BUILT FROM SCRATCH Samuel Amoia and Fernando Mastrangelo of AMMA Studio combine industrial and household ingredients into works of singular beauty

In the Brooklyn workshop of AMMA Studio, ordinary materials await alchemical transformations. Piles of salt, ground coffee, and other commonplace substances are mixed with clear resin, which binds the grains before they're joined with cement and molded into strikingly beautiful furnishings. For founders Samuel Amoia and Fernando Mastrangelo, using such unconventional media, rather than wood or stone, is a way to bring something new to the table—figuratively and literally. "I look at furniture all day long, and it's always the same stuff, made with the same materials," says Amoia, who has his own eponymous interior design firm as well. Mastrangelo, an artist, adds, "Our idea was to do something totally fresh. If you buy a slab of marble, you already have something gorgeous. But if you start with the everyday and elevate it, you can achieve something intriguing, something special." A drum stool, for instance, fuses baby-blue cement with pink Himalayan salt, producing exquisite strata of color and texture. A rectilinear side table is composed of a spare cement shell with a luminous silica lining. And a large-scale faceted mirror features a frame encrusted with navy-blue glass crystals. Although the pair just launched AMMA Studio in May—offering both limited-edition and custom-made creations—they've already received a string of notable commissions, among them pieces for Soho House in London and Berlin and for DeLorenzo Gallery in New York. The design establishment, meanwhile, is buzzing. "I love the concept behind AMMA," says AD100 decorator Stephen Sills, for whom Amoia once worked. "Their furnishings have such an elegant, minimalist quality." The duo, for their part, are just enjoying the crossover between their independent professions. "It's sculptural furniture that can be viewed as art but is fully functional," emphasizes Amoia. As Mastrangelo notes of the pieces' often soluble origins, "even if you pour water on them, they're not going to melt." ammastudionyc.com -TIM MCKEOUGH

President Obama sits behind a custom walnut desk of their design in his private study, and François-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek’s Paris apartment is illuminated by their light boxes, but until now, the design partnership of Daniele Albright and Stefan Lawrence fell under the auspices of Twentieth, Lawrence’s contemporary furniture showroom in Los Angeles. Now, the longtime collaborators have launched Videre Licet (Latin for “to be able to see”), a new line of furniture and lighting, in conjunction with Twentieth’s sweeping new space on Beverly Boulevard. Designed using contemporary technologies but crafted entirely by hand — and priced accordingly, in the $20,000 range — the collection is daring, glamorous and a touch tongue-in-cheek, with sly references to Hollywood, modernism and the ’70s.

The BBC Table, shaped like a smoky, mirrored crystal, is equal parts disco decadence and L.A. New Age culture, while the Subtracted Cube’s flawless brass surfaces come thanks to its complex folded construction. The Abalone Lounge chair (which has a coordinating console) recalls the shape of the beloved beanbag chair, but is in fact made from cast fiberglass and resin with hand-laid, sustainably harvested abalone from the Philippines. The Woolly Bella is both the sexiest and the strangest piece in the debut collection: a curvy, comfortable chair with cast-bronze legs and long, glossy Mongolian goat hair more often used by fashion designers. It can be dyed, but Albright prefers the natural black and white. Unlike some contemporary designers who celebrate industrial precision, this team embraces the human touch and the unpredictability of organic materials. “With our shell pieces or the fur or the bronze,” says Albright, “you’re using this natural material that has its own characteristic, and you’re not afraid to not control that completely.” Of course, there are exceptions; they recently had to bring in a hairstylist to give a particularly unruly Bella a nice layered cut.

Albright — a world traveler and photographer whose work is featured in the Gypset series of lifestyle books — has been staging elaborate photo shoots with each piece in iconic California locations, from the beaches of Malibu to the mountains in Mammoth. “This cinematic element is something we can bring to it,” she says. And for Lawrence, who was the first to bring designers like Tom Dixon and Marcel Wanders’s Moooi to Los Angeles, the collection is a refreshing new way to contribute to the global design discourse. “After all these years,” he says, “it’s nice to be able to make our own statements.”

Istambullus are talking about how to make a living by creating. They are embracing—as Turks always have—an updated hybridity: new and old, local and global, industry and craft, discipline crossed with discipline. Istambullus are talking about how to make a living by creating. They are embracing—as Turks always have—an updated hybridity: new and old, local and global, industry and craft, discipline crossed with discipline. Multidisciplinary creative platform Istanbul '74 opened a second gallery space this May, furthering its mission to connect Turkish with international culture through exhibitions, performance, publishing and events. '74's offices are in burgeoning waterfront Karaköy, which hosts the critically praised Istanbul Art Biennial, the country's first design biennial launched in 2012 and, in October 2014, what will be its second. Karaköy's tiny working class backstreets are now dotted liberally with galleries like Mana, the luminously tiled eatery, Karaköy Lokantas─▒, Europhile cafes like Karabatak and the new fusion eatery Gaspar designed by Autoban and inspired by knolling, the process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90 degree angles as a method of organization. There are also new boutique hotels, high-end “junk” shops, and a nightclub that doubles as a New York-style artists' flea market called Souq. If it is difficult to make a living selling ideas and modern design in Istanbul, and challenging to bring designers together to solve the problem, no one is admitting defeat. They're just trying it every which way and then making up another way to try tomorrow (more on this in our Insider's Take with up-and-comers Atölye).

Laura Eckstein of Angeleno Magazine talks with Stefan Lawrence and Daniele Albright, designers of the Subtracted Cube

"Contemporary digital design technologies have a lot to offer, but the end result is often very techy-looking and unattractive, sometimes deliberately so.  We wanted to bring a minimalist sense of sculptural form and beauty, as well as natural materials and hand-fabrication, into the process," says Twentieth gallery owner Stefan Lawrence of Videre Licet, the newly launched furniture collection he collaborated on with artist and designer Daniele Albright.  Describing their work as "conceptual glamour," the duocreated five striking pieces for the locally made line that perfectly represent its provenance. ”Los Angeles is home to Hollywood glamour as well as 20th century minimalism,” says Albright. ”We combine inspiration from both into a mix that is rarely done, yet quintessentially LA.” The Subtracted Cube (shown here) represents one of the most basic design principles-the subtraction of form from a solid mass-in a luxurious yet seemingly simple fashion. But don't be fooled. ’’It’s nearly impossible to assemble metal with flat planes without distortion due to welding,” says Lawrence. "For this reason, the chair is made of folded brass with no welds at all, so its production entails a technical feat of craftsmanship.” Simply beautiful indeed.  Twentieth, 7470 Beverly Blvd., L.A., 323.904.1200, twentieth.net -Laura Eckstein

Subtracted Cube by Videre Licet

Thank you Modern Luxury Interiors California for the article about our new gallery space, opening later this month!. Full Article (p.34)

Tom Dixon

SAVE THE DATE! Tom Dixon is coming to LA for the first time on February 27th! Help us celebrate the opening of our our new gallery space! New collections will be previewed. Join us for cocktails and a Q&A with Tom!

RSVP by Feb. 23 to rsvp@twentieth.net

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Tom Dixon Black & Brass

Black & Brass, a selection of products for the modern lounge curated by our design team.

The Column Table Lamp

The Column Table Lamp by APPARATUS (sold at Twentieth!) was featured in a The New York Times article about Trip Haenisch's favorite worn and rugged-looking lighting

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