A Lust for Design Stories

Archiduchaise by Xavier Lust

The Archiduchaise by Xavier Lust, made from a single sheet of metal.

Xavier Lust first appeared on my radar when I was covering Design Miami/ in 2009. I featured his Archiduchaise, a winsome chair with a flared skirt that is cut from one single sheet of aluminum and bent to polished perfection, in this issue of the British Airways magazine The Collection and in MIAMI magazine’s Home Design issue. “I had this in a drawer for a while,” he told me. Lucky for us, Driade enticed him to take it out and show it off during the design rampage that takes place down south each December!

Portrait of Xavier Lust by Serge Anton

This portrait of Xavier Lust was shot by Serge Anton.

Lust is at it again when it comes to bending and polishing. This time he’s exhibiting works at the Botanique Museum in Brussels while concurrently debuting a monograph titled Design Stories. The show opened on September 11th and will be on view through November 1st in the museum at 236 Rue Royale. Brussels Design September is a sponsor of the event, which is quite the endorsement, don’t you think?

Xavier Lust's Gold Graph desk

The Gold Graph desk by Xavier Lust; photo by Olivier Desartes.

Writing in the introduction to the book, Maria Cristina Didero notes, “For Xavier Lust a design project is a statement: ‘I see the creation process as an equation between four parameters: functionality, beauty, culture and technology. The most challenging projects are those conceived for large-scale production: good design should be accessible to the largest possible number of people and must have the qualities of an art piece.’ Design is Xavier Lust’s life, as simple as that.”

Xavier Lust's S Table in bronze

The S-Table in burnished bronze and bronze-rimmed extra-clear glass by Xavier Lust; photo by Xavier Defaix.

He certainly lives up to the claim that he is involved in a life-long quest for organic pureness by devising fluid forms. Case in point are the Gold Graph desk in glass and the S-Table in bronze, both featured above. I must say, the latter it is quite similar to a dining table in concrete, made by 910 Castings, which I just handed over to Robert Herman, who now has it happily ensconced in his New York City apartment! Given he will likely be signing his new book on it soon, I believe that’s what we can call a serendipitous writerly segue!

The Gold Graph is made of extra clear glass that has been curved and embedded with gold leaf. The base of the S-Table was cast in burnished bronze. It is topped with an oblong of bronze-rimmed extra-clear glass. Both have been produced in limited edition befitting furniture disguised as works of art.

Xavier Lust's Oudjat bench and table, all in one

The Qudjat is a burnished brass console by Xavier Lust; photo by Karima Hajji.

A bit chunkier but no less clever, the Oudjat console is a burnished brass piece meant for reception areas. “The seat is used for a brief wait but it can also serve as a place to put a bag in order to take things out after entering or to put things away before exiting,” Lust says. “This dual use takes the form of an ingeniously curved metal surface while becoming a self-standing sculptural element. The burnishing process gives each piece a unique finish.”

Xavier Lust is a master at bending metal

No one bends metal more beautifully than Xavier Lust.

As for the book, I bet it will be one beautiful experience to leaf through the pages of his unique point of view. In the preface, Didero says, “Xavier Lust is certainly one of the most relevant characters on the contemporary design scene. His distinct and essential approach to design, his ingenious and refined touch, and his ability to synthesize clearly imply a special talent.”

Xavier Lust's new monograph, Design Stories

Design Stories monograph celebrating Xavier Lust’s contributions to the field of industrial design.

The book aims to give a broad sense of the industrial designer’s work from creation to production and even illustrate the final destination of a piece. It will take readers from a workshop in the Congo to special commissions and recent monumental sculpture projects, and from images of everyday life to contributions from some of his most important collectors. I will be looking for a copy as soon as one comes available in the US because I value design stories greatly. If you snag one before I do, let me know what you think of it, okay?

Xavier Lust with two pieces from his Oxo Collection

Xavier Lust hiding behind one of his Oxo chairs.

And if you make it to the exhibition, give me a shout on social media so I can see your images. Get a shot of the guest of honor if you can, and please take note—as is evidenced above, he may be hiding behind one of his designs!

Text of A Lust for Design Stories © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here, Stranded on the Road to Promise and Four Florida Moderns. She also produces The Diary of an Improvateur and is a columnist on Architizer.