This November, Chapman and his co-founder Nicolas Pickaerts ventured into a more tangible space at the Salon Design Art + Fair in Manhattan, which also served as the launchpad for 60 entirely new products, produced by and for Abask and available online after the fair. For the display, Chapman and his collaborators shipped in some 600 items, he tells me, sipping water from a elegantly off-kilter tumbler made by a glass company run by the daughters of Venetian glass artist Massimo Micheluzzi. (The typical Salon display, which admittedly often includes larger-scale furniture, might have some 20 items.)
The new offerings range from a one-of-a-kind Alexander Kirkeby hand-blown candelabra that looks like something Dr. Seuss might have designed if he worked in sparkling crystal to a jewelry box from Brazilian artist Silvia Furmanovich inspired by her travels through Uzbekistan to hand-painted crystal stemare from the Bavarian glasmakers Theresienthal—onetime favorites of the Russian tsars.
With all his delight in the colors and texture of his items, I am curious if he desires to set up a more permanent space where people can judge the heft of the pizza knives and delicacy of the drinkware carafes for themselves. He demurs, but doesn’t reject the possibility. “Retail is in my blood,” he tells me, “I just want to put myself in front of people and understand what they are engaging with.”
Salon Art + Design, takes place at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City from November 9 – 13, 2023.