Even if you don't actually read books, chances are you like displaying them. It may be a pretentious front for your insecure intellect or that you simply like the color and texture they add to your home, but in either case,... [more]
Even if you don't actually read books, chances are you like displaying them. It may be a pretentious front for your insecure intellect or that you simply like the color and texture they add to your home, but in either case, books can make a room sing.
Excited by the visual effect of a book collection, Ron Arad was bored by its typical means of display: the tried, true and tired bookshelf. Why not actually use the wall instead of simply shoving something up against it? Why not experiment with curves, enabling movement and threatening stability? Undulating along the wall, Arad's 1997 Bookworm shelving slipped into the lexicon of critically and commercially successful designs.
By the time Bookworm brought in some extra cash for the Italian design firm Kartell, Arad was an international superstar. Trained by Peter Cook at London's famed Architectural Association, Arad eventually founded One Off, Ltd., which showcased his own furniture along with pieces by British avant-garde heavyweights Tom Dixon and Danny Lane. That was in 1981, when liberal use of discarded materials was the trend among London designers. Never satisfied with traditional furniture materials, Arad was thrilled by the possibilities of trash. Resisting the decade's predisposition for decadence, he equipped car seats with bent scaffolding, transforming used auto parts into home seating. The "Rover" chair (1981) exemplifies the high tech, ready-made style of the day.
As the decadent decade began to wind down, Arad threw out his old materials and embraced steel. His "Well Tempered Chair" (1986-1993) eliminates the volume of traditional armchairs, leaving a round pure form. With its hard steel loops, the chair doesn't look too comfortable to sit on; it surprises its occupant with materials that automatically adjust to one's body temperature.
By the late '80s, Arad's furniture had grown outrageously expensive. His "Big Easy" series (1988-89) of black, stainless steel chairs required tedious production techniques that jacked up their price. Arad, though, thought the price was right. Since he considered each piece a work of art, he didn't want the series to become mass-produced.
Arad's furniture has revitalized a discipline he considered too attached to the "right" materials and the proper look. From waste to metal, from a looping steel chair to a winding wall shelf, Arad's designs continue to challenge the limits of acceptable living environments. [show less]