Simone Bodmer Turner launches furniture

The New York ceramicist unveils her first chair design made of clay, part of a larger collection to be presented in 2022 and including furniture and lighting

cream ceramic chair by Simone Bodmer-Turner
‘Chair I’ by ceramicist Simone Bodmer-Turner, part of a larger furniture collection which will be previewed in 2022
(Image credit: Neige Thebault)

Adding to an already wildly popular practice, New York-based artist and ceramicist Simone Bodmer-Turner has unveiled her first foray into furniture with her inaugural chair design, aptly named Chair I. Sculpted in clay and then carved into an undulating biomorphic form, the statuesque chair is the first of a larger furniture collection that Bodmer-Turner has in the works, including a side table and lighting, which are all set to come in 2022. 

Simone Bodmer Turner crounching on a cream ceramic chair she designed

(Image credit: Neige Thebault)

Since establishing her eponymous design studio and practice in 2018, Simone Bodmer-Turner has made great waves in the real (and digital) world with her collections of curvaceous ceramic forms that recall the multi-necked silhouettes of Meso-American stirrup-spout vessels. Thus named for their resemblance to a riding saddle stirrup, these ritualistic vessels were largely found in burial sites for the elite and date back to the early second millennium BC.

Bodmer-Turner’s contemporary versions convey similar feelings of reverence and mystery. Occasionally biomorphic and primitive, as if made in another time, yet exuding an otherworldly elegance and refinement in its materiality, the ceramicist’s permanent collection of vessels and her larger commission-based sculptures express an elegant tension between the form and its negative space at a multitude of scales.

First chair design by Simone Bodmer-Turner

cream ceramic chair next to a multi-coloured sculpture

(Image credit: Neige Thebault)

‘I have been interested in scaling up my work and creating pieces that are functional for the last few years,’ she shares. ‘I have a lot of reverence for the form of a chair and the infinitesimal shapes it has taken throughout time and periods of design. I never settled down to do specific research, but think it arose out of my persistent interest in functional design.’

‘I wanted to create a piece that united the fluid lines of my sculptural work and the organic architecture that informs it, but also felt monolithic and carved out-of-a-whole, like so many of the wood sculptures I admire,’ she adds. ‘Each chair is hand-built with thick coils of groggy stoneware clay. I've kept the prototype I made two years ago, and we model it, curve by curve, off the original.’

Cream and black sculptures on shelves

(Image credit: Neige Thebault)

Exclusively available at the cult design showroom Matter, Chair I is available in either Bodmer-Turner’s signature black or white clay. It also sits perfectly at home within her inviting workspace and showroom in the Brooklyn Navy Yard – a minimalist, all-white melange of curved surfaces and caverns, which she built out by sculpting organically on an architectural scale. 
‘The difference in scale definitely changes the process,’ she summarises. ‘In my sculptural work, I am constantly picking up the pieces, turning them on their sides or heads to give it a different foundation, then building up from an area that was previously inaccessible, and continuing this process until the form feels right. Though the original Chair I came into existence from a similar process of hewing back on a larger form that was intended to be a chaise, building each piece requires a lot more planning as the weight and size of it don't allow for picking it up and turning it on its head when something feels off. It has to be moving in the right direction from the beginning.’


Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking 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.

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