by Vanna Villa

A Southern California native born in 1962, the acclaimed fashion designer Rick Owens displays a demanding and singular aesthetic. Owens lives and works in Paris, but the dark, minimalist style of his designs originates from the United States where he started making bespoke furniture for his bunker-style loft in Los Angeles. Working with craftsmen of the highest calibre, he has developed a collection of pieces that express his signature style in cut, volume, and plan.

Owens has long held architecture as one of his greatest influences, looking to the “logic and brutalism” of architects such as Le Corbusier and the grandeur of religious buildings. His own designs channel the brutalist aesthetic with the use of geometric shapes, clean lines and muted hues. However, through his use of subtle and rare materials, such as alabaster, Owens alludes to the beauty of nature. Pieces such as the Tomb Chair juxtapose stark white marble against the earthy tones of a moose antler, creating a sense of intimacy between two opposing symbols – civilisation and the wilds of nature.

Owens’ pieces fully reflect his idiosyncratic style, a kind of alpine goth that combines the organic with the concrete. Through fashion, design, and furniture, he cuts and shapes a transversal and global universe. Prioritising form over function Owens’ pieces are not necessarily the most comfortable. They are heavy and solid, sculptural and formal, more works of art rather than furniture. His furniture is as his couture, made from rare materials and using highly-skilled artisans to create pieces that are one-of-a-kind.

His work has been exhibited internationally at numerous galleries and fairs such as Design Miami/Basel, TEFAF Maastricht, Frieze New York, and Design Days Dubai.

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