SIG­NA­TURE PIECE

IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT WHEN LOUISE MAL­HO­TRA SPIED HER FIRST MOOOI SMOKE ARM­CHAIR, A UNIQUE PIECE BY DUTCH DE­SIGNER MAARTEN BAAS

Ottawa Magazine - - THIS CITY -

Nowhere is the dy­namic jux­ta­po­si­tion of modernism and tra­di­tion more ap­par­ent in the Mal­ho­tra house than in the Mu­sic Room, with its glass walls and grand pho­to­graphic panorama of the old roofs of Paris. And cer­tainly the most dra­matic pieces of fur­ni­ture in this room — and, in­deed, in the house — are the two Smoke Arm­chairs by Moooi.

“We saw them in New York,” Louise re­mem­bers, “and I loved them on sight. They aren’t just chairs. They’re works of art.” The chairs are tra­di­tion­ally Vic­to­rian in form, with curv­ing backs, low arms, and black-but­toned up­hol­stery in soft black leather. “They’re very com­fort­able chairs,” Louise says.

They are also in­cred­i­bly dra­matic and enor­mously un­usual.

Moooi is a com­pany that treats fur­ni­ture like art and com­mis­sions artists to cre­ate unique de­signs us­ing mixed me­dia. The artist con­tracted in this case was a young Dutch de­signer, Maarten Baas. Hav­ing care­fully con­structed a tra­di­tional, dec­o­ra­tive wooden frame for his de­sign, he set fire to the re­sult. When the wood had achieved a sat­is­fac­tory de­gree of char­ring, he doused the flames and soaked the wood with resin. The re­sult is a shiny black flame-scoured sur­face, dif­fer­ent for each chair but alike in form, process, and con­cep­tion. In the way of all good art, the Smoke Arm­chairs are beau­ti­ful, in­trigu­ing, and mean­ing­ful.

Main photo: De­scribed by de­signer Maarten Baas as “fur­ni­ture fin­ished by fire,” this Smoke se­ries arm­chair was a must-have for Louise Mal­ho­tra

The his­tory: (left) Al­though each of the chairs, two of which are shown in this avant-garde ho­tel, is sim­i­lar, none are iden­ti­cal since the fire af­fects each frame dif­fer­ently; (far left) a por­trait of the de­signer; (be­low left) much cel­e­brated in his...

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