It's hard to wrap a 30-year career up into a single show. But such was the challenge of self-taught French designer Eric Schmitt upon choosing his pieces for his first ever UK solo exhibition, taking place at London’s Dutko gallery.
An eclectic vibe is felt immediately on entering the compact Mayfair space, the curation in which travels through various eras – from art deco to contemporary design movements – stopping at different European influences along the way.
Seating the delicate 1996 bronze and leather 'Chauffeuse Osselet' – an elegant deco piece – alongside modern black lacquered bronze and aluminium tables marks a real transition over time. ‘My work is a result of the sculptor I almost am, the architect I would like to have been and the designer I am not entirely,' Schmitt explains of the multifaceted works.
When discussing the sheer breadth of materials he utilises, the Frenchman reveals that he likes to combine craftsmen who have never worked together. For example, his bohemian glass arrives from where the experts lie, the Czech Republic, and he introduces this to Italian marble, creating something unique.
Standing out among the works is the 'Scale' dresser from 2008, that appears as an Italian radical design. Made entirely from marble scales, its remarkable, whimsical character shone in the white washed space.
Whether the pieces stand as sculpture, furniture, or artworks, their quality and stories are too strong and hard to consume in just one small art space. So it's not surprising that Schmitt’s show was launched alongside a monograph on his oeuvre. The eponymous tome is an intimate, humble testament that gives us an insight into the many phases of his life (he is both a horseman and music lover) that have shaped his world of design.