At AD Home Design Show: Rich, Brilliant, Willing Part II

Not to quibble, Alicita, but your comparison of RBW’s Excel Floor Lamp to Tinker Toys stands on spindly legs at best (much like the delightfully askew base components of the innovative lightpiece). Owing to the spools’ evenly-spaced apertures, Tinker Toys constrained the user to producing structures with a symmetrical aesthetic that, however much the user may have desired to work in the spirit of Friedensreich Hundertwasser or Antonio Gaudí, kept him firmly on the terra firma of Michael Graves.

Russian Doll Wood Table. Designed by Rich, Brilliant, Willing.

I’d bet that the Rich, Brilliant, Willing trio is more apt to align themselves with Hundertwasser and Gaudí—or Dr. Seuss, Tim Burton, and Joan Miró, for that matter—given the imaginative flourish of each of their products. The sentiment holds with not only the Excel Lamp, but also the Excel Perch, and—most especially—the Russian Doll Wood Table.



The metaphor of the somewhat sinister and, to my mind, cannibalistic child’s toy is a great rhetorical device to get the conversation going vis a vis issues relating to efficient use of space (see Four Chairs in One), as well as twinning and/or the mysteries of the hidden or internal structure. But I’m happy to say that RBW’s use of the motif adds a new (or re-discovered) meaning—that of infinity. This notion begins with the table’s construction: made of inter-laid wooden slats of varying lengths and widths (the longest of which do double duty as the table’s legs), each joined to a neighbor such that, eventually, the assemblage loops around to form an impenetrable kind of skirt, topped with a simple circle of glass.

The concept embraces a dynamic of over/under that would, logically, point to movement away from a fixed point. That is, if we continually place something underneath something else we’d be building an expansive structure. But by integrating the Yin/Yang dynamic of over/under with the Colombian paradox of sailing around the world, RBW’s Russian Doll shows that the two are not mutually exclusive. The piece reminds me of a certain meaty aphorism: “walk far enough in the same direction and you’ll end up back where you started.” There’s big symbolic stuff to be gleaned therein, but the genius of RBW’s Russian Doll is to make the theoretical tangible, to show that big “philosophical” ideas can result in innovative furnishings. And the bonus? Attendees of this weekend’s AD Home Design Show will experience first-hand another of RBW’s fantastical, whimsical, and captivating products.

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