A recurrent theme of geometric shape and industrial processes ran through much of the new work on show at the International Contemporary Furniture Festival (ICFF), held in New York in May – particularly that of the small, Seattle-based design studio of Iacoli & McAllister, who presented a striking and angular range of furniture, lighting, jewellery and objects.

The two designers, Jamie Iacoli and Brian McAllister, both took unusual paths to setting up an eponymous studio. Prior to studying industrial design, Iacoli was a philosophy undergraduate and McAllister worked in a woodwork shop and an architectural metal firm – and it shows in their work.
Brought together by a mutual love of welding, the two joined forces in 2009, producing a collection of home goods and furniture, held together by a common materials palette of powder-coated steel, lengths of brass tubing and sand-blasted oak.

It would be easy to infer some kind of mathematical or alchemical thought behind the geometric aesthetic and occasionally mystical-sounding names of their pieces, but the two say it’s all about beauty: proportion, scale, colour and fabrication. They also have a solid commitment to manufacturing solely in the USA.

Their Hex opener, for example, is a weighty ingot carved from a solid brass hexagonal bar commonly used in weightlifting. It is a beautiful piece made from an unpretentious material, for the equally low-key task of opening a beer. The origins of the heavy, graphic Hex paperweight are similarly humble: while searching for materials to use for their next generation of mini-pedestals at a local steel supplier, the designers stumbled on some scrap hex rods: “It wasn’t wide enough for us to use for the pedestals, but it was so strong graphically and had such a nice weight to it that we had to use it for something,” they told Sight Unseen.

Their furniture and lighting range is just as well-proportioned and dedicated to a strong materiality. The Frame light is as simple as the name suggests – a powder-coated frame for a light that sits around the bulb like a protective cage, not hiding or obscuring its purpose in any way. The Algedi table and Panca stool, which also appeared at the ICFF, are similarly unapologetically graphic and no-nonsense, available with legs in either brightly-coloured coated steel or uncoated brass, which will tarnish over time, becoming darker and richer.

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