One of my favorite living designers is Herve van der Straeten, a Frenchman who started out in engineering before switching to jewelry, furniture and lighting design. An important proponent of the neo-Baroque, van der Straeten's designs can nevertheless be found in an eclectic variety of interiors,
Van der Straeten's pieces tend to be sculptural to the point of kineticism, as if the materials are actively forming themselves into tenuous, even ephemeral shapes — but of course they are frozen in space, and made out of sturdy metals.
Van der Straeten's process is rooted in the handcraft traditions of French decorative arts, and some of his objects reflect this heritage. His convex mirror, for example, recalls the sunburst forms of Line Vautrin as well as the Sun King himself, Louis XIV. His pendant lights take traditional lantern and chandelier forms and tweak them by playing with the materials in novel ways. Many of his pieces walk a daring line between tradition and innovation, and as a result, they are thoroughly modern while still being able to fit into almost any surrounding.
Unfortunately for me, his pieces are (way) out of my price range, but they have a permanent place on my wish list. Which is your favorite?