We knew they would be busy putting the finishing touches to their interiors for the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (see W*196), but we had to ask: would Roman and Williams, the creative duo behind the wave of industrial-edged interiors that have taken over the world and the holders of a prestigious 2014 Cooper-Hewitt Museum Design Award, be so kind as to contribute to our Handmade project? They said they would.
Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer, who set up Roman and Williams (the studio is named after their grandfathers) in 2002, found inspiration for their contribution, a credenza, in the design principles of the American Arts and Crafts movement. We paired them with Olollo, a young Brooklyn-based studio with another intriguing name, this time based on its birthdate, 01/01/10. Founded by Regan Chen, it collaborates with creative visionaries to refine the aesthetics and fabrication techniques of their works. ‘This hefty and challenging credenza demanded that we employ traditional craftsmanship while being mindful of the interaction between all the different elements,’ says Chen.
The sideboard is made from sapele, a subtly grained African wood similar to mahogany, and features an open storage and display area, two side doors and removable shelves to accommodate a special curation of porcelain by Bavarian brand Nymphenburg. The credenza is completed with custom brass hardware, brass pulls from Roman and Williams’ RW Atlas collection, and black leather-lined drawers that perfectly complement the delicate Nymphenburg tableware.
Say Alesch and Standefer, ‘When the drawings are complete, the focus is on manifesting the original vision and making it come to life, while staying true to that original impulse. So everything is very specific, from the understated grain of the sapele to the custom brass fixtures that exude an intimate, familiar warmth.’
As originally featured in the August 2015 edition of Wallpaper* (W*197)