Rick Owens is a fashion designer known for his fluid draping designs that loosely fold and layer around the body with an ease that creates a soft silhouette for both men and women. His clothes offer an alternative to structure and tailoring that other fashion houses provide and evoke a sometimes rag-like or tattered sensibility where nothing is overly form fitting yet look modern and effortless. His fashion house began in Los Angeles in 1994 but has also been designing furniture since 2005 with his first solo show exclusively of his furniture at MOCA Pacific Design Center.
His furniture, like his clothes, is sculptural with a monochromatic color palette that ranges from white to black and occasionally brown. However, unlike his clothes, they are minimal, stark somewhat cold. His choice for materials in this collection includes concrete, marble, leather and alabaster, to name a few. His pieces range from benches that are small and modular or extremely long with bookended armrests to narrow chairs made of ox bone – all of which are encouraged to be experienced and are reasonably comfortable. His furniture possesses a duality that is both functional seating and sculptural with pieces that are stackable like that of a totem. The furniture has a massive brutalistic presence and is perhaps more befitting outdoors than indoors, yet there is an elegant grandeur in his work here.
Perhaps some of the esthetic discrepancy from his clothes to his furniture may be due in part to the driving force of Owen’s wife and business partner Michèle Lamy, who is a co-collaborator for his furniture and is the creative force behind this exhibition at MOCA. The furniture is paired with a looping video of Rick Owens working at his studio and Michèle Lamy. Additionally, the work is complimented by painting by American artist Steven Parrino – whose work is also sculptural and evokes a nihilistic elegance.
FINAL DAYS – ends April 2 at the MOCA Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.