Want to know what Kelly Wearstler is up to next? Just look for clues on her Instagram. In January, she accessorized a Vetements skirt with a welding helmet during a visit to a Los Angeles metal fabrication shop near her studio. A few weeks later, she perched atop a chunky, terra-cotta-colored credenza in her hangar of a furniture warehouse—in AC/DC-themed thigh-high boots, no less.
And sure enough, fashion, textures, and unexpected (but very Wearstlerian) graphic flourishes sum up the all-star interior designer’s 2021 home collection, unveiled exclusively to ELLE DECOR today. Called Transcendence, the new line of some 80 items—including lighting, furniture, and accessories—seeks to celebrate materials and capture a prevailing sense of optimism.
“Fashion right now feels entirely positive—there’s so much strength in major statement pieces, and I wanted to harness some of this energy through my collection, too,” Wearstler wrote in an email. “It’s all about jumping outside the traditional forms of each material to bring something that feels familiar into an entirely new space.”
As the name might imply, Transcendence is a decidedly happy collection, leaning into playful, postmodern-imbued forms—a dominant thread in Wearstler’s product designs these past few years. She cites the work of Ubald Klug, Mario Bellini, and Tobia and Afra Scarpa as guiding stars. “I love the exuberance and energy of those decades,” Wearstler said, referencing the movement’s heyday. “The 1970s in particular is such an incredible era of design that I look back to for inspiration, and the shapes and forms found in my Transcendence collection are emblems of the explosion of creativity at the time.”
Take the assured, sturdy forms of the resin Colina sideboard (teased in that Insta shot) and matching side table. Or the sexy Esfera sofa, composed entirely of cushy cylindrical volumes and clad in a textured beige tweed. “I wanted upholstery that was especially tactile,” Wearstler explained. “All the textiles found in the collection evoke a feeling or emotion when you sit on them. Whether they are slick, soft, or cozy, each piece should offer a sensory experience.”
Many of these items share the visual DNA of Wearstler’s recent projects. Bold stripes and a neutral palette are prevailing themes in Transcendence, but can also be spied in the architectural details of the lobby of the Austin Proper hotel, for example. Other furnishings have a more literal connection to her interior work. The Oblique tables—whose striped, laminated timber legs have the richness and appearance of hazelnut-filled wafer cookies—grew out of a bespoke table for a private residential client. “[It] was especially fun to actualize,” Wearstler said of that series. “I love the graphic nature of the striped wood, and we were able to translate that into so many different shapes, creating lots of different options for someone to incorporate that series into their space.”
The more exuberant objects are balanced by ones that feel moodier, thanks to brawny raw materials. For the monolithic marble Triad tables, Wearstler explained, “I was obsessed with the creation process—they’re made from this beautiful marble that is ultimately wrapped in brass sheets and looks like a ‘slice’ of a table—so I decided to really dive into the design and make it my own for the collection.” The Cheviot side table has an austere form but is punked up via a pleasing lizard-like brass texture.
As Wearstler put it: “I’ve always wanted to create furnishings that are comfortable yet tactile and elegant, so we really looked at what each piece in the collection offers—does it bring in a sense of calm or relaxation? Does it offer a visual twist or make for an eye-catching distraction?”
Transcendence achieves all of the above, in our humble opinion.
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