A conversation with CostelloTagliapietra

"This was our very first opportunity to design a piece of furniture so admittedly we were like kids in a candy store. Poor Jean (de Merry) had to rope us in a bit!"

Costello Tagliapietra's work in progress for JDM-10

Recently, a very certain chair stole my afternoon attention. It all happened so suddenly. I was walking down the street, when the beast appeared. The chair continued to haunt me, and confuse me! Horns reaching into the air, looping around, with a glittery disco ball underneath a cushion made of fur... Wow. A sudden rush.

The chair I speak of is sitting proudly in the window of the Jean de Merry showroom here in Los Angeles. I was grateful to be offered a full tour of the 10 works that are part of the 10 year anniversary collaboration project for Jean de Merry, and discovered the chair was created by NY fashion designers, Costello Tagliapietra.

I reached out to them in the hopes of understanding more about their process. They were kind enough to send a few sketches of the beast in progress! Their final work will be shown until September 2 in the Melrose Place, Los Angeles showroom. All of the works included in this show are beyond gorgeous, exquisitely crafted, and have a timelessness about them.... Thank you Sean Yashar for inviting YHBHS to see these works in person.

Each guest designer has collaborated with Jean de Merry to create their own limited-edition piece of furniture, casegood or decorative art piece to be sold with 100% of the net proceeds going toward the charity of the artists’ choice. The JDM-TEN participating designers included: Costello Tagliapietra, Oliver Furth, Katherine Heigl, Molly Isaksen, Joe Dahan of Joe’s Jeans, Karolina Kurkova, Kara Mann, Joel Morrison, Irene Neuwirth and Gregory Parkinson. In the new week, I'll post some images of the other works in progress that are included in this show...... All of the photographs are taken by Bethany Nauert... Thank you Bethany....

two sketches of the chair....

There appears to be a sense of freedom in the design of this chair. An over the top element that carries me away, if you will! How did you arrive at the idea for
the JDM-10 chair?

This was our very first opportunity to design a piece of furniture so admittedly we were like kids in a candy store. Poor Jean had to rope us in a bit! We really wanted this to be something special unto itself and feel not necessarily ours or JDM but live somewhere in between. What JDM does is so handcrafted which really spoke to the way in which we work, so the chair really came out of that. The computer screen was covered in images ranging from Norwegian death metal photos, vintage photos of hunting cabins to horned animals. In the end we wanted a bit of humor to come through and for the person who sits in it to appear as though the horns were coming out of their head.

Talk about the silver sphere that is mounted underneath the seat? A reference to the past lives of the disco era? What other materials are incorporated?

Personally we have been really drawn to the culture and history of the seventies and early eighties particularly gay culture and how we connect to that history. There is something so iconic about a silver ball, originally we had thought about mercury glass but were thrilled to see Jean interpret it as a disco ball of sorts and we love that the chair has that slightly subversive feel to it almost fetish-y in a way but indefinably so.

Rick Owens, and some other fashion designers have designed some incredible furniture + interiors. Do either one of you have a desire to design more furniture? Have you designed furniture in the past?

It is a huge interest for us. The hope for the clothes we make is that they provide a lasting love to the owner. We hate the idea of seasons dictating what people wear and really hope to create things that live beyond both season and trend. Furniture is something that you must think of in this way, few people have the luxury of changing their furniture seasonally but instead buy things they know they can live with and connect with in a very deep way. There is something really special about that and we would love to see filter into the way people buy everything; collecting rather than consuming.

Jean de Merry
& Christian D. Maroselli opened their first showroom in Los Angeles in 2001, but the journey to where they find themselves today can be traced back hundreds of years to the limestone plateaux of the Causse Noir in South Central France. By the 19th Century, the leather tanning process of de Merryʼs ancestors had pioneered and cultivated what came to define this rural location as one of the premiere leather manufacturing regions in Europe. Utilizing long held family secrets; re-creating and refining the process of aging rawhide in order to create hand-crafted goods that look and feel like treasured family pieces, the result was the starting point for the Jean de Merry brand, which resulted in an exclusive, signature line of club chairs. These artisanal pieces are hand-dyed and hand-aged as they were in a wonderful bygone era, when quality and integrity were evidence of a skilled and talented craftsperson.

Today, Jean de Merryʼs visionary line offers flawless execution of subtle palettes, discreet, sophisticated finishes and sleek lines that create a harmonious, artful juxtaposition to the raw beauty of their organically crafted leather pieces. With a strong appreciation and respect for pedigree and community alike, they have created furniture that embodies the classic elements of design while still being original and personal. Never modish but always stylish and relevant, these pieces are the heirlooms of the future. The instinctive and emotional relationship they have with their collection is what defines Jean de Merry as an iconic creative visionary and as an extraordinary brand.

Visit Jean de Merry.
All of the photographs are taken by Bethany Nauert...
Costello Tagliapietra's Fall/ Winter 2011 collection here...