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How Adam & Arthur are reviving straw marquetry

How Adam & Arthur are reviving straw marquetry

It is not uncommon that it takes a beautiful meeting to revive a forgotten know-how, such as straw marquetry. This is what happened when Arthur Seigneur, a young French craftsman newly arrived in Sydney, contacted industrial designer Adam Goodrum in 2015 to see if they could possibly work together. The same year, Bloom, the first fruit of their collaboration as A&A, who made their debuts at the Milan Furniture Fair, was the beginning of a very beautiful collection.

Discover the incredible work of Adam & Arthur, a creative duo who have set themselves the goal of breathing new life into straw marquetry.

 

 

Adam Goodrum and Arthur Seigneur, Longbow Credenza in straw marquetry

Adam and Arthur, straw marquetry wardrobe
Adam and Arthur, straw marquetry wardrobe

The straw marquetry is a meticulous technique similar to marquetry, a technique of veneering wood and materials such as shell and ivory to decorate furniture and other objects. It appeared in Europe in the 17th century and continued to enjoy great esteem in France, particularly during the reign of Louis XV (r.1715-74). Straw marquetry experienced a revival at the beginning of the 20th century thanks to Art Deco light fixtures designed by André Groult, Jean Royère and Jean Michel Frank, the latter uses this technique to decorate entire walls as well as furniture.

Worldwide, there are only about twenty artisans trained to practice this complex and demanding craft, and to his knowledge, Arthur Seigneur is the only one to have worked in Australia.

 

And it is precisely from Australia that straw marquetry is now reborn. As an astonishing synthesis of design innovation and traditional craftsmanship, the two protagonists create their first piece in 2015, the Bloom cabinet, a very unique artwork made of oak and white maple, entirely handcrafted, closed by two oversized doors that form a circle of 1400 mm in diameter. Inspired by the curved symmetry of the lotus flower, which catches and reflects light, the result is a hypnotic and kaleidoscopic design, similar to a sacred mandala.

 

Adam Seigneur and Adam Goodrum, console in straw marquetry

Adam and Arthur, Talleo Tallboy in straw marquetry
Adam and Arthur, Talleo Tallboy in straw marquetry

On the occasion of the Melbourne Design Week 2020, the duo revealed its extraordinary collection in its entirety in the form of a temporary exhibition at the Tolarno Galleries, from March 12 to 28. Each piece is a work of art in itself, and straw marquetry requires a lot of time and meticulousness to complete each realization. Thus, it took between one and two years to complete the recently presented pieces: Archant Console, Longbow Credenza, and Talleo Tallboy in richly colored series of geometric patterns that flow naturally from the shape of each element.

 

When Arthur took months to refine each piece of the collection, including the time it took to dye the straw, Adam was inspired by the shape of the sphericon. This strange "paradoxical solid" of the Escher type is made from the combination of four half-cones, and segments of it can be found at each end of the credenza and in the oblique "frame" surrounding the body of the Talleo Tallboy. "We wish to make proud and confident pieces based on unorthodox forms", Adam explains, adding that each item features custom hinges machined from solid brass, "like jewelry for furniture".

 

Adam Goodrum and Arthur Seigneur, straw marquetry

Adam and Arthur, console in straw marquetry.
Adam and Arthur, Longbow Credenza in straw marquetry.

Great projects can thus emerge when the perfect encounter between tradition and innovation happens, and the objects of Adam & Arthur , in this sense, represent the pinnacle of collectible design, one that is not afraid to skillfully mix past and present to exist in a more beautiful way. Their partnership also demonstrates the benefits of going beyond one's own frame of reference to collaborate with designers, artists, and artisans from other cultures. This gives rise to hybrid furniture and cross-cultural design that you can't do without.

 

 

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Written by

Chloé founded Huskdesignblog in 2016. Ever since, she is decoding every nook and cranny to find the best interiors and furniture ideas for her beloved readers and followers, eager for beautiful things.

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