HIGH-END MODERN FURNITURE DESIGN—IS IT ART WHEN BROUGHT TO LIFE BY ARTISAN HANDS?

Surely, most of us have been engaged in the amorphous “what is art?” conversation. In the course of gathering thoughts for this article, I discovered there’s also an ancillary conversation out there about the definition of an artisan versus a craftsman. There’s definite consensus that an artisan is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates things by hand. Yet, only some profess that through practice, experience and aptitude, the artisan can excel to the expressive levels of an artist. Which brings us right back to that mind-tickling question about the definition of art.

Well…I’m not sure exactly how to define the artisan craftsman. But I know them. I work with them. There’s no question in my mind that what they do is art. They are called upon to bring design and vision to life every day. Beyond the designer, as Jeff Vioski, founder and designer of VIOSKI furniture put it, “they have both the eye and the quality of hand.”

It’s no wonder more and more of us are returning to goods created by the hand of these artisans. What a fulfilling throwback in history, to ancient times before the industrial revolution, before the mass production of goods. Artisans were very highly regarded and held an elevated position in society because they had the skills and expertise to make and deliver valuable goods, many of them quite beautiful. I think we can say the same thing today. There’s something extremely authentic and earnest about artisan craftsmanship that permeates their art.

As Jeff Vioski went on the say, “my world is design, design, design. Finding artisans with the perfect skill set is essential. Without them, designs are lifeless. Like other high-end handcrafted furniture collections, we rely on the expertise and creativity of our in-house artisans to bring our pieces to life. Furniture is sculpting. These artisans are the sculptors.”

It’s through their hands and eye that creations achieve proportion, that form is realized, that finishing details elevate each piece to real and honest beauty.

Our framer has been perfecting his artisan craft for 40 years and knows how to cut even the most challenging curves. Every piece is perfectly shaped. Each double dowel joint is precise and strong.

The artisan framer sees exactly how the wood plays in the design and how the material hugs the frame.

Our fabric cutter understands fabric like the skilled artisans who milled it. Through the lens of thirty years of experience he sees every nuance–texture, stretch, thread, and hand. He instinctually knows where to cut a pattern a little narrower or wider to perfect the design.

The foam artisan is a true sculptor. He knows how to perfectly sculpt foam. He selects which type of foam to use for every element and surface that makes up the whole of a furniture piece. He perfects proportion to achieve not only the look, but also the ultimate comfort.
There’s even an artisan who specializes in pillows. With the know-how to combine the perfect fill types and baffling to deliver a rounded alive look, luxurious comfort–pillows that retain their shape and stay upright better, needing less fluffing and fussing.

Chicago Sofa –13 pieces of different types of foam in a single pillow. Complex cross baffling.

Each handcrafted piece has a slight nuance that’s not noticeable to anyone but the skilled artisan or the designer. The artisan approaches each piece as if it’s their own masterpiece. They pour their pride into every creation, which makes each piece all-the-more special, in my opinion.

So, in my world, I believe what these artisans do is art. They have the eye and the aptitude to create exquisite beauty and function with their hands. I say that’s art. Whether you agree or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

VIOSKI is an experience of artistic expression brought to life in timeless furniture design. Unique in style, charismatic and sensual. Each piece is masterfully created to be simple yet complex. Proportional yet fluid. It’s handcrafted in California by master artisans who devote themselves to extraordinary quality.