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Inside Vincent Van Duysen’s Brutalist Foray Into Stone Furniture

  • December 22, 2023

It’s 10 p.m. in Miami and dozens of Art Basel attendees are lining up to go stand in the rain.

Sort of.

What’s actually drawn this crowd to the Arca showroom in Wynwood is the unveiling of Gravitas, the company’s new 18-piece collection with AD100 architect Vincent Van Duysen—a suite of heroic pieces carved from solid stone. One-of-one pedestals, benches, tables, and chairs populate the interior of the showroom, which has been staged dramatically with a backdrop of black curtains and a looping soundtrack of falling rain.

Vincent Van Duysen with three Gravitas designs (in, from left, Carrara marble, Cafecina, and Recinta stones).

Nick Hudson

In this setting, Van Duysen’s pieces feel totemic, like something out of time—2001: A Space Odyssey–like monoliths, ready to be adopted by a collector. “The pieces are very physical,” notes Van Duysen, who points out that the works are meant to toe the line between art objects and sculptures. The Belgian designer isn’t precious about these pieces, precious as they are. (Prices of the items for sale vary depending on the design and stone, but suffice it to say these are for serious aficionados.) He points out that in one column-like work, niches can be used for books or objects.

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Whereas Arca’s 2022 collaboration with Kelly Wearstler played into the designer’s idiosyncratic glam aesthetic, Van Duysen’s is elemental and focused heavily on texture. In line with the brutalism and minimalism he is known for, the works experiment with some of the stone supplier’s intricate carving techniques. “I was certainly very interested in the challenge of seeing what I could come up with,” Van Duysen says. “I wanted to have this proposition between the rough and handmade, hammered

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