Anthropomorphic design is nothing new, but these furniture objects are quite literally made of people. A cross between art photography,performance artand home furniture design, these strange shots show us a surreal artistic perspective on everyday household objects. These photographs may not be safe for work … nor are the creations they depict safe, and they do not really work.
From stacked human shelves to place settings set on structural bodies, arched figures holding entertainment systems to a lamp-headed person, these images shot by photographer David Blazquez feel almost uncomfortably raw and personal.
The feeling of discomfort is augmented, of course, by the nudity of the posed figures – but is also tied to the surreal depictions of familiar forms. The composite ‘people furniture’ seems at once stable and solid yet also simultaneously soft and poised to collapse.
Sensual or sexist? Simplistic or sublime? It is said of the best and most controversial artists in history that they were masters of their craft before they broke away from mainstream techniques, materials or approaches. Likewise, Peter Rolfe did not simply start by making suggestive and erotic pieces of furniture – he began by becoming a master of fine wood furniture design and construction.
These forms may come as a shock to moral sensibilities – or might not, depending upon the cultural context of the viewer. Either way, however, the layered, carved and polished wooden forms are incredibly well-made despite the complexities involved with having opening and closing doors, drawers and other moving elements.
Whether sublime, sexy or something else entirely, each part is carved with incredible delicacy and precision – from the human forms themselves to the props with which they interact – such as the supporting object above designed to look the part of an remarkably life-like cloth draped over a dresser.
Before you begin to wonder whether this work is more sexist than sexual, it is worth noting that he has crafted male forms as well as female ones.
Still, some of the women are modeled with arguably unrealistically ‘perfect’ curves by societal standards – and the locations of some of the drawer openingsand storage spaces do leave open questions about just how erotic these pieces truly are. But perhaps that is their purpose, or at least part of the point: to create conversations, spark controversy and question our avoidance of sexually suggestive forms in contemporary furniture design.