A lot of people still don’t realize that Rick Owens creates furniture besides fashion, and that he’s done so since 2007. He began experimenting with furniture design in his own home in 2005 when Parisian gallerist and dealer Philippe Jousse saw his work and helped introduce Rick’s furniture to the public. It was quickly received as a direct extension of his rebellious aesthetic, with its bold mix of material, texture and functionality; proving that his own artistic universe doesn’t limit to the reaches of fashion, but to a lifestyle. Amongst his influences there’s the brutalist movement, German bunkers from World War II and architects like Robert Mallet-Stevens or Marcel Breuer.
It is obvious that much of what Rick Owens does and his level of recognition in art circles is due to his creativity and remarkable aesthetic, but it wouldn’t be possible without his wife Michèle Lamy, who is also his creative partner. The teamwork begins at prototyping after Rick had already drawn the designs on paper. Their main tools are a passion for art, a kitchen knife and two pairs of loving hands. Then they use the services of a dealer who travels the world sourcing for elements and unique materials.
Here are some extracts from an interview with the New York Times magazine:
“The furniture — which was never a necessity for us — was something that we just did for ourselves to satisfy our own aesthetic appetites and our personal needs. When I was first starting at furniture, I was talking about my message of intent: it was something like, ‘a fur on a rock, next to a fire, in a cave.’ And I literally created a rock, the rock that I wanted.”
“Michèle has always said in interviews that we didn’t get together to have babies, and that’s true. But this is kind of our baby, because this is very much a story of a relationship. This is my aesthetic and I pass the ball to her, and then she responds and passes the ball back to me. That’s what the furniture has become.”
“It’s not that cozy, I want it to last forever. I want it to outlive us all. I want it to be monumental. I think we have enough coziness in our lives. Isn’t it nice every once in a while, to have a little bit of discipline and to have something that makes you sit up kind of straight? Comfort isn’t everything.”
Written by Iñaki Alaba