Cultured X AMMA Studio

Cultured Magazine
Mar 18, 2014 2:09PM

This May, interior designer Samuel Amoia and artist Fernando Mastrangelo will launch their first furniture collection under the new joint venture, AMMA Studio. While the debut collection was in development, Cultured tapped AMMA Studio to create an exclusive piece as part of its Cultured Collaboration series. Here, we talk to Mastrangelo about launching a furniture line, the influence of a woman’s hips and his Whitney Biennial to-do list. 

You're in the midst of developing your first studio furniture collection. How did AMMA studio come to be?  Sam and I were introduced last Summer through a mutual friend. We spoke about including some of my sculptures in his Elle Decor Showcase, and as the conversation grew, we decided to collaborate on a piece of furniture. That first piece was a rock type formation that would be used as a bar. By late October we were shipping the Rock Salt Bar to Miami to be shown during Art Basel. There was such a great response to the bar, we decided we would develop an entire line together, and AMMA was in full production by early February this year.

Had you ever designed furniture before, as a one-off etc?  I had designed a few pieces for my own apartment and cast my countertops, but nothing as involved or as complex as we are making now. 

Do you have a favorite piece?  So far my favorite piece is the Black Rock Bar. It's made from black silica and has a grey/black cement top. I love the black on black combo, and the shape of the bar is sexy, it reminds me of the way a woman's hips move when she's walking.

What was the first piece you designed?  The first piece we designed was the Rock Salt Bar for the Elle Decor Showcase House in Miami, during Art Basel.  

How do you and your partner Sam Amoia share responsibilities?  Sam and I make all decisions together, we discuss materials, composition and format together. We both draw sketches and add to one another’s ideas, usually inspiring something that the other hadn't thought of.

How many pieces are in the debut collection?  We're looking to have 13-20 pieces in this first collection. 

What draws you to the materials you choose?  For AMMA, a material’s beauty first and foremost. For my sculpture, I've been using materials conceptually for about a decade now, and we're going to use some of the same conceptual connections for the furniture line as well as our architectural interior projects. It's about contextualizing form, content and materials. 

Do you have a favorite material to work with?  Yes, it's the black silica, mostly because I love anything that's a deep, dense black. 

Why rock salt for the Cultured Bowl?  Rock salt was the first material we used, and it's become symbolic to the line for us. And of course, we thinks it's just beautiful. 

How does this piece dialogue w the AMMA Studio collection?  The Cultured Bowl fuses two world, the organic and the manmade, and all of the pieces in the line will combine these two elements.

How do you approach design differently than art? There's almost no difference. The pieces in the line are just as much sculpture as they are furniture or design. The only difference is that the concept is dictated by what the object is, in other words, if it's a side table, that's the concept and that's it. It's more straightforward than some of the more conceptually rigorous sculptural projects. 

Is it ever challenging turning one focus off and another on?  The process is exactly the same, so I can shift focus without skipping a beat.  

What was the last gallery show you saw?  David Altmejd, who I think is one of the greatest living sculptors. The show was amazing, I preferred his last show, but I was still blown away by this most recent show.

Have you been to the biennale yet?  Nah... not yet. I'd like to go, but just haven't had time since we launch the line in May!

Whose work are you most looking forward to?  I was out of town when it  premiered at BAM, but I'd like to see Matthew Barney's River of Fundamentals. I've always loved his work, and I use to work for him, so I'm always watching what he's up to. I also always look forward to seeing Matthew Day Jackson's work, Paul McCarthy and films by Steve McQueen.

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