| Jan 31, 2013 |
Elle Décor spotlights eight creative powerhouses
Boh staff
By Staff

Elle Décor’s March issue, which hits stands early next week, takes a look at eight creative powerhouses who are taking design in exciting new directions. From beautifying public spaces to grappling with ecological challenges, these up-and-coming designers are truly pushing the boundaries.  Here’s a sneak peek:

Christopher Hall

Hall, a New Zealand-born decorator and furniture designer based in Istanbul, has a global clientele with projects from Moscow to Venice and clients including the Saudi royal family. He has a contemporary feel that melds midcentury-modern design with Islamic influences. Working with local artisans, Hall designs furniture that is made by hand in Istanbul in wood, bronze, marble, and naturally dyed fabrics.

When he isn’t working on projects, Hall can be found in one of his two charming Istanbul stores: Hall Shop, a cozy trove of vintage textiles, furniture, and decorative objects in the funky antiques neighborhood of Cucurkuma, and the more spacious Hall Gallery, a renovated former carpentry shop where he displays his furniture and art, including an imposing portrait of Lenin (he is a collector of Soviet realist art). A London showroom is in the works, but Istanbul will remain his base. “It’s an infinite mosaic of cultures, colors, patterns, and tales,” he says. “It’s my inspiration.”

Kate Orff

Orff is best known for Oystertecture, her pre–Hurricane Sandy (and remarkably prescient) plan to reintroduce oyster reefs in New York City’s harbor as a way of fighting pollution and providing flood protection. For the public, that proposal—Orff’s contribution to a 2010 exhibition, “Rising Currents,” at New York’s Museum of Modern Art—put her on the map. But for this water obsessed landscape architect, it’s the tip of the iceberg. Her New York– based landscape-architecture and design firm, Scape, creates everything from playgrounds to green infrastructure (and the occasional private commission, such as the Tribeca roof garden she designed for a supermodel and her actor husband). Orff also teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture. She is also working on her latest project “Petrochemical America."

Diane de Polignac

Although de Polignac started out primarily as a dealer of vintage Scandinavian furniture and postwar art, a chance encounter with veteran French artist Guy de Rougemont in 2010 dramatically changed her direction. “Initially, I went to his studio because I wanted a certificate of authenticity for a 1970s piece,” says de Polignac, whose eponymous gallery is located in the Saint-Germain-des- Prés area of Paris. “When I walked in, I saw a very beautiful sketch of a free-form dining table on his desk.”

Deciding she had to have it, she convinced de Rougemont to be her first collaborator on what would become a range of limited-edition furniture designed by artists.

Since producing her first piece in 2011—de Rougemont’s biomorphic steel-and-wood Archipelago table—she hasn’t looked back. Dropping vintage furniture entirely, she set about commissioning more tables and lamps from de Rougemont, and expanding her roster with artists like American sculptor Jedd Novatt and Britain’s Nathaniel Rackowe. “Each of these artists has a very different aesthetic,” she says. The result? Unique creations that make a clean break from conventional furniture design.

Oki Sato

Oki Sato and his Tokyo design studio, Nendo, infuse pared-down furniture, objects, and interiors with a touch of the unexpected. Continually searching for what he describes as “small surprises,” Sato aims to add a little joy to the everyday, such as chairs wrapped in barely visible fishing line, silicone bowls that shiver in the breeze, and a bath collection inspired by the idea of jumping into hot springs with a stranger.

“Usually, we start with ideas or small stories,” he says, “and then try to match them with new techniques or materials.” Although he deals in quiet gestures, Sato’s original creations have brought him significant attention from some very high-profile companies.

His prolific studio has designed furniture for Cappellini, Bisazza, Kartell, and Moroso; window displays for Hermès and Tod’s; and retail stores for Camper, Puma, Issey Miyake, and Starbucks. At the same time, his work has been showcased by New York’s Museum of Modern Art and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. With so much attention, one has to wonder whether Sato hasn’t surprised himself.

Four more designers on the rise are featured in the Inspiration section of Elle Décor’s March issue, available Tuesday, Feb. 5, written by Tim McKeough and Ingrid Abramovitch.

Other articles not to be missed include: Thom Filicia’s 12 favorite things, Chuck Chewning and Heather Moore’s top 10 stools for any room, the graphic allure of stripes “trend” and much more.

Photo Credits: 1. Courtesy of Christopher Hall 2. Courtsey of Christine McLaren © Scape Landscape Architecture PLLC 3. Courtsey of Mathieu Ferrier 4. Courtsey of Oki Sato 5. Courtsey of Elle Decor

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