Is furniture the sexiest gift you can give? For design-minded people, yes it is. You could always go with the old standbys—wine, an island getaway, jewelry—and really not surprise someone this year. Or you could think differently.
Videre Licet is the so-cool-it-hurts LA studio you should know right now. Co-founders Daniele Albright and Stefan Lawrence describe their designs as “conceptual glamour,” which explains why their sleek, low-profile numbers seem to dive into 1970s gloss and sultry reflection but know when to come up for air. The entire collection is a mostly linear tour through artisan-based techniques and wider visual references—from Hollywood sheen to modern experimentalism.
Two pieces in particular are worth the get, and they’re available in only small quantities, the exclusivity of which is a more heartfelt gesture than, “Here, I’ve gotten you something lovely and mass-produced.” Astral Projection 1 ($20,000) is made of grey mirrored glass over wood and limited to seven editions. While Astral Projection 2 ($18,000, also in a limited production) has a golden glow of glass and bronze.
The series is geometric without being sharp, and each one slips easily into a room—either as artwork or as a functional coffee table. With both models, the designers riff on mid-century modern architecture without being heavy-handed. We’ve seen a lot of those references (and actually cannot seem to escape them) from design’s most undeniably prolific era, but there’s some real finesse here.
And while Videre Licet straddles that increasingly familiar art/design divide (or basically, all of Art Basel), the work is not wickedly inaccessible. The pair use their backgrounds in design, photography, and academia to a quiet advantage. The furniture is enticing and understatedly luxurious, which is a rare combo. And makes for an unexpected gift this year.
Both Astral Projection works are available through Twentieth gallery, 323-904-1200.