By Sarah Sekula, published in Orlando Magazine
The vision and skill needed to create functional furniture with an artful twist is no easy task. These five masters—an architect, a woodworker, a husband-and-wife duo, and a street artist—design distinctive pieces that can take months to complete and sometimes carry a hefty price tag. But in the end, it’s like collecting fine art or sculpture—the piece adds visual appeal to any corner of your home.
Boom Chica Boom
It comes as no surprise that the hand-painted furniture created by two former circus clowns, Glenn and Sandy Rogers, is both colorful and eye-catching. At their Boom-Art shop, you’ll find everything from Batman bottle cap magnets to Superman chairs, but the most popular item is their barstools. Each is emblazoned with a nostalgic image, like Marilyn Monroe or Betty Boop, and is covered with a shiny plastic finish. And it’s not only the locals who swoon over the pop-icon pieces. The Rogers’ artworks attract patrons of all types, including musicians Steven Tyler and Rob Thomas, as well as comedians Jeff Foxworthy and Jay Leno. bar stools, $135 each; stores.ebay.com/boomart
What do you do with an NBA All-Star Game court once the game is over? Well, if you are New York street artist Billi Kid, you create masterpieces out of it. It began in 2011 when Kid started creating original artworks out of NBA backboards. The pieces were so popular that “the NBA literally offered us the 2011 NBA All-Star Game basketball court,” Kid says. Customers can custom order the tables he creates, and even choose which section of the court to incorporate in the design. “Using a surface that was graced by the titans of basketball adds a new level of complexity; it is a piece of history,” Kid says. His work is on display at the Church Street Exchange through Sept. 15. 2011 NBA All-Star Bold Desk, $7,600; publicworksdept.com/store
Rock and Roll
Woodworker Larry Roofner is serious about sawdust. In 2007, after spending years working in the healthcare field, Roofner started designing sculptured rocking chairs out of walnut, maple, cherry and kauri, which is said to be the world’s oldest wood. “It is not petrified, but it was preserved in the peat bogs of New Zealand after the trees were knocked down during the last Ice Age,” he says. “From the beginning, I realized that making chairs is a difficult process. But it is even more challenging to make a chair that has beautiful lines and is comfortable.” rocking chairs, $3,500 to $6,000 each; beautifulwoodart.com
Architect James Cornetet is amused every time people encounter the white marble coffee table he designed. They always look puzzled and ask, “When will the glass top be finished?” He just smiles and responds, “This is the finished design.” The fact that most people do not consider the table to be complete, he says, is proof that he’s redefined the traditional coffee table. Better yet, the dimensions of the vertical fins make it difficult for guests to rest their feet on, so you never have to say “get your feet off my coffee table.” coffee table, $2,750; processarchitecturellc.com