Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful Wares

Image via BESSA Image via BESSA

The market for collectable design is thriving right now, and weird, wacky curios have never been more popular.

Words: Erin Stobie

Bolstered by the emergence of curated online shopping experiences and the popularity of fairs and festivals like Salon Art + Design and Design Miami; the design world is enjoying a renaissance among a whole new generation of collectors and consumers.

Adventurous contemporary designers are making a booming trade, with their wonderfully weird wares often proving to be some of their most sought-after.

Portuguese art and design brand Bessa are a great example. Bessa makes and creates exclusive and luxurious home decor inspired by classical design and the charm of bygone eras, although their statement pieces prove especially popular.

Image via BESSA

One of their latest designs, the eponymously named ‘Monroe’ floor lamp, is made from 45kg of handcrafted solid brass. The design of the ’Monroe’ lamp captures the essence of Marilyn Monroe’s image, and the sensuality of her long, shapely legs.

Mounted on the gilded base is a lamp shade made from chenille fabric. A deep teal colour, the shade is designed to be reminiscent of fashions popular at the height of Monroe’s fame in the 50’s.

The ‘Monroe’ lamp is made using solid brass, varnish antioxidant, and chenille fabric, and measures W 40cm (15,7’’) and H 180cm (70,8’’). All Bessa pieces can be customised upon request. Visit the Bessa website for information regarding stockists and pricing.

Image via The Cool Hunter Store

A smaller scale conversation piece is the Gala round vase by Jonathan Adler. Inspired by the wife and muse of Salvador Dalì, Gala, the vessel is made using unglazed matte porcelain.

Adler throws the models for the ‘Muse’ vases by hand at his studio in Soho, New York. He then substitutes the studio’s signature geometric patterns for the sensual shapes—faces, breasts, and lips—of the ‘Gala’ series.

The ‘Gala’ round vase by Jonathan Adler is available at The Cool Hunter Store in Prahan, Melbourne, and online. ($345)

Image via Pamono

German contemporary designer Elisa Strozyk specialises in handmade design objects. By using unexpected materials in the making of everyday objects, Strozyk’s works challenge the traditional expectations of design.

To create the works in her series Wooden Textiles Strozyk affixes small, tile-like pieces of wood to bases of fabric. The individual geometry and size of the maple and bubinga tiles mean each design has a unique range of pliability.

The textiles can be used as floorings, curtains, drapes, plaids, upholstery, or as parts of furniture. The timber is dyed using a special technique designed to emphasise the natural structure and patterns of the wood.

Elisa Strozyk’s Fading Wooden Textiles Tablecloth is available from Pamono. Each piece is made to order, by hand, and is one of a kind. The textile is 180 cm W x 120cm H. ($2,869)

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Brazilian designer duo Humberto and Fernando Campana together make up the Campana Brothers. The siblings have been making furniture together since 1983, and have become renowned the world over for their extraordinary furnishings made using very ordinary materials.

Furnishings by the Campana Brothers have included pieces made with everything from cardboard and rope, to wood scraps, felt sheets, plush toys, plastic tubes, and aluminium wire.

This chair, the Edra Vermelha, is made using roughly 500 metres of special cord. The rope, which has an acrylic core covered with cotton, is woven onto the steel frame to form a base. Successive layers are then knotted together to form a random weave.

The steel structure is coated with epoxy powders and the legs with satin-finish aluminium. The rope comes in several colour options — Green, Blue, Red or Black ($9.781USD), or metallic Silver or Gold ($11,500USD). The ‘Edra Vermelha’ chair by the Campana Brothers is available through HUNDREDMILE via