May 21, 2014

AMMA Studio Launch Party

Among the many goings-on at the Standard Hotel last night was design duo Fernando Mastrangelo and Samuel Amoia's cocktail celebration and launch party for their new joint venture, AMMA Studio, a cutting-edge furniture and design studio, and its inaugural collection. Upon arrival, the guests, a mix of young artist types and friends of hosts Shala Monroque and Ambra Medda, took elevators up to The Highline Room + Terrace, where they were met with trays of champagne flutes and the option to view the collection after a few drinks outside.

Across the terrace in the High Line Room, the 30 pieces of sculptural furniture were placed along the peripheries of the space, categorized and grouped by material. For those seeking a new coffee table, the young designers delivered - but with an unexpected twist. "A coffee table made from coffee," laughed Mastrangelo, pointing towards a large rock-like structure that, upon close inspection under the room's low lighting, revealed tiny composite parts of coffee grain. As a sculptor known for using nontraditional materials like salt and sand - and, once, even cocaine - Mastrangelo combined his knowledge of working with organic stuffs with Amoia's love of clean, geometric lines.

Together, the collection presented an aesthetic that spoke equally to its natural, geological parts and its sleek, modern forms, featuring pieces like cylindrical side tables made with copper beads and pink Himalayan salt, and mini-shelves constructed from white silica that boasted both smooth surfaces and rough interiors. For Amoia, this texture duality was especially important in conveying the essence of AMMA. "Each piece is strong and pared-down on the outside, but the inside is soft and organic, which really speaks to our flow between the bold geometry of modern design and the natural world," he explained. "I think that combination is a result of our backgrounds: I worked for Stephen Sills, so I became used to working with really sumptuous materials, like leather, mohair, and marble, while Fernando, as a sculptor, is really into the casting process of forging all of these organic materials together really tightly, with resin. So in that sense, we're basically trying to come up with a concept for ‘the modern organic.'"

As the evening progressed, observers were seen crouching in strange positions in front of each piece, angling their phone cameras to best capture its different textures and patterns. Guests in attendance included Dakota Fanning, Austin Fremont, Marco Brambilla, Stephanie LaCava, Maria Giulia Maramotti, Sophie Matisse, Meredith Ostram, Charlotte Sarkozy, Meg Sharpe, and Nicola Vassell, all of whom gave the collection a unanimous thumbs-up. "I really like what they're doing," said host Shala Monroque of her support for Mastrangelo and Amoia. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone make furniture out of things like coffee or salt, so I think that's amazing. They're young, fresh designers from New York and I think they're going to be great." - Noor Brara 

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