December 1, 2008
Designers get back to basics with stripped-down objects and surfaces.
In a global economy where standardized and homogenized objects have become the norm, a new trend is emerging: a demand for the hand-hewn over the mass-produced, with an emphasis on local or regional idiosyncrasies. A number of examples have cropped up in the rarified world of so-called design art, where galleries and auction houses have commissioned limited-edition pieces that sell for six-figure sums. Gallery Libby Seller’s Beau Savage exhibition in London recently showcased a group of emerging talents who celebrated the raw and the beautiful. One standout was Peter Marigold’s stunning Thin Slice cabinet, which uses painstakingly cut strips of wood on the exterior to reveal the growth patterns of a tree. And when it comes to interiors, unfinished and seemingly raw textures and surfaces are an increasingly popular option. Eldorado Stone’s range of roughly chiseled stone veneers has some excellent offerings, and Carlisle’s wide-plank floors will no doubt age with grace. This return to the basic qualities of materials can give a room a rough, almost brutal feeling. We’re not quite ready to say that brutalism is back, but the products shown here certainly point in that direction.