April 1, 2009
Cabinet of Curiosities
A pair of French graphic designers creates an elaborately ornamental sideboard for Bd Barcelona.
By all accounts, the French graphic designers Antoine Audiau and Manuel Warosz, of Antoine + Manuel, have had a standout year. After more than a decade of making ephemera (posters, invitations, and the like) for Christian Lacroix and Yves Saint Laurent, they published an expansive book of their work and received their own retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in Paris. And in January at Maison et Objet, they presented their first mass-produced piece of furniture: a richly embellished sideboard, part of a collection from Bd Barcelona that translates the duo’s mythological themes into three dimensions.
Warosz attributes the studio’s recent success to a new interest in graphic design and an acceptance of objects that are unapologetically ornamental. “Five years ago, good designers or journalists would have considered us postmodern, like in the eighties,” he says. “It wasn’t fashionable.” But unlike other postmodern work, Antoine + Manuel’s cabinet incorporates references not just to the past but to an imagined future. “I create my own mythology in my dreams,” Warosz says. “Some parts are landscapes inspired by mythological castles, and other parts are science fiction.” The quirky piece, made from expanded polyurethane foam (a.k.a. plastic), is available in a deluxe lacquered version—replete will jutting mountains and recessed lakes—and a pared-down model with a flat top (www.bdbarcelona.com). Here Warosz describes the ins and outs of his and Audiau’s fantastical design.
Click on the images for Warosz’s commentary on the design.