Feelings of peace and calm categorise Alison Berger’s new designs for RH
The American designer’s first furniture collection for RH also features lighting and mirrors. The designs pay tribute to the planet and evoke a sense of balance and reflection through a sophisticated use of glass, metal and traditional techniques
When American furniture brand RH opened its behemoth Manhattan flagship store in the heart of the Meatpacking District back in 2018, the centerpiece of the sprawling neutral-toned furniture showroom was undoubtedly the light and glass installation by designer Alison Berger. Entitled ‘New York Night’ and designed to mimic the atmosphere of experiencing the city’s lights through the rain, the dramatic installation effortlessly cascaded down through a 90 ft stairwell with a soft and ethereal effect.
This month, RH unveils a new partnership with Berger that will enable clients to re-create that quixotic ephemerality in the comforts of home. Long considered an artisan and maker, Berger has created five new collections for the company that encompasses lighting, furniture and objects. One line entitled Rain, also directly nods to the New York installation, with its weighty drops of hand-blown glass, each suspended from a slim black cord.
‘I went about conceptualising the five collections for RH to express the beauty of glass and the quality of light, keeping in mind what would be possible with large-scale glass manufacturing capabilities,’ shares Berger, who has only ever made bespoke pieces from her Los Angeles atelier over the past 20 years. ‘There really weren’t challenges in handing over the reins because the designs were conceptualized to capitalize on the processes of manufactured glasswork. That is not to say there wasn’t some trial and error; isn’t that the case in anything that is being created anew?’
Berger has created two other lighting collections: Fulcrum, a design that stems from her long standing fascination with antique scales and other mathematical instruments of measure, and Pearl, which is formed by glass spheres that feature intricate carvings inspired by the Venetian inciso technique. The lighting offerings are balanced by the Ice Table collection, where thick slabs of glass, reminiscent of bare blocks of ice, are held in place by a hand-cast metal base, allowing light to permeate through. Berger’s first ever mirror design, named Aperture for the layered scaffolding that holds a swiveling glass lens, rounds everything out by cutting a memorable figure.
‘Our studio practice throughout the years has incorporated different forms using glass, so we wanted to include forms other than lighting into the collections for RH,’ Berger explains. ‘Conceptually, I wanted the designs to honor the planet and to be aware of our natural surroundings, which is why some of the works are titled Rain, Pearl and Ice. I also wanted to capitalise on the message of balance and reflection, which brought forth the collections Fulcrum and Aperture. I wanted the results to feel beautiful and elegant, and when viewed, bring a sense of peace and calm once they are placed into a space.’ §