Designer Rick Owens has debuted a groundbreaking furniture line that The New York Times calls “monumental—if not entirely cozy.” Owens, who began and continues his career as a fashion designer, has been creating furniture with his wife, Michèle Lamy, since 2007, and also recently opened a new 8,000-square-foot flagship store in New York. The duo will soon publish a book with Rizzoli that highlights the interiors that he and Lamy have created together.
Owens, who founded his fashion line in 1994, has brought the same punk-influenced mentality to his furniture design, but with, he says, a particular freedom. “The furniture—because it was never a necessity for us—was something that we just did for ourselves to indulge our own aesthetic appetites and our personal needs,” Owens explains to the Times. “When I was first starting the furniture, I was talking about my message of intent: It was something like, ‘a fur on a rock, next to a fire, in a cave.’ And I literally created a rock, the rock that I wanted….”
The pieces, it goes without saying, are not warm and fuzzy. Instead, as Owens tells Architectural Digest, it's meant to convey a sense of discipline. “People sometimes say, ‘Your furniture is not very cozy.’ But I like things that are disciplined, that make you sit straighter, where there is more rigor and more formality. I think there is a place for that. The world is already full of coziness.”
Curial chair, petrified wood, 2011; courtesy Adrien Dirand-Owenscorp
Next month, Owens’s designs—both new and previously released—will be featured in a show at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The neo-Paleolithic exhibition, which will also feature sculptures and installations, draws on materials including rock crystal, fur, plywood, leather and alabaster and will also include pieces by the late artist and musician Steven Parrino. His inspirations, list MOCA, include: "modernist design, brutalist architecture, monochrome painting, minimal art and avant-garde dance," while the union with Parrino continues with Owens's desire to contrast his work with that of other artists.
Rick Owens, Prong, 2011, black stained plywood, 31 ½ x 35 2/5 x 19 7/10 in. (80 x 90 x 60 cm); courtesy Owenscorp
Explains the museum, "For example, processes of detaching, deforming, twisting, and distorting are central in both Parrino’s 'misshaped canvases' and Owens’s iconic, minimalist clothing. So too does each artist find inspiration in both 'high' and 'low' forms of American culture, invoking the monochromatic canvases of Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt and Frank Stella, and the rise of bike culture and Harley-Davidson, film noir, and cult horror movies in equal measure."
The forthcoming book, which will be published early next year, will be the first volume in a series focused on Owens' and Lamy's collaborations, starting with the center of the couple's furniture line, their home and headquarters at Palais Bourbon in Paris. The tome will include illustrations and previously unpublished photography of their process as well as a look into their personal lives.
The MOCA show kicks off at the museum's Pacific Design Center outpost on December 17 and runs until April 2, 2017.