Sculptural influences seen on new furniture designs

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

The Celeste sette by Norwalk features an unexpected asymmetrical silhouette.

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Michelangelo might have been tempted to pick up a few things at this year’s Spring High Point Market. There was a clear sculptural influence on the home furnishings on display — some subtle, some obvious. From undulating lines to strong angles, both upholstery and case-goods showed off their artistic sides. Less a trend than a design direction, the look can have the swirly lines of art nouveau or the hard edges of Bauhaus.

Vanguard’s Spot table is modern contemporary with an ancient Japanese wood treatment called Sho Sugi Ban. Controlled scorching of the wood’s surface was done to prevent frame houses from catching fire and now makes a great finish.

Norwalk’s Celeste sofa and headboard put conventional to rest with an unexpected asymmetrical curve appealing to the nonconformist in all of us.

"We wanted a modern update to the parlor settee. The key to its popularity is that it is well-scaled and comfortable," said Caroline Hipple, a member of the Norwalk design team and Hb2 CEO. "Can’t you imagine its wavelike profile in an elegant beach house?"

Well suited for any environment is Kelly Wearstler’s carved marble side table for E.J. Victor. Sturdy, solid yet somehow sleek. Alden Parkes’ Scalloped end table echoes a classic Greek column with its reeded base.

A more chiseled approach is the Triton Stone side table by Palecek done in a champagne marble tile inlaid over fiberglass.

"Sculptural tables like the Triton Stone side table immediately capture our attention by reflecting man’s ability to translate immutable stone into the ethereal visions of his imagination," said Andrew Palecek. "To communicate this idea, crystal stones are thinly sliced and inlaid at strong angles."

Thomas O’Brien’s low fireplace chair for Century brings to mind works by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, thanks to its long, lean profile. The Winston credenza from Bernhardt Interiors, like the Scalloped table, has an architectural bent with its wavy facade clad in a metal alloy.