Friday Five with Brad Ascalon

Brad Ascalon Studio NYC was founded in 2006. The multidisciplinary design studio specializes in furniture, packaging, consumer products, environment design and development, as well as site-specific sound composition and installation art projects. Working with clients ranging from large-scale manufacturers to smaller start-ups, branding agencies and individuals, Ascalon’s collaborators have included Ligne Roset, Design Within Reach, Bernhardt Design, L’Oreal, Mother New York, Esquire magazine and many others.

Ascalon was immersed in the world of art and design from an early age; his grandfather was a noted sculptor and industrial designer, and his father is renowned for his large scale art installations throughout North America. Ascalon earned his Masters’ degree in Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute in 2005, and that same year was recognized by Wallpaper* magazine as one of the world’s “Ten Most Wanted” emerging designers. In 2007, his early work was included in the ICFF Studio Bernhardt Design Exhibition, a juried competition that promotes young designers from around the world. Ascalon later went on to design for the prestigious American brand. In 2008, he had the distinction of being only one of two American designers to work with the venerable 150 French company, Ligne Roset, and in 2011, the company launched Lovey table, their second collaboration together.

Here are five furnishings that inspire Brad.

1. Superleggera Chair by Gio Ponti
Superleggera is probably the closest thing to a perfect chair. It is extremely lightweight, unbelievably strong, and Gio Ponti’s attention to every detail — sculptural, functional and otherwise — is so apparent. The bar was set in 1957, and I think it’s one that designers have been trying to reach for over 50 years.

2. Thonet No. 14 by Michael Thonet
Originally designed in 1849 and using only six pieces of bent wood, a handful of screws and two nuts, the No. 14 was an exercise in simplicity and affordability. Also, due to its ability to pack unassembled and therefore ship in smaller boxes, No. 14 created the path to a new way of thinking about the design process as more than a mere consideration of the objects and their materials.

3. How High the Moon by Shiro Kuramata
Known for melding Eastern and Western cultures through his work, Kuramata created a masterpiece with his 1986 How High the Moon. By juxtaposing his material of choice with an object visually so light and inviting, Kuramata contradicted all we thought we knew about a product as industrial and soulless as steel mesh.

4. Flos Gun series by Philippe Starck
The sheer honesty in Starck’s Gun lighting series for Flos shows us that like any artist — a painter, songwriter or author — designers too can harness their creativity to make a statement, get political and tug at our emotional heartstrings.

5. Togo Chair by Michael Ducaroy
After almost forty years, Ducaroy’s Togo chair is an absolute classic. Its modern casual aesthetic combined with a refined upholstery craftsmanship that only Ligne Roset can pull off has kept this chair not only relevant, but as important as it has ever been for design modernists.

Brad Ascalon photo by Steve Belkowitz.

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.