Having drawn out many modern furniture designs by using the old tools of the architect, the t-square, triangles and ruler, some of the designs I have come up with need placing among the cloud. I no longer use the old tools except to sketch some quick ideas, but now rely on design software, which although frustrating at times, proves invaluable, even though not nearly as “artistic”.
What I am posting initially is furniture that I actually have in my home and created some time ago. All are modern pieces; no wood turning or carving. Most of the influences for the older pieces come from modern architecture and Japanese and Chinese furniture. I positively melt when in the presence of lacquered objects in black or Chinese red. The beautiful, sensual form of Chinese lacquered jars or bowls, with their dramatic curves to tiny supports, are delicious to behold.
At any rate, the combination of the modern with the orient is not particularly extraordinary. The nineteenth century contained many western individuals so influenced. Mainly by the two dimensional art work of screens and scrolls, famous artists such as Whistler and Van Gogh fell sway to the east.
The first object I wish to display is a Chinese inspired cabinet:
This cabinet was created with an actual lacquer technique. Thin layers of color were gradually laid down over a lengthy period. As a layer was applied, it was allowed to dry, then polished extensively. The black, piano finish has around a dozen layers, plus a couple of finishing coats of clear. The red lacks the same number of layers, but still has at least a half a dozen.
Of course, oriental pottery and sculpture sits on a legged plinth. I have a lovely little Chinese bronze with dainty feet in the form of a dog or lion. I don’t know which. At one time, I possessed a couple of milk, white vases from Japan with stories that unfolded as one traversed the circumference, adorned with a similar red, kanji script. Against the creamy white of the vase, the carefully formed script attracted the eye as much as the delicately formed vase and the skillfully rendered stories. They both proudly sat on gorgeous red, lacquered bases carved with dragons swirling around.
The doors have no locks or mechanisms. Simple hardwood pegs inserted into holes at the top and bottom edges and into holes near the sides of the doors serve as hinges. The door closes with one door against a wooden pin and the other door has a wide wooden piece painted red attached to the right door that overlaps the left door at the center. This leaves a red stripe that travels up the piece and divides the cabinet, but integrates the the red base with the rest of the structure. This also gives the feel of folded material.
The interior of the cabinet is a deeper red with white on the bottom and top to lighten the interior. Inside, four adjustable glass shelves provide ample display space for porcelain and objet d’art.
It is hard to classify this work. It has a strong nod to the east and traditional furniture. Yet it’s modern in interpretation. For instance, even though the cabinet has feet and is off the ground, casters hide behind them. Rather than justify this cabinet’s modernity, I simply state it is my style (as you will see if you follow this series.)
Since I worked myself nearly to distraction with this cabinet, I made another one a bit more “de Stijl”, yet still with a strong eastern influence. I’ll examine that one later once I have completed its digital transformation. If time allows, I will add an image of the actual piece of furniture.