Michael Anastassiades unveils first furniture for Herman Miller

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Michael Anastassiades unveils first furniture range for Herman Miller

Milan 2016: London-based designer Michael Anastassiades has debuted his first range of furniture for US company Herman Miller, in an installation themed around a 1915 painting.

Anastassiades, who is best known for his sculptural lighting, unveiled his first collection of stools alongside a range of tables and huge versions of his mobile-style lights at the Herman Miller showroom in Milan.

The stools consist of matching round seats and bases, with the smallest version designed to double up as a side table or dining seat. The tallest is for bar seating, while the mid-height is for counters.

Each has one solid round wooden leg and a second leg made from brass with a cross bar.

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

"They're quite abstract and stripped down to the basics," Anastassiades told Dezeen. "It was interesting to try and achieve that really minimal kind of language with very geometric forms almost touching each other with no visible weld."

"I like the challenge of working with a small-scale object, especially being really my first furniture piece in a way," he added.

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

Anastassiades said that he had wanted to create furniture that was almost timeless, to reflect Herman Miller's existing range of classic products by designers like Charles and Ray Eames.

"Herman Miller traditionally has had these classic pieces that everybody knows them for," he said, "and it's interesting because everybody is relaunching the same classics that have been going on for 50 years."

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

"I don't think it's an element of nostalgia, but it's more about the quality of those pieces that has made them survive time," he said. "I was interested in those qualities and stripping the product to its bare essentials to the point that what remains is really the essence of an object, rather than trying to load the product with information."

The stools will initially be available in walnut and american oak, which were selected partly because they would take on more character over time through natural wear.

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

"Herman Miller had very specific requests, but I wanted to challenge what those requests were – their notion of comfort versus a piece that actually has value for me, what makes a product desirable," said Anastassiades.

The stools, which will be available in different finishes at a later date, are on display as part of Anastassiades' installation in the Herman Miller showroom on Corso Garibaldi during Milan design week.

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

Called The Double Dream of Spring, a reference to a 1915 painting by 20th century Italian metaphysical artist Giorgio de Chirico, the installation is housed in a grey room at the front of Herman Miller's space.

A tall arched doorway make direct reference to images within the painting, which shows different overlapping and apparently related scenes.

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

Three oversized brass versions of the Mobile Chandeliers the designer presented at last year's Milan lighting fair hang in the space.

A collection of tables with different heights, shapes and shelving configurations are also on display as part of the show, but these are still in development.

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

Each table is based around an identical cylindrical brass bracket, that can be used to create the different arrangements.

"What you see here was really trying to understand the engineering system of the construction of the tables that allows us to scale it up and play around with the different sizes and heights," explained Anastassiades. "It's all in the bracket that holds the piece, which is a cast element."

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

Cypriot-born Anastassiades started his London studio in 1994 after studying Indsutrial Deisgn at the city's Royal College of Art.

He launched own London-based lighting brand in 2007, and has since only collaborated with a small number of large design companies like Flos.

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

His first ever commercial furniture piece – a two-seat sofa – was launched last year by London design brand SCP to mark its 30th anniversary. But the range for Herman Miller marks his first venture into mass-produced furniture.

"I'm not interested to expand in furniture for my own brand," he said. "The scale is different, the whole selling of the product is also different."

The Double Dream of Spring product exhibition by Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller at Milan Design Week 2016

"I just wanted to wait for the right opportunity," he added, "I wanted something challenging and it's not about the brand name, I'm interested in the history of the company, and that's what attracted me to Herman Miller."

Photography is by Ben Anders.