Whether dressing up a set of drawers, covering a cabinet or embellishing a wardrobe, American furniture-makers are adding layers of interest with digital images and natural fibres such as linen, seagrass, paper and metal.
In showrooms and at online stores storage units, tables and consoles with enough panache to become the focal point of a room have been appearing.
Thibaut – established in 1886 and one of America’s oldest continuously operating wallpaper firm that has expanded its product base to include furniture – offers several variations of casegoods (the American term for wooden furniture designed for storage) covered in raffia, linen, grasscloth and paper, including custom creations with more than 200 Thibaut fabrics.
The company’s Paperweave in White cabinet has contrasting pink doors made of extra fine sisal, and the Regatta side table is wrapped in navy raffia. (Online at thibautdesign.com and in Kuala Lumpur at Waltex Corp, 03-4280 0067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Also using natural fibres to build heirloom pieces is Bungalow 5, a design collective comprising New York-based architects and designers that uses unusual materials. Working with its in-house cabinetmakers and finishers, it produces unique pieces such as a lacquered grasscloth-covered four-door chest. Adding texture to the large Janak chest – which bridges Bauhaus principles and mid-century styling – are diamond-patterned brass nail heads. The chest comes in navy or white. (Online at bungalow5.com.)
Currey & Company – which began in 1988 to create and market classic garden furniture from the Winterthur Museum and the Smithsonian Institution and has since expanded to produce lighting and furniture – offers the Cadena, a three-drawer chest that uses textural elements to get the most bang for the buck. The wood frame is enveloped in black linen, which becomes a backdrop for solid-brass drawer pulls and drawer collars. (Online at curreycodealers.com.)
Residential and commercial furniture manufacturer and retailer Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams introduced its multipurpose Weaver chest, which is wrapped in a grey raffia and outlined in dark-stained mahogany. The inside of the drawer is red lacquer. The chest can be used in a bedroom, entryway or as a media cabinet because there are cutouts in the back for cords. It looks great with the Weaver mirror hanging above it. (Online at mgbwhome.com.)
Bernhardt and Selamat, meanwhile, managed to enhance and entrance with skins of metal. The Barcelona Sideboard is hand-carved reclaimed teak covered in German silver, which is not really silver but a silver-white alloy of nickel, copper and zinc. It’s also found on the Essen cocktail table.
“German silver has been used in architectural structures and decorative elements for more than 2,000 years and has many of the same characteristics as brass and bronze. We add a protective topcoat to prevent oxidation,” says Tammi King, marketing coordinator of Bernhardt, a 127-year-old furniture maker. (Online at bernhardt.com.)
Selamat’s Milan Bar cabinet design comes from the Florence Broadhurst archives, which the company has accessed and repurposed. Broadhurst’s Milan Tapestry pattern was carved into the doors, and the entire cabinet is clad in brass on a black steel base. The interior has a mirrored back and glass shelves surrounded by a walnut veneer. An Australian designer and artist, Broadhurst was murdered in 1977, and her killer was never caught. However, her visionary designs live on, continuing to capture the imaginations of consumers. Selamat Designs originated in Indonesia in 1988 using timber offcuts to create home accessories before being bought over by Americans Thatcher and Shannon Davis; now based in San Francisco, the company still uses sustainably produced timber for its range of furniture and homeware. (Online at selamatdesigns.com.)
Going digital is John Strauss Furniture’s Lake Shore Watercolor console, which is adorned in a painterly palette. The doors of the lacquered piece are covered in digitally printed wallpaper for dramatic impact. The piece has the Mid-Century and Art Deco shape and feel that has inspired designer Strauss since he began over 25 years ago. (Online at straussfurniture.com.) – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Tribune News Service/Patricia Sheridan