I think it’s safe to say that there’s never been an artist quite like Tony Duquette. Most famous as an interior designer with a princely bloodline, (he was discovered and subsequently sponsored by Elsie de Wolfe, the “First Lady of Interior Decoration,”) Duquette was equally, and, in his case supremely, talented as a jewelry designer, painter, sculptor, set decorator and irrepressible impresario whose parties were nothing short of otherworldly.
Duquette’s designs are bold and brash, yet somehow they retain a softness through the supernaturally, harmonious mixing of elements; elements which he relentlessly layers, enlisting almost every conceivable surface to contribute to his fantastical vision. Take the minimalistic design aesthetic which has been dominant for the better part of the last 20 years and annihilate it. That’s Tony Duquette. His rooms are ridiculous. The talent is so obvious, the only valid complaint is that he’s showing off.
Not surprisingly, TD’s ambition was to “inspire individuality and creativity in others. He never duplicated any of his work. Each job was custom-inspired by the client , the architecture and his own distinct vision.” Thus, it’s exciting news to hear that in close collaboration with Hutton Wilkinson, business partner to the late TD and president of Tony Duquette, Inc., Baker Furniture will be custom making a limited edition of his works for one year. Each piece will be manufactured according to Duquette’s exact designs. It’s a rare opportunity to obtain an official Duquette artifact, whether it be purely decorative, like the Gold Toad (see image below,) which is my favorite, or sublimely functional, like the Abalone Chandelier. In all, there’s about 50 pieces from which to choose. You can view all of them at the Baker store in the PDC, or a smaller selection at the new Baker flagship at 360 N. La Cienega.
I would urge people to go and check it out. The pieces in real life are so much more alive than even in the pictures from the recent book, Tony Duquette, of which Hutton Wilkinson was co-author. Which reminds me, he will be in the Baker store on La Cienega sometime in the new year to sign copies of said book, which I would argue was THE design book of 2008.
360 N La Cienega Blvd.