Rick Owens and Michéle Lamy Let Us in on Their Creative Process


In the introduction to his new Rizzoli tome, Rick Owens: Furniture, the Paris-based designer posits himself as the temperamental foil to his longtime partner and collaborator, Michèle Lamy. The principal design force and producer behind Owens’s furniture line, Lamy might be described as contemplative, dramatic, and comfortable questioning a seemingly mundane “how” or “why.”

Owens, for his part, allows for a love of formality—fashion system deadlines included—and a pedantic personality. With Lamy the yin to Owens’s yang, a similar duality plays out in the couple’s furniture and designs. Marble and bronze feature alongside plywood and concrete; Owens’s earliest works juxtapose stripped down, angular stools with mink embellishments or antler adornments. More recent pieces employ pre-fab materials and appear in multiples or angular forms, conjuring ‘60s-era Minimalists like Donald Judd, Anne Truitt, and Sol LeWitt. Owens explained the movement’s appeal to CR via email: “There was a Utopian aspiration to it that I think has become sullen and snarky in the contemporary art world…”

The duo’s creative process is reductive, and allows for a sort of inversion. Materials like alabaster are used to construct a large bed, depriving the erstwhile sanctuary of its inherent coziness; decorative screens, typically designed to beautify a room as much as demarcate space, are rendered over nine feet high in thick black plywood. The pieces are purposely oversized, streamlined, and cooly graceful with Brutalist underpinnings.

Interviews with Owens, multiple quotes from Lamy, and images of the couple together appear throughout the book. Yet it is Lamy who is credited by Owens with setting the proverbial design wheels in motion. It’s she who nurtures craftsmen and artisans and she who established the temporary design space ahead of the launch of the MOCA Los Angeles exhibition that shares its name with Owens’s book. Asked what he likes best about working with Lamy, the designer writes, “Her sense of chic is raw and elegant and unfiltered and ferocious. I trust and believe in her aesthetics in a way I trust no one else on earth.”


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createdAt:Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:35:13 +0000