Many Hands Went Into Making Rafael Prieto’s Convivial Stools

Ahead of a solo showcase of his first-ever furniture pieces, the Savvy Studio and Casa Bosques co-founder reaches new highs when he brings out the brilliance of his community.

Photography by Sean Davidson

The common thread linking Rafael Prieto’s endeavors—whether as the co-founder of the consistently rewarding architecture and branding firm Savvy Studio, or as the creative force behind Mexico City’s Casa Bosques Bookstore and a line of sculptural chocolates of the same name—has been connection. “We don’t want to put out a pretty image,” he once told Surface. “We’re aiming to create a relevant and solid concept that will connect with people.” So for his latest undertaking, which involved fashioning a table and stools for his 19th-century TriBeCa loft, he leaned on input from his network of creative friends. Like usual, their combined sensibilities elevated the results to new heights. 

Or perhaps in this case, lows. The table, made of repurposed white oak, is low-slung to accommodate four square-shaped stools, all designed in collaboration with carpenter Andrin Widmer. Perched atop are Valerie Name Bolaño’s cushions upholstered in her interiors firm Spoliâ’s collection of handwoven deadstock textiles such as cashmere, bouclé, cotton velvet, and wool jacquard. Sewed on are rock-shaped buttons by ceramist Natalie Weinberger, who channeled both Franz West and stones Prieto picked up in Maine. The effect is tatami-like—a result of him traveling through Japan and feeling “humbled” to sit so close to the ground. 

Photography by Sean Davidson

Creating each stool is a labor of love—and “a reaction to the increasingly fast pace the world is moving at,” Prieto wrote on Instagram. “We’re repurposing materials that were once considered humble—at times discarded—and revealing their beauty in a new form.” Though an intimate reflection of Prieto’s proven ingenuity and collaborative ethos, the stools aren’t only for his apartment. They’re currently available at 180 the Store nearby, and more are underway as he readies his first-ever solo exhibition of recent design pieces under his own name at Emma Scully Gallery in the spring.

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