Beauty can be appreciated in different forms, often characterized by a harmony between the parts of a whole, by a feeling of happiness and plenitude that is being provoked in the person contemplating it. In our daily life, we like to find it in the things that surround us, like furniture and small everyday objects. We met with Charles Kay and Vanessa Stettler, the founders of Prunelle furniture and passionate mid-century designers.
– How do you select the furniture and accessories for your collections?
We choose pieces that speak to us and also challenge us. Rather than preferring only the productions of a few specific designers, we are focusing on the objects that we would like to be surrounded by, whether it is a fabulous accessory, a unique decorative object or an incredible chair. Vanessa loves bowls and vintage pottery. Charles is in love with chairs, especially his Early Eames LCW Evans chair, also known in our house as “Dad’s special chair”. He bought it at an auction in Los Angeles when he was only 21 years old and took it home by plane. Even our kids have their favorite chairs in our house!
THE CLASSICS OF THE MID-CENTURY DESIGN
– Can you suggest three must-haves we should purchase if we would like to add a mid-century touch to our decoration without having to majorly transform our interior?
It really depends on the room to be decorated and on your budget, but always a classic, without a doubt, are our chess stools. Made of sturdy Indian rosewood, these stools are a perfect decorative accessory in a vestibule or they can even be used as a side table next to a sofa.
Another design classic that is timeless and is still in style after more than 60 years is the tulip base table, a fine example of simplicity and innovation. Delicate and light, this base is made of a unique pedestal that eliminates the stifling and inelegant entanglement created by the multiple table and chair legs. Also, the base we sell at Prunelle is always manufactured in the way its designer, Eero Saarinen, intended it to be, meaning in a die-cast aluminum alloy, unlike other reproductions.
The Womb armchair, also designed by Eero Saarinen, is Vanessa’s personal refuge on weekends for a quiet morning with a cup of coffee and a book. It can serve in two ways, as a room’s central focus point or placed in a corner to create an intimate space.
MID-CENTURY DESIGN, ALWAYS EN VOGUE
– Why do you think that mid-century design is still relevant today, 50 years later?
This design has retained its relevance because people are concerned about their homes and want to be able to enjoy a safe place to rest and get together after a busy day. That is exactly what this design offers. The designers of that period were inspired by the people and the functions of the objects; pure design where the only decorative targets did not represent their major preoccupations. Here form and function complement each other.
– What characterizes mid-century pieces? How would you describe the style and peculiarities?
One of the biggest innovations, unpublished at the time, was the use of certain materials and processes for domestic use: molded stainless steel, molded plastic, folded plywood. Before, they were only used in commercial applications. With the automation of the production, the furniture manufacturing, by integrated these materials and processes, has become much more affordable, which in return has allowed to mass produce these pieces.
THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOR
– Color seems to play a major role in the furniture and accessories you offer. Why is that?
We believe that color has a very important role in making an environment harmonious and enjoyable to live in. Color gives a lot of personality, but ultimately we want our customers to be the one who choose what works for them.
– What are the reasons that certain colors are more preferred than others, and how do you choose which ones will be integrated into your collections?
Some colors are very much anchored in their era. Mustardy yellow, pea green and warm gray certainly evoke the mid-century interiors, but other colors such as red, navy blue and black are simply timeless. Our choices, for both the pieces and the colors, are made by instinct and according to what we like, but we are also influenced by what we see in our everyday life: the clothes people wear, art work, design magazines.
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