Let’s face it, its hard to turn a blind eye to good, fun design. We are talking about the kind of playful, eye catching design that elicits a smile on the face because, well, it has a face too. Friendly figures are popping up on walls, furnishings, and even dinnerware, made with the painterly strokes and abstract forms of an artist’s hand. See the pieces that are full of personality in our roundup below.
Drop it Modern brought their whimsical wallcoverings to ICFF 2023, papering The Crossroads installation on the show floor with their Famke mural. The subtle, figural forms emerge as you spend time with the space, first appearing as oversized artistic brushstrokes.
More direct eye contact is offered by a similar style in their collection, the Femme mural wallpaper, a smaller scale design with looping strokes that form a series of interconnected sketched portraits on the wall.
Obakki curates modern, handcrafted pieces that have been produced in partnership with their network of world-class artisans—talented people making products that hold meaning and foster connection.
The Tlaloc cabinet is one such offering, crafted in the image of the Mesoamerican god of the same name: Tlaloc, the god of rain and water—a fitting inspiration for the 25-bottle wine storage held within. This representation in wood is a playful and friendly take on the familiar mask of the god, incorporating his rimmed eyes and fanged mouth into the door handles.
Also from the region are the red Oaxacan clay planters Obakki offers from sculptor José Garcia Antonia, pictured below. The artist, who went blind years ago, found he could still see his wife’s face through his hands, and recreates her image in clay.
The Reader side table from Piscina playfully mixes clay and wood sculptures into an unexpected form. The hollow base, made from a single slab of unglazed clay with figurative carvings, has been folded to create a void to hold books and magazines. The sapele wood top slots in thanks to the inclusion of knobby tenons underneath, joining the two materials into a single piece.
Belgian fashion designer Laurence Leenaert’s LRNCE is a Marrakesh-based lifestyle brand with a focus on handmade ceramics, textiles, and ready-to-wear pieces. The brand aims to create one of a kind pieces that use local materials and support Moroccan craftsmanship, empowering the community and creating strong bonds with the artisans and culture while distilling the essence of those traditional crafts into modern, graphic designs. Many of the ceramics, woven wool rugs, and even the curving lines of wrought iron chair backs and lamp bases hint at abstract, Picasso-esque faces and figures.
Flavor Paper’s Andy Warhol collection brings the late artist’s work to your walls through colorful depictions of the famous faces he was known for. The brand’s hand-screened and digital wallpaper flips tradition on its head: their modus operandi is “explore all the boundaries of conventional wallcovering design—and then break them.”
The Andy Warhol x Flavor Paper Collection was created in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, who granted the company access to much of the artist’s work, so they in turn could offer access to those of us who dream of having a Warhol on our wall.
Another wallcovering brand, Affreschi & Affreschi, offers large-scale, abstract figural forms on their plaster papers. The surrealist line drawings create blocks of color to complement a room’s decor in bold designs with subtle references to the human form.
The innerLine collection, designed by artist María Dalli, was created using drawings that she made with a single, continuous line, used to impart a sense of unity, fluidity, and minimalism.