Meta builds on Milan debut with plans for new line-up

Start-up product and furniture brand Meta is signing up new collaborators for 2009, following its launch at Milan last month.

Meta, the ‘contemporary’ offshoot of Mallett Antiques, has already contracted an entirely new line-up of designers for next year to create ‘three to four designs’, according to Mallett managing director Giles Hutchinson-Smith.

‘Creating 11 pieces of work this year was very ambitious. We’re now going to focus on doing three to four designs per year by a new set of designers. The new designers will bring a new language [to what we do],’ reveals Hutchinson-Smith. He adds that the brand will, however, continue to work with ‘its stable of designers’ in the future.

A further four complementary pieces to the seven seen in Milan are to be unveiled in New York later this month. Meta launched with commissioned pieces by Asymptote, Tord Boontje, Matali Crasset, Wales & Wales and Barber Osgerby. A special veneer cabinet by Boontje, featuring sensuous lines, a wooden carcass and secret drawers will be unveiled in New York, alongside a follow-up dressing mirror by Crasset and two further gold box pieces by Asymptote (pictured).

Hutchinson-Smith explains that the rediscovery of heritage materials and the preservation of disappearing craft skills like enamelling, specialist leatherwork and cabinet-making are among the core values behind the Meta brand.

Although prices – which, unlike design-art pieces, are defined and fixed – reach up to $500 000 (£250 000), Hutchinson-Smith says that Meta pieces differ from design-art in that it is craftsmanship, and not auction price, that distinguishes Meta designs.

‘We are not in favour of limited editions for our particular brand. Our products are limited in the design development, allowing us to make very few every year anyway, so they are in fact self-limiting,’ he points out.

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