Robert Wilson – American Furniture Designer

Posted on 14th September 2011 in American Designers

Robert WilsonRobert Wilson – Born in Waco, Texas in 1941, Robert Wilson is a multi-talented artist, performer, director, lighting designer, sculptor and furniture designer. When creating modern furniture and sculpture pieces for his stage productions, they are usually limited collections, highly prized for his imagination and re-envisioning of the material world. His works can be seen in galleries, museums and of course as part of private art collections.

First studying business administration at the University of Texas, he continued his studies and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in 1965. Expanding his artistic repertoire, he also studied painting with George McNeil and architecture with Paolo Soleri.

Forming his own company in 1968, one of his first successes was his collaboration with Philip Glass for the production of “Einstein on the Beach” in 1976. He designed the Einstein on the Beach Chair that appears to be an elongated segmented chair of steel.

His reinterpretation of function through form sometimes provides for a second look. Such is the case in the Parzival chair which literally has its shadow attached to it. It was inspired by the production “Parzival” in 1987 and made of bleached birch with black lacquer. He also likes to play with scale in its extremes as shown with the pencil thin soaring lines of the Little Prince Chair designed for “Wings on Rock” in 1998, the Elsa Chair designed for “Lohengrin” in 1991 made of brass and the impossible over the top Lear Throne which has a back almost 166 inches high.
For the production of “Madame Butterfly” in 1992, the Madame Butterfly Chair is made of lacquered wood, bamboo and steel and the Malady of Death Chair designed for the production of “The Malady of Death” in 1992 sweeps with soaring, modern minimalist lines that twists onto itself using upholstery over wood.

“The chairs that I’ve designed are more like sculptures, I always give them names…The Marie Curie chair, made from thin, steel rods, comes with an audio tape extract from the scientist’s dairy.”

The Meek Girl Chair designed for the production of “The Meek Girl” in 1994 is a simple design of a wonderfully curved back suspended by a single rod above a half circle seat, both of wood with veneers and a single extended animals hoofed leg.

The Pamina Bed designed for the production “The Magic Flute” in 1991 and the Leonce and Lena Bed are fanciful ideas of a function. Modern furniture is accelerated with his design of the Rudolf Hess beach Chairs, 1979 constructed of nickel plated and steel and Marion’s Chaise designed for “Danton’s Death” in 1992 prove his facile incorporation of function to form, pure modern furniture.

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