London-born Anna Karlin might argue that her transition from digital to industrial design was no transition at all, save for one particular caveat: “When you become your own client, you can push the lim- its,” she says. “If I didn’t design something from inception, rather than responding solely to client briefs, I knew I was going to feel dissatisfied.”
The resulting collection, Furniture + Fine Objects, is the output of this belief, as well as an extension of a multifaceted artist with a rare level of creative versatility. “I still don’t understand the idea of doing just one element of it. There is far too much fun to be had this way round—I’m having a ball,” she says of her trade. The household goods play subtlety and boldness against one another—beautiful, simple, and proportioned shapes that, “upon closer inspection, reveal acute attention to detail and extreme levels of fine craftsmanship,” she says.
Using elements like wood, metal, and brass, as well as a team of New York-based craftsmen, Karlin built a full-bodied collection that includes everything from a brass and ash wood dining table to a hoop-and-stick lamp, animal-bone ornaments, bar tools, and geometrically-idealized brass stools mirroring a chess set. But her beauty bar is perhaps the most explicit testament to her approach: a cylindrical piece of woodwork that unfolds from top to bottom, unveiling a mirror atop two arms of drawers, each spinning out from the same core. Look closely, and you’ll see that “each tiny handle on the beauty bar is hand- cut, hand-cast with each section, hand-polished, hand-pinned, and finally, inlayed flush into the woodwork. That’s a lot of work for one small piece.” she says. “In these ways, the objects found their personality.”
For more information, please visit AnnaKarlin.com.
Brady Donnelly is the assistant editor of The Last Magazine, as well as the director of product at Casserole Labs.