French designer and sculptor Eric Schmitt is set to make his mark in London as he brings his unusual proportions to Mayfair’s new Dutko Gallery from April 8 – 14 May.
Out of the ordinary and self-taught, combining the skills of a trained musician, architect, designer and sculptor with an addictive passion for equestrian sports, Schmitt has produced a most compelling oeuvre over the past 30 years.
His workshop, set at the edge of the Fontainebleau forest is the hub where hundreds of models have been created, designed and shaped before being produced by France’s finest craftsmen.
Schmitt’s work, widely exhibited in Paris, New York and Los Angeles, draws inspiration from the French tradition of decorative arts, the harmony of the late 1920s and 1930s (René Herbst, Pierre Chareau, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Eugène Printz) with echoes of the 1950s.
Yet his approach to design remains resolutely contemporary with extraordinary shapes that puzzle and challenge perceptions.
Schmitt grasps the full possibilities and constraints of materials, creating tensions through oppositions and visual imbalances through unusual proportions, as shown in the Sugegasa floor lamps (2013) and Cordouan floor lamps (2015). Schmitt’s musical background transpires in his work, continuously punctuated by rhythm, cadences and scales.
Expressions of nature are omnipresent in Schmitt’s work, represented in different variations from the 1980s to today. His early design places a focus on line and vine-like detail, best exemplified in the stunning Osselet pieces (1996), a pair of low chairs combining an elegantly modelled bronze structure with a camel leather seat reminiscent of early Art Deco masterpieces.