Daniel Arsham’s New Furniture Collection Started With Play-Doh

Daniel Arsham presents “Objects for Living: Collection II”, with Friedman Benda, set to debut on August 30, a new collection of hand-crafted furniture, in a combination of wood, resin, and stone. Curiously, it all started when the artist found inspiration in his sons’ Play-doh, leading him to imaginatively mold forms with his children!

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Daniel Arsham's New Furniture Collection Started With Play-Doh

This is his first exhibition New York City gallery, Friedman Benda (30 August – 25 September 2021). After releasing his first furniture collection in 2019, “Objects for Living”, exhibited at Design Miami, Daniel Arsham kept his exploration of structural and sculptural forms in function furniture pieces.

Daniel Arsham's New Furniture Collection Started With Play-Doh
Daniel Arsham's New Furniture Collection Started With Play-Doh

The new collection features 11 objects, including lighting, a sofa, and a dining table and chair, all presented in Daniel Arsham’s solo exhibition at Friedman Benda. A small but striking series, as each piece was developed from 3D scans of Daniel Arsham’s Play-Doh models, resulting in organic shapes rendered in birch, resin, steel, and bouclé upholstery. Besides, the star materials, also incorporate natural stones, a nod to those he found on the beach behind the Long Island house.

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Objects for Living was born from Daniel Arsham’s desire to create pieces to fit his weekend home on Long Island, a distinctive bungalow designed by American architect Norman Jaffe in 1971, which the artist acquired in 2017. 

Daniel Arsham's New Furniture Collection Started With Play-Doh
The Bamm-Bamm bench. 

Most of the design for this happened during the lockdown in New York. I had gone out to the house in early March and I didn’t really have a lot of materials or things there with me. I started sculpting with Play-Doh, which my boys had loads of, and started modelling different types of forms. I wasn’t thinking that those would be the final forms, but I let them dry and when we came out of lockdown, I ended up just getting them 3D-scanned.

Daniel Arsham
Daniel Arsham's New Furniture Collection Started With Play-Doh
 Wood dining chair
Daniel Arsham's New Furniture Collection Started With Play-Doh
 Floor lamp

These works don’t follow his lines of investigation necessarily, but also represented a significant departure for Daniel Arsham and announces the development of new forms. Each piece’s hand-formed components retain all the characteristics of sculpting in Play-Doh, from the rough edges and indentations on the back of an armchair to the organically shaped legs of the dining table. An almost primitive appearance is present in basically all the pieces, resembling his fascination with blurring and warping time, albeit without the usual archaeological overtones. 

Daniel Arsham's New Furniture Collection Started With Play-Doh
Dino’ Dining Chair from the ‘Objects for Living II’ collection
Daniel Arsham's New Furniture Collection Started With Play-Doh
’Shanghai Chair’ and ’Jaffe Desk’, both made in resin and foam, from Daniel Arsham’s first ‘Objects for Living’ collection, presented at Design Miami in December 2019

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