The vibrant red armchair you see here began its life as a tennis ball—if only in the hive mind of Yael Mer and Shay Alcalay. Raw Edges, their London-based studio, conceived the piece (below) plus a matching sofa for Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades—the luxury house’s collection of furniture, art, and objects made by an illustrious array of design firms—which debuts new additions this month during the Milan Furniture Fair.
To the Raw Edges team, Objets Nomades signifies “fun, sculptural pieces,” says Mer. “So it is quite hard to sit in the studio and think how we can come up with a new design.” Instead, the staff takes “creative breaks” from ongoing projects to dream up designs without explicit brief or purpose. Familiar fuzzy orb, meet wonderfully curvilinear seating arrangement. “There was something so cute and satisfying about this model,” adds Mer, “that we couldn’t just let it stay on the shelf.”
As objets nomades suggests, other creators have likewise drawn inspiration from the whimsical and well traveled. For Vuitton’s recently opened restaurant in Chengdu, China, the Swiss firm Atelier Oï fashioned a room-spanning chandelier in coral-orange leather; now, they’ve replicated the twisted beauty (below, left) at a more intimate scale. And for a literally soaring metaphor, Oï turned to Latin America’s quetzal, basing a 22-pound mobile (below, right), also in leather, on the sacred bird’s spectacular plumage; the fanned art can “pivot slightly and hover masterfully,” as Oï says, over summer dinner parties.
Milan’s local talent is part of the menagerie too. For Flower Tower (below), a blown-glass column nearly six feet tall and meant to evoke a cityscape, Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari of Atelier Biagetti nodded to Vuitton’s history: From an isometric perspective, you can see the fashion brand’s geometric floral motif (trademarked as part of its monogram in 1896) take luminous shape. Along with special pieces that are more form than function—like a mercury-blob sofa and “cocoon” chandelier (neither pictured) by Campana, based on their own previous designs for Objets Nomades— the lighting and furniture comprise Vuitton’s largest works, some of which are made-to-order (prices upon request).
Littler gems form a sous-collection called Petits Nomades, like the sparkling glassware (below)—designed in-house by Studio Louis Vuitton; $560 for a pair of tumblers—in colorways that suggest a cool 1970s cocktail bar. Who doesn’t want to drink through rose-colored glasses?