RICK OWENS’S FURNITURE: PRECIOUS, HANDMADE AND EXPENSIVE

Plenty of people don't realize that Rick Owens creates furniture, as well as fashion, and that he's done so since 2007.

By Balthazar Malevolent

RICK OWENS’S FURNITURE: PRECIOUS, HANDMADE AND EXPENSIVE

"I'm not the type to make gowns for the ball or do hand-beading," says RIck Owens, the native of California from his Paris office. "It's my couture and my furniture. I use rare materials and specialist skills craftsmen to create unique, uncommon objects."

Rick Owens Furniture at MOCA Pacific Design Center.

It is a forbidden design ethos worlds away from the plush furnishings that fashion designers typically trotted out. Rooted in art rather than lifestyle, with an emphasis on sculpture over comfort, the vast monuments are not constructed to the point that they are built out of heavy rock — granite, basalt, crystal, and other elements that Owens calls "biblical" — with nary a nap in sight, save for a bit of camel-fur wood. The furniture line includes works in cast concrete, plywood, and foam in addition to the millennia-in-the-making materials.

"I love the contrast of huge, cheap foam models next to a rare crystal rock which is incredibly expensive," says Rick Owens.

Rick Owens Furniture at MOCA Pacific Design Center.

Colossal slabs of stone, easily weighing one or two tonnes, undergo large-scale laser-carving and other industrial processes. "Everything is very well organized," Owens emphasizes. "It is not like we drag and polish things ourselves."

While Owens has imbued the rigorously reductionist Brutalist aesthetic in everything he produces, he credits the existence of the furniture to his wife and creative partner Michèle Lamy.

Whatever the case may be, historic representations of Owens appear to have a healthy demand. He's cultivated a group of collectors, like Art Basel in Switzerland, who snap them up from galleries and art fairs all over Europe. But as with other artists, when the topic turns to price he balks; he just wants to know they don't lose money.

So, are we talking about hundreds of billions of dollars? "It costs so," he confirms. "Production is expensive. We don't do this as total indulgence."

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