Art has taken a functional turn in The Odd Piece, Dubai. BD Barcelona Design, renowned for transforming the outlandish dreams of Salvador Dalí into living furniture pieces, and for faithfully reproducing Antoni Gaudí’s designs, has made a limited collection available at the Alserkal Avenue treasure trove.
BD Design’s general manager Jordi Arnau takes me on a pitstop tour beginning in Barcelona in the 1970’s, where BD was born. Oscar Tusquets Blanca was a founder and creative ally of Dalí’s. Together they created the iconic Mae West lips sofa that can now be seen in Dalí’s museum in Catalonia. Arnau describes Oscar’s experiences at mythical nightclub Boccacio (which the B in BD stands for), the infamous Dalí parties in Cadaqués and the bizarre behaviour of the artist’s wife and muse of many, Gala.
A standout of The Odd Piece’s staging is the Leda Armchair Sculpture. As Arnau says, “converting artworks into furniture is a very unique field,” and this sinuous gold chair with elegant feet, with shoes, is a fanciful realisation from Dalí’s Femme à la Téte Rose painting. The taxidermy lamb table, a limited edition of only 20 – 19 in white and one in black, “that one sold straight away,” says Arnau – is a real surprise. The painting Interpretation Project for a Stable-library inspired this peculiarity.
The time these projects take to be realised is considerable says Arnau, detailing permissions and how it took over thirty years to find the right material to properly produce the Mae West Couch. Antoni Gaudí’s pieces had already been designed by the legendary architect, but fidelity to materials and craftsmanship make it a slow process too. The Calvet chairs at The Odd Piece are really covetable, sculptured from solid oak and almost twee in their ornate presentation. Arnau has set his sights on bringing more titans of modernism to furnishing: think Miró and Picasso. But with such an extensive collection of Dalí to transform, “we’re happy,” he smiles.