The Scottish Designer Who’s Trading in Fashion for Furniture – The New York Times

By on February 14, 2020

Since then, Saunders’s work has been an ongoing exploration of the space between strong lines and planes of color, informed mostly by artists, among them the 20th-century British sculptors Anthony Caro, Allen Jones and Rachel Whiteread (images of their work are pinned to the wall of his home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn). Much like the jolie laide color-blocked suiting and shift dresses he became known for, each of the 15 pieces in his debut collection of furniture, called Saunders, are experiments in color theory and geometry. But if the euphoric, striking effect of his clothes felt in sync with the fervid electronic music scene of London in the early 2000s, the look of his glossy-but-restrained tables and seating is at once more abstract (the minimalist lines recall the Italian postmodernist Ettore Sottsass’s knack for playing with pattern and hue) and down-to-earth (he manufactures all of his wooden marquetry pieces at a third-generation family-owned workshop in Valencia, Spain). Among the first pieces he made, after leaving Diane von Furstenberg in 2018 and taking a two-month-long inspiration trip to Japan and India, was a six-foot-tall étagère composed of long crystal shelves suspended between two rectangular wooden columns made from alternating sections of sycamore, ash and white wenge. The tones shift according to no discernible rule, giving the piece an unexpected rhythm, a word Saunders likes to use to describe the effect of the patterns created by the delicate marquetry, which is abundant in his designs. “It looks slightly off,” he says approvingly, “and not quite right.” That same sort of subtle irregularity is also seen in a coffee table shaped like an upended pyramid made from stacked concentric squares of steel tubing, painted and lacquered in a seemingly improvised sequence of taupe, pine green and scarlet, with a curving transparent resin top. On a chair constructed from four square steel-tubing frames, nylon webbing in various shades (cyan, khaki, optic white, vermilion) creates a seat with a similarly unpredictable checkered design.

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