Fine art, literature and sport collide in Ali Robinson’s first furniture collection
Ali Robinson’s work is informed by a variety of influences: the creative polymath studied fine art, before setting up the architecture and interior design firm Robinson van Noort with his wife in 2010. Their studio flourished, becoming known for its period interiors with contemporary touches. Robinson’s first foray into furniture is no different. Named after a favourite childhood holiday spot in Cornwall, ‘Kynance’ is an eclectic collection of 17 experimental pieces.
The dining table is inspired by Danish designer Finn Juhl’s ‘Judas’ table; the elliptical, pared-back tabletop of rosewood sits on brass legs. The conceptual ‘Norham’ and ‘Drove Acre’ stools nod to Robinson’s background as a world doubles champion in rackets (a squash-like indoor sport), combining a stainless-steel curved structure with unlacquered squash balls. Other highlights include the ‘Hugon’ sideboard that was originally designed as a toy cabinet – a playful concoction of enamel elements in five colourways.
‘Ashorne’ vitrine (left), in patinated steel, glass and enamel and ‘Symonds’ vitrine (right), in an enamel pink finish
Robinson was inspired to extend his collection with a series of vitrines after reading Edmund de Waal’s The Hare With The Amber Eyes – A Hidden Inheritance, which considers how artefacts are sourced and cherished. The ‘Symonds’ vitrine is a modern take on the traditional medicine cabinet, with a ceramic-like surface in a soft, dusky-pink finish – a result of the 15 years Robinson spent nurturing relationships with specialists in vitreous enamel.
Not forgetting his roots in fine art, the ‘Harrow Fields’ mirror is an homage to Barbara Hepworth’s Curved Form (Oracle) and Anish Kapoor’s Void sculptures. The polished orb was born of Robinson’s love for 18th-century tarnished silver mirrors, with welded concave and convex discs in brass and bronze. As with both Kapoor and Hepworth’s works, one is unsure where it starts and finishes.