Anna Karlin furniture collection combines natural and man-made forms
Subverting Domestic Familiarity collection by Anna Karlin

Anna Karlin combines natural and manmade forms in furniture collection

New York designer Anna Karlin has blended organic shapes with machine-cut forms to create a collection of furniture and objects.

Karlin's Subverting Domestic Familiarity collection, which was presented last month at Milan design week, includes a chaise lounge, a coffee table, a table lamp, a floor lamp, stools and chairs.

Subverting Domestic Familiarity collection by Anna Karlin
The totemic Form floor lamp features decorative elements made of cast bronze and marble

The ongoing collection –which is updated regularly – aims to subvert the conventional idea of a domestic furniture object by contrasting sculptural handmade forms with slick machine-cut components.

The designer describes the pieces as "useable sculptures".

Subverting Domestic Familiarity collection by Anna Karlin
The Puddle coffee table set features rounded forms made of maple burl wood

"We have a fundamental need for familiarity, or to be surrounded by natural forms," said Karlin. "Where there is fragility, there is strength; where there is disequilibrium, there is balance; where there is vulnerability, there is support."

"If you take something that at first glance seems familiar, something that resonates with you, or you feel comfortable with, then you can take it and mess with it," she explained.

Subverting Domestic Familiarity collection by Anna Karlin
The Curved chaise lounge has a geometric, curved steel frame that rests against a spun steel sphere

The Form floor lamp has a tall, totemic structure that is designed to be secured between the floor and ceiling.

It features two glass lighting elements – a cylinder and a sphere – and decorative elements made of cast bronze and marble.

Another piece is the Curved chaise lounge that has a geometric, rounded steel frame that rests against a spun-steel sphere. The seat padding consists of a series of cream, upholstered bouclé cylinders.

Subverting Domestic Familiarity collection by Anna Karlin
The Dimple lamp is handblown and has an egg-shaped body

Made using handblown glass, the Dimple lamp has an egg-shaped light diffuser with a subtle indent that supports a reddish, cast marble sphere that sits on a smooth, antique brass cube.

The Chess stools are handmade from steel with a decorative patina. Intended to resemble geometric chess pieces, each stool has a totem-like form made of a series of curved steel shapes of assorted sizes stacked on top of one another.

The Chess stools are made of curved steel components stacked on top of one another

The Puddle coffee table set consists of two parts: a large, amorphously shaped table with cylindrical legs, and a smaller, circular table. Both pieces are made of maple burl wood.

"This piece actually started off as a piece of jewellery but has instead turned into what is now my dream coffee table," said Karlin.

Finally, the W chair is a set of handmade seats that are subtly different in design, meaning that each piece is unique. The chairs features a delicately hand-carved backrest with a curved, wooden back support and knobbly, irregular legs.

The seat is circular and is cut using a CNC-machine, a decision made by Karlin to highlight the contrast between the natural and manmade.

"They look incredibly delicate but they are incredibly sturdy. There's a lot of them in the studio because they get a lot of use and are bashed about," she said.

Subverting Domestic Familiarity collection by Anna Karlin
Karlin handcrafted the set of W chairs so that every piece is unique

Anna Karlin works across the design spectrum. Previous projects range from a renovation of a print shop in New York to collaborating with fellow designer Fernando Mastrangelo on a series of tables that blend their two styles.

Milan design week took place between 9 and 14 April 2019. Other pieces on show included a series of rattan furniture and a set of cylindrical golden drawers and geometric tables made from etched and oxidised metals.