This is the Coolest Furniture Coming Out of Ireland By a Mile
If you happened to step into the new Orior showroom during New York Design Week, you were rewarded with a serious feast for the senses — plush, vibrantly colored velvets, deep green marbles and glossy woods, all of it showing the mark of impeccable craftsmanship. Here was Atlanta, a sinuous cobalt-blue sofa wearing a tasseled skirt, and Nero, a glossy oak table with a Brutalist marble base. There was Mara, a walnut and marble credenza fronted by varicolored leather doors, and Futurist, a muscular couch whose tomato-red leather cushions sit atop ebony legs. This, you realized, was furniture with personality, and the coolest thing coming out of Ireland by a mile. So where exactly did it come from?
Meet the 1980s-Era Designer Whose Chair Went Semi-Viral During the Pandemic
The impulse to reassess design from the late '70s and '80s — and to place it in a current context — has clearly been in the air, most notably at last year’s Return to Downtown group show from Superhouse and Magen H Gallery and at the more recent Blurring the Timeline show, also at Superhouse. Standout pieces from both exhibitions included chairs by a designer whose name you might not be familiar with: Howard Meister, part of the core group of designer-artists at Art et Industrie, a now-legendary New York gallery that opened in 1977 and closed in the late '90s. Here, we caught up with Meister from his home in Western Massachusetts. In a roving, entertaining interview, he shared with us how he got his largely accidental start and went from being “a dope in a suit” to an artist, his belief in the importance of craft and his desire not to be “survived by crap."
Otaat / Myers Collective
If the best reason to know the rules is to be smarter about breaking them, then consider the year-old collaboration between designers Albert Chu and Jennifer Myers not so much a violent upheaval but an exercise in playfully tweaking the system. Chu and Myers met while studying at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design — an institution they say reinforced their respect for constraints — and each worked in architecture and launched an accessories line before combining their shared pedagogy into a series of leather and brass pouches. “I think working within, and rebelling against, a set of parameters is actually the ultimate in design fun,” Myers says. Chu agrees: “We love working with fundamentals and trying to introduce a slight deviation,” says the designer of Otaat, which stands for “one thing at a time.” “Harvard was about being restrained in the conceptual and design intervention, that sometimes the most effective and thorough result could arise from a minimal, subtle act.”