Walking through Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades exhibition in Los Angeles somehow feels both comfortingly familiar and delightfully unexpected. At their core, the pieces on display are the types of everyday items you’d find in any home–chairs, sofas, and shelving–but each one has been reimagined, distilled through the innovative minds of designers from around the world.
The show represents the first partnership between the luxury French fashion house and Frieze Los Angeles, a platform for modern and contemporary art since 1991. The collaboration may be new, but Louis Vuitton has been commissioning travel-inspired pieces for its Objets Nomades collection since 2012. In that time, it’s created a platform for over a dozen designers to create work influenced by and commenting on the experience of travel.
Consider the Swell Wave Shelf by Andrew Kudless, the first American designer to create a piece for the collection. Its softly curved oak shelves are suspended, one below the next, by red leather straps threaded through smooth slots in each board. This creates a feeling of movement, a push-pull that makes it come alive. “I wanted to express tension,” Kudless says. He describes his experiences with travel as also being caught between two realities: “When you're at home you just want to go on vacation; when you’re on vacation, you want the comfort of home. I wanted [to express] that feeling of being neither here nor there, being pulled in two different directions.”
Some of the makers think about travel a little more practically. Brazilian designer Humberto Campana, who, along with his brother Fernando, created several pieces for the collection, says he likes to take inspiration from the unique goods he finds while abroad. “Wherever I travel I buy materials,” he said. “I like to play, to feel the textures.” And rather than force his will upon the materials he collects, he allows them to guide the artistic process. “There is always this question: What do you want to transform into?” he says. “I like soul in my objects. It’s the first thing that interests me when I’m creating. I want to have soul, then function.”
Campana says he’s also inspired by nature, especially the beauty of his home country of Brazil. Just look at the piece Cocoon, a leather-clad egg-shaped hanging chair, perforated throughout with wavy cutouts that you might just mistake for leaves. “Our work talks about organicism,” Campana notes. “We are storytellers—we take an experience that has affected us and we transport it into furniture.”
And because the Objets Nomades pieces are crafted by Louis Vuitton’s artisans, the expertise and attention to detail is evident. When Kudless expressed a concern that the leather straps holding up his shelf could age or stretch, Vuitton assured him that they’d be reinforced with the same technique used to strengthen all their leather goods. After all, this is a brand that knows very well how to make an heirloom handbag.
Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades in partnership with Frieze runs through February 16 at MILK in Los Angeles.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest