The Elegant, Alchemic Designs of Ado Chale

Designer Ado Chale’s magisterial tables have graced the royal collections of England, the Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Queen Juliana in the Netherlands, and the King of Spain. This fall in Paris, Galerie Yves Gastou mounts “Ado Chale: 50 Years of Alchemy,” a celebration of his work, including “Solune,” a series of previously unseen drawings from his personal collection. Chale encountered the design dealer Yves Gastou in the early 2000s, and the pair collaborated to create the series “Mobilier Précieux” (Precious Furniture), which brought Chale international recognition.

Nicknamed the “alchemist of high minerals,” Chale first began incorporating minerals into his tables and chairs in the 1950s. Raised by a family of craftspeople in a hilly region of Brabant-Wallon, Brussels, Chale learned the art of woodwork from his cabinetmaker father at an early age. Later, he moved on to metal and iron casting, eventually specializing in screen-printing on metal sheets. While visiting Germany, he became inspired by a display of stones and minerals fused together. “I fell in love with a small glass case displaying a collection of minerals,” he once said. The synthesis of the natural and the artificial stuck with the artist-craftsman, who opened a shop in Brussels in 1961.

Over the last few decades, Chale has travelled the world in search of rare stones and minerals, and has come to meld lapis-lazuli, hematite, tiger’s eye, rhodochrosite, malachite, turquoise, mother-of-pearl, onyx, and many other natural materials into his work, transforming them into custom-made objects in his shop in Brussels. He has an extensive knowledge of stones, and creates masterful mosaics from various precious and semi-precious minerals, including pepper grain and bone. Each object, often fusing together stones from around the world, tell its own story.

Sola Agustsson

Ado Chale: 50 Years of Alchemy” is on view at Galerie Yves Gastou, Paris, Oct. 10th–Nov. 26th, 2014.

Discover more artists at Galerie Yves Gastou.

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