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A Louis XV for the Modern Age

Since the Cooper and Hewitt National Design Museum at the Smithsonian Institution is the “only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design,” and since its mission is to “advance the public understanding of design across the twenty-four centuries of human creativity represented by the Museum’s collection,” it’s only fitting that one of the nominees for this year’s Cooper and Hewitt People’s Design Awards is the Louis XV Commode Buffet and Wine Rack by Axis FormLAB.

Louis XV Commode Buffet and Wine Rack, plywood. Designed and manufactured by Axis FormLAB.

You all remember King Louis? And, no, I don’t refer to the street-smooth, banana-swigging, Be-Bop-dancing Simian Royalty who tormented Mowgli in The Jungle Book, but rather to the 18th century Louis, erstwhile King of France from 1715 to 1774, the age of Rococo. If a brief refresher is in order, “Rococo” refers the ornate-style of architecture and design that dominated France (and therefore much of Europe) just prior to their revolutionary war. Likened to “Baroque gone mad,” Rococo designs featured “plain exteriors counter-poised to exuberant interiors, continuous undulating curves, asymmetrical and fluid forms, and whimsical interpretations of classical designs characterized by carved shells and S-shaped curves.” A quick glance at the Louis XV Buffet reveals a piece that confirms some of these attributes and refutes others. Just so, an “historical meets contemporary” flavor pervades.

The overall form and shape is distinctly 18th. Century—anyone who has ever taken an art history course or wandered through the remnants of a European Palace will recognize the subtle curves and miniaturized legs of this distinctive buffet. But, much like the play between inside and outside mentioned above, the guts of the piece are quite different from those of King Louis’ time. Appropriately for fans of contemporary design, there’s nary a carved shell in sight, but rather a geometrical checker-board pattern of criss-crossed shelves and cubbyholes—repository for Louis’ favorite beverage and yours.

Manufacturer Axis FormLAB confirms that the buffet intends to confute the historical and the contemporary: “modernity inspired by the classic lines of the time, this festive piece provides an elegant but playful home for your wine and is a suitable platform to decant and serve hors-d’oeuvres.” Not only that, but it comes in Plywood with Oak Veneer, ghostly-white MDF, and enticing (as well as see-through, so potentially even ghostlier than the MDF version) transparent acrylic. With Axis FormLAB’s Louis XV Buffet and Wine Rack, you can have your history and drink it too.

Posted October 17th, 2008 by Joseph Starr


Comments

  • […] I’m not too much into historic and contemporary design, but I do know that this Louis XV commode Buffet and wine rack is quite interesting. Designed and manufactured by Axis FormLAB in a Rococo style it has subtle curves and miniaturized legs. Apart from trying to mimic the shapes and forms used in the 18th century, the commode is also practical with some sort of criss-crossed shelves and cubbyholes where you’ll get to “stick” your favorite wine bottles. It comes in Plywood with Oak Veneer, ghostly-white MDF, and enticing transparent acrylic, but we don’t have a price for it, yet. - via 3Rings […]

  • […] Furniture of modern designs while having a concept of the 18th century is amazingly beautiful. If you are into history or taking some history lessons and are familiar with the 18th century European Palace, you will really get amazed with this Louis XV Commode Buffet and Wine Rack. The rack totally resembles of the said European palace. Historians will surely recognized how the rack miniaturize its legs and the curves can be easily distinguished. Manufactured by Axis FormLAB, the buffet and wine rack is really designed with the intention of proving that historic concept can create a wonderful modern and contemporary design. - via […]

  • Clarke Olsen says:

    What is really nice about this is the way a 20th cent. pattern intensifies the 18th cent form.

  • […] I’m not too much into historic and contemporary design, but I do know that this Louis XV commode Buffet and wine rack is quite interesting. Designed and manufactured by Axis FormLAB in a Rococo style it has subtle curves and miniaturized legs. Apart from trying to mimic the shapes and forms used in the 18th century, the commode is also practical with some sort of criss-crossed shelves and cubbyholes where you’ll get to “stick” your favorite wine bottles. It comes in Plywood with Oak Veneer, ghostly-white MDF, and enticing transparent acrylic, but we don’t have a price for it, yet. - via 3Rings […]

  • […] designs, undulating curves, organically-inspired forms, and excessive ornamentation (see Louis XV Buffet and Wine Rack). The aesthetic is responsible for the high-backed upholstered armchair, an affectation of the era […]

  • […] computer-enhanced 3D grid drawings of imaginative virtual worlds, or even other furnishings—the Louis XV Buffet and Wine Rack, for one. One of the qualities I most admire about Quarry is its manipulation of rectilinear […]

  • […] legs that ally the individual pieces with the age of Louis XV (and Axis FormLAB’s recent Commode Buffet and Wine Rack). But the achievement of Abril goes beyond the re-visitation of Rococo, because everything about […]

  • Just so, an “historical meets contemporary” flavor pervades.

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