Self-taught British designer Tom Dixon believes that rules are made to be broken. Dixon began his creative life as a professional musician, playing bass in a disco band in the 80s. Then, he learned oxy-acetylene welding in a car body repair shop in South London and—after a series of mutations originating from a doodle of a chicken—designed the iconic “S Chair,” introduced by Cappellini in 1989. “If there are rules to design, I don’t know what they are,” he says, “I just have ideas and I want to see what happens if I put them out there.”
This has clearly worked in Dixon’s favor. Since launching design brand Tom Dixon in 2002, its presence has grown to over 60 countries. With designs inspired by Britain’s heritage, his collection of contemporary pendants, floor and table lights, including the bestselling Copper Shade and Mirror Ball, have become iconic fixtures in homes all over the world.
LX: What’s next for you?
TD: We've spent the last ten years expanding wherever we could, toward whomever approached us. We are in 65 countries now, so this year is going to be focused on the places that like our products the most. We’ve laid the infrastructure in the United States and I think you get out of the U.S. what you put in. It's just like in rock and roll: If you don’t play the radio stations, if you don’t play the small towns, you’re never going to succeed.
There’s such a vibrant design community in the United States that's interested in what's going on globally. What’s interesting about the modern world [is that] you don’t need to attract large amounts of people globally to be a successful designer. You can be quite focused and do specific work and people will come to you if they’re attracted to it.
Moooi crosses the ocean and lands in New York to open its first Showroom and Brand Store in the US, introducing a 'brand' new world of design opportunities in Manhattan’s Nomad area! Moooi New York will open its doors to the public on the 14th of May, just in time to celebrate NY Design Week.
Moooi is the very first Dutch design brand opening a store in the upcoming Nomad area, which is known for its fine architecture and central location next to the iconic Chrysler and Empire State building. Having developed at a quick rate over the last years, Manhattan’s Nomad area has rapidly become an attractive commercial hub for stylish brands and Moooi is delighted to take up residence next to luxurious hotels, quality restaurants and cutting- edge mono and multi brand stores. 'New York is the capital of the US and Manhattan is the place to be for an upscale design brand. We need to have a clear first hand representation of who we are and what we stand for', reveals Moooi’s CEO and Founder Casper Vissers.
Five years ago Moooi began conquering the US market as a consequence of its rapid growth. 'The clients in the US needed a lot of service so we decided to ship out most of our products, commence warehouse activities and start invoicing in US dollars. It became the natural moment to found Moooi USA Inc., daughter of Moooi BV', explains Casper Vissers. Now the time has come to invest in the brand’s image and immense potential by showing the US public that Moooi is not only about ground-breaking lighting products but also about exceptional furniture, a brand new Moooi Carpets collection and a whole lifestyle experience based on the belief that design is a question of love. 'Moooi is an urban brand designing for a new world, delivering the coolest things together with a sense of surprise and expectation', clarifies Moooi’s Art Director Marcel Wanders and he adds: 'It fits perfectly with the city’s vibe and has achieved a great following, even before the opening of Moooi New York'.
The 3.875 Sq. Ft. interior is defined by a characteristic raw concrete structure and flooring, which englobes an eclectic mix of designs and acts as a creative platform to showcase products, designers and lifestyle ideas for inspirational homes. 'Its eclectic atmosphere, connected to the cultural world, and its interesting designs will certainly inspire all sorts of people and bring an addition to the design world of Manhattan', points out Casper Vissers and he elaborates: 'Behind every product exposed is a great story and that will be translated to the public by specifically trained personnel'.
A clear testimony of Moooi’s active role in the cultural world is the enduring collaboration that Moooi initiated with artist Rahi Rezvani. A selection of his photography will be exposed at Moooi’s collection presentation in Milan and then on the walls of the New York store, embracing its interior with a powerful stream of human depth, energy and emotion. Beauty rules in this marriage of creative minds.
Next to the entrance door, the shop window reveals an inspirational home environment that will certainly engage the onlookers with interesting interior ideas. Just inside, on the left side of the entrance wall, Moooi spells its name in the universal braille language with the use of Round Prop Lights by Bertjan Pot. While in the first part of the store poetic haikus reveal in an instant how Moooi’s different products can be combined to complement each other; in the central area several inspirational settings showcase different solutions to improve the interior design of homes, offices and public spaces. Right at the back of Moooi’s Showroom and Brand Store a skylight brings daylight to its deepest section, highlighting the skillful interiors by showing off their colors and beauty. A multifunctional room and an upstairs office space of approx. 538 Sq. Ft. complete the picture.
A number of fascinating carpets of different shapes and sizes are on display, intensifying the product haikus and completing the settings with their innovative designs and vibrant colors. They belong to the new collection of Moooi Carpets, a brand new company that offers a wide range of carpet designs and countless customizing possibilities to always find the perfect match for any kind of interior.
Since Moooi is a forward thinking brand that always looks at the bigger picture, the Showroom and Brand Store is also going to be a focal point for architects, designers and design lovers, in order to gather ideas during their daily quest for beauty and inspiration. 'Together we can create pure magic', points out Marcel Wanders, who is looking forward to all the amazing projects to come: 'They will experience unexpected design and beauty with a European twist!' Everybody will be welcomed in Moooi’s learning and sharing platform where beauty, information, curiosity and fun will converge to connect to the contemporary culture and contemporary people.
The Manhattan Showroom and Brand Store is the pilot project for Moooi USA. 'I am pretty sure that soon enough there will be at least one more Moooi store on the West coast. California would be the next logical geographical choice', explains Casper Vissers with due anticipation.
For the moment the Moooi team is looking forward to establish its unexpected welcome in New York and share unique design products and its love for life, fun, culture, stories and new experiences!
Elle Decor Italia visits Twentieth on its Los Angeles design tour.
"Lo showroom/ galleria Twentieth, a West Hollywood specializzata in artisti moderni e contemporanei."
Newson's riveted aluminium and fiberglass chaise longue fetched £2,434,500 during a sale at auction house Phillips in London last night.
This surpasses the £1.4 million raised by a prototype of the design when sold by the same auctioneers in 2010, when it first became the most expensive object sold by a living designer.
"We are proud to have set, yet again, the auction record for Marc Newson, one of the most influential designers of the last quarter century," said Alexander Payne, worldwide head of design at Phillips.
Designed in 1990, the Lockheed Lounge is one of Newson's most famous early works. It gained international fame when Madonna was seen reclining on it in the music video for her 1993 track Rain.
Ten editions of the seat were created, along with four artist's proofs and one prototype. The edition put up for auction by Phillips was estimated to fetch between £1.5 million and £2.5 million, and was eventually sold to an anonymous telephone bidder.
The chaise longue is formed from thin plates of aluminium welded side by side, with rivets beside the seams. The metal curves around a body made from fibreglass-reinforced plastic and the feet of its three legs are coated in rubber.
An early version of the seat, named LC1, was displayed at Newson's first exhibition Seating for Six at Sydney's Roslyn Oxley Gallery in 1986.
Over the next two years, he refined the form to create the Lockheed Lounge – named after an American aerospace company.
The Cora Pendant by Karl Zahn for Roll & Hill included in T Magazine's top ten moments from Salone Del Mobile.
Karl Zahn: mood lighting
Salone also plays host, on alternating years, to the Euroluce lighting fair. In 2013, Flos stole the show, and possibly the entire week, with its collection of minimalist pendants by Michael Anastassiades, but this year there was no obvious star. That said, a standout was this new fixture in matte bronze by the Brooklyn designer Karl Zahn for Roll & Hill, which has an intriguingly moody ’70s vibe.
Several years ago Alexander Andersson. a third-generation furniture maker with a Swedish-Mexican hefitoge, bought a couple of benches in Mexico City, "I could tell by the way they were constructed that they were made by an architect—they were built like bridges," he remembers. Indeed, they were the work of Pedro Ramirez Vasquez a pioneedng architect who died in 2013. Andersson met with Vasguez's son, Xavier, who shared his father's archives, and thus began Luteca, Whose 20-piece collection is made in Mexico City. In the 1970s it was very difficult to make metal cuts, which shows how visionary my father was" Xavier says. The architect's work is part of "Latin America in Construction: Architectare 1955-1980," an exhibition at New York's, Museum of Modern Ad through July 19.
Fernando Mastrangelo: 'Something within NOTHING' - Haley Weiss, Interview Magazine.
The buzz surrounding New York-based artist Fernando Mastrangelo's previous work focused primarily on its politically charged and often controversial content. His cocaine-based sculpture of a coca farmworker titled Felix once caught the D.E.A.'s attention, and his white corn and cornmeal modernization of the Aztec calendar in Avarice raised questions concerning the production of corn-related products in Mexico and its economic relationship to the United States. Now, while these decidedly socially grand gestures are not present in Mastrangelo's first solo exhibition at Mike Weiss Gallery (which opened last week in New York), something can be found in "NOTHING."
Mastrangelo's strict attention to his chosen materials—a quality that crosses over into the widely coveted, elegant sculptural furniture he creates with Samuel Amoia for AMMA Studio—is exemplified through his treatment of mundane materials in "NOTHING." Mastrangelo engineered an exhibition constructed almost entirely of salt and sand, with some cement included for good measure. In exploring the uncanny nature of these materials, Mastrangelo invites an existential questioning of their recontextualization. Moving beyond the existential, the pieces he created are meditative and in balance with themselves. Sculptures of significant scale seem light and poised; the contents of each work can be inspected down to individual grains of salt and sand, or largely observed as the abstract amalgams they form.
In discovering his own "language of abstraction," Mastrangelo has entered a new phase of his artistic career. "I had to learn that these grand gestures don't really go very far in the art world," Mastrangelo said of his shift away from political content. "I'm not jaded by making [political] statements, but I certainly am more cautious about the way people read or react to a statement."
We visited the artist in his Flushing, Queens studio while he made final preparations for "NOTHING."
FERNANDO MASTRANGELO: I signed on in November to work with Mike [Weiss] and now we're here, so it happened very quickly. For the show, I really wanted it to be very reduced, very reductive—so, the sand pieces are just the simple gesture of taking the sand and [pauses], you know, I feel like it's a painting stroke. It's done very quickly with these rakes, and then there's a moment when the piece is done and you step back and say, "That's it."
HALEY WEISS: I was thinking that these sand pieces look like rays of light, with the way that the planes intersect. MASTRANGELO: You're absolutely right. I went to Miami in December for [Art] Basel and I was trying to think about what I wanted to do for the show and where I felt like I was as an artist. So [these pieces] were a way to return back to the simple imagery of using elements from the beach, and horizons, and things that I'm resonating with right now.
WEISS: Where did you get all of the sand?
MASTRANGELO: I buy it online. Believe it or not, this stuff is called silica sand. Actually, I'm doing a couple of pieces for Miami, for a hotel down there, and they're shipping me the sand from Miami, which I think I would have almost like to have done for this project. WEISS: I know that with some of your other work, the materials are from a specific place, like the cornmeal in Avarice was from Mexico.
MASTRANGELO: I've loosened up over the years about that. I started off working for Matthew Barney, and that's what his mentality is. Even while we were making pieces, like a mold, the mold would make sense conceptually with the piece. That's how deep his symbology goes. I've loosened up over the years because I very much had that mentality.
WEISS: I suppose it's different when it's a bit more political, too—when every material needs to be tied to an understanding of what you're trying to portray.
MASTRANGELO: Right, or else it's like you haven't done your homework. But with this work, it's a little more freeing. And that's part of it for me, too, just letting go a little bit. In other words, just allowing the material to be what it is and not transforming it into imagery or a calendar.
WEISS: And instead letting it call attention to itself as a surface.
MASTRANGELO: Exactly. It took me a very long time to realize that inherently the materials have this beautiful quality without me having to impose meaning onto them.
WEISS: Everyone will bring different meanings to the materials anyway. Especially salt, as a symbol and historically sought-after material that now seems ever-present.
MASTRANGELO: Right, it has it's own rich history. Not to be too didactic about this, but a lot of it is sea salt, and this imagery revolves around beach horizons. I have this photo that I took that ended up sort of becoming this piece. [standing in front of a 84 x 120" salt and sand piece that is laid on a table] This is the big boy. It's going to be hung vertically. I love this piece. Something really special happened. Do you make art?
WEISS: Yeah, I do.
MASTRANGELO: Have you ever had a moment where you finish a piece, and then all of a sudden the piece sort of takes on it's own life beyond you?
MASTRANGELO: It doesn't happen every time, but there are some pieces where that happens, and I love that. I feel like that's what I'm seeking nowadays, that moment of transcendence with a piece. Where this thing becomes larger than me as a person. It becomes otherworldly, and then I get separated as maker from it, and then it has it's own life. I love that.
WEISS: Especially when you don't necessarily anticipate that and it happens.
MASTRANGELO: I think that you're always hoping, and then something emerges and you think, "Fuck, this is it." That's that moment. When people ask me now about why I make art, I think that's what I'm seeking. I didn't know that so clearly [before]. Because otherwise you're just in the hustle, you're trying to pay your bills, to do this and that, and then there's that unique moment, when you're not thinking about the market, or if it's going to sell, and all of that bullshit.
WEISS: Is everything in the show made of sand and salt?
MASTRANGELO: Everything is sand and salt, and this is also cement. [walks toward a sculpture of two intersecting triangles] This is the big, epic, tall sculpture for the exhibition. What happened with this piece was I was going to line the interior with salt—the whole thing—and then I thought, "Is there any way that we could make [the salt] part of the structure?"
WEISS: It's like the drum stools that you make for AMMA.
MASTRANGELO: Yeah, it's that transition. You see the way that the salt corrodes the cement a little. I love that. That's stuff that you can't control.
WEISS: I read that part of what you like about [salt] is that it destroys and preserves, right?
MASTRANGELO: Exactly, I love that aspect of it conceptually. It's totally true, and we notice that in here when we're making things. It has its own life. This design [of this piece] was actually inspired by my friends getting married recently. They've been together 11 years and she's a graphic designer. She came up with this design of two triangles coming together, and it was on the invitation for their wedding. I said, "Guys, not only do I want to make a piece for you, but I also want to articulate it in this language." It's the only piece that's a little bit further out of the simple language. It's simple, but it's a little aggressive, and I like that. WEISS: The striations in the cement make it look very natural.
MASTRANGELO: That's the idea. Taking cement, which we're used to thinking of as a mundane material, and reinvigorating it. These pieces also give me a feeling of calm, and a feeling of meditation. I feel like I can just be with them. They do something that I don't have to. They do the work, and I can just sit back and think, "How am I feeling?" It's such a departure from my old work. I'm 36 now, I feel like I'm changing as a human being, and I think that the work needed to be in line with where I'm at. When I was younger and I was making political work, I was trying to figure out where my work fit in because when you're young you're like, "I don't know." I'm Latino, I grew up in Mexico, and so I thought that maybe I had to talk about those things. Then finally I didn't need my identity to rely on anymore. So now the work is becoming about more esoteric things, I guess—my own sort of language.
WEISS: Does your design work with AMMA inform your artistic practice? Do they merge frequently?
MASTRANGELO: Absolutely. AMMA skyrocketed so quickly, so now I feel like we have to live up to that. There's a little bit of expectations, but I don't look at a lot of design. I try to stay focused on making sculptural art pieces and somehow translating them into design.WEISS: That's why people are reacting to them so well. It's like having an art piece, not just furniture.
MASTRANGELO: I agree. I think there was a necessity for it. WEISS: I saw that you have a "nothing" tattoo on your arm. Does that predate the choice for the exhibition title?
MASTRANGELO: Yeah. This is the personal side of things. When I started going through some of those transitions in my mind, just as a human being versus as an artist, I tried to... Essentially, I did this thing called Landmark Forum. It's three days of mind-expanding, existential philosophy, like Jean-Paul Sartre for everyday living. In existential philosophy they talk about "Being and Nothingness," this idea of not putting meaning onto things, and that in that way you live more purely. In other words, we form reality from these stories that we make up about our lives. So, I'm thinking, "Oh, this and this happened. It means that I'm not a good artist, or that I'm this or that." You just make up shit in your mind when the reality is completely different. I started to realize that I was out of whack in terms of reality and I was living in these ideas that I was making up. Like, "If I don't have a gallery by the time I'm out of college then that means something." So I took this thing [at Landmark Forum] and I had all of these realizations and that's when I got this tattoo to remind me to live into nothing, just don't make up meaning. [laughs] Today I had a weird email that I had to deal with, and I thought, "Okay, what's reality and what are you telling yourself?" I try to distinguish between those two.
When I was speaking to Mike [Weiss] about the exhibition, I was telling him about where I was and he saw the tattoo and said, "That's the title! Let's do that!" I thought it was a little aggressive. I don't want to come off as, "This is nothing." [both laugh] I was wondering how people would take it, but then I embraced it and it does connect to my personal philosophy.
WEISS: It makes conceptual sense, too. Speaking of "Being and Nothingness," there is something uncanny in removing your materials from their original contexts, and calling attention to them as materials and not to their associated meanings or uses.
MASTRANGELO: Exactly. That's perfect. [pauses] It all made good conceptual sense. A few years ago I would have been more hardcore about that stuff, but sometimes I think you just have to trust that the things you're doing make sense, instead of sitting down and analyzing this and that and, "Well, I read Foucault saying..." [both laugh] The world and the universe have a way of resolving themselves eloquently, I think, if you're doing the right things.
WEISS: Foucault is like the F-word in academia; you just wait for someone to mention it and think, "Here it comes..." [both laugh]
MASTRANGELO: And they always do! When I was in college, it was Derrida. Everyone was dropping quotes. [laughs] I remember thinking that was important—and I don't say that it's not now—but we're just living our lives. I don't have time to think about that. WEISS: Yeah, and that relates to everything you were just talking about with "nothing," and not making up all of these other stories and narratives.
MASTRANGELO: Right. It's so much more freeing. I wonder [what it would be like] if everyone lived that way. [pauses] It'd be such a cool world.
"NOTHING" IS ON VIEW AT MIKE WEISS GALLERY IN NEW YORK THROUGH APRIL 25. FORE MORE INFORMATION ON MASTRANGELO, VISIT HIS WEBSITE.