just happy, it’s downright giddy. The sculptural piece speaks to the former jewelry designer’s penchant for deconstructing geometric forms, and its soft upholstery enhances its allure. $9,710
Merlin, Roche Bobois
In recent years, mirrors have shed function in favor of fun. Alnoor’s Merlin mirror for Roche Bobois is a tribute to what the Paris-based industrial designer calls the “circular and geometrical rhythms” of artists Sonia and Robert Delaunay. The most current iteration is crafted from a mix of silver, smoky-gray and periwinkle-blue glass. $1,925
Circular Sofa, kar-Studio
Where Vladimir Kagan’s iconic Serpentine sofa is sexy and sinuous, the Circular sofa by kar-Studio verges on cherubic, almost chubby. With an inner arc that nestles into an outer swoop, it’s a piece of furniture that wants to soothe rather than seduce. Still, it’s sophisticated enough to take center stage in a penthouse lounge or any sleek space that needs softening up. The Guangzhou-based studio offers upholstery in nine dusty shades. About $12,523
Ipséité, Arthur Vallin
Not everything at Versailles was made from gold. Arthur Vallin, a French-born, New York–based designer, carved this table from a single block of aubergine-and-jade-colored marble sourced from the same quarry that supplied stone to Louis XVI. Not only is its folded form at odds with the unbending material, but the hefty piece also seems to levitate above the brass ball underneath. $85,000