Gabby continues to explore the use of unique materials in transitional and antique style furniture design:
Gabby’s products are appealing not just because our products are trend setting and narrative, but because we’re made of good stock. Inside and out, our material selections are unique, which stems from our core philosophy, a commitment to innovation. A new Chapter from Gabby, her 6th, is one of Sophistication: meaning highly developed, elaborate and produced with a high degree of skill and knowledge, having worldly knowledge of refinement. Gabby has created a new antique style furniture aesthetic from unusual materials such as: Horn, Faux Shagreen, Eglomise Mirror, Recycled Wood and Molded Concrete.
Horn is a fascinating naturally harvested and hand-selected material. To form the luxurious finish of our Theodore Side Table, for instance, our artisans must take it through many steps before application. Horn can be physically altered by heating. In fact, the word “plastic” first appeared in the late middle ages to describe the pliable state of horn after heating. Horn, if cooked too much reduces to jelly. Actually, gelatin, the kind used to make jellies and Jello, is made by boiling down horn and hooves until the rigid structure breaks down.
Our artisans first split the unworked horn into 2 moon shaped halves. The pieces are placed into a heated pot of oil, and cooked until soft. While heating by torch or charcoal braziers like glass lamp work is much quicker, the oil submersion evenly heats the horn for our next step, the press. After the horn is pliable, it is taken out of the pot and placed in a flat metal press for one day to make the pieces flat. Once flat and dry, the pieces are removed and cut into shape. Sometimes the underside is strengthened with wood and fiberglass inlays using AB glue. After insertion into the furniture, the surface is sanded with a multi step process and the horn is finished with a protective resin layer for shine, strength, and durability.
The result is a beautiful and complex shape made of natural, replenishable materials.
Shagreen is a rough and untanned rawhide, formerly made from horse skin with seeds pressed in to leave a texture, but now mostly made of shark or ray. It is commonly used in fancy book covers, pocketbooks, or sword hilts and scabbards, where slipperiness is a disadvantage. The word comes from the French chagrin meaning annoyance as it relates to its rough or granular texture.
Shagreen was a very common cover for 19th century reading glasses containers as well as small Chinese container boxes. In the 17th and early 18th centuries it was primarily shark or ray skin, which are naturally covered with round, closely set, calcified papillae. These scales are ground down to give a roughened surface of rounded pale circles, between which the skin is usually colored with a green vegatable dye. This shagreen was first popularized in Europe by Jean-Claude Galluchat (d. 1774), a master leatherworker in the court of Louis XV of France. It quickly became a fashion amongst the French aristocracy, and migrated throughout Europe by the mid-18th century.
Our Faux Shagreen is a modern interpretation in color and manufacturing of this traditional material.
Verre églomisé is the French term for gilded glass, where gold or silver leaf is applied to the back of a piece of glass with a gelatin adhesive, creating a mirror-like, reflective finish in which designs are sometimes engraved or combined with reverse painting.
Although dating back as far as the 3rd century B.C., this technique was popularized and named for Jean-Baptist Glomy (1711–1786), and 18th century French framer for Louis XVI, who decorated mirrors and tremeaux for Marie-Antoinette.
Eglomise in its purest form of squares of silver leaf seems to originate in our transitional furniture designs. But quite the contrary, the technique possesses a historically rich, depth which will resonate interest in any room.
As Gabby explores new forms and types of recycled wood products, what our fans expect to see is meaningful narrative created by opposing different material combinations, like you see with the soft, earthy recycled pine, contrasted with the cool, dynamic hardness of the iron louvres in our Emma Chest.
While we believe we have “done it again”, what you will be surprised to find is unusual types and uses of recycled wood. The processes themselves are illustrative and will stimulate conversation.
Our recycled wood originates from reclaimed warehouses, furniture, barn wood, structural beams, where the scars of age speak through our furnishings.
By design, concrete, a liquid to solid material takes on any texture or form. Molded or precast concrete is produced by using a reusable form or mold. Precast stone is differentiated from precast concrete by using a fine aggregate in the mixture, so the finished material looks more like natural stone. We find moulded concrete as far back as Ancient Rome in inventive aqueducts, culverts and tunnels. Pre-cast, paneled buildings were pioneered in Liverpool, England in 1905, by John Alexander Brodie, inventor of the football goal net.
Cool to the touch, concrete possesses qualities of stone, feeling ancient but reborn. In our Wyatt Bakers Rack, a precast shelf has been molded from anciently figured wood, appearing petrified, to complement the Brushed Aged Zinc finish of the geometric metal frame. Products made of precast concrete can withstand the most extreme weather conditions and will stand up to years of constant usage.
The main features of Gabby’s new product offerings incorporates transitional pieces and many mixed materials, including metal, stone, recycled wood, glass, rattan, and mirror in a more transitional styling. Look for geometric shapes, clean lines, and sophisticated details. New products also include darker finishes as well as gilded, metallic, antiqued, gold and silver and finishes that contrast well with our current furnishings.