May 22, 2024

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A Designer Who Starts With Destruction

5 min read

In Linde Freya Tangelder’s opinion, great design starts with demolition. “To pull something down or destroy a little bit of the past gives you freedom,” says the 35-year-old Dutch-born designer. Breaking apart her own work and starting over, deconstructing her models and rebuilding them, is, she says, an integral part of her creative process.

So central is the philosophy to Tangelder’s practice that it inspired the name of her nine-year-old studio: Destroyers/Builders, based in Antwerp and Brussels. Here, she creates pieces, many of them limited edition, that feel more like conceptual art or experimental architecture than furnishings — a daybed made of chipboard, an inexpensive building material often used for insulation, is hand-carved with a pitted finish, giving it the appearance of ancient bronze metalwork; a hard-angled chair supported by industrial-looking tubes wouldn’t be out of place in Donald Judd’s studio.

Now, however, she’s also expanding into more commercial furniture. This past spring at Milan Design Week, she presented her first lighting collection for Cassina: Wax, Stone, Light. The three floor lamps and two table lamps are constructed from stacked hollow blocks of Murano glass that Tangelder forms using iron molds to give them a wavy, waxy texture. It’s a follow-up to Soft Corners, a small grouping of ottomans and a side table she made for the company last year that were informed by her study of ancient building techniques.

“Linde has this pure aspect of being poetic and cerebral, but then she takes the hammer and starts banging on stuff. It’s something to see,” says the chief executive officer of Cassina, Luca Fuso, who chose Tangelder as the first recipient of a new initiative called Patronage, which provides funding and technical know-how to fledgling designers. The program has given her the resources to experiment with different materials and approaches (her current projects involve Japanese lacquering, pink limestone and novel varieties of brick).

But although she’s now creating more practical objects, she plans to approach design the way she always has. “I never start by thinking about function,” says Tangelder, who is also working on a new series of collectible furniture for Aequō, an experimental design gallery in Mumbai, India, to be exhibited in 2024. “I think my head definitely works as an artist. For me, it’s all about the inspiration, the material, the process of making.” — Catherine Hong

Hair and makeup: Sofie Van Bouwel. Lighting assistant: Christian Jimenez. Production: Entrée Libre


Unlike many of its cruciferous cousins (brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale), cabbage hasn’t been at the center of a culinary craze — until now. At New York’s Thai Diner, the chef Ann Redding, 48, fills her cabbage rolls with turkey, mushrooms and jasmine rice and serves them in a coconut-milk broth perfumed by galangal, lemongrass and lime leaves. Her inspirations, she says, are two disparate but equally nostalgic favorites: her mother’s tom kha gai soup and the Ukrainian stuffed cabbage she used to order at the iconic East Village diner Veselka as a 2 a.m. post-shift dinner when she was a young line cook. Cabbage is often “the through thread in people’s taste memories,” says Bonnie Morales, 42, the chef and co-owner of Kachka in Portland, Ore., noting that “it’s actually a common occurrence that we have guests crying into their bowls of golubsty,” as cabbage rolls are known in Russia. Elsewhere, chefs seem intent on elevating cabbage from its homey roots. At the French Room in Dallas, where she spent a three-month residency earlier this year, the New York-based chef Victoria Blamey, 41, layered the leaves with scallop mousse and seaweed and bathed them in a foamed vin jaune. And the chef Patrick Powell, 37, of London’s Allegra, employs a 10-step, multiperson process to create a single cabbage roll. At Le Coucou in New York, the executive chef, Daniel Rose, 46, has made the classic French rendition, chou farci. Sometimes filled with pheasant, sometimes with shrimp and scallops, his rolls are shaped into perfectly smooth globes. As elegant as they appear, however, their flavors recall, Rose admits, “something my mother-in-law makes.” — Lauren Joseph


Since its founding nearly 120 years ago, Rolex has chosen simplicity over arcane complications such as tourbillons and minute repeaters. Now, though, the Geneva-based brand has dived headlong into whimsy with the latest iteration of the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36. The watch, which comes in rose, yellow or white gold, features a champlevé enamel dial in a jigsaw motif with 10 baguette sapphires in rainbow hues as the indexes. Unlike other Day-Date 36 designs, whose apertures show the day of the week at 12 o’clock, this one displays words of inspiration, including “Gratitude” and “Eternity,” and the 3 o’clock window, instead of the date, features 31 emojis, including a four-leaf clover, an eight ball and the Rolex coronet. In an era that seems to call out for a jolt of joy, this witty twist on an icon may be the perfect answer. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36, price on request, rolex.com. — Nancy Hass


In 2015, a couple of years after studying fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, the Belgian designer Laurence Leenaert moved to Marrakesh, Morocco. There, she quickly immersed herself in the country’s rich and varied craft scene, studying with master potters, weavers and leathersmiths and eventually creating her own whimsical pieces. “I realized the freedom to create there is endless,” says Leenaert, now 33. Today, her label, Lrnce, sells handmade home goods, clothing and accessories, all in her Joan Miró-meets-Henri Matisse aesthetic. This month, Leenaert and her husband, Ayoub Boualam, 34, a Moroccan business consultant and Lrnce’s manager, are opening their first hotel, Rosemary Riad, in Marrakesh’s medina. Though named after the previous owner, Rose-Marie Burgevin, the Parisian advertising executive and famed bon vivant, the five-room guesthouse itself is a complete Lrnce universe. Nearly everything in the two-story building (and on the rooftop terrace) was designed by Leenaert, from the plaster and wood carving on the doors and wardrobes to the zellige tiles and the stained-glass surfaces in some of the rooms. Even the embroidered bedsheets and rosemary-scented toiletries are bespoke. And to give their guests a taste of local craft traditions, the couple plan to organize workshops in the riad and visits to artisans in and around the city. Rooms from $274 a night, rosemarymarrakech.com.Gisela Williams




2023-09-07 09:01:14

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