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Andrianna Shamaris: The Art of Imperfection

Andrianna Shamaris: The Art of Imperfection
In Article, News

She bridges the worlds of New York and Indonesia, and unites the modern with the organic in her designs. We talk history, craftsmanship and wabi-sabi with innovator Andrianna Shamaris.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese idea of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

“I never even knew the concept existed until last year. But that’s what I’ve been channelling since I started. Perfection is imperfection”,  says furniture designer Andrianna Shamaris.

Shamaris’s line of modern, organic furniture, hand crafted in her studio in Sumatra, embodies this ethos. Her pieces, made from glowing resin, petrified wood, aged palm wood and sunblasted teak, are about the interaction between nature’s original forms and a craftsman’s eye, a balance between old and new.

“I’m drawn to worn pieces of wood. Something that tells a story”, she says.

With the help of her trusted team of artisans, she transforms her materials into pieces that are sold around the world.

One of her most popular designs is the cracked resin cube, a smooth block of wood interwoven with crystalline veins of shimmering greens, greys and purples.

“Andrianna finds beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, her resin cubes are almost hypnotic, the perfect harmony between nature and design”, says Alex Eagle.

Shamaris didn’t start out in furniture; rather she fell into it. Born in London, she got her first job at just 16 at Browns Fashion, where she was Princess Diana’s personal shopper. She moved to the US and, inspired by trips to Bali, she and her then-husband opened a store in Santa Fe, New Mexico, selling Indonesian antiques and materials. A chance meeting with Fred Segal led to a collaboration in his Santa Monica store, and subsequently a coast-crossing move to New York.

“It was a dream for me. California is great, but New York was like being back in London – the energy, the people everywhere. I loved it,” she says.

And she hasn’t looked back. For more than two decades, the Andrianna Shamaris name has been at the forefront of the furniture design game, cleaving the concepts of organic and modern together in ever-innovative, ever-evolving ways.

“I like everything to be seamless. I’ve been told that I bring minimalism to a whole new level,” she says.

Her work is literally revolutionary, as she has created and pioneered new technologies to make it.

“The cracked resin was trial and error, pure and simple. When I started 15 years ago we did all these bright colours – bright red, turquoise. Some people loved them but I thought they were awful. I only wanted to do jewel tones like amethysts and sapphires, colours you would get naturally. Today, the wood I choose is very old, so when I add the resin it brings out its natural golden tones. So now it’s a very different process.”

But originality comes with its downsides. Having started out with a studio in Bali, she was forced to move to Sumatra to avoid the hordes of imitators trying to copy her methods. From her new base, she has created a community of artisans and craftspeople that bring her pieces of ancient wood that they’ve found, and help her innovate new methods.

“I work with a really amazing group of people, some of whom I’ve known for more than 20 years – it’s like a family,” she says.

In bridging the worlds of New York and Indonesia, by fusing the modern and the organic, by squaring the ancient and the innovative, Andrianna Shamaris has created a unique design vision. Perfection and imperfection, balanced as one.

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