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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wendell Castle fashion furniture - the Alexander McQueen of Furniture

Wendell Castle Sculptural Furniture
Sculptural Furniture by Wendell Castle

Interior Designer in New York City, Inson Wood examines a coffee table by Wendell Castle.

Inson Wood uses a large dining table by Wendell Castle embellished with a crystal horse by Hermes. 

New York City Interior Designer,  Inson Wood used a Wendell Castle table from R 20th Century in a large dining room. 

One of Inson Wood favorite pieces by Wendell Castle and used in the Leonard Blavatnik mansion dining room. 


A chair by Wendell Castle reminiscent of something designed by Alexander McQueen.

Wendell Castle is one of the worlds most sought after furniture deisgners with some of his pieces selling  well into the 6 figure range.  Wendell Castle has been working in the realm of furniture design for decades, but despite the fame he's achieved, his work hasn't ever lost its absurdist appeal. This November, the renown designer and "father of the art furniture movement" will celebrate his 80th birthday among friends in Rochester. In the meantime, the upstate artist and craftsman is being honored in a two-part show at Barry Friedman andFriedman Benda Gallery in New York, titled, "Volumes and Voids" and "A New Environment," respectively. And, on November 29, the artist will show at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville. We spoke to Castle about his life, art and why you need a lot of clamps to get the job done right. It's important to note that when asked about his most prized creation, he said: "If you ask an artist, they’ll say their favorite piece is the one they’re working on now." We liked that a lot. Scroll down for images of his work.
wendell castle interview
A chair by Wendell Castle reminiscent of something designed by Alexander McQueen for Daphne Guiness.
HP: How did you develop your unusual technique?
WC: If you don’t mind a long story, I’ll tell you. I first became interested in working this way in college. The first thing that happened was when I was in junior high school. My father subscribed to Delta Craft, and I saw an article in that magazine about how to make a duck decoy. What it suggested you do is glue up pine and they provided the patterns. It was a crosssection through a duck decoy every ¾“.
Well, I never made a duck decoy, but I never forgot that. Then I remember reading an article about Leonard Baskin in college in Kansas. He had gone to a millwork company and they had glued him up this giant block of mahogany and I thought to myself, if Leonard had only read the article about the duck decoy, he would have saved himself material and trouble. But if you thought in that way, you wouldn’t need to depend on a block of wood, which limits you in how big you can get. But the shop that the sculpture studio had didn’t lend itself to woodworking. It didn’t have ways to joint material, there wasn’t enough clamps and you need a lot of clamps to work this way.

It wasn’t until I took a teaching job at Rochester to have a shop that could allow me to do [the lamination technique]. All you need is glue. The traditional woodworker’s vocabulary lends itself to stick furniture, and I wanted to have mass and volume.

Wendell Castle's pieces are more mannerist than some of the fantastic dresses or shoes to come out of the design house of Alexander McQueen.  It is as if these pieces would suit McQueen's biggest supporter Daphne Guiness, who settled for nothing short of spectacular and one of a kind sculpture made from fabric or some rigid material for her 10" platform shoes.  - Ecomanta