Rick Owens is no stranger to making a statement. The Paris-based fashion designer had the whole industry tittering over body image and race issues within the fashion world when he presented his spring/summer 2014 collection using muscular step dancers in lieu of models during Paris Fashion Week.
Now Owens is making a different kind of statement with "Prehistoric," a collection of monolithic furniture designed especially for Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London.
With "Prehistoric," Owens examines the enduring nature of furniture as opposed to clothing. Unlike fashion, great product design is not subject to a rapidly moving, season-based calendar. Rather, it provides an enduring visual anchor for domestic spaces. Of course, how long it endures depends on the materials and craftsmanship, but one look at Owens' collection and it's clear that the ceremonial chair, daybed, screen, and dining table made from fossilized woods and alabaster are built to last. In fact, the pieces have a monumental feeling, intimidating and authoritative in their volume and heft.
In terms of color palette, Owens stays true to form with his signature black and white (the designer himself is rarely seen dressed in anything besides a black T-shirt and pants). The Boudeuse couch pairs blackened plywood with a nearly translucent alabaster base for a stark contrast. The ox-bone Onedent and the Trident chairs are assembled by craftsmen to highlight the natural contours of the bone. The Curial (pictured at top) and Half Box seating are both made with petrified wood that's over 500,000 years old and has a depth of color that's downright arresting, but these chairs are more for perching than lounging—if they're sat in at all.
Rick Owens "Prehistoric" is on view at Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Mayfair 3 Albemarle Street, W1S 4HE London, through November 29.
The 500,000-year-old petrified wood close up
—LinYee. Follow her at @linyee.
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