Tuomas Markunpoika and Design Days Dubai

If you are visiting Design Days Dubai next month (16-20 March) make sure you make a stop at Fumi Gallery  www.galleryfumi.com to see Tuomas Markunpoika’s work.

Engineering Temporality Cabinet_ by Tuomas Markunpoika

Engineering Temporality Cabinet made of welded steel rings.
Photo courtesy of Gallery FUMI

Inspired by his grandmother’s disintegrating memories as she struggled with Alzheimer’s, Finnish designer Tuomas Markunpoika created his Engineering Temporality collection as a reflection of the fragility of memory and its loss.”Her Alzheimer’s disease is unravelling the fabric of her life, knot by knot, and vaporizing the very core of her personality and life, her memories, and turning her into a shell of a human being” said Markunpoika.   By covering pieces of wooden furniture in a web of welded steel rings before destroying them with fire, he has created objects which have a nebulous connection with the original but appear hazy and blurry. They symbolically reveal the vanishing of memory by referring to the past.


Burning the wooden frame of the cabinet leaves the welded steel rings in its place, symbolically burning the original ‘memory’. Markunpoika presented this collection as his graduation project at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2012.

tuomas_07A chair in the collection before and after the original wooden structure is burned leaving the frame of steel rings.

“The use of language in Western contemporary culture implies that memories are often conceived as possessions: we ‘keep’ memories alive or ‘preserve’ them, as if our memories were materialised objects. These objects become mementos and our personal possessions which we are responsible for. When objects impregnated with memories are created, they become precious and irreplaceable because of the transference of memories into that object” says Markunpoika.

0c9b7b2d-e3f0-469b-80c5-3d9846a0f508The Engineering Temporality Cabinet and Chair
Image courtesy of Fumi Gallery

 “I felt the urge to connect design to the human emotional sphere and to values that reflect how we are as human beings, by trying to create a bridge between the metaphysical and the material world using design as a medium of expression”. The relationship between viewer and object is strong and the emotional impact profound. The rich dialogue and emotional exchange creates layers of experience. The objects remain functional.


91075404-7fb2-421b-be99-a46756962010Rietveld’s ‘Silla’ Chair from ‘Smoke’ series by Maarten Baas, 2002.

Another graduate of Eindhoven, Maarten Baas, produced his ‘Smoke’ series for his graduation show in 2002, using fire as a process, but with a very different meaning. Baas charred furniture with a blow torch, then treated the skeletons with a resin coating turning them into usable pieces of furniture again.
Murray Moss showed his work in a solo show in New York in 2004, using design pieces by Rietveld, Eames, Gaudi and Sottsass.


“The only important thing about design is how it relates to people”, Victor Papanek (Vienna 1923-1998 Kansas).
An Austrian-American designer and educator who created product designs for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), he was educated in England at Rugby before emigrating to the US where he studied design and architecture. He worked with Frank Lloyd Wright in 1949, earned his Bachelor’s degree at the Cooper Union in New York (1950) and did graduate studies in design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Victor J Papanek Foundation, University of Applied Arts in Vienna seeks to advance the understanding of design from the perspective of social responsibility.


If you plan to be in Paris in the next few months, the’Deboutonner la Mode’ exhibition at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs (10 Feb – 19 July) is well worth a visit. The collection of buttons is spectacular and the creativity and attention to detail of the designers inspiring.

alberto-giacometti-pour-schiaparelli-vers-1930-resp200 Alberto Giacometti for Elsa Schiaparelli, early 1930s. Bronze

~~h-hamm-resp200Henry Hamm, 1915-1920. Corne.


Charles Boutet de Monvel, Paris c 1900. Metal and pearl.


Inquiries : contact@arte-case.com or 06 47 25 09 66

Dutko and PAD Paris

Transcendent Aesthetics of ArtDesign

Eric Schmitt and Benoit Lemercier are two contemporary designers creating supremely seductive and sculptural ArtDesign objects. With different methods and intentions both create works that evoke beautiful harmony. There work will be presented at PAD Paris by the exciting Jean-Jacques Dutko Gallery.Table Leaf HD

Eric Schmitt Leaf Console in Patinated bronze. An edition of 8. Signed ES.
Height: 29 in. Diameter: 52 in.
Image courtesy of Galerie Jean-Jacques Dutko


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Benoit Lemercier console in white lacquered steel, 2014 from the Superstring Series.
Height: 120 cm/47 1/4 in., Length: 150 cm/59 in. Depth: 60 cm/23 3/4 in.
Image courtesy of Galerie Jean-Jacques Dutko

As a decorative artist, Eric Schmitt  says, “there are parameters within which I must work. I start with the form – be it table, console, bowl, etc – and rework my drawings as I explore the form within the boundaries of proportion, equilibrium, material and function.  When the work speaks to me clearly and quietly, I have reached the final form. I feel very close to the manner of searching and exploration found in early Modernist decorative art masters such as Pierre Chareau, Jean-Michel Frank and Eugène Printz, whose love of materials and geometry found expression through timeless harmony.
I believe modernity can be found in the past, and the idea that certain forms transcend time – remaining provocative and inspiring – resonates deeply for me. I search for inspiration that speaks to this sensibility.”

While Lemercier says, “My role as an artist is not to comment on daily life, politics or society, but instead to be interested in the essence of universal things in order to glorify their harmony and understand their message.  He studies various theories of physics including superstring theory and that of hypercubes endeavoring to give “poetic” form to the “world that we cannot comprehend through our eyes.”

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Lemercier’s sculptures paintings and drawings will be on view at Dutko Ile Saint Louis – a très chic gallery – starting just a few days before PAD and we are looking forward to visiting to learn more about the artist’s artistic/scientific explorations.


The Breathing Cloud, below right,  will be presented for the first time as a unique installation for the entrance of PAD Paris.

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Emmanuel Babled‘s Digit Chandelier

Below: ‘The breathing cloud’ is a computer generated pattern of 3 varying sizes of spherical lights densely clustered together. They are produced with hand blown Murano glass.  The original Digit light that inspired this installation is a reference to Pop Culture and randomness in contrast with the classical Muranese chandelier.

“The breathing motion of the light emitted from the handblown glass, is a heightened expression of movement, air, and change. The light is alternating density and openness, balance and extreme, light and reflection.” according to the PAD website. We can’t wait to experience this in person!

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Lastly we wanted to share an inspiring nowness.com video  of prolific writer/publisher Angelika Taschen speaking of interiors from her apartment in Berlin.
She says, “I only like authentic interiors … an apartment that has a soul and the person who lives in it is behind every single detail… I think that is very important for a good interior.” 

Her apartment was designed by British architect David Adjaye who will be mining the permanent collection at Cooper Hewitt for the 12th exhibition in the ongoing Selects series.

Opening 19 June 2015! Mark your calendars now!
We will certainly visit in July.Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 5.08.25 PM

Wishing you all a great weekend!


Pierre Gonalons


The low table and the console from Pierre Gonalon’s  new Palais Collection, shown here to spectacular effect in the designer’s home. You can see the collection at Galerie Armel Soyer,  Paris.  www.armelsoyer.com

The use of polychrome French marble in these pieces references  the rich vocabulary of French 17th century classicism while the minimal lines of the work are resolutely contemporary. The striking red marble from Saint Pons was used extensively in the Chateau de Versailles and comes from the historic quarry in South West France dating back to Roman times. This juxtaposition of old and new is where the power of these pieces lies and the energy and vibrations inherent in the marble are used to astounding effect. Material and form share equal billing.



 Low table in red marble from Saint Pons. L.120 x H.45 x P.60 cm. Limited edition of 8 + 2EA + 2P.
Image courtesy of Galerie Armel Soyer




Console Palais in red marble from Saint Pons, France. L.46.80 x H.31.20 x D.11.70 in. Limited edition of 8 + 2AP + 2P.
Image courtesy of Galerie Armel Soyer 



 Pedestal Table in Fleur de Pecher marble from Saint Pons. L. 15.60 x H.42.90 x D.15.60 in. Limited edition of 6 + 1AP. Image courtesy of Galerie Armel Soyer 
This pedestal table is a reinterpretation of seventeenth century marble headstones – the traditional grooves are transformed by Gonalons into perforations creating an effect of delicate transparency.


In terms of aesthetics, man-made cement is on the other end of the scale to natural polychrome marble. It is compelling to see Gonalon’s use of this sturdy industrial material in this minimalist – to the point of severe – tabouret below and
its radically different effect. Again, form and material share the limelight.


AC102 tabouret or guéridon in light cement by Gonalons

2c187054-be0a-4494-bb9b-a5d3499ad3e9 The austere beauty of the cement tabouret seen here in the Joseph Dirand designed interior of the Habita Hotel in the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico.



The photography exhibition Paris Magnum is currently showing at the Hotel de Ville in Paris. We loved this iconic black and white image taken on the Eiffel Tower by Marc Riboud in 1953. And following on the theme of materials, the solid steel of the main girders in this photo contrasts dramatically with the more delicate criss-cross structure of the side arms thanks to advances in steel techniques at the time.  The evolution of building and design is deeply interwoven with the evolution of materials (and consequently techniques) and the advances and aesthetic connotations they bring with them. 

Inquiries : contact@arte-case.com or 06 47 25 09 66

Pierre Jeanneret and Ado Chale


Pair of “Kangourou” low chairs designed by Pierre Jeanneret, circa 1951-1955, Solid sissoo (Indian rosewood) and braided cane (redone)

This is one of a pair of chairs that will be sold at Sotheby’s NY in March. We had a preview of them this week and the catalogue should be online this weekend.

This style was developed by Jeanneret when he was working on the development of Chandigarh, in India, the first planned city in India post-independence in 1947. Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret’s cousin, invited him to participate in this new  project. When Le Corbusier opted out halfway through, Jeanneret became the undertaking’s chief architect and urban designer. At the same time he created a furniture style to be used for the government offices and a number of private homes.~~

This style was developed by Jeanneret when he was working on the development of Chandigarh, in India, the first planned city in India post-independence in 1947. Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret’s cousin, invited him to participate in this new  project. When Le Corbusier opted out halfway through, Jeanneret became the undertaking’s chief architect and urban designer. At the same time he created a furniture style to be used for the government offices and a number of private homes.

Patrick Sequin Galerie has a wonderful online gallery showing many of these pieces.

Chairs in this style are regularly appearing in the chic interiors of top French interior architect Joseph Dirand. See a recent London apartment he completed here.


Above: Jospeh Dirand Appartment, Paris Pierre Jeanneret canape and side chairs


Above: Jospeh Dirand Appartment, Paris

 Jeanneret armchairs and custom-made lights by Eric Schmitt in the photo above. (Extra bit of info: We are big fans of Eric Schmitt and have written about him in the past. We recently learned that he will be opening a space in the Marais this spring. More on that to come!)

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Above: Jospeh Dirand Appartment, Paris Pierre Jeanneret armchairs and Ado Chale low table

The Ado Chale table in the center of this photo above subtly steals the show! We thought you might enjoy seeing the table below. It is also by Chale. It is two separate pieces that fit together. The legs are adjustable so that it can be a large low table or a dining table! This one below is available privately.

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Any questions or comments: contact@arte-case.com

Friday Finds! Alexandre Logé and the Reinterpretation of Design Elements


Atlante X stool in black patinated bronze. Upholstered in ‘gold bronze’ material by Alexandre Logé
17.75 x 22 x 16.5 inches / 45 x 56 x 42 cm.


This Atlante X Stool in patinated bronze is by Paris-based designer Alexandre Logé who cites Primitive Art as his primary influence for the bronze structure. ‘Atlante’ is the male equivalent of the ‘cariatide’ figure which is often represented in tribal art artefacts.  His choice of materials is significant and intentional. The beautiful woven cotton  fabric of the upholstery has the appearance of Galuchat or sharkskin leather but is obviously less fragile as seating upholstery.  As Logé says “this is perfect.  I love this mix….I mean we are dealing with ‘sharkskin’ and an ‘Oceanic Chieftain symbol’ (thats how I saw the Atlante structure) but concretely we have precious fabric, bronze,  smooth finish and black patina, all  ‘Art Deco codes’. Logé’s personal reinterpretation and bringing together of broad and seemingly disparate influences allows him to combine the familiar with the new, breaking down the mental pathways which the human mind is so expert at solidifying. 
He is clear about his own priorities in his work: “To me aesthetic appeal and creative expression are definitely the most important things….functionality in design is a constraint, this makes the difference between Art and Design. But it is a good challenge to work out what I can do with an idea I love…. and the compulsory height of a bench….” he says.
Some of these striking stools are in the Dior boutique in Place Vendome and in the Royal Palace in Morocco.
What drew us to this piece was the really beautiful shape of the structure.  We in fact saw the form of a gently pointed Gothic arch in the legs along with the Art Deco reference but having talked to the designer we discovered the Primitive Art influence. This opened up a whole new and exciting perspective for us. 
Isn’t it interesting what our own experiences and outlook bring to our personal reactions? 

American in Paris – Frank Lloyd Wright

Wright, Frank Lloyd, ensemble 1


Frank Lloyd Wright created the philosophy of organic architecture.
His idea of “organic architecture is a reinterpretation of nature’s principles as they had been filtered through the intelligent minds of men and women who could then build forms which are more natural than nature itself”, according to  Kimberly Elman, Ph.D., in her essay Frank Lloyd Wright and the Principles of Organic Architecture 

This suit of furniture designed by Wright in 1955 is important and rare as it was only between 1955-57 that he made furniture independently of a larger scale architectural projects.

Grey mahogany table with metal engraved border and six chairs
Heritage Henredon Workshop, USA, 1955

Table : H. 24 in., D. 54 in. / 1 extension : 13,75 in.
Chairs: H. 28 in., W. 20,5 in., D. 23,75 in.


Detail of the table edging

Wright, Frank Lloyd, ensemble 4

Detail of the leg carving

Wright, Frank Lloyd, ensemble 6 chaise

Above: One of the six chairs; Below: detail of the leg carving


“So here I stand before you preaching organic architecture: declaring organic architecture to be the modern ideal and the teaching so much needed if we are to see the whole of life, and to now serve the whole of life, holding no ‘traditions’ essential to the great TRADITION. Nor cherishing any preconceived form fixing upon us either past, present or future, but—instead—exalting the simple laws of common sense—or of super-sense if you prefer—determining form by way of the nature of materials…”
— Frank Lloyd Wright, An Organic Architecture, 1939

For inquiries:
contact@arte-case.com or 06 47 25 09 66

Friday Finds! Vive La France! Innovative and Measured Design


Wall light in polished brass, walnut and white perspex (circa 1960) by Robert Mathieu


The 1950s and 60s was a particularly prolific period of optimism and creativity  for French designers. We are seeing more focus on French design of this era and it is definitely a market to watch. Robert Mathieu (1921-2002) is one of the most interesting, and perhaps least known of the designers working in this period. His production was small as he manufactured his own designs. 
We saw this wall light (c.1960) by Mathieu in a Parisian gallery which is known for creating the market for lighting. It is functional and beautiful, simple and inspired.  Its sleek system of delicate counterbalance, using a simple pulley system to adjust the height, gives the user complete flexibility. The light switch is weighted on the electrical wire as you can see in the second image. It could be used as a reading light next to an armchair or placed on the wall above a desk. Its white perspex shade was innovative for its time with its ability to reflect light. It is a highly collectible piece.
Mathieu originally trained as a watchmaker and it is the organic and symbiotic nature of the creative impulse which interests us here with his development towards lighting design. With his personal vision he took his knowledge and applied it to the field of lighting design.  You can feel Mathieu’s fascination with balance, mechanism and function in the simple almost clock-like workings of this light and this was reflected in the name of his production company,  ‘R. Mathieu Luminaires Rationnel’. Please click here to see another of Mathieu’s lights in an earlier post.

Friday Finds!


Ying Yan dining table in polished varnished brass and ivory lacquered wood, from the Plurimi series (1979) by Gabriella Crespi


 “I was inspired only by the universe” said Gabriella Crespi of the motivating force behind her astounding body of design work.

 We love the purity of form of this Ying Yan three-part dining table (c1979) from the Plurimi series with its smooth biomorphic shape cleverly opening up to reveal hidden storage. In ancient Chinese philosophy, the duality of Yin and Yang represents complementary oppositions which together make up the sum of our existence. Yin represents the moon, femininity and the negative element while Yang reflects masculinity, the sun and the positive element which coexist side by side and form a cohesive whole. Crespi has here referenced the ancient philosophy while reinterpreting it in her search “for the infinite” by adding a third element – the brass centre piece provides the smooth interlocking link for the two outer sections. This third element can be interpreted perhaps as the overlapping meeting point of the other two which otherwise maintain their independence. This is further reinforced by the altered spelling of the Yin and Yang elements.
For us, the way Crespi  balances philosophy, design and  sculptural abstraction in her work is intriguing and thought-provoking.

What do you think?

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2015.

Friday Finds!


ff33d69b-4afc-4521-8d79-f809540fe65896cde434-e071-491d-b039-c6abe0ff17ae Flemming Laasen’s (1902-1984) ‘Tired Man’ chair, originally designed for the Joiners Guild Exhibition in 1936 is intriguing. The curved forms can be interpreted as the designer’s individual response to the austere internationalism prevailing in the pre-WWII years of the 1930s. The sheepskin upholstery renders the design even more organic and unashamedly luxurious.  Laasen wrote that he wanted the person sitting in it to feel “like a polar bear cub held by its mother in the middle of the ice cap feeling safe and warm”. This idea of creating a dialogue and encapsulating emotive feelings of maternal reassurance in an object interests us. The chair has soul and purpose and to our mind it is this which renders its appeal still strong today.

It achieved a record price at auction (191,000€ which was nearly three times the estimate) earlier this year, suggesting that the desire for organic design and comfort in our furniture transcends time. What do you think ? Should design fulfill the human need for comfort as well as utility ? Is comfort essential in design?   An ongoing discussion…..


Wishing you all a very happy holiday season!

Antoine Vignault


 This tabouret is named Rigel after the brightest star in the Orion constellation. The straw marquetry on the top, which could be interpreted as an elegant explosion, seems to then refer to Rigel’s potential to become a supernova. Eventually Rigel will become a black hole. The form of this tabouret portends to this conclusion.

Laquered blackwood, gilt brass, straw marquetry
Limited edition of 8


We are excited to share with you two of our favorite designs from the forthcoming collection by Bordeaux-based designer Antoine Vignault.His work is, to us, an inspiring example of the potential that objects have to tell stories and carry meaning which connects us to each other and the world beyond our daily lives.Vignault consciously seeks to “transmit common codes between former civilizations that still apply today such as sacred geometry, golden proportions and secret messages hidden in old symbols and astronomy”.

Each of the objects in this collection are named after a star or constellation. Vignault says, “Stars were here before us and will still be here after us. Our ancestors used their movements and positions as a core science to explain all other ones : mathematics, geometry, geography, time… and most government architectures worldwide were designed in closed relation with celestial events.”

The beautiful materials and elegant forms in this collection intrigued us and upon investigation we are now completely enchanted by the way Vignault interpreted the night sky and has brought to life these eternal concepts that link our current lives to those of some of our greatest forefathers.
The entire collection will be on view in Paris this spring. We will post the details as soon as they are announced!


Octant Side Table – named after the Polaris star constellation. It is  an essential reference point around which the night sky turns.

White marble, black waxed leather, oak inlay, gilt brass, straw marquetry
Limited edition of 8

Your interior is your platform for making your own statement about your views and aspirations. What objects will help tell your story?