WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE IN YOUR HOME?
Pali talks about his favorite piece of design in his Brooklyn home, a sideboard designed by Brazilian designer, Martin Eisler for Forma . With its delicate caned door paneling, brass handles and solid outer frame made of Caviuna wood, this sideboard is a elegant piece in his home that serves as a multi-purpose storage area for both him and his son.
SIDEBOARD BY MARTIN EISLER, c. 1950
Martin Eisler was born in Vienna, Austria, where he studied architecture. He moved to Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1938 where he began his work as a designer and architect. During his trip to São Paulo to design an apartment, Eisler became acquainted with Carlo Hauner, who appreciated his designs. He started traveling there frequently to collaborate on designs and ultimately they founded together the company Forma to sell their own designs as well as pieces licensed from Knoll International. Eisler also opened Forma in Buenos Aires, along with partners Arnold Hakel and Susi Aczel, as an architectural, industrial and interior design firm (Interieur Forma).
Eisler's pieces reflect his ability to merge European and Brazilian references, often mixing exotic, regional woods (like the Caviuna wood in this sideboard) with pure lines of modern design and architecture seen in Europe at the time. The base of this sideboard calls attention to the elegance of the feet’s minimal contact to the ground in comparison to its large form on top. His use of cane, inherently delicate compared to the solid wood surrounding it, was inspired by the cane ceiling linings that can be seen in Latin-American rural interiors.
WISHLIST & Q&A
We asked Pali to select 5 pieces from our available collection that would be included in his wishlist. In a Q&A, we talked about his selection, his inspirations and the historical significance of the pieces.
Was it easy to select amongst thousand of pieces?
P.C. : It wasn’t so hard, I think it would have been harder in person.
Do you think your choices were influenced by the current situation? If so, in what ways?
P.C. : No, not necessarily, at least not consciously. Because material goods seem superfluous right now, I might have been pulled towards more smaller and simpler objects.
Can you tell us a little bit about each piece and why they made the cut?
P.C. : The Chapo table I’ve always had my eyes on.... I love its weight, and how impervious it is. You don’t feel like you have to be careful around it. There’s no feeling of preciousness, which I like for a dining table.
>> French woodworker and designer Pierre Chapo revisited the concept of the “T14” table to design the “T20” model in 1972. He kept the system of the pillar-leg base and designed a long top, straight at the sides and curved at the ends. The rounded angles soften the general aspect of this voluminous piece. The pillar legs and tabletop are wide (the table can measure up to 3 meters long) and the sides are more clearly shaped than on the T14, due to the thickness of the wood.
The door handle by Royere are a jump in scale. Why choose these pieces?
P.C. : The Royere door handles feel luxurious and special even though they’re small scale .
>> 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, he was one of the first to promote a new way of life through interior decoration, and his dynamic approach found an international audience from the start of his career. Though declaring himself "against furniture," Royère designed influential pieces, which have gained attention in the succeeding decades. Considering ornamentation ephemeral and subject to the winds of fashion Royère concentrated on shape, volume and lines in every single of his pieces, from the large “Polar bear” or “Boule” sofa to these small door handles.
What about the bowl by Alexandre Noll?
P.C. : I’ve always loved Alexandre Noll’s work, particularly the smaller scale pieces like cups and pitchers.... so this bowl fits
>> Sculptor Alexandre Noll did not just work with wood; his approach and technique were both intimately bound up with nature and purity of form in a way that was simultaneously poetic, intuitive and philosophical. Starting to sculpt after the First World War, including producing umbrella handles and lamp bases for Paul Poiret, Noll started his “Sculpture Furniture” directly carved from chunk of sycamore, mahogany, teak or ebony woods in 1935. During the Second Word War, Noll joined the “Camouflage Brigade” - a group of artists working on creating new patterns. He continued to create furnitures and sculptures from his bombproof basement. In the 1950’s, Noll chose to focus on sculptures only, continuing his research towards the purity of forms.
What attracted you in the “LCII” sconce by Le Corbusier?
P.C. : I’ve always wanted to own a piece by Le Corbusier.
>> The "LCII" wall sconce was designed by Le Corbusier between 1949 and 1952, which was also used in Amhedabad, India for the Mills Owner Association's building. Originally manufactured by the company Guilux (Paris, France) - which manufactured multiple models of Le Corbusier's lighting productions - they were however produced in India for the Ahmedabad project. In a notebook, Le Corbusier wrote: “Honesty of the wealthy – the Sarabahy (sic) stole the Guilux models from Shodan, ditto Mills Owners ditto” (1). Guilux was going to supply these wall lights and other light fixtures for the buildings in Ahmedabad, but ultimately the lights that were installed were made in India, following plans drawn by Le Corbusier. A drawing dated 1954 entitled “Chandigarh lights, list of fixtures” shows the full set of different lights made by Guilux. Variants with different sizes, fixations and protections feature in the Guilux catalog.
The previous pieces being somehow very minimalist, what made you chose the pitcher by Picault, which is much more decorative?
P.C. : I own 3 Robert Picault vases and pitchers already, so this one would be a great addition....
>> Former student of the School of Applied Arts in Paris, Robert Picault arrived in 1946 in Vallauris and created the “Callis” studio with his school friends Roger Capron and Jean Derval. The studio operated until 1948, Robert turning the shapes and Jacques decorating them. In 1948, Robert Picault opened his own workshop Chemin du Fournas in Vallauris, right next door to his soon to be dear friend Picasso’s studio. He also produced semi-industrial culinary ceramics, with a simple geometric pattern bichromate traced with copper oxide for green and iron oxide for brown, like the pitcher. With this new style, Robert Picault signed a paternity recognizable by all. The workshop grew and employed up to 25 people. The production was distributed in department stores such as Primavera. The personal pieces were signed in full Picault letters until 1962. In 1962, he created another ceramic factory in Sardinia, and returned in 1966 to France to continue producing tableware for his factory in Vallauris and for the pottery of Longchamp. In 1979, its employees took over its factory to continue producing the 'Picault style’. The signature of the industrial pieces is RP in very dark green and RP in pale green after the departure of the ceramist.
What qualities did you look for when the selecting the pieces?
P.C. : I stayed away from pieces that could be viewed as ostentatious, so nothing too conspicuous. I was attracted more to the smaller pieces.... objects you discover in someone’s home by accident, while looking at something else entirely. (Apart from the chapo table, which definitely is more of a focal point)
In your opinion, do you think eclecticism is important to realize a successful grouping?
P.C. : It’s definitely a worthy goal, but it’s not easy to master.
If you could keep one of these pieces for your current house, which one would it be? Why?
P.C. : For my current house the Le Corbusier wall sconce. I dream of hanging it in a wood-panel closet that I’ve designed in my head (only).
What / Who inspires you (inside or outside the design world) ?
P.C. : Nature is probably the biggest source of inspiration; the ideas that are directly and purely pulled from nature feels the most auspicious to me. As far as people, these days I find myself going to Charlotte Perriand, George Nakashima and Luis Barragan the most.... but it changes, it depends who my client is, and depends what the project is. Then there are people like my father, Jejo Cornelsen or my best friend, Lucas Jimeno, whose world I have direct and physical exposure to, so they end up permeating my work without me even noticing.
First piece of design that impacted you?
P.C. : I can’t remember, but I’ll tell you the last: Luis Barragan. There is nothing quite like his work, when you experience it in the flesh, it’s hard to think of anything that compares to it.
Your design motto?
P.C. : I feel like design and architecture, when it’s good, should give you the feeling you have when you are in nature: when I’m in nature I feel like perfection is omnipresent. Architecture and interior home-spaces particularly, should aim for that feeling. That doesn’t mean you need to have natural elements from nature, it just means that all the proportions should feel as correct as nature’s do.
Born in Brazil, Pali Cornelsen began his design career in Los Angeles working in visuals for Barney’s New York and Juicy Couture. Since 2010, he has evolved this role at Calvin Klein first in Milan and currently in New York City where, as Head of Visual Environments, he has done everything from store design, window concepts, furniture design and office interiors; a career highlight being working under the creative direction of Raf Simons. In addition to his global corporate experience, Pali also designs residential spaces and custom pieces for private clients and has amassed an impressive personal collection of mid century furniture.