Chuck Moffit’s fantastical furniture in full bloom at the Eric Buterbaugh Gallery
When Eric Buterbaugh, a longtime floral designer to L.A.’s stylish set, opened his Beverly Boulevard flagship in summer 2015, he told us he was determined to make the 2,700-square-foot indoor/outdoor space function as something beyond a florist’s showroom. And, to his credit, he’s delivered; the last year has seen it serve as the backdrop to a whirl of celebrity-studded parties, pop-ups, product launches and art exhibitions. But it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate use of the space than showcasing the floral-themed furniture currently on display there.
The installation, presented in collaboration with curators and makers of offbeat furniture Blackman Cruz, is the handiwork of Los Angeles-based artist and furniture maker Chuck Moffit. Titled “With the Promise of Nectar,” it consists of five exquisitely sculptural pieces that combine heavy, brutalist pieces of geometric metal with delicate organic details. They include two one-of-a-kind light fixtures in cast bronze, patinated steel and stained glass (a ceiling light, “A Fragment for Coleridge,” priced at $29,500 and a floor lamp, “Dear Mr. Fantasy, for $12,000), a lily pad-like coffee table in cast bronze, with turquoise-colored glass inlays (“Tiberinus,” edition of seven, $28,500 each) and a massive center table with a cast bronze top that resembles a pressed flower (“Oshibana,” edition of seven, $24,000 a piece).
The real scene-stealer of the space, though, is Moffit’s chair crafted from patinated steel and deep purple velvet flower-petal cushions designed for two occupants to sit facing each other (“Dioscuri,” $21,000). At the Aug. 25 opening reception, it was surrounded by more than a dozen purple flowers, each set in its own slender glass bud vase, with dozens more similarly displayed around the room. The juxtaposition of real and cast florals, and the heady scent of Buterbaugh’s fragrances (the space is also home to his EB Florals perfumery) combine to create a steampunk fairy garden feel.
The synergy of the site-specific installation, which will remain in place through Sept. 11, seems like a no-brainer, especially given that Moffit credits the floral designer’s lavish arrangements as an early inspiration. But, as Buterbaugh said, the two had never met before the project. “He cold-called me,” Buterbaugh said. “I never say no to anything right away, and when he started explaining [the installation] to me -- and showing me sketches -- I really got into it.”
And even if you’re not in a position to shell out $28K for a cast-bronze lily pad coffee table, if you happen to visit the strange and fantastical field of flowers created by Moffit and Buterbaugh, you’ll probably still walk away just as enthusiastic.
“Chuck Moffit: With the Promise of Nectar” at the Eric Buterbaugh Gallery, 8271 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, through Sept. 15.
For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me @ARTschorn.