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Publication Date: 2018-12-10

Studio Visit: Jason Mizrahi

After receiving a degree in architecture, contemporary designer Jason Mizrahi quickly found a creative outlet in designing and making furniture. Through minimalist and fluid forms, Mizrahi blurs the lines between furniture and sculpture and approaches each individual piece as a creative breakthrough. Here, the Los Angeles-based furniture designer provides insight into the inspiration behind his brand, specifically delving into the details of his Limited Collection — made up of the Symphony Chair, Belcanto Chair and Denali Coffee Table.

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Q: Could you talk a little bit about your background and how you became a contemporary furniture designer?

A: I was always a very visual person and architecture was a discipline that enhanced my ability to create on every scale. When I graduated with a degree in architecture from Pratt Institute in 2008, it was the height of the recession. With job opportunities being scarce, I found furniture design as a creative outlet that allowed me to channel my ideas into projects related to architecture.

Q: How would you describe your design style and the range of works you create?

A: My work consists of statement pieces that embody a unique balance of contemporary luxury with minimalist sculptural ambition. Each piece represents a creative breakthrough that challenges convention to become something new.

Symphony Chair

Q: What is the concept behind your Symphony Chair?

A: The concept behind the Limited Collection, which includes the Symphony, Belcanto, and Denali, was to change the perception of furniture. When one thinks of a chair, one immediately thinks of something that is linear, has four legs, is very solid, and with a strong, supportive base. Design is about creating something new and not being afraid to be different. I wanted the design to feel expressive, unrestricted by any rules or convention.

The Symphony Chair utilizes the characteristic of metal to offer different perspectives based on the relationship of an object and light. These different perspectives meld like the different movements in a symphony.  The outcome is a furniture design with lines that bend and undulate with the reflections of the light on the metallic surface. The Symphony Chair is about materials expressing emotion, and creating a sense of awe.

Q: What was your inspiration behind the Belcanto Chair?

A: The goal behind this dramatic piece is to change the general perception of a chair as being static and structural. Wood was pushed to its limits by exposing its potential as fluid, dynamic and continuous. I usually focus on a particular element that speaks to me and immediately begin visualizing its potential. Traveling has provided a wealth of visual inspiration that allows me to see things not for what they are but rather for what they can become.

Q: Where do you derive inspiration from?

A: I’ve always admired designers and artists whose work expressed a certain emotion, edge or simplicity. I love architecture from Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, John Pawson and Marcio Kogan. Artists such as Maya Lin, Rodin, Pollock and Rothko. And fashion icons such as Rick Owens, Galliano and McQueen. 

Belcanto Chair

Q: Do you find that your designs often build off one another? For instance, it seems the Belcanto is a further exploration of the Denali Coffee Table?

A: It is actually the other way around. Belcanto was my first design concept, and the Denali table was built off the same curved lines of Belcanto. There are some pieces in the Limited Collection that seem to build off one another because I utilize the fluid movement offered by curved profiles.

Q: Could you talk about the process of designing the Denali Coffee Table?

A: Denali is an experimentation with materials that can be molded into different shapes to show a series of voids. Denali is made of the same polymer material that is used in making aviation parts. It is not fiberglass. Each void was constructed individually with molds that were subsequently joined and layered with this polymer material. The finish was applied by using the same process when a car is painted. The Denali table is deceptively strong but relatively light.

Denali Coffee Table

Q: Your pieces are very sculptural, artistic and at times, abstract — how do you reconcile artistic, interesting form with functionality?

A: Each design is an attempt to attain the perfect balance between form and function, negative and positive space, art and design. Some designs aspire to become more about the expression of the idea, while others become about maintaining the function of the object without losing the conceptual expression. This is what led me to create the Limited and the Home Collection. As a designer, I never wanted to be perceived as a uni-dimensional designer or feel confined to one particular style. I want the freedom to be creative and expand my ideas in various ways. The Limited collection is perceived as sculptural expressions while The Home Collection focuses more on modern luxury for the home.

Jason Mizrahi's "Anabelle" lounge chair in his Home Collection

Q: How do you imagine these pieces behind used? In what type of spaces?

A: Most of the pieces in the Limited Collection are statement pieces that draw attention when someone enters a room. If I may quote a comment from a design magazine, "It is sculpture to sit on, and brings comfort to the eyes and mind."

Q: Could you talk about your Home Collection that you launched in 2018? What was your inspiration behind these products?

A: The Home Collection is a different aesthetics from the Limited Collection. The designs are upholstered pieces that incorporate some architectural elements. In lieu of a sculptural quality, the Home Collection aims for minimalist comfort and introduces more fabric and texture to develop a tone of masculine luxury.

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