The Californian fashion designer Rick Owens cultivates a bit of a bad boy goth rocker look that is visually somewhere between Iggy Pop and John Galliano: His clothes designs are sculptural and strong - with asymmetrical shapes and lots of black leather - and are eminently wearable. Since moving to Paris in 2003 he has built up a considerable fashion following but hasn't left it there: Owens also designs furniture - rather attractive furniture - that is now on show for the first time in Berlin thanks to another multi-talent, the publisher Angelika Taschen.
Taschen has known Owens and his partner Michèle Lamy since they all lived in Los Angeles nearly a decade ago and included Owens' striking Parisian work- and living space in her 2009 book 'New Paris Interiors'. An avid collector of both art and design with a sharp eye for special show-stoppers, Taschen was so taken with Owen's furniture that she decided to bring it to her home town for a visit. 'I think Rick Owens and Berlin are a perfect match in many ways', she says, 'complexity, edginess and intensity - no mainstream and no superficial prettiness'.
Rick Owens originally custom-designed most of his furniture for his own use in his Paris headquarters. The forms are as sculptural as his clothing but have a monolithic weight to them. They are made predominantly from raw plywood, resin and fibreglass but several pieces could just as easily be carved in stone. He has (almost) completely suppressed any temptation to add decorative gothic touches beyond the rather poetic use of a pair of antlers serving as asymmetric wings to a pair of chairs. He even, rather decently, covers up a standard lamp in cashmere. Owens is clearly no dilettante when it comes to furniture - these are strong pieces and it is not without reason that he is now represented in this field by one of the worlds most respected design galleries: Jousse Entreprise.
April 30th to May 2nd is Gallery Weekend in Berlin, where the spring season kicks off with 40 openings in 40 galleries but art fans will be hitting town earlier to take in the opening of a major show by Olafur Eliasson at the Martin Gropius Bau, and another by Andreas Gursky at Spruth Magers. The Rick Owens' 'To Pop A Boner' show at Apartment, one of the city's most respected alternative fashion emporia at Alexanderplatz, will be a good place to start at and then you can continue to thread your way through the rest of the galleries throughout the week.