Miami, a city that’s seen its fair share of bling, serves was the perfect backdrop for a recent furniture exhibit that recasts some of the world’s most famous landmarks as over-the-top golden gewgaws.
Developed by Dutch/Belgian design firm Studio Job, the series turns the Eiffel Tower’s spire into a lamp that bends as if it were possessed by the spirit of a Pixar animator. Chartes Cathedral, whose floor plan is modeled on a crucifix, regains its human scale as it’s tipped on edge and repurposed as a gilt closet. The four minarets of the Taj Mahal, designed to call the faithful to prayer, now serve as supports to a writing desk.
There is a dose of pop culture as well: A seven-foot tall scale model of the Burj Khalifa, covered in jewels befitting a sultan, is climbed by King Kong. Studio Jobs replaces the Empire State Building, an architectural icon of the 20th century, with one from the 21st, while crafting it using methods from the 19th. Big Ben is reenvisioned as it might appear in a Michael Bay movie, bombed out, but beautifully executed.
Despite the oversize proportions and opulent finishes, this oeuvre artfully avoids tackiness. Underneath the blinged-out surfaces are carefully considered bronze forms and precisely cut marquetry. One might argue with the campy treatment, but the craftsmanship is incredible—and incredibly expensive. Owing to materials and labor, Studio Job’s pieces typically weigh hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Studio Job was founded by Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, who met at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and work from the Netherlands and Antwerp. This collection was part of the recently closed Design Miami/2014 exhibition at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery.