Meta at Design Miami

Design Miami 08: luxury design brand Meta exhibited work new by Wales & Wales, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, and Patrick Blanchard at Design Miami last week.


Called 'Meta: Masterpieces and Materials Past and Present', the installation incorporated four new pieces and the brand's inaugural collection (launched in Milan earlier this year), alongside furniture from Meta's parent company, antiques house Mallett.


New pieces include a writing desk by Wales & Wales made of prehistoric bog oak with a yellow, lacquered pen tray, a gilt version of Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby's Cidade surtout de table candelabra (above), a monochrome version of their Cupola reading table (below), and table lamps by Patrick Blanchard called Acanthus that are intricately carved from lime wood (top image).


The following information is from Meta:


Meta Makes Miami Debut with the unveiling of Four New Special Editions

Exhibition of Meta Collection and Mallett Masterpieces will present Monuments of Design spanning 300 Years

Meta, a new company launched this year by the prestigious antiques house Mallett, will make its Miami debut this December at Design Miami with Meta: Masterpieces and Materials Past and Present. The installation will include the U.S. premiere of four special editions, displayed alongside the inaugural Meta collection and some of Mallett’s most historically important pieces of furniture and objets d’art, representing the finest examples of materials, design manufacturing and workmanship over time.


Meta: Masterpieces and Materials Past and Present will be on view December 3-6, 2008, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Mosaic Suite 100, 161 NE 40th Street (between 1stand 2nd Avenues) in Miami. All of the works in the public exhibition are for sale. Above and below: L'Armoire by Tord Boontje


Continuing to set a new standard in contemporary design through the combination of 18th-century knowledge and exquisite materials with 21st-century aesthetics, Meta is unveiling four new additions to the collection including: a special edition of the Glissade writing desk by Wales & Wales made of prehistoric bog oak with a yellow lacquer pen tray; a fully gilt version of Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s Cidade surtout de table (candelabra) and a monochromatic edition of their hand-blown glass Cupola reading table; and Patrick Blanchard’s intricately carved Acanthus table lamps made of translucent lime wood.


Glissade Acanthus The bog oak used for the Wales & Wales writing desk, which is carbon dated back to 3300 B.C. and was excavated from a peat bog near Cambridge, England, is exceptionally rare and required a unique process of kiln drying and immediate de-oxygenation to prevent disintegration. The desk’s yellow lacquer pen tray is an exact match of the color used exclusively by the Emperor of China until the fall of the Qing Dynasty. Above and below: The Fig Leaf by Tord Boontje


Creating Cidade in vermeil
Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have replaced clean, contemporary, highly-mirrored reflections with a warmer and enriching tone that encourages a softer play of light. Their glamorous new black reading table is a monochromatic take on the original version in Venini red, white and aquamarine. Blanchard’s table lamps, reminiscent of the art nouveau period, feature flutes formed of delicately wrought acanthus leaves for a soft candle-like glow.


Meta’s first collection of contemporary objects and furniture has been produced from extraordinary materials by artisans employing and testing the limits of techniques and processes inherited from the 18th century. Historical research has been carried out to rediscover lost metals of the highest standard and finest finish, from 958 Britannia silver to paktong, a re-discovered metal derived from an 18th-century Chinese candlestick, to Tula steel not used in furniture since the reign of Catherine the Great. Setting the contemporary designs against Mallett’s collection of rare works from the past, the Miami installation will demonstrate how Meta’s first collection combines fine detail and an expansive view of the history of design.


Giles Hutchinson Smith, Managing Director of Mallett & Son (Antiques) Ltd. says: “Over the last several years, we have noticed clients increasingly seeking our advice on where they might find contemporary furniture and objects of equal quality to their existing Mallett antique pieces. This led us to the creation of Meta and to the presentation of this special exhibition exploring the many parallels between the pieces in both collections.” Above and below: Mnemos by Asymptote


Alison Sachs, Managing Director of Meta adds: “The genesis of Meta sprang from the simple idea that quality, exquisite attention to detail and thoughtful selection of materials and construction is as desirable and sought after today as it was in the past, which is demonstrated in Meta: Masterpieces and Materials Past and Present.”


Among the Mallett pieces selected to represent the most extraordinary design and manufacturing of their time is an early 18th-century black and gilt japanned bureau cabinetthat was chosen for its unusual provenance and the rarity of its elegant floral and fauna lacquer work. The japanned bureau will be displayed along with two Tord Boontje wardrobes from the Meta collection, all of which reflect a time when craftsmen vied to out-do each other’s skills to attract wealthy patrons. Boontje’s Fig Leaf wardrobe is adorned with 616 hand-painted (front and back) enamel leaves and his wood veneered L’armoire, like the japanned bureau, features a number of hidden drawers.


Also on view will be Mallett’s pair of 1930 polished steel side tables from England, which combine clean contemporary lines with Renaissance gothic design, similar to Asymptote’s (Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture) use of historic Tula steel and traditional etching for the Ivo _03 coffee table (below).


In addition the exhibition will include the only existing pair of Chandos armchairs, two George I gilt gesso chairs made in 1718 by the royal cabinet maker and designer James Moore for the first Duke of Chandos, which represent a high point in the decorative arts and are amongst the finest English furniture ever made. The Duke and Duchess would sit in these chairs in their music room, where they listened to The Chandos Anthems that Handel composed for them. Ironically, these luxurious chairs were created a year before one of the worst market downturns in history when the Duke lost his fortune. The sale of the chairs, amongst other works of art, helped his family to remain solvent.


Meta’s Design Miami installation is designed by architect John Nastasi, whose innovative use of individual dioramas with geometric patterns derived from traditional Chinese Silk wall coverings creates an ideal environment for the integration of the Meta and Mallett pieces. Nastasi’s use of rigorous geometry combined with a high level of digital craftsmanship explores the commonality of the most exquisite designs of the past 300 years.


Additionally, the installation will feature Meta’s first collection of richly detailed, functional and unique pieces, designed to be lived with and enjoyed. Although each piece is available for sale, the availability of the finest master craftsmen and the particular requirements of the techniques used to create the Meta collection will often only allow a few pieces to be produced each year. In addition, the unpredictability of obtaining only the highest quality materials prevent Meta from guaranteeing that any single combination of materials, colors and finishes will be available in the future. Above and below: Cupola by Barber Osgerby


The original Meta pieces on display will include: Asymptote’s gold boxes, Mnemos_01, _02, _03, and the Ivo_03 coffee table; Barber Osgerby’s original Cupola reading table; Boontje’s L’armoire cabinet and grand Fig Leaf Wardrobe and Matali Crasset’s Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend 1 paktong lantern and wall sconces and Diamond Are a Girl’s Best Friend 2 mirror.


Meta and Mallett
Meta was launched in 2008 by the venerable antiques house of Bond Street, Mallett. Founded in 1865, Mallett is one of the world’s pre-eminent antiques houses, specializing in 18th-century furniture and objects. Private collectors as well as many of the world’s greatest museums, from the Victoria and Albert in London to the Metropolitan Museumin New York, look to Mallett for exemplary pieces that represent an object’s design, execution and pedigree. Meta carries on this tradition of dealing in exquisite objects by commissioning leading contemporary creatives worldwide to develop pieces which fuse the best of 18th-century techniques and materials with 21st-century design. Above and below: Cidade by Barber Osgerby


John Nastasi, Nastasi Architects – Installation Design
John Nastasi, a practicing architect and design educator, founded Nastasi Architects in 1990. The award-winning studio is committed to the creation of architecture that is informed by philosophical thought while responsive to practical concerns. Nastasi serves as the Founding Director of the Product-Architecture Lab, an interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Product Design, Architecture and Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is an alumnus of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, a recipient of Harvard’s Rice Prize for advancement in Architecture and Engineering and a 1996 recipient of the Young Architects Award from the New York Architectural League, among other honors.


Above: Glissade by Wales & Wales


Above: Diamonds 1 Sconces by Matali Crasset


Above: Diamonds 1 by Matali Crasset


Above and below: Diamonds 2 by Matali Crasset


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