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Work / Product Design

Monaco: “A little bit of 1930s Rome (in drag) for your living-room” by Adam Nathaniel Furman

Architect Adam Nathaniel Furman undertook a residency at the British School in Rome in 2014-15, as he became familiar with the city he was struck by the coming together of Italian style and consumerism with the ancient and resonant architectural and religious traditions. “It’s all present in Rome, there is a duality that runs through the city, there is a seriousness and weightiness – they have a word for it ‘romanita’. It was very present in the fascist period. At the same time there is this totally self absorbed sense of play, pleasure and sensuousness.” When Adam was commissioned to design some furniture for a client in Monaco, he decided to explore this idea further.

While conducting research for the project the architect was fascinated how the arrival of consumerism from the US resonated so strongly in the country. “I found out Googie architecture was very popular in Italy and the ideas merged with the very serious, weighty architecture.” He says. “You just end up with these double coded buildings that are so camp and fun and over the top.”

Adam combined his research and knowledge of architecture to inform how the designs would come together. The pieces were manufactured in London and made of painted tulipwood, MDF and steel. “I tried to make the furniture into little manifestos,” he says. “Using the elemental forms I like the most from the architecture I had been studying, I wanted to create chunks of city, but useful bits of furniture. I took the column, framed elements, the overhang, shadow gaps, colours and combined them to make little buildings for someones flat.”

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Monaco, Adam Furman, 2015

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Monaco, Adam Furman, 2015

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Monaco, Adam Furman, 2015

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Monaco, Adam Furman, 2015

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Monaco, Adam Furman, 2015

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Monaco, Adam Furman, 2015

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Monaco, Adam Furman, 2015
(all photography by Ruth Ward)