Animal Furniture


Written by Olivia Patt
Photos and illustrations by Maximo Riera, Front Design, Wokmedia, Various
11 Sunday 11th September 2011

First up is the work of French sculptor-cum-furniture designer, Francois-Xavier Lalanne and his wife, Claude. Considered by the art world more as installation art than furniture, how about some realistic looking sheep chairs? A bronze rhinoceros desk? Commissioned by designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, you can find one of the Lalannes’ pieces in the centre of Tom Ford’s New York store – a desk cast from a crocodile. As you can imagine, this unusually beautiful furniture doesn’t come cheap, with one of the Lalannes’ fireplaces shaped like a baboon going for £190,000. If we had the cash, we’d go for this dreamy bird canopy bed. After all, we hear bird crap is pretty lucky.

A Lalanne hippo drinks cabinet

As impressive but perhaps not quite as conventially beautiful is the furniture of Maximo Riera, a Spanish artist. Riera has created a series of animal chairs, made of compressed foam and black leather, and each one is completely anatomically correct to look at. Already made are the octopus, rhino and walrus, and coming up are lions, beetles and whales (oh my!). As incredible as they are, we’re not sure how much we want a giant anatomically correct octopus slumped in the middle of our living room. However, if you like your furniture creepy and intimidating, Riera has made twenty of each piece, and they are available to buy.

It’s the end of the evening, and your date isn’t looking so keen. You need something quirky and cool to entice her up to your flat. “Come up and see my etchings” has been done to death, and no-one really wants coffee at quarter to midnight. How about she’s comes up to see your absolutely horrific tiger love seat? It’ll drive the ladies wild! See what we did there? Designed by an Italian furniture designer by the name of Rodolfo Rocchetti, his website describes his work as “exclusive, refined and tasteful” – about as tasteful as Kerry Katona lying on the pavement, sodden with alcohol, outside Liquid nightclub in Watford with chips hanging out of her mouth. You’ll be pleased to know, he also does a jaguar version. Or maybe it’s a dog. We can’t tell.

Far less offensive is the excellent furniture of Front Design, mainly this horse lamp. If you have the space, not only would this life sized horse lighting fixture make an excellent talking point at parties, we would imagine it would be a pretty fun seat after a few vodkas. Front also does really cool pig coffee tables and rabbit lights.

Front Design

Similarly great is this donkey home office. Designed by Ilbride, he stands at 5'10", and his name is Martin. Quite like the horse lamp, Martin would provide even more entertainment when drunk; he can fit an entire human inside his desk/stomach, demonstrated here by a member of the design team, Rachel Convers.

No quirky furniture style piece would be complete without something cute and kitsch from China, so we thought we’d finish up with these sweet, porcelain benches from Chinese design company Wokmedia. Each piece uses a hand carved wooden toy, which is fused with a piece of traditional Chinese furniture, and then covered entirely in white laquer, with names like “Grrr” and “Boo-hoo”. Our favourite is the little reindeer. All together now – “awwww”.

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