Rick Owens’ furniture collection – The birth of brutalism

Installation view of Rick Owens- Furniture, December 17, 2016–April 2, 2017 at MOCA Pacific Design Center, courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, photo by Brian Forrest
Installation view of Rick Owens: Furniture at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2016-2017, photo: Brian Forrest

Introduction

When asked to speak about his art, Rick Owens appreciates designers who make hand beads or ball gowns, but he loves his style more. By using rare materials and working with highly skilled artisans, he can create unique items. With an emphasis on art instead of lifestyle, Owens creates massive monuments with little assembly work compared to the carving involved.

Material for furniture by Rick Owens
Material for furniture by Rick Owens

Rick Owen’s furniture

Owens is fascinated by the contrast created when different materials come together to create expensive-looking furniture pieces. He began this line of his work in 2007. Since then, some pieces have traveled the international art circuit and as new shows come up, more designs are born. Every year there is a bit of a stray from the original artistic vision. In the first year when he began, Owen imagined a rock covered in fur and placed next to a fireplace; from this vision, the boulder signature was created.

Rick Owens - Onyx toilet bowl, Carrara Tuscany, 2015. Photograph by Owenscorp
Rick Owens – Onyx toilet bowl, Carrara Tuscany, 2015

The birth of brutalism

To date, this original block has undergone various versions of transformation to create benches, chairs and daybeds. As can be seen at MOCA, the latest version of the block gets its shape from German bankers that were made from concrete and used during the Second World War. In his own words, Owens describes these bankers looking furniture pieces as images of futuristic temples. Since they have no ornamentation and are too square, with rounded corners that look weird, he thinks of them as the birth of brutalism.

Rick Owens in studio producing his furniture, photo Owenscorp:Reprodução
Rick Owens in studio producing his furniture

Teamwork with his wife Michèle Lamy

Much of what Owen does and his level of recognition in art circles is due to his creativity. Still, much of what he has achieved would not be possible without his wife Michèle Lamy, who is also his creative partner. The teamwork begins at prototyping after Owen had already drawn the designs on paper. At this stage, their main tools are a passion for art, a kitchen knife and two pairs of loving hands. They then use the services of a dealer who travels the world sourcing for elements and unique materials.

Armed with a prototype and unique elements, the team gets into action to supervise the production team. Did you know that colossal slabs made out of stone weigh up to 2 tons? These are the bases on which carvings are made by cutting through them using laser before being polished.

Ms Michèle Lamy at Ébénisterie Dagorn, Saint-Fargeau-Ponthierry, April 2016. Photograph by Owenscorp
Ms Michèle Lamy at Ébénisterie Dagorn, Saint-Fargeau-Ponthierry, April 2016

Conclusion

For people who only know Rick Owens as a fashion designer, it comes as a pleasant surprise that he makes furniture with such magnificence.

Exhibition at LA MoCA

Installation view of Rick Owens- Furniture, December 17, 2016–April 2, 2017 at MOCA Pacific Design Center, courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Installation view of Rick Owens: Furniture at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2016-2017
Installation view of Rick Owens- Furniture, December 17, 2016–April 2, 2017 at MOCA Pacific Design Center, courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Installation view of Rick Owens: Furniture at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2016-2017
Installation view of Rick Owens- Furniture, December 17, 2016–April 2, 2017 at MOCA Pacific Design Center, courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Installation view of Rick Owens: Furniture at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2016-2017

Video: Exhibition walkthrough

5 min 20 sec

Curators Rebecca Matalon and Marcelyn Gow discuss Owens’ architectural and artistic influences in his furniture designs.

Furniture

Benches
Rick Owens - Black Marble 2 Prong Bench, 2012, black marble, Edition of 8, 80x300 or 380x90cm
Rick Owens – Black Marble 2 Prong Bench, 2012, black marble, Edition of 8, 80 x 300 cm or 380 x 90 cm
Rick Owens - Black Plywood 3 Prong Bench, 2013, Black Plywood, Edition of 8, 85.5x670x116cm
Rick Owens – Black Plywood 3 Prong Bench, 2013, Black Plywood, Edition of 8, 85.5 x 670 x 116 cm
Rick Owens - Stag Bench (pair), 2006, Black Plywood, stained wood, fallow deer antlers, Edition of 20, 135.9x112.4x72.4 cm, 126x109.2x71.8 cm
Rick Owens – Stag Bench (pair), 2006, Black Plywood, stained wood, fallow deer antlers, Edition of 20, left: 135.9 x 112.4 x 72.4 cm, right: 126 x 109.2 x 71.8 cm
Rick Owens - Stag Bench (Right), 2006, Black Plywood, Moose Antler, Edition of 20, 98x128x58cm
Rick Owens – Stag Bench (Right), 2006, Black Plywood, Moose Antler, Edition of 20, 98 x 128 x 58 cm
Daybed
Rick Owens, Daybed, 2012, Black Plywood, Edition of 12, 86x325x90cm
Rick Owens – Daybed, 2012, Black Plywood, Edition of 12, 86 x 325 x 90 cm
Rick Owens, Daybed, 2012, Black Plywood, Edition of 12, 86x325x90cm
Rick Owens – Daybed, 2012, Black Plywood, Edition of 12, 86 x 325 x 90 cm
Tables
Rick Owens - Plug Table, 2012, Petrified wood base, black plywood, plan top, 110x100x360cm
Rick Owens – Plug Table, 2012, Petrified wood base, black plywood, plan top, 110 x 100 x 360 cm
Rick Owens - Plug Table, 2011, Alabaster base, black plywood, plan top, 110x100x360cm
Rick Owens – Plug Table, 2011, Alabaster base, black plywood, plan top, 110 x 100 x 360 cm
Rick Owens - Plug Table, 2013, white marble, Edition of 8, 77x270x90cm
Rick Owens – Plug Table, 2013, white marble, Edition of 8, 77 x 270 x 90 cm
Rick Owens - Small Plug Table, 2013, Black Plywood, Edition of 50, 41x140x75cm
Rick Owens – Small Plug Table, 2013, Black Plywood, Edition of 50, 41 x 140 x 75 cm
Rick Owens - Showroom Table, 2007, Brass and plywood, 75x183x83cm
Rick Owens – Showroom Table, 2007, Brass and plywood, 75 x 183 x 83 cm
Chairs & Stools
Rick Owens - Curial, 2006, natural plywood, Edition of 25, 66x83x60cm
Rick Owens – Curial, 2006, natural plywood, Edition of 25, 66 x 83 x 60 cm
Rick Owens - Design Days Dubai | Swan, 2011, Black Plywood, Edition of 50, 67x60x65cm
Rick Owens – Swan, 2011, Black Plywood, Edition of 50, 67 x 60 x 65 cm
Rick Owens - Curial, 2009, White Marble, Edition of 8, 66x83x60c
Rick Owens – Curial, 2009, White Marble, Edition of 8, 66 x 83 x 60 cm
Rick Owens - Half Box (Ox Bone), 2011, Black Plywood, Edition of 50, 77x50x50cm
Rick Owens – Half Box (Ox Bone), 2011, Black Plywood, Edition of 50, 77 x 50 x 50 cm
Rick Owens - Half Box Chair, 2011, Alabaster, 50x50x77cm
Rick Owens – Half Box Chair, 2011, Alabaster, 50 x 50 x 77 cm
Rick Owens - Half Box Chair, 2011, black plywood, 77x50x50cm
Rick Owens – Half Box Chair, 2011, black plywood, 77 x 50 x 50 cm
Rick Owens - Stag Stool (Right), 2012, White Marble, Moose Antler, Edition of 8, 86x63x56cm
Rick Owens – Stag Stool (Right), 2012, White Marble, Moose Antler, Edition of 8, 86 x 63 x 56 cm
Rick Owens - Alchemy Chair, 2012, bronze, leather, 71x62x50cm
Rick Owens – Alchemy Chair, 2012, bronze, leather, 71 x 62 x 50 cm
Rick Owens - Stag Stool (Natural Plywood), 2009, natural plywood, moose antler, 86 x 63 x 56 cm (33.9 x 24.8. x 22.1 inch), edition of 24, installation view, Art021, Shanghai, 2020, photo: Public Delivery
Rick Owens – Stag Stool (Natural Plywood), 2009, natural plywood, moose antler, 86 x 63 x 56 cm (33.9 x 24.8. x 22.1 inch), edition of 24, installation view, Art021, Shanghai, 2020, photo: Public Delivery
Screen
Rick Owens - Screen, 2011, Black Plywood, Edition of 12, 270x170.5x75cm
Rick Owens – Screen, 2011, Black Plywood, Edition of 12, 270 x 170.5 x 75 cm
All images by Owenscorp unless otherwise noted.

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