Capturing New York studio Apparatus’ cinematic attitude

Known for its bold, style-driven gestures, both in its collections and beyond (few other New York designers can be counted on to host a dance party at a disused theatre in Harlem, complete with gospel choir), the lighting and furniture design studio Apparatus has made great strides since it was founded in 2012.

The firm’s latest collection, entitled Interlude, that Apparatus revealed at both Salone del Mobile and New York Design Week, heralds a new chapter in its ongoing journey. Launched under the new line, Apparatus Editions, the limited edition range showcases fine handcraft to a degree that goes beyond the studio’s already highly demanded production pieces.

‘Although our entire collection is the result of incredible focus and craft, there are times when we have to pull back on creative impulses because we are somewhat confined by the limitations of production,’ explains Apparatus’ creative director Gabriel Hendifar. ‘Creating edition-ed work is a chance for the studio to really indulge in handcraft and materials without confines. With ‘Interlude’, we were able to conceive a collection that is a full, rich expression of a creative impulse, while exploring processes that test the limit.’

Interlude’s showcase during New York Design Week.

Interlude’s showcase during New York Design Week.

(Image credit: Eric Petschek)

Inspired by the fantasy of a shuttered Italian modernist theatre, Interlude features a variety of handcrafted materials and artisanal techniques that Hendifar has been collecting over the last five yeas. Some of the most memorable include leather that has been tightly folded by hand thousands of times to create a new texture applied to cabinetry; lampshades made from brass mesh that feature individual exquisitely embroidered shapes all crafted by hand, and panels of eel skin that have been elegantly inlaid onto table surfaces.

To appropriately capture the collection’s ethos, the studio once again produced a film, directed by Matthew Placek, who directed its first film ACT III last year. Set to Donizetti’s Ardon Gli Incensi, as performed by Maria Callas in 1957, the short film brings a feeling of playfulness to counteract the serious craft traditions that ground the range.

‘For me, Apparatus’ Interlude collection represents patience and a strong return to skilled craftsmanship,’ Placek says. ‘This film's environment, casting and production required the same consideration and care. We cast a post retirement handyman and his near-retirement successor to convey a confidence and dedication without the urgency to prove it.’

‘We choose a recording of Maria Callas, which not only represents an iconic figure of style but also a wildly cultivated vocalist,’ he adds, ‘these are all qualities that I see in the Interlude collection. There is an undeniable melancholy for the past which makes room for an optimistic future through patience, care and preservation.’


Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.