HIGH POINT, NC -- Luxury furniture manufacturer, Matsuoka International, is introducing a new collection by Christian Lyon at the International Furniture Market in High Point in October. The collection features 23 new creations by the celebrated Australian artist. Lyon commented that his objectives for the effort were to explore visual and tactile texture in furniture art, break out of rigid conventions of form and function and exploit the manufacturer's versatility, all within the context of a relaxed, affordable and livable luxury.

"The designs represent a mélange of materials and forms, executed in contrasting textures, colors and finishes," he said. "As before, I wanted to showcase the amazing capabilities of the company; but I especially wanted to give full play to the immense creative potential this means for the design process."

It is a bold effort. Taking as a point of departure the company's commitment to impeccable cabinetry using sustainable, environmentally conscious materials, it utilizes a variety of creative media, combining select cuts of figured and pearlescent timbers with metal and stone accoutrement.

In a departure from conventional practice, the artist specified diverse finishes throughout. He juxtaposes, for example, even in a single design, various elements of high gloss polyester on exotic decorative media (such as Celebes Ebony); with organic finishes in satin polyester, matte polyurethane, and brushed open grain effects. The choice of woods, finishes, diverse textural elements and organic appeal makes for a sweeping and colorful presentation that imbues the collection with warmth and visual interest. Moreover, Lyon has done this while working closely with the company's technical and product development teams to re-engineer production methods and target an accessible introductory price point.

He elaborates that he envisions the designs as "paired down, but elegant. They aim at broadening the brand's application into a more accessible introductory high end price point, while making a statement with finishes which are more organic." The collection is targeted at a less formal, cosseting, luxury life style. In the current socio-environment, "...it provides a refuge of comfort in the warm embrace of relaxed home or executive settings."

In contrast to the high gloss and formality of his earlier work, most of the new collection presents an orthogonal, straightforward simplicity, elevated by the selection of superlative materials and impeccable casework, finished in a compelling variety of textures and finishes. The statement remains forthright, emphasizing clean lines and simple geometries, with strong visual interest. Lyon claims that the contrasting elements - softer, more natural finishes with high gloss, brushed bronze and stone allows - "a relaxed, sexy play of matte against gloss, rough against smooth, light against dark."

In one case, he derives inspiration from one of Matsuoka's most successful designs, the Tortoise Commode. He re-engineered this to create "...a fabulous long, low sideboard", which he claims "works beautifully as an entertainment center as well." He added a compact bar-cabinet version, which will be showcased in April, but which can be made available to interested parties at any time, as a customized unit. He adds, "Likewise my favorite piece, the Torii Console, has inspired a wonderful new dining table which plays on a mix of traditional Asian elements with contemporary Western design and functionality."

Perhaps the most stunning addition is a piece expected to become as iconic as the Tortoise Commode, the "Origami Chest". This is a playful study of two dimensional form converted to thre dimensional space. Lyon says that he was fascinated by the extraordinary grain of Matsuoka's New Guinea Walnut and wondered how this might work if creatively manipulated as a medium for Origami art. He set pen to paper in dozens of iterations to explore how this exotic veneer would look and work after being bent and folded in the world of length, depth and height.

"I wanted the piece to explode out of conventional restrictions of furniture form and have an aesthetic all its own, similar to the way the paper in Origami art juts and projects itself everywhere in space as it is manipulated by the artist's hand. When I hit on the angularity of the final form and developed a format that would allow the New Guinea Walnut to present itself sculpturally, the Origami Chest is what resulted. I knew I was presenting a Brobdingnagian engineering challenge to the team. But we simply had to do it."

Source: Matsouka Intl.

 

 

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