Ian Stell, King of Kinetic Furniture, Has a New Trick — Staying Still

Over the past few years, Ian Stell has made a name for himself with a collection of fascinatingly kinetic furniture. But in a new body of work, which debuted at Patrick Parrish Gallery last week, Stell seems more preoccupied with the moment before motion begins — or, to put it in design terms, the cantilever. Called CLIFF HANG, CLIFF DWELL, the show’s most interesting works are three cantilevered chairs, whose forms recall everything from ladders to a Pac-Man. “I’ve long been fascinated with this typology, which for me is among the purest expressions of Weimar design zeitgeist: a gravity-defying, death-cheating, streamlined catapult,” says Stell. Stell likens 3RDFL, a purplish, powder-coated steel chair, to a tree trunk that “triples in girth at each transition point, as the form descends from top tier to base.” A three-tiered, cagelike seat was inspired by traditional Chinese cricket pagodas, built to house prized pet insects. And RollBottom is a hybrid piece whose leather tambour slides on tracks from end to end, alternately creating a chair or a desk. The pieces are like nothing we’ve ever seen before, which makes us all the more interested to see what comes next.



3RDFL 4G5A5037

21 Steps4G5A4597

Cricket Cage XB2W8081

Mirror 3XB2W4439


4G5A4749 4G5A4822

Gordian KnotXB2W8754

Controlled Crush4G5A5089 4G5A4889

3-Legged Wheel4G5A4681 4G5A4593 4G5A4984