ICFF 2012 : Design Milk Presents

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May 22, 2012

"Reinvention; Writing History in Aluminum" showcases a collaborative exhibition of New York's AM with Neal Feay Studio of Santa Barbara, Calif. during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF).

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  Bobby Berk home, location of Design Milk Presents: Reinvention; Writing History in Aluminum.  Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
    Bobby Berk home, location of Design Milk Presents: Reinvention; Writing History in Aluminum.

    Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

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  The majority of the pieces in the collection are informed by conversations between the designers and by their own personal narratives. The AM team's upbringing surrounded by nature forms the basis for the story behind "Timber." 

Says Ascalon: "There used to be a lot of trees and everything is now clear cut, with strip malls and big box stores. But when the economy tanks and these stores go under, there's the phenomenon of the grass creeping back up in the parking lot."

Visually, the piece is meant to look like a stretched Glad bag, yet this tension is created not by casting or brute force but by chipping away at a solid piece of metal.  Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
    The majority of the pieces in the collection are informed by conversations between the designers and by their own personal narratives. The AM team's upbringing surrounded by nature forms the basis for the story behind "Timber." Says Ascalon: "There used to be a lot of trees and everything is now clear cut, with strip malls and big box stores. But when the economy tanks and these stores go under, there's the phenomenon of the grass creeping back up in the parking lot." Visually, the piece is meant to look like a stretched Glad bag, yet this tension is created not by casting or brute force but by chipping away at a solid piece of metal.

    Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

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  Aluminum shavings from the milling process, a method referred to at Neal Feay as "throwing chips."  Courtesy of: Sara Dierck
    Aluminum shavings from the milling process, a method referred to at Neal Feay as "throwing chips."

    Courtesy of: Sara Dierck

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  The experimentation and technical capabilities of Neal Feay’s factory inspired the designers. "When I got to the factory my brain was churning immediately," Ascalon says.

A nod to Neal Feay's claim of "Making Music from Metal," this side table - in green and grey - provides a playful visual surprise when one walks around it.  Courtesy of: Sara Dierck
    The experimentation and technical capabilities of Neal Feay’s factory inspired the designers. "When I got to the factory my brain was churning immediately," Ascalon says. A nod to Neal Feay's claim of "Making Music from Metal," this side table - in green and grey - provides a playful visual surprise when one walks around it.

    Courtesy of: Sara Dierck

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  Post WWII, Neal Feay Company created personalized bracelets for retailers such as Neiman Marcus. On a visit to Neal Feay, Ascalon and McSwain found an example of this era of the company's history: A bracelet engraved with the name Bonnie. Brad Ascalon holds their homage to both this discovery and to a part of the company's history: a set of 16 bracelets named “Bonnie.”  Courtesy of: Sara Dierck
    Post WWII, Neal Feay Company created personalized bracelets for retailers such as Neiman Marcus. On a visit to Neal Feay, Ascalon and McSwain found an example of this era of the company's history: A bracelet engraved with the name Bonnie. Brad Ascalon holds their homage to both this discovery and to a part of the company's history: a set of 16 bracelets named “Bonnie.”

    Courtesy of: Sara Dierck

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  Each singular bangle is unique, allowing customization by the one who wears and layers the "Bonnie" bracelets.  Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
    Each singular bangle is unique, allowing customization by the one who wears and layers the "Bonnie" bracelets.

    Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

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  The anodizing process is key in creating not just a vibrant color, but a durable finish. Alex Rasmussen explained that anodizing takes best to milled rather than cast aluminum. "This is inherently not a super high production method,” he says. The dipping method of anodizing allows for bright, saturated color through multiple passes, or subtle details, such as the slight fade from grey to black in the rear "Menorah" piece.Designed by Brad Ascalon for Design Within Reach, and reinterpreted by Neal Feay Studio.  Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
    The anodizing process is key in creating not just a vibrant color, but a durable finish. Alex Rasmussen explained that anodizing takes best to milled rather than cast aluminum. "This is inherently not a super high production method,” he says. The dipping method of anodizing allows for bright, saturated color through multiple passes, or subtle details, such as the slight fade from grey to black in the rear "Menorah" piece.Designed by Brad Ascalon for Design Within Reach, and reinterpreted by Neal Feay Studio.

    Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

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  "The only thing that doesn't have a story is the shoe horn,” Ascalon says. “Frederick and I wanted to design a sexy shoe horn because there are no sexy shoe horns. As we thought about it we realized there is a story there, because sometimes we just want to stylize something. So we called it Achilles."  Courtesy of: Sara Dierck
    "The only thing that doesn't have a story is the shoe horn,” Ascalon says. “Frederick and I wanted to design a sexy shoe horn because there are no sexy shoe horns. As we thought about it we realized there is a story there, because sometimes we just want to stylize something. So we called it Achilles."

    Courtesy of: Sara Dierck

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  With "Lumen," "vice and virtue" are illustrated through a combination of the elements of earth, water, air and fire.  Courtesy of: Sara Dierck
    With "Lumen," "vice and virtue" are illustrated through a combination of the elements of earth, water, air and fire.

    Courtesy of: Sara Dierck

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  The advanced milling process at Neal Feay creates opportunities for fine textural details. A limited edition piece designed by Frederick McSwain.  Courtesy of: Sara Dierck
    The advanced milling process at Neal Feay creates opportunities for fine textural details. A limited edition piece designed by Frederick McSwain.

    Courtesy of: Sara Dierck

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  “Henge,” a deconstructed fruit bowl.  Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
    “Henge,” a deconstructed fruit bowl.

    Courtesy of: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

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  Light plays on the texture of the pattern of "Uluwatu," creating a glass-like optical illusion.

“We do a lot of experimenting before we have any idea what project it’ll go to,” Rasmussen says. “Part of it is about texture and material. We’re always collaborating.”  Courtesy of: Sara Dierck
    Light plays on the texture of the pattern of "Uluwatu," creating a glass-like optical illusion. “We do a lot of experimenting before we have any idea what project it’ll go to,” Rasmussen says. “Part of it is about texture and material. We’re always collaborating.”

    Courtesy of: Sara Dierck

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  Wooden legs appear to press through the aluminum; or, as McSwain puts it: "Nature is trying to reclaim that surface.” 

How this concept's physical presence was accomplished by the Neal Feay team is its own story. "We had these ideas about how the textures could only be here. Bret (of Neal Feay Studio) is basically the guy who made it happen."

"The challenge was being able to make it, but honoring the concept," Bret Van Derhyden said.  Courtesy of: Sara Dierck
    Wooden legs appear to press through the aluminum; or, as McSwain puts it: "Nature is trying to reclaim that surface.” How this concept's physical presence was accomplished by the Neal Feay team is its own story. "We had these ideas about how the textures could only be here. Bret (of Neal Feay Studio) is basically the guy who made it happen." "The challenge was being able to make it, but honoring the concept," Bret Van Derhyden said.

    Courtesy of: Sara Dierck

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