WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE IN YOUR HOME?
Simone talks about her favorite piece of design, Ingo Maurer's "Lampampe" table lamp. With its texture of the crumpled paper and its ethereal aesthetic, this elegant lamp is just one of many in her paper lamp collection.
"LAMPAMPE" TABLE LAMP BY INGO MAURER
A true artist of light, the brilliant Ingo Maurer has never ceased to make us dream for more than 50 years with his enchanted lights. Both designer and publisher, he works in his German studio in collaboration with the most talented creators, and some of his pieces appear in several major collections, such as that of the Museum Of Modern Art in New York.
Made entirely of Japanese paper in a light metal wire frame, the Lampampe is a modulable lamp in which the base will be slightly compressed and crumpled when screwing the ring at the lamp stand. Playing on the traditional shape of table lamp and use of paper in Japanese lamp design, Maurer here updated a classic and transformed it into a new contemporary form.
WISHLIST & Q&A
We asked Simone to select 5 pieces from our available collection that would be included in her wishlist. In a Q&A, we talked about her selection, her inspirations and the historical significance of the pieces.
Was it easy to select amongst thousand of pieces?
SBT : Not at all, I made a list of my favorites while I was looking through and had to pare back. But mostly I picked the pieces that jumped out at me, regardless of familiarity or pre-existing appreciation of the designer or artist. I had to challenge myself to not choose all chairs. Left to my own devices I would have a home filled with only chairs, which would be frustrating for everyone including myself.
Do you think your choices were influenced by the current situation? If so, in what ways?
SBT : In style, no. In the actual kind of pieces, perhaps. As I've become more and more intimate with all the nooks of the garden level of this 1904 brownstone over the last few months, I'm constantly on the look out for smaller pieces to turn currently unused, oddly shaped corners into usable space. I'm really drawn to multi-part, collapsible pieces too. Hidden drawers, leaves, unexpected ways a piece contracts or expands. I love this I think for the playful nature of it, and the craftsmanship needed to create, but also because I'm limited in space so if a piece can be compacted at some times, or multi purpose the better.
Can you tell us a little bit about each piece and why they made the cut? Let's start by the large chair by Hervé Baley, which you loved since we first presented it last year.
SBT : I saw this chair first at Magen H's booth at Salon last year and was floored. I've continued to love his work and was very grateful to be able to borrow the set to photograph our new showroom, and am really looking forward to the retrospective you'll be presenting of his work soon.
>> Architect Hervé Baley opposed the dogmatism of modern architecture and the influence of Le Corbusier and it is in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, who spreads slowly in France, that he forged his hope in a sensitive architecture. The desire to apply the processes of nature to architecture takes in his realizations very different forms but keeps the same tension towards an ideal of harmony between the man and the space he inhabits. This large chair was created for his studio/apartment rue Henri Barbusse in Paris (France). The chairs were placed around a large table, created to feel like thrones enveloping guests. This gave the guests a feeling of being included and being an equal part of the community, resembling Arthur's Round Table.
What about the exceptional bar by Péter Pierre Székely?
SBT : This goes back to my love of compactability/multi-part pieces. I love that the seats swing out from the cylindrical bar, to form something functional where people can cozily sit around one object. And then when it's compacted it's this incredible sculptural piece. I'm so glad to be introduced to this designer/artist through you.
>> Székely's enormous output of ceramics, furniture and public sculpture flowed from a convicton that art should not reside in galleries; that it should instead be fully integrated into the flow of modern life. Beginning his career as an engraver and poster artist; he understood art as a form of communication and he developed a language of signs that were to be read intuitively in the graphic context of his works. Designed for the residence of Mr & Mrs Behin in Boulogne (project by architect Pouyeton and decorator Bentz), the wooden bar, seated on three pillars placed on a huge wooden plinth, is reminiscent of the rudimentary blocks used by the shepherds of the Alps as a table. This is only appearance: cleverly designed, it is surmounted by a cylindrical cupboard containing glasses and bottles, and thick wooden slabs which serve as stools can be pulled out of their storage at will. The piece, evoking a carnotzet (small fitted cellar where wine is stored and tasted with friends), fits directly into the work of Pierre Székely by its use both raw and worked with wood, material with plebian roughness that Székely softened by the roundness of each part; and by the use of his aesthetic language with forms that we find in some later works.
You also picked the armchair by Gaston Castel. What drove this choice?
SBT : I love the tension of this piece that allows those spindly limbs to exist without too much obvious support, and the folk craftsy nature of it. I've been doing a lot of study of caning and porch weaves, and hope to incorporate some of this into the multidisciplinary collection I'm working on, so the woven seat was additionally appealing.
>> Architect Prix de Rome, Gaston Castel won the Grand Prix in 1913. In 1914 during the war, he was wounded in the face and left for dead on the battlefield. During his captivity in 1918 in Montreux in Switzerland, the Red Cross placed him in carpentry. Its director, Hermann Held, re-taught him drawing, so would regain professional autonomy. At the end of the war, he returned to Paris and worked with Guillaume Tronchet, chief architect of the Elysée Palace. Noticed for his talent, he was asked to give up the Invalides site to take up the post of departmental architect of Bouches-du-Rhône. In 1919 the Marseille opera house burned down and a competition launched for its reconstruction. Castel won and returned to the Phocaean city, which began his career in France. In 1941, he occupied the post of departmental architect that made him the essential arhcitect of the first half of the 20th century in the South of France. Castel took care of major public commission projects such as the Baumettes prison, but also major social housing projects in the Bouches-du-Rhône. After being asked to resign from his post by the Vichy authorities, he devoted himself fully to his own company and brought his son Ello into his agency. His work is considerable both by the number of achievements (more than 270 buildings) and by the volume of unfinished projects. A complex character who is at the same time architect, urban planner and patron, Castel was also the foreman at the Marseille school of architecture from 1952.
You also selected this corloful bowl by Andre-Aleth Masson.
SBT : I've been working on a piece for a planter show coming up in September, and I cannot tell you how challenging it has been to create something with a wide enough opening to potentially plant something in. All of my sculptures get closed, and my vessels focus on the form of the belly, and have tapered necks. I've been driving myself nuts, but finally had a breakthrough yesterday (though you'd probably still not want to plant it, because the interior space became too interesting to cover with dirt). Anyway! That's all to say that this piece really resonated with me because of the beautiful use of interior space that elevates the piece rather than diminishing it, which I'm learning is possible. It also uses two of my favorite pigments: crimson and oxidized copper.
>> Ceramicist, sculptor, painter and engraver, André Aleth-Masson studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Rennes and then Paris. In 1947, he integrates the Ecole de Céramique of Fontcarrade near Montpellier. During the fifties, he exhibits multiple times at the gallery renowned Mai. From 1952, he participates successively to the fairs of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs - as a prominent member - until 1980. He also participates in exhibitions of big scales ceramics with « Mur vivant » movement, in which Pierre Sabatier also participated. In the beginning of 1980, he started to make painted ceramic, painted pieces of wood, acrylic canvases and, finally engraving in the 1990.
Finally, you picked the daybed by Jean Royère, a rather classic choice compared to the rest of selection. Why?
SBT : It's perfect. I love the simplicity of the lines, but the really round, inviting curves of the big white cushions. This piece wants to be used.
>> Decorator Jean Royère made an international reputation as designer of luxury interiors in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America in the jet setting 50s and 60s. Often perceived as being outside the modernist trajectory attributed to 20th century design, Royère was nonetheless informed by his peers and extremely influential. Having opened a store in Paris in 1943 before the end of the war, Royère then opened an office in Cairo in 1946. One his best clients in Egypt was King Farouk, which allowed him to conduct important projects in the country. In 1948, in regard to his achievement in Europe and Egypt, the French governement commissioned him to decorate the consulate in Alexandrie, for which this model of daybed was created, along one of the French cultural centers in Cairo.
What qualities did you look for when the selecting the pieces?
SBT : I'm always drawn to natural materials, that is what I like to live around/on/in. It makes a space breathe and wear in a really beautiful way through use, spills, candles burning down to the table over long dinners. Even when I splurge on something, I like to use it, to wear it. Nothing is precious, it's meant to be given life (says the person who is not a collector, and never has to think about re-selling a piece of furniture). When I imagine a potential piece I'm always thinking about how it will be used, how friends will sink into or perch on a piece while being comfortable and enjoying conversation, and how the piece might interact with other pieces already in the space. Though my work is very curvy and fluid, in furniture I'm often drawn to more blocky, substantial shapes.
In your opinion, do you think eclecticism is important to realize a successful grouping?
SBT : Definitely. I'm always layering contrasting textures and materials, but naturally stay in a neutral pallet.
If you could keep one of these pieces for your current house, which one would it be? Why?
SBT : Perhaps the Jean Royère daybed, mostly because I have the perfect reading window for it where I'm always squishing a chair to get as close to the light as possible first thing in the morning, or in the end-of-day light. But if it was less about function and just about the piece I'd choose the Péter Pierre Székely bar which I have absolutley no use or space for, but adore regardless as an object.
What / Who inspires you (inside or outside the design world)?
SBT : I'm mostly referencing early to mid 1900s biomorphic sculpture and design. Where Arp, Moore, Hepworth, Noguchi, Alberto Viani, Marta Pan, Valentine Schlegel, Wendell Castle, and JB Blunk overlap. As I start to think about attempting larger scale and other mediums, I'm most drawn to the work and mindset of multidisciplinary designers and artists who work across mediums, materials, across commercial and fine art. It's fascinating to see how they apply what lives in their brain to so many different canvases.
First piece of design that impacted you?
SBT : That's really hard to say, as I'm relatively new to noticing the design world in a way other than what it feels like to be in a space, regardless of the designers and history of the pieces in said space. I feel like I got introduced overtime by my clients and by a partner who, in addition to being an architect, had studied and taught furniture design and taught me about Breur and Corbusier, to begin with. Chandigarh was such a mindblowing example, one that I had never heard of anything like it before, of a designer/architect/artist developing an entire city plan down to the buildings, the furniture, the lighting, the artwork. I'd never want to tackle a city, but it would be a lifelong dream to get to work on the details of an entire building.
Your design motto?
SBT : I've never been asked this question, so certainly don't have a go to motto. But when I think about creating a space I think about layering textures and forms -- softness and hardness, crumpled and smooth, geometric and biomorphic -- all in neutral warm hues and natural materials, with accents of black / mustard / crimson / aluminum / oxidized copper, on a white-washed background.
Simone Bodmer-Turner is NYC-based a sculptor and designer. After spending several years developing a personal ceramic practice and traveling twice a year to work with clay communities in Japan and Mexico, she founded the studio with the inception of the Permanent Collection in 2018. The Permanent Collection was designed to be a timeless, complimentary group of curvy ceramic forms, emphasizing the power of negative space, and heavily influenced by the bridged, multi-necked forms of Meso-American stirrup vessels. The 2020 iteration of the Permanent Collection, launching this September, will introduce seven new styles that riff off the most sought after forms in the original collection, and introduce the entire collection in matte black as well as the classic off-white.
In addition to her design practice, Bodmer-Turner’s personal practice is in biomorphic yet architectural ceramic sculpture and functional sculpted furniture. Each piece is an assemblage of bulbous nodes, curvy arches, and limbs that stretch into territories that seem to threaten the pull of gravity. Most work has been finished with textured surfaces that imbue a sense of movement to the pieces, but Bodmer-Turner is currently working on a grouping that focuses on layering pigment and creating movement through sgraffito rather than carving.
In addition to her work in clay, Bodmer-Turner is designing the studio’s first collection of multidisciplinary furniture working across clay, wood, iron, and caning, and has a number of collaborations debuting this coming year including a sculpted collection of silver jewelry with NYC-based designer Agmes