Danny Kaplan’s Earthy Ceramics Meet Lesser Miracle’s Warm Woods in a Pitch-Perfect New Collab

What began as a one-off turned not only into a furniture collection but also a friendship when New Yorkers Danny Kaplan of Danny Kaplan Studio and Vince Patti of Lesser Miracle started collaborating last year. In early 2023, Kaplan, known for his ceramics-forward furniture and lighting, asked artist and designer Patti to help construct a bed for his own home. What resulted is the Paravent, both massive and graceful, featuring a brass-hinged floating oak headboard and base, accented with geometric, jewel-like tile detailing. As the two worked on the piece, says Kaplan, “it became clear that our combined vision and skills could produce something more substantial, merging my ceramics practice with Vince’s woodworking expertise.” And so, the Delf collection was born. Delf means “mine” in Dutch, as in delving or digging, and each piece here — the Paravent, along with the Clover and Talisman side tables and the Brion chair —features channels “dug out” of oak forms and filled with ceramic inlays.

“We both appreciate ancient, traditional techniques and 20th-century design icons, which informed our designs,” says Kaplan. Together they came up with a beautifully coherent, shared vision that mixes influences ranging over time and place, from the tiles and pottery of Vallauris (an area in the south of France known for ceramics) to Art Deco and Bauhaus motifs, to the origins of timber-frame buildings in East Asia. “We worked a lot with the references that we both admired: the elegance of Jean-Michel Frank and Jean Royère, the Brutalism of the Scarpas, and the fantasy worlds of Frank Frazzetta,” adds Patti. It’s evident in the Brion chair, whose curving oak and circular ceramic inset seat echo the shapes of Carlo Scarpa’s postmodern tomb for the Brion family, while the choice to use oak evokes its own material history. “White oak felt like it embodied the elegance of the French modernists that we wanted to convey. The slightly tinted tone mimics the aged look of European elm that Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Chapo were so fond of,” says Patti. He also wanted Delf to “stand apart” from the “more moody and brooding aesthetic” of the mahogany he’s used in many of Lesser Miracle‘s other pieces. And oak “complimented lots of Danny’s glazes really beautifully,” Patti adds.

Kaplan and Patti engaged in a process that involved a lot of back and forth, drawing on and fusing the technical capabilities they each possess. “We experimented with shapes, lines, and materials until we were both satisfied,” says Kaplan, who notes that the collection “evolved organically.” (And it’s still evolving: Patti and Kaplan are working on a coffee table version of the Talisman.) “We would often go through books and images trading ideas back and forth for long stretches before committing designs to paper. Blocks of time during design meetings also needed to be allocated for unrelated gabbing,” says Patti. “Working with Vince felt so natural,” says Kaplan. “The triumph of collaborating with someone whose aesthetic vision you admire and who understands yours is both rare and inspiring.”