In the world of décor, touch of surprise or humor—absurdist or otherwise—can easily warm up a space.
But playfulness can certainly run the gamut, taste-wise: On the lowbrow end of the spectrum we have Big Mouth Billy Bass, and on the highbrow end, there’s Pelle. If one is able to inject levity into design as adeptly as the latter has in its Incise Paintings, it’s time to stop and take note. So grab a pen, if you please…
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On top of turning out pieces that are simply exceptional, Jean and Oliver Pelle—the couple behind PELLE—have been able to strike a delicate balance between well-cultivated wryness and refined forms, all of which are assembled in their New York studio and atelier.
The appropriately titled Incise Paintings make fine use of the textured canvases surrounding its bulbs, casting their backgrounds’ colors—and a touch of subversive humor—across any room.
In this case, it was a bit of necessity that bred the invention. “There is an unsightly corner in a part of our showroom we call the ‘meeting room,’ ” says Jean Pelle. “The corner has an elevator shaft window with jailhouse bars that every tenant has painted over. It’s quite high up and awkward, and we originally wanted to cover it up with a huge square canvas painting floating in a wood frame. The painting would be a field of pale blue—the exact shade as the meeting room’s walls.”
That simple fix led to something much larger.
“Once we made it,” she adds, “we immediately thought of other possibilities—like literally cutting into the canvas so that we could insert points of light. The piece started to have a mid-20th Century art feel, so we felt the appropriate lights would be old-timey appliance bulbs. Not only that, we also added a signature ‘Pelle’ in painted cursive. Except for rebuilding the entire frame for housing the wiring and electrical components that cannot be seen at all when viewing the painting, it all came together so quickly and easily without too much thought.”
“We liked the piece so much for its unexpected playfulness,” says Pelle, “and like our other work, we produce what we enjoy ourselves.” That enjoyment pokes right out of these pieces—and is ready to fill up any space.
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