“Ceci n’est pas une pipe”—this is not a pipe—are the text floating beneath Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte’s painted pipe in his 1929 do the job “The Treachery of Images.” In the same vein, for Brooklyn-based Nigerian-American home furnishings-maker and artist Nifemi Ogunro, her chairs are not chairs, nor are her tables tables. This contemporary-working day designer can make it her operate to switch furniture on its head.
When Ogunro established out to study industrial and product or service design and style at North Carolina’s Appalachian State College, a needed study course led her to experiment with furnishings forms—something of a breakthrough for the younger designer. “It was truly liberating,” she tells Enterprise of House. “I was capable to not only have an notion, but a few times just before it was thanks, I flipped the body upside down simply because I required the piece to search diverse. I just reoriented what I’d drawn and went with it. I seriously appreciated the liberty to be specified authorization to do one thing like that as lengthy as it nonetheless worked.”
Immediately after graduating, Ogunro landed in Atlanta in which she recognized a work functioning for a lighting style corporation. For a innovative outlet, she turned to a membership-primarily based makerspace in 2019. Upon the pandemic’s arrival, her primary fascination in household furniture observed room to prosper. Having still left her entire-time post at a photo voltaic lights organization, a friend connected Ogunro to work on a significant-scale fee with sculptor Michael Beitz in Colorado. “That’s where by I truly figured out how to work with resources,” claims Ogunro. “[Beitz] was seriously useful and generous. He permitted me to use his area and pushed me to get perform completed.” With her concluded creations photographed and videoed, Ogunro broke on to the scene via a attribute in Wallpaper in April 2021, and has been obtaining commissions ever considering the fact that.
Dion Lamar Mills
Ogunro refers to her items as “functional sculptures” and sees them toeing the line between utility and design. From her Brooklyn studio, in addition to the commissions, she continues to produce her possess ideas, drawing inspiration from her speedy natural environment. “Form is a ton of what I do,” claims Ogunro. “I’ll see something—whether it’s in subway stations, my condominium, in hallways or nature—repeat the kind and summary it. As extensive as you have a flat surface someplace, it’s household furniture. All it needs to do is hold something up, no matter whether that be a further object, a human being, a plate.”
The ethos of Ogunro’s do the job introduces a stillness, an almost sacred environment, with every piece. Her models, manufactured mainly in wooden, stand with a misleading simplicity—each stark silhouette troubles classic notions of how furniture should seem, forging a narrative all their own, imbued with themes of family members, heritage and sustainability. “I want to change this concept around home furniture that we have since I feel it is straightforward to affiliate it with these kinds of mundane pursuits,” she says. “I want my parts to dwell as parts of artwork as nicely as factors that men and women get to use, and [I hope that] due to the fact of that affiliation, folks price that piece extra than a little something they got from Ikea, and that they see a reason to maintain it.”
Dion Lamar Mills
And these words and phrases resonate in both of those her pieces and the way that she marketplaces them. In Ogunro’s designs, minimalism fulfills surrealism to strip home furniture of expectation—and she carries that notion through to her digital “marketing” as well. “[When] I’m framing [my work]—you may possibly get in touch with it marketing—I constantly think about a new way to see furnishings,” she states. “There’s a ability in function that worries the working day-to-working day, that you can each notice and interact with. I’m excited to have diverse ideas and to reconceptualize objects and the human conversation with them, checking out that tension as a result of images and video clip.”
Earlier this year, Ogunro produced her debut demonstrating at Salone del Mobile in Milan, and as her apply grows, she hopes that her items inspire and provoke the exact same values of abstraction and subversion that went into their style and design. “Furniture—specifically, points that interact with bodies—is just a floor,” she claims. “We see a chair the way that we’ve been told a chair needs to look, but the second you strip it of 4 legs and a back, all of a sudden you have unique strains and curves. There is this plan of in which your inspiration ought to lie when you are in a particular medium, but every little thing can be a resource of inspiration.”
Homepage image: Ogunro stands with three of her parts: ‘Tob(i)’ (Still left), ‘Untitled’ (Centre) and ‘Tope’ (Proper). | Dion Lamar Mills