May 1, 2012
The influence of the early modernists permeates David Nosanchuk’s designs.
David Nosanchuk likes to hit the repeat button. The New York City–based designer’s work has been returning to the same patterns and themes for decades. Whether it’s artistic obsession or found perfection, he is drawn to do-overs like a siren call.
Nosanchuk’s aesthetic is a distinctive, contemporary take on early modernism, a style he’s been honing since his education at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the school designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen that produced greats like Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, and Florence Knoll. They are all Nosanchuk’s idols, and he is an ardent follower of their philosophy.
The midcentury designers’ crafts-centric influence is clearly visible in Nosanchuk’s newest creation, a rug collection called Bas Relief. Launched in April, it will be sold by Stark Carpet in 16 showrooms across the country. The eight rugs in the series feel more like works of art than things to walk across. Most of the motifs are derived from something Nosanchuk has worked on before. A chandelier, a standing light, and an ornamental ceiling are all given new life as textiles.
This kind of translation is something that Nosanchuk has been practicing for the entirety of his career. A repeating motif designed for a wooden boat adornment later became an iron ventilation grill. A pattern created for an interior design was infused into a piece of furniture. The framework of an architectural concept looks strikingly similar to a series of table lamps, sconces, and chandeliers.
The coordination is intentional. Nosanchuk loves making things match, from the smallest item to the largest. “I call it the total thrust of an idea,” he says. “I was brought up in an environment that was very much steeped in this idea, where everything should be in collaboration, thoughtfully and carefully working together.”
The environment Nosanchuk refers to is, of course, Cranbrook. “My education taught me to look at every detail in an environment.” he says. “Now, I think about design in everything that I do. I use the same approach to design as when making a Caesar salad—the more thoughtfully placed the components, the more savory the outcome.”
Fittingly, two years ago Nosanchuk was commissioned to create a number of special pieces for the Cranbrook campus. So far, he has returned to produce a light for the recent extension of the girls’ middle school building, as well as a rug and an entry seating element. “It’s a symbolic and inspiring homecoming,” he says. “And they’re proud of me, too. I’m a product of that environment, and now I’m giving back to it.”