American Design Hot List 2021
Michal Cihlar studied architecture and worked for the fashion mecca Opening Ceremony, so it makes sense that his furniture would meld rigorous structures with more loosely draped organic elements. His latest pieces — foam-bodied seats dressed in micro-pleats that have been hardened with resin and spray-painted to obscure their materiality — are among our favorite pieces of 2021.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
What comes to mind today when I think of American design is the vast amount of diversity and strong sense of individualism it has to offer. You never know what is next and the unpredictability is exciting, it keeps things fresh and interesting. Furthermore there is a growing appreciation for design produced on a small scale where the designer themselves have a hand in the production process. This excites me as it creates a space for something other than large scale traditional production which has been historically prevalent in America.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
I just started working for Misha Kahn a few weeks ago. Aside from that I would love to explore casting with metal or resin, as well as metal-working in general.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
Currently what informs my practice is the characteristics of the materials I am working with. Today I primarily work with resin, foam, textile, and fiberglass. What fascinates me the most about these materials is the shift in material characteristic over time — the transformation from a liquid or malleable state to a solid permanent state. The ease of manipulation and fluid characteristic of these materials appeals to me and inspires the forms, which tend to be fluid and organic in nature. I would love to be able to further explore this phenomenon of transformation through casting with metal or resin. In some instances I also reference historical works of art or fashion in my own work, from Issey Miyake’s Spring 1995 collection in my pleated series or my three legged black armchair in reference to a 13th-century Mycenaean terracotta sculpture — “Female Figure In Three Legged Chair.” I also like to think about each piece being its own character and through form and process building its identity. Not quite anthropomorphic but maybe slightly animated.