Market Talent: Ideas Take Shape
-- Interior Design, 7/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
Prototyping is Nolen Niu's favorite part of the design process. "It's where the concept becomes reality," he says. "I'm a very hands-on type of person." After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Niu spent time assembling a varied portfolio of packaging, branding, and Web sites for furniture companies. Presented with the opportunity to take on a Los Angeles clothing store, Niu officially leased a studio and showroom in 2005.
The following year, he introduced the Zero chaise longue. A detailed study of weight distribution yielded the pristine silhouette, composed of an angular seat cantilevered from a polished stainless-steel stem. Still one of his favorites, the piece first made a splash as part of the Bernhardt Design showcase that brings new talent to the public at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. At Milan's Salone Satellite in 2007, Niu released his playful Evo seating modules and faceted XO sofa, the latter based on the X-wing fighter spaceships seen in Star Wars. His Divide sofa, armchair, and ottoman embrace the space between interrelated forms by pulling them apart. He views his recent Lox sofa as a departure from his chiseled aesthetic. True, there's a welcoming raked back and full upholstery with horizontal tufting. But Niu's form still embraces geometry. 310-709-0955; nolenniu.com. circle 406