Since settling down, man has felt the need to surround himself with furniture, the silent servants of everyday life, and this affirmation allows us to note its necessity. Furniture has transformed over the course of time, for our needs and uses. The art of beauty enriches its forms and aspects.
The starting point was the chest, a storage unit, a carpenter’s work. From Florence, Venice and the Middle East, arrived the ebony and ivory marquetry work, crowning the cabinetmaker’s reign. The surface of the furniture became the base of artistic creation, painting, and reliefs, marquetry work made from hard rock, scales and copper bronze applications. According to the times, new typologies appeared: commodes, double-bodied dressers, armoires, corner cabinets, secretary desks, chiffoniers, fall front desks (cousin of the secretary desk), cylinder desks, buffets…
Time has passed, but the ‘Cabinet makers’ exhibition confirms the renewed interest in home pieces, and for new research and innovation. In this 21st century debut, the exhibition willingly returns to the excellent quality of the ‘haute-ébénisterie’ (high-end cabinet maker), a search for durable investment, for communicable furniture. The pieces presented in the gallery revisit similar techniques and add bronze, entering further into the realm of sculptural art. They invent the contemporary development baptised ‘collectible design’, produced in limited editions.
The image of the atelier has changed, and Carpenters Workshop Gallery offers its artists an ultra-modern laboratory in Roissy which houses exceptional works, where specialized teams work in wood and its finishing, metal (bronze, aluminium, steel), textiles…
The exhibition presents different typologies of furniture, in which the form, however renewed, never eclipses the function of the piece.
The armoire, a vertical storage unit: the Dutch designer Maarten Baas envisioned the ‘Carapace Cupboard’ (2016) a shell crimped with plates of welded steel scales, Vincent Dubourg underlines the emptiness and the deconstruction for his ‘Armoire Chinoise’ (2012) in aluminium, and the Dutch design duo Studio Job play with a metaphor that expresses the ravage of 19th century industrial society, with the ‘Robber Baron Cabinet’ (2013).
The commode appeared at the end of the 17th century, and this extremely functional piece imposes superposed compartments, offering a simpler way of stowing belongings: the artist Ingrid Donat presents two sophisticated bronze versions, the ‘La Commode à facettes’ (2015) and ‘Commode Tribal’ (2016) conceived from motifs engraved using a lost-wax technique, in a style, on the one hand, tribal, while on the other Art Déco, the skin of the bronze piece suggests a sensuality obtained from the subtle patina.
The small armoire, or buffet, moulds itself in a delicate length, along the wall: Fernando & Humberto Campana, the Brazilian designers propose a version in marquetry of recuperated felt tips, ‘Sushi Cabinet’ (2013), welcoming them on a brushed steel surface. The ‘Detonado Buffet’ (2015) confirms their commitment to reusable material. They bring together Thonet caning with nylon, in order to procure a dualaspect perception of furniture. With ‘Bhanga Bronze’ (2014), and ‘Insideer Alu’ (2014), Vincent Dubourg pursues his work in restructuring signs, so the material appears split and dislocated, revealing the empty and the full.