Intersecting Europe and Asia along the soaring Caucasus Mountains—the tallest in the region—Georgia is a country steeped in history. Ancient monasteries and Orthodox churches with classical ornamentation juxtapose Soviet Era tower blocks. For local design duo Rooms Studio—Nata Janberidze and Keti Toloraia— this rich heritage serves as an abundant source of inspiration that informs its interiors, furnishings, and objet d’art.
The practice experiments with a diverse arsenal of noble and natural materials to handcraft pieces that are both contemporary and referential in composition: stone, terrazzo, cast iron, beeswax, wood, cotton, and Himalayan wool pile. The Tbilisi Academy of Art’s trained pair always seems to add an architectonic quality and distinctly folkloric tinge to its works.
A recently opened showcase at Upper East Side cabinet of curiosity Emma Scully Gallery brings many of their latest wares together in an appropriately gothic setting. Incorporating elements from the duo’s creative process, the Distant Symphony exhibition is the practice’s most extensive American presentation to date. The show runs till November 20th. Established in 2018, the eponymously named platform pulls from its founder’s years of experience in the industry and rigorously academic approach to incubation and curation.
In the past year alone, Scully has worked with such illustrious talents as Chen Chen and Kai Williams, Brecht Gander Wright, Tellurico, and Nel Verbeek. The gallery’s roster is fiercely international and includes a number of realtive newcomers. The common thread is that all of these designers are experimental and research-oriented, pushing the collectible design industry away from the purely aesthetic and trend-focused. Rooms Studio aligns perfectly with this program.
Displayed within the street-facing wood-panelled parlor of the gallery, works like the deeply textured and weathered Wild Minimalism chairs—evocative of ecclesiastic arches—and the particularly medieval Iron Chandelier join pieces like the Y Benches. The narrative-focused Vessel On the Road tapestry backdrops the deep relief Iron Secret Cabinet. Scully chooses to cast the space in low light as to create a condusively moody atmosphere. And yet this exhibition is intended to evoke a sense of post-pandemic exuberance, the idea of moving forward after many months of isolation.