While art and design are usually kept in separate categories, inspired furniture makers and craftspeople of all kinds have been mining art history for ideas for ages.
Recently, designers’ efforts to marry the worlds of fine arts and design have resulted in new furniture and accessories that both pay homage to a few beloved art-world icons, and wonderfully blur the distinction between these two disciplines.
Below, eight picks of the best of the best in furniture and home accessories, inspired by the work of artists like Piet Mondrian, René Magritte, and more.
Twentieth-century painter and all-around badass Sonia Delaunay took an affinity for quilt-making and, with husband Robert Delaunay, created Orphism, a colorful movement that was a little bit Cubism, a little bit rock and roll.
Shanghai-based designers Maison Dada took her vibrant spirit and applied it to Sonia et Cætera, an homage in the form of a color-blocked dining table.
“Sol Lewitt is the ultimate geometric artist,” according to Theo Richardson of lighting studio Rich Brilliant Willing. It’s true; much of Lewitt’s three-dimensional work (which he called “structures” instead of sculptures) was built on repeating cubes. Taking cu[b]es from the late minimalist, RBW and Rockwell Group designed a bare-bones chandelier of right-angled parts, and with a little sense of humor, they named it Witt.
In the late ’60s, Frank Stella started his now-iconic Protractor series—vibrant paintings of large-scale concentric circles, just like the name would suggest.
“It struck me as the perfect gesture,” says designer Kelly Behun, who, as an homage to one of her favorite artists, installed a 20-foot-wide custom channel-tufted-mohair headboard in the luxe new 432 Park Avenue model penthouse.
In the 19th century, the Russian artist Kazimir Malevich birthed Constructivism, a movement of dynamic paintings made from basic two-dimensional figures.
“When we discovered his work at LACMA years ago we felt an immediate connection to his work and philosophy,” says Jean Lee of Seattle-based Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, and then last year, the new Kazimir Pendant was born. It features overlapping panes of glass in contrasting shapes, textures, and colors.
It’s really no secret that Damien Hirst is fond of pills; the irreverent English art-world bad boy has both a whole sculptural series of Medicine Cabinets and a London restaurant decked out like a Dayglo pharmacy.
Channeling this chemical appreciation is Jonathan Adler, who’s got both two-tone acrylic gelcap paperweights and little brass tablet-shaped boxes, ideally suited for holding—you guessed it!—more pills.
Just in time for spring flowers, the shop brought in Danish designer Frank Kerdil’s 2009 transparent acrylic Mondri Vase, compartmentalized in De Stijl’s signature primary colors.
Turn to the MoMA Design Store for your ceci-n’est-pas-morning-coffee: the Surrealist Sugar Bowl by Peter Ibruegger, a fine-bone-china reincarnation of the recurring bowler hat motif in Magritte’s work. It’s best recognized from his 1964 painting, “The Son of Man,” more commonly known as that guy with the apple in front of his face.
For a dose of breakfast levity, MoMA Design Store will also have egg cups in the always-appetizing shape of the most famous urinal of all time: Duchamp’s 1917 “Fountain,” a historic work that totally subverted existing notions of what art could be. (To date, these notions have still not recovered.) The Dada Egg Cupwas also designed by Peter Ibruegger.
Bonus one-stop shop: The MoMA Design Store
Because M stands for “modern,” Magritte, Mondrian, and Marcel (Duchamp, that is), the MoMA Design Store is naturally your go-to for tabletop homages to these groundbreaking modern artists this season.