06 Jan Magic carpets and bending cities

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The design press has gone ga-ga this week over the mind-bending creations by Stelios Mousarris. We were lucky enough to grab an interview with him to delve a little further into the inspirations and processes behind it all.

Congrats on all the attention this week! The Wave City Coffee Table has been getting a lot of coverage. Has it been overwhelming?

I’ve actually been inundated with enquiries since this week’s press. And it’s come from all over the world, even from Taiwan. The response is great, I just need to make sure I don’t miss any emails.

We’ve been hearing and reading about how the Wave City Coffee Table was inspired by the movie Inception. Tell us more about that.

Actually, the story is a little different. I think there was an extent to which the movie and the visuals in it played on my mind in the process of designing this piece, especially the concept of the city, but it was more explicitly a documentary about tsunamis that I watched that planted the seed for the Wave City Coffee Table. The movement of waves is the theme that dominates in this piece.

There’s a definitive style to your creations – a sense of optical illusions. What are your goals when you are designing?

My aim is to create conceptual furniture – things that are fun to look at and that the eye will never get bored of examining; with every new glance, you might see something different, something as changeable as the ocean. To the extent that I can achieve that, there might be a hint of the spiritual when you look at one of my pieces.  A great example of that is the Carpet Chair.

So when it comes to manufacturing these unusual items, who do you work with and what materials do you like to use? Presumably, given the complex shapes, the materials and skills have to be of a superbly high quality.

Quality is absolutely important. Not just because of the structures but I’m also very keen to make sure everything about these pieces is precise. Even the ‘skeleton’ has to be perfect. For example, the underlying steel structure of the Carpet Chair is in and of itself beautiful, if you happen to take the carpet layers away. I choose to use powder coated steel for that very reason. You won’t find sub-standard materials underneath. And for the Wave City Coffee Table the wood is sustainably sourced.

When it comes to the making process, I have chosen to keep manufacturing in Cyprus, where I am based. I could easily send my designs to China in order to cut back on costs, but there is a great network of skilled craftsmen here on the island. Sometimes, there’s a clash of generations when we work together but working locally and bringing business back here does all of us a wealth of good. We’re helping eachother reach our own goals when we share our resources and our ideas.

Stelios Mousarris - Wave City Coffee table

So there’s a joining of new and old techniques for the Wave City Coffee Table?

The coffee table has a basic steel structure (which is thicker at the base to ensure stability and strength). Then a veneer of wood is brought in with the 3D printed buildings and ‘skyscrapers’ being added with the utmost care and precision. So yes, there is certainly a joining of different techniques to create the end product. The whole process can take up to three months!

Why and how do you 3d print wood [says the non-techie interviewer]?!

Well, from my previous life as a model maker I knew that it would take even longer if a structure like this was to be made fully out of wood. The 3d printing method allows us to use a material that has wood-like qualities where you can also choose the colour and tailor it to your needs. The material has an approximate 30% wood content.

And you’re currently taking orders?

Yes, though my website www.mousarris.com . Pieces will arrive fully authenticated and you’ll know what number your piece is in the limited edition series.

So after bending cities and travelling on magic carpets, what’s next?

I’m working on designing a restaurant space soon to open in the UK. And then something incredibly exciting. I can’t say much but it will launch in London later this year and it’s going to be a long-term feature.

Can I do an extensive google to figure out what it is?

It’s highly unlikely you’ll find anything, and I’m afraid my lips are sealed!

Stelios Mousarris

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