One of my favorite living designers is Herve van der Straeten, a Frenchman who started out in engineering before switching to jewelry, furniture and lighting design. An important proponent of the neo-Baroque, van der Straeten's designs can nevertheless be found in an eclectic variety of interiors,
Van der Straeten's pieces tend to be sculptural to the point of kineticism, as if the materials are actively forming themselves into tenuous, even ephemeral shapes — but of course they are frozen in space, and made out of sturdy metals.
Van der Straeten's process is rooted in the handcraft traditions of French decorative arts, and some of his objects reflect this heritage. His convex mirror, for example, recalls the sunburst forms of Line Vautrin as well as the Sun King himself, Louis XIV. His pendant lights take traditional lantern and chandelier forms and tweak them by playing with the materials in novel ways. Many of his pieces walk a daring line between tradition and innovation, and as a result, they are thoroughly modern while still being able to fit into almost any surrounding.
Unfortunately for me, his pieces are (way) out of my price range, but they have a permanent place on my wish list. Which is your favorite?
1 Van der Straeten's lantern-esque fixture in the entrance to Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece's home, via Studio Annetta
2 Herve van der Straeten at home with his Dada Mirror and aluminum stool, photo by Richard L. Harbus for the New York Times
3 A view of van der Straeten's apartment, with stools, table and mirror all by the designer, via my-iconicdesigns
4 Gallery view of several van der Straeten designs via designgallerist
5 A branchy convex mirror, photo by Vicente Wolf for Elle Decor
6 A convex sunburst mirror surrounded by sconces, photo by Phil Mansfield for the New York Times
7 An interior designed by Sara Story with a van der Straeten light fixture, via Sara Story Design
8 Frederic Fekkai's New York apartment has a van der Straeten pendant over the dining table, photo by William Abranowicz for Elle Decor
9 A branchy chandelier by van der Straeten, photo by Eric Piasecki for Elle Decor
10 Van der Straeten's stools and mirror at Ralph Pucci.
Sources: Herve van der Straeten designs are available through the Galerie van der Straeten and Ralph Pucci, as well as at other high-end dealers like Maison Gérard.