Launching a piece of furniture is always a big event, but nothing compares to a debut during Art Basel Miami Beach, and at an Art Deco villa, which serves as a semi-private residence and showroom for the furniture brand Avenue Road.
In 2019, when I first introduced my Apple Box side tables, I crafted them in three versions of wood and precious stone. Their form (and name) derives from the wooden boxes used on television sets, from light stands and stools to steps that give short actors more height. I wanted to elevate these humble and hardworking objects by reimagining them in exotic materials.
Four years later, I developed the boxes in a new material expression, this time fabricated in 16-gauge satin brass. During Miami Design Week, two versions of the new boxes – one in a natural finish, the other blackened – were presented at Avenue Road’s showroom bungalow on Pine Tree Drive. It was wild to see how comfortable they looked in an Art Deco house originally designed in 1932, and among furniture, lighting and art pieces by so many designers I admire, including Sebastian Herkner, Christophe Delcourt and Yabu Pushelberg.
The new Apple Boxes are slightly larger than the originals. They have an uneven surface that adds another layer of interest and tactility. Its roughened texture is made by pummelling the metal to create shallow ridges and indents that catch light and cast minute shadows. While the brass is hard, the light’s effect on each of those surface markings adds softness and a sense of grace.
Recreating the Apple Box in a new material was a slow process. For a long time, I played around with various options, and then put the project aside and moved on to other things. I would only come back to it when something inspired me. I don’t recall when I decided to try metal, but when the idea arrived, it felt right.
Metal is a material I like because it’s quiet and less vulnerable to trends. When I consider a room, I think about weight, texture, colour and proportions. Apple Boxes always work well for me. They resolve spatial geometries by adding something small that is also very contained and grounded. As a design element, they are extremely versatile in breaking things up and adding a hit of interest.
The brass versions have a different sense of weight. They look solid even though they can be picked up by their side handles and moved around. They can be pulled out from a corner and used as a table, a stool, a perch, or a sculptural object that fills a void. For me, that versatility is what apple boxes were always intended to be. The original television set versions are made of cedar plywood boards and are almost always scarred and scratched. I love that kind of weathered look. It gives an object character; almost a personality that grows more beautiful with age.
studio photography by Patrick Biller