Category Archives: Inspired By
Does it seem strange to think of furniture, which has such an intimate relationship with the human body, as architecture in miniature? Not, at least, if you count the number of legendary architects who employed their craft in the making of chairs and tables — Eames, van der Rohe, Gray, Corbu, Saarinen, Sottsass — plus all the contemporary ones, like David Adjaye, who aspire to work fluidly across all scales. Way before there was design-art, there was no more permeable disciplinary boundary than the one between buildings and the objects that occupied them. Which, of course, has made the overlap a longtime topic of interest among Sight Unseen’s editors. But what’s really piqued our curiosity lately is how the relationship works in the other direction, when designers trained to make furniture and objects try to harness larger architectural ideas and shrink them down to a more familiar level — one on which they can be lived with, rather than in. Sometimes you end up with baby skyscrapers or re-appropriated I-beams, other times it’s a single detail used to evoke a disproportionate sense of the monumental. We decided to put together a small roundup of recent furniture by designers who take inspiration from various aspects of a profession that Philip Johnson once called “the art of wasting space.”
At Sight Unseen, you often hear us ask designers and artists about their inspirations, which is part of our ongoing attempt to elicit the deeper stories behind the objects and spaces we feature. But recently we realized that we sometimes recognize the inspirations behind people’s work before they themselves do, and sometimes it even dovetails with a larger narrative. With that in mind, we decided to launch a new column called “Inspired By” which charts a single inspiration point — whether it’s a person, place, thing, or idea — across a spectrum of pieces, whether those influences were intentional on the part of their makers or not. Kicking off that column is the second in our series of stories about the current Spanish design scene: We investigated thousands of examples of contemporary furniture created by Spanish creators and manufacturers and tried to identify some of the threads uniting them conceptually, settling on the three themes and 15 objects presented below.