Last September, Fernando Mastrangelo curated “In Good Company,” a group exhibition that christened his brand-new studio-cum-gallery in East New York, Brooklyn. The show presented a snapshot of New York’s tight-knit emerging design community, where a family-like ethos pervades—most participants were, or have since become, close personal friends of Mastrangelo. But one designer in particular left a lasting impact.
“When Anna Karlin and I first met, I had an immediate response to her work,” he recalls. “She was the first designer to be in the show, and we’ve been friends since.” Fast forward over half a year, and the duo is debuting a limited-edition line of sculptural furniture, called Chunk, which seamlessly blends each designer’s signature style. Mastrangelo cast Karlin’s celebrated Chess series, which reinterprets the classic board game pieces into geometric stools and side tables, in the atypically common materials that define his oeuvre: cement, salt, glass, quartz, and silica.
“It was an immediate mutual decision, and the plans effortlessly started to roll,” says Karlin, who notes that seeing Chess cast in Mastrangelo’s favored materials gave the collection a welcome refresh. Chess is normally made from cold rolled steel, then brass plated, and finished with a hand-rubbed patina. Other variations come in walnut or brass. “I have a strong affinity for raw materials, but never with my Chess series,” she says. “To see my work cast in such beautiful ways has been a huge pleasure.”
Chunk comprises five pieces, each available in an edition of eight. See it at Karlin’s brand-new street-facing gallery at 108 Eldridge Street in Manhattan from May 11-June 1.