Seemingly hewn out of boulders or icebergs, yet as refined and elegant as any furniture you’ve ever seen, Fernando Mastrangelo’s striking sculptural works are one of a kind. Blurring the boundaries between art and interior design, Mastrangelo’s furniture, mirrors, and installations use texture and form to their fullest potential. It would be hard to see these pieces in person and resist reaching out to follow their contours with your fingers.
Based in Brooklyn, Mastrangelo has a background in fine art that shows in every item he creates. His childhood in Mexico and Argentina inspired a love of nature that informs his stylistic choices. He describes his aesthetic as “raw minimalism,” preferring to work with materials like cast sand, wood, powdered glass, sugar, and surprisingly enough, human ashes.
One standout collection is DRIFT, a series of sculptural pieces inspired by glaciers and natural earth formations from the designer’s voyages to Patagonia and the Grand Canyon. Consisting of a sofa, mirror, bench, and side table, DRIFT juxtaposes elements that are polished and highly finished with those that are raw and less controlled. Mastrangelo describes the sofa as coming together in a “poetic mass” of classic upholstery and sharp-edged sculpting techniques.
The CAPITAL collection is a series of three mirrors titled “Aurora,” “Marina,” and “Sahara,” which adorn reflective surfaces with hand-dyed sand to reference the natural beauty of Dubai. Another collection called RIDGE takes a darker tone, with layers of black, gray, and white sand creating the illusion of distant landscapes after sunset. These cast sand pieces include drums, tables, and wall-mounted slabs, as well as a 1,452-piece cut glass mosaic wall mirror mimicking the look of abstracted mountains.
You won’t often see Mastrangelo’s work at indoor design fairs. As far as he’s concerned, the next generation of buyers “is not interested in walking through a booth-filled convention center where they don’t feel connected to the experience,” as he told Surface Magazine. “They want to travel to see and interact and participate in the things they love.”
The designer often chooses to put his works on display in public spaces instead, such as “Tiny House,” an interactive pop-up full of lush plants that he parked in Times Square during NYCxDesign. This project shows off Mastrangelo’s vision of the future of design, using reclaimed materials and a small footprint to promote sustainability without sacrificing highly Instagrammable beauty.
Where will Mastrangelo’s work go from here? Even bigger and more interactive.
“I’m looking to use the language I’ve created through my sculpture and furniture practices in new and interesting ways,” he says. “This has led me to a newfound fervor for designing experiential spaces. At last year’s Collective Design, I designed a booth called The Dream that was inspired by a Henry Rousseau painting; it was a space designed to evoke the lush feeling of the sun setting in the jungle. This year, I designed the Art Basel Lounge for Audemars Piguet which will travel the world. It also transports its visitors, but this time to a Swiss mountain range.”