The Latest Collection by Rooms Evokes Neoclassical Furniture, Primitivism, and Arabian Folk Tales

Back in 2008, when we featured the first collection by the newly launched Tbilisi studio Rooms in our previous magazine, I.D., our excitement admittedly had to do partly with the discovery of high-level work coming out of a relatively unlikely place — work that blended in seamlessly with international design trends. But by 2016, when the designers left that comfort zone and began channeling inspirations that were closer to home, like the primitive wood furniture hand-carved for centuries in the mountains of Georgia, it became clear (ironically enough) that Rooms’s success no longer owed any debt to the exotic appeal of their locale. The duo’s newest line, which debuted last month in an exhibition at their recently-opened Tbilisi showroom, feels like the next step in their evolution: marrying those homages to their heritage with a more complex bouquet of references so diverse that we had to look twice before absorbing it all.

Called Blind Alley, the new series carries over some of the chunky wood vibes of Rooms’s previous Wild Minimalism and Life on Earth collections, but this time there are also glass goblets, Surrealist feet, neoclassical busts, conceptual dowry blankets, and even geometric metal chairs and tables in the mix. Founders Nata Janberidze and Keti Toloraia attribute this to influences ranging from 1001 Nights, to 19th-century French Empire Style, to “our imagination” — all distilled into “primitive, unconventional shapes.” If the work feels like a more nuanced expression of the pair’s personalities, it’s no coincidence — when I interviewed them for W Magazine back in December, Janberidze told me that “our philosophy is based on our inner world. It’s more about catching the mood of objects than about their aesthetics and forms. Form follows feeling for us.” Check out more images from the Blind Alley exhibition below.

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