Smart Deco, Droog Design and Barry Friedman Ltd.

December 7 – 10, 2006

Design Miami 2006

Barry Friedman Ltd and Droog Design are pleased to present Smart Deco, a period room of the 21st century at Design Miami 2006, December 7-10, 2006. Smart Deco represents an authentic expression reflecting the zeitgeist of cutting-edge design, as well as timeless necessity. We live in dynamic times in which boundaries are dissolved, and smart solutions are integrated with traditional styles, materials and techniques. It is a time of craftsmanship, nostalgia, tradition and decoration, but it is also one of globalization, technological innovation, and shifting aesthetics. Cutting-edge design has come a long way from the premise of functionality. Smart Deco intends to build a platform for designers creating art and artists creating design.

The Smart Deco period room is furnished with specially designed works, all small editions, created by 10 of Europe’s most innovative designers, architects, and artists, including Marcel Wanders, Joris Laarman, and Atelier van Lieshout. Each participant was asked to reflect on the concept of a contemporary period room and determine which elements he or she wanted to create. Each had complete freedom to choose forms, materials, and aesthetics with the final result curated by Droog Design and Barry Friedman Gallery. With a common commitment to engage the viewer and to create works of the highest quality, our installation will emphasize the blurring of boundaries between art and design, traditional fine craftsmanship and innovative high-tech concepts and materials.

Smart Deco is a carefully arranged room with beautiful objects that are a sign of our times. We see a chair designed as nature might have created it, next to candleholders inspired by Japanese erotic drawings. We see chairs treated as jewellery, and we see animated wallpaper. There is a table made of twigs that have been forced into its desired shape by pressure; a crocheted chair hardened by epoxy; and a bookshelf built from contemporary products, like a skateboard and laptop, which can be considered an antique of the future. A table in the shape of a woman’s torso is placed next to mirrors depicting man’s identification with cars. The products are smart and decorative. The result is Smart Deco.


Joris Laarman, Bone chair
Joris Laarman’s aluminium chair is the first in a series of works which are designed according to the way bones develop; growing where strength is needed, and shrinking where it is not. This principle allows the designer to revolutionize the design process and optimize material allocation and weight.

´In short I found a way evolution constructs quite precisely. Not to create the worlds most perfect chair but I used it as a tool to create beautiful elegant shape with a kind of legitimacy.
Around a year ago I got in contact with a german professor that studied the growth of trees and bones for many years; their failure in particular.
You might know bones are extremely efficient since they are able to add material where strength it is needed. But bones also have the ability to take away material where it is not needed.
Now this professor and the International Development Center Adam Opel GmbH, a part of general motors engineering Europe created a digital tool to copy these ways of constructing in a dynamic digital tool.
I used it as a high tech sculpting tool. The irony of the result is that an almost historic elegancy comes out far more efficient compared to modern geometric shapes. I am working on a body of work.´
Joris Laarman

Joris Laarman, Bone chaise
Based on the same principle as the bone chair, Joris Laarman developed a Chaise longue made in polyurethane based resin. The thickness and overall structure of the longue again is a consequence of the material strengths and weaknesses of the resin
Maarten Baas, Second-hand
Maarten Baas was asked to create a special edition of his series ‘hey chair.. be a bookshelf’, based on contemporary products. Smart Deco invited the renowned artist Franck Bragigand to collaborate and paint the new bookshelves. Known for painting anonymous products and buildings, Baas’ use of discarded products of the future makes a connection to Bragigand's regular work.
Atelier van Lieshout, Body table
Atelier van Lieshout’s contribution is a large polyester table in the shape of a woman’s torso. This form encourages people to sit at various angles making different ways of interaction possible.
Front, Table by pressure
The Table by Pressure by Front is composed of layered twigs. Each twig has been peeled and pressed together layer by layer to achieve the desired form. The branches maintain their original features, casting shadows like a tree.

Marcel Wanders, Crochet chair and Solid white
Marcel Wanders has created a new application for traditional crochet. His arm chair is composed of crocheted fiber which has been soaked in epoxy and then shaped. The open structure and lightness of the chair provides a nice contrast with the massive marble side table.
Niels van Eijk & Miriam van der Lubbe, Godogan
The table by Niels van Eijk and Miriam van der Lubbe is elaborately handcrafted in Indonesia. Although it is common to produce pieces in Asia to achieve low cost mass production, Smart Deco has gone to Asia for the high level of craftsmanship in that part of the world. Van Eijk and Van der Lubbe together have designed an extremely complicated desk depicting an Indonesian fairy tale that could not have been carved in the West where comparable craftsmanship is rare.
Tjep., Chair of textures
The stainless steel chairs are designed by Tjep. Layers of steel reflect the textures of the individual parts of an upholstered chair. The “House of Textures”, a miniature house, is based on the same principle.
Christopher Pearson, Willow boughs ‘06
Christopher Pearson brings William Morris’ famous “Willow Boughs” wallpaper (1887) to life using contemporary technology: birds sing and leaves move. The animated wallpaper expresses Morris’ romantic ideas about nature, arts and crafts.
Gijs Bakker, Car mirror
The mirror of Gijs Bakker is an ironic comment on men’s relationship with their cars: ‘Tell me what car you drive and I tell you who you are’.
Sophie Lachaert, Shunga candleholder
The Shunga candleholders by Sophie Lachaert tell a story that is both nostalgic and poetic. They recall a time before electricity when candleholders were placed on bedside tables. Inspired by Japanese erotic drawings, the designer shapes these narrative silver candleholders after a beautiful Shunga picture of a couple making love.
  At Design Miami, a showcase for limited editions
Alice Rawsthorn
December 3, 2006
International Herald Tribune