A History Lesson in Furniture Design with Haute Design Expert Duoma Atelier

Duoma Atelier

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Duoma Atelier is a multidisciplinary interior design studio that provides innovative and high-quality solutions for clients’ diverse lifestyles.

Photo Credit: Duoma Atelier

Co-founders of Duoma Atelier, Norma and Gaston Galella, recently spoke to Haute Design about their favorite designer furniture pieces and the importance of investing in quality design.


Haute Design: Why should someone purchase a designer piece of furniture for their home?

Gaston Galella: Good design is not just visually appealing, it is a good deal. Purchasing an authentic designer piece of furniture is a great investment as they become more valuable over time. This is because they never go out of style and the craftsmanship and quality of these pieces are so good, they can pretty much last forever, making them truly timeless pieces. Also, keep in mind, you don’t need to buy them brand new. As you can imagine, there’s a big market for used designer pieces.

HD: What are some of your favorite designer furniture pieces?

Norma Galella: There are so many, it's hard to choose! But I'll try my best.

  • Barcelona Chair, by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe (1929)

As a designer, it's hard to pinpoint a favorite piece without talking first about my favorite designer and that’s Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Mies’ famous phrase, “less is more,” is one many people and designers live by, including myself. As one of the pioneers of modernist architecture, he designed many furniture pieces but the most iconic one that has my heart is, the Barcelona Chair. The exquisite craftmanship in metal and leather makes this piece a classic chair that fits into any setting. You can often see these chairs in design aficionados’ homes and elegant building lobbies. But to truly understand its origin, I recommend you visit Mies’ Barcelona Pavilion in Spain, where you will experience this chair in its true element.

Barcelona Chair, by Mies Van Der Rohe (1929)

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

  • Nelson Platform Bench, by George Nelson (1947)

Nelson’s Architecture background influenced the design of this simple bench which he designed for his own home. His vision for design and architecture was that an object should be honest in how it looked and its purpose. The attention to detail and craftsmanship makes this piece a must-have in any home. Truly a one-of-a-kind and beautifully executed bench.

Nelson Platform Bench, by George Nelson (1947)

Photo Credit: Herman Miller

  • Womb Chair, by Eero Saarinen (1948)

This lounge chair is truly amazing, and since its conception, it has been a favorite designer-pick for both residential and commercial projects. I love its soft curves, its comfort, but mostly its history. Eero Saarinen designed this Lounge chair for Florence Knoll. She wanted a chair that was, “like a basket full of pillows…something I could really curl up in.” Well, anyone that has had the pleasure of sitting on it and curling up in it can agree, Eero fulfilled Florence’s request to a T. The chair really provides this feeling of comfort and embracing and that’s, you guessed it, where the name comes from.

Womb Chair, by Eero Saarinen (1948)

Photo Credit: Knoll

  • Arco Floor Lamp, by Achille and Pier Castiglioni (1962)

Form truly meets function in this beautiful floor lamp. Still relevant and useful today as it was in the '60s, this lamp solves for the never-ending need for overhead lighting for spaces where you can’t provide a ceiling or wall light. It was inspired by a streetlight, and it is an icon for modern and functional design.

Arco Floor Lamp, by Achille and Pier Castiglioni (1962)

Photo Credit: Design Within Reach

HD: What kind of room or design style do these pieces work best with?

NG: Well, there are designer pieces for all rooms in the house, the list is vast. But the beauty about these classic pieces is that you can use them with any design style. You can match them with similar pieces for a modern look or mix and match for a more eclectic feel. The sky is the limit and that’s why classic pieces are often preferred by designers and design connoisseurs.

HD: Are there any pieces you have recently used in a design project that are not necessarily designer pieces but you would recommend splurging on?

GG: Yes, we have a client that is really into vinyl records, and through our research, we came across this company in California called Wrensilva. They design and build media consoles that are not just beautifully crafted, but really house all your music needs. We specified the standard, which is made of gorgeous North American walnut, has integrated speakers, and includes six listening modes to play records or stream any music you like.  A splurge we highly recommend for music enthusiasts!

The Standard Console, by Wrensilva

Photo Credit: Jeanne Canto

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