Alexandra Von Furstenberg
AVF Fearless tray in zebra
AVF Fearless tray in yellow
AVF M-16 tables in smoke
AVF Candy Bowl Dish
AVF Brilliant console in pink
“Good taste,” says Alexandra von Furstenberg, “does not come from how you dress, or how you decorate your home. It is about how you live your life.” For von Furstenberg, a savvy businesswoman and the creator and designer of AVF (her eponymous line of acrylic furniture and accessories), a solid sense of style is woven into her DNA. Take her international family upbringing, for example. Von Furstenberg’s father is the entrepreneur Robert Warren Miller, and her two sisters, Marie-Chantal and Pia, are style-makers in their own right.
Von Furstenberg grew up between Hong Kong, Paris and New York before settling in Los Angeles and launching AVF in 2007, so she has plenty of experience to draw from when it comes to her decidedly Pop Art-meets-modernist aesthetic. “Living all over the world,” she says, “has given me a broad sense and understanding of different countries, different cultures and different senses of home and treatment of space.” However, it was her early exposure to opulent, over-decorated abodes that most shaped her adult design perspective. “Growing up in New York and Paris, everything seemed to be very cluttered. Heavy curtains, lots of things everywhere — at least that’s how I perceived it as a child.”
Once she began designing her own furniture, her distaste for a more-is-more philosophy became tangible. “I believe less is more,” she says. “Everything should have a function and a place. It is about strict editing.” She emphasizes that she is neither a minimalist nor an advocate of cold design, and that it is possible to balance the modern with an inviting sense of warmth. Case in point? The 18,000-square-foot, five-bedroom L.A. home she shares with her husband, architect and conceptual designer Dax Miller, which was featured this summer in Architectural Digest. The home, like her wildly popular collection of furniture and accessories, is a perfect example of form meeting function, and of proper space being delegated to each object.
Von Furstenberg is a student of art history and costume design; a look back to the psychedelic 1970s is what formed her furniture future. “I am inspired by Pierre Cardin and David Hicks,” she says. “Those two, hands down. They constantly surprise me. Their work from the ‘60s and ‘70s was so fresh, so modern and so ahead of its time — yet timeless.”
Lucite, a material often employed during the 1970s in design objects of all kinds (jewelry, furniture), was the natural choice when von Furstenberg conceptualized her AVF collection. “In my mind, Lucite acrylic is what I envisioned the future to look like, and yet I felt like it had been dormant,” she says. Her acrylic revival of neon-hued furniture and accessories (from trays and vases to consoles and dining tables, all in vibrant pinks, reds, greens, yellows and blues) has never been more fashionable. It is, perhaps, the reflective nature of the pieces — “the prism effect,” as she calls it — that makes her work most intriguing. Light, in all its simplicity, transforms the personality of each design in an instant.
The bold, colorful work of two of her favorite contemporary artists, Gary Lang and Ryan McGinness, appears to inspire von Furstenberg’s kaleidoscopic furniture designs. “I consider my pieces to be functioning art,” she says. “People collect art; they collect beautiful handbags. You can do the same with furniture. It is a collector’s mentality. It has to speak to you.”
On Tuesday, October 27, Von Furstenberg will be in store at the Dallas Design District gallery and boutique Gallerie Noir, 1525 Dragon Street, for a personal appearance and to sign her AVF furniture and accessories. There’s reason to celebrate: Gallerie Noir owner Melissa Enriquez now stocks the largest collection of AVF furniture and accessories in Texas.
More AVF party news: On Wednesday, October 28, von Furstenberg will be in Houston at Longoria Collection (1101-02 Uptown Park Boulevard) for cocktails and conversation at a fête hosted by PaperCity magazine, 6 to 8 pm.