I am excited to introduce a very special new piece we're adding to the ever-growing Daniel House catalog. But first, let me tell you about the man who created it and his hero.
I don’t know Martin Zelonky well, but I know I like the way he thinks. First, he commutes between Manhattan and Connecticut, so he’s living my dream life. Much more importantly, he has a clear historical source of inspiration and he’s willing to share it. Even if Zelonky didn’t admit it, his work shows deep homage to the late Sam Maloof.
My contemporaries probably think the rocking chair shown above was designed by Parks & Recreation’s Ron Swanson and subsequently featured in the fictional lifestyle magazine, Bloosh. In fact, the rocker was created by Maloof and has gone for far greater sums than Bloosh suggested, selling at a 2012 auction for more than $80,000.
In Zelonky’s words, “[Maloof] had a natural view of how furniture should fit together.” Maloof’s work is sculptural and ergonomic at once, with rounded edges, visible mortise and tenon joints and deep dished-out seats that form to the body. Having been the first woodworker to receive a MacArthur Genius Grant, he’s a good hero to choose. Presidents Carter and Reagan both owned Maloofs and The White House has several of his pieces in its collection.
I haven’t gone this deep with Zelonky, but I suspect one thing he really admires about Maloof is his insistence on being called a woodworker rather than an artist. In my view, both men are artists, but there is something disciplined about identifying one’s media and developing it to a state of excellence as both have done.
Many of Zelonky’s pieces look like a continuation of Maloof’s work. They are excellent and anyone would be lucky to own them, but what sets his latest bench apart is how specifically 21st century it feels. There is old-world process at work here to be sure, but it is mixed with a reliance on digital technology that lends a new level of precision. It is still sinuous and lovely, but more in the manner of a racecar than a piece of furniture. Perhaps that’s largely because Zelonky is offering this piece coated in primary colors, but I think it’s also to do with the dynamic form at which he’s arrived. It can be a piece of sculpture in a room, but it might just as easily be a workhorse piece that is barely noticed until one stops to think about how special it is.
And, while it’s not cheap, the digital process does make it affordable. Retailing at $1,155.00, this is a piece you can use in a big range of projects. I for one am going to pitch it to my own clients this week, to be used as a small coffee table in a secondary seating area in their living room.
Until Next Time,
The Daniel House Club
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