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Esteemed fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester recently announced a broadening of her creative horizons to encompass furniture design. In collaboration with the Belgian design label Serax and conceived with Demeulemeester’s partner and collaborator Patrick Robyn, the pair have introduced their first-ever collection of furniture that, much like their clothing, highlights aesthetic, function, and emotion to create objects that will tailor themselves to the user’s taste and needs.
Totaling 15 styles that encompass a range of chairs, tables, sofas, and other pieces, the designs are removed from concepts of trendiness and approached with a careful thought way that trusts and prioritizes the designers’ own instincts and desires. Presenting contrasts of strength and fragility and preciousness and utility, the collection bears a refined visual vocabulary of geometric suggestions, tactile surfaces, and concepts reduced to the most poetic essentials of form.
Combining Demeulemeester’s longstanding design process with this intuitive approach to furniture, the collection is made of pieces like the Cici tables (a rounded tabletop perched on a plinth-like base), the lush-but-sturdy Ono family, which features an elongated, rectangular chair and sofa with gorgeous upholstered fabric, and the Aura side table, which comes in beech or oak wood, imagining a circular top and base connected by a cylinder, with optional integrated light. Other styles include those like the low-slung Frin ottoman, the cushioned Tabu stool (best paired with the Cici tables), a hybrid sofa/daybed called Beth, which is upholstered with natural fibers, and a suite of lightweight, multicolored tables and surfaces titled Kubé.
Demeulemeester shared with Whitewall a few thoughts on the collection.
WHITEWALL: You’ve said, “I make something because I miss it, I want it, I can’t find it.” What did you set out to find when creating this collection with Serax? What were you missing?
ANN DEMEULEMEESTER: By creating you add something to the world that was not there yet. We create and search for beauty in all that surrounds us in daily life. This collection that we created corresponds exactly to what we wanted to achieve and Serax was very respectful to all our wishes and demands.
WW: Furniture pieces for the home are an expression of who we are, both outwardly when we open our home and share, and inwardly, as spaces for our intimate every day. What kind of environment and emotion did you set out to evoke with these pieces?
AD: These pieces are proposals, they can only be fully completed when they become part of someone's life. They will have different meanings for different people.
WW: You and longtime partner and artistic collaborator Patrick Robyn often think with your hands when creating. Given that, what kinds of materials and shapes were your hands drawn to with this collection?
AD: All the materials that are in the collection: Different woods, canvas, linen, velvet, paint, pure shapes.