Friday Five with Michael Aram

Designer Michael Aram, who is a trained painter, sculptor, and art historian, is known for the gorgeous renditions of natural elements that adorn his tabletop accessories, including acorns, olive branches, orchids, and fig leaves in oxidized, polished, and plated metals. He lives and works in New Delhi, India, where he learned the metalworking traditions seen in his designs. He shares his inspirations and prized possessions for today’s Friday Five.

Photo by Peter.Lorre/Flickr

1. Flea markets around the world
Whether it is in Italy, France, Brussels, Armenia, Austria, Spain, Greece, Argentina, wherever, shopping at local markets gives me a window into various cultures. It also is a sort of time capsule into a country’s history and culture. I always find inspiration whenever I go.

Photo from Second Hand Rose Music

2. Chet Baker
Never for his playing, always for his singing. Funny valentine!

3. Craft Museum, New Delhi
New Delhi’s Craft Museum was designed by Charles Corea. The building is superb, and the collections are beautiful. The best part though is that it is a “living museum.”  There are  craft demonstrations outside, during which  you can see how the pieces are  made by the talented artisans, using age old craft techniques.

4. My pen and sketchpad
I use a Tombow pen and a hand-stitched blank Indian accountant’s book as a sketchpad.

5. Alexander Calder
Mostly for the wonderful implements he made for his own house, like spoons, andirons, toilet paper holders, children’s toys, and the jewelry he made for his friends. The democratic and spontaneous nature of the objects he created has been very influential for me. They each have a humor and an “I made this” quality to them. I find that so many artists and designers get pigeonholed in terms of what they allow themselves to create. For me, Calder was the artist who broke down the barriers of what I considered the very separate realms of art and design.

Marni Elyse Katz is a Contributing Editor at Design Milk. She lives in Boston where she contributes regularly to local publications and writes her own interior design blog, StyleCarrot.