Designed digitally but handmade using classical marquetry techniques, NJ Roseti’s art furniture is simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic. Roseti makes his blocky, Tetris-like forms in his Oakland, California, shop, drawing upon motifs from sleepwear, undergarments, and medical wear—“low fashion,” he explains, “that serves the human experience and marks our time here on earth.” He may be serious, but there is a playfulness to his work, with the bursts of color and pattern that nod to Memphis Design.
Following, we ask NJ about some heroes and influences.
As a kid, what did you answer when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
A farmer that rescued animals from other farmers’ butcher knives. Yet I never stopped eating meat…
Which designer and/or piece of work inspires you? Why?
Peter Sedgley is intriguing to me due to his pioneering role in the Op Art movement. Sedgley’s work in this genre engages viewers with optical effects that challenge their perception and create a sense of movement and depth on a two-dimensional surface.
What is your design philosophy?
I use my work as a form of cultural critique and to challenge societal pressure dictating how the general audience perceives life.
Give us some context about where you live: How long you’ve been there and how does it influence your work?
I have lived in Oakland, California, for 7 years. While being there can be creatively isolating at times, I believe it has played a crucial role in shaping my unique world and style.
Was there a moment when you realized you wanted to be a designer? If so, what was it?
I was studying to be an industrial designer at SCAD and soon realized I wanted to be an artist instead, creating pieces with meaning and subjectivity. Those studies in industrial design, however, have influenced the sense of order I incorporate in my work.
Which of your pieces, products, and/or projects are you most proud? Why?
The most recent piece is always the piece I’m most proud and excited about. But the oversized plinths I created for Maxwell Mustardo’s vessels at Culture Object were a long-lasting source of pride.
What is the most pressing issue in the design world today?
In the plentiful collection of art and design dilemmas, the one I will address is the rise of the “bargain bin” art and decor that’s taken our generation by storm. It’s as if the world has decided to replace the cherished one-off heirlooms in our lives with impersonal, sentiment-starved stand-ins. We’ve somehow been convinced that factory-forged “art” is ok.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working with six other studios to curate a group show at Alcova Miami in December. I am planning to move to NYC shortly after that.
And just curious: What is your favorite movie and band?
My favorite movie is Fellini’s Otto E Mezzo because of the way it addresses internalization and expression of emotion. My favorite artist of all time is Enya because of her originality and consistency.