Discover the Story Behind This Iconic Rick Owens Bench


For more than a decade, fashion designer Rick Owens and his wife–slash–creative partner, Michèle Lamy, have been making furniture—first for themselves, then in limited editions for sale—most recently at a workshop in Saint-Fargeau-Ponthierry, about a 45-minute drive from their home in Paris.

“I don’t adhere to a very cozy aesthetic,” admits Owens, whose unconventional runway shows might feature a one-legged, one-sleeved cashmere jumpsuit or a live human, worn as a backpack. “I like something a bit austere and unsentimental.” But when, in 2013, they designed what Owens calls a “brutalist Bauhaus recamier,” inspiration came from an old, more-frivolous-than-usual adage: “A lady never stands when she can sit and never sits when she can recline.”

The bon mot (Owens thinks it was uttered by Mae West) spawned a perch with a decidedly cheerful name: the Double Bubble. Conceptualized by Owens and realized by Lamy (this is how they work), the bench, shaped like a capsule on feet with its middle cut out, was made first in plywood and later in concrete, black plywood, and alabaster. Owens’s antidote to the austere form? “I toss mattresses, throws, and pillows around liberally.”

Owens’s furnishings have gained a prominence that parallels his clothing. (“It’s a simple recipe but tricky to pull off well, like haiku or ikebana,” says the designer.) This bench in particular has become an interior-designer favorite. “It’s like a sculpture,” says AD100 designer Julie Hillman, who has commissioned the seat for clients in wood and alabaster, “but also really useful in a room. I love floating it so someone can sit facing either direction.” Meanwhile, Kathleen and Tommy Clements of Clements Design (also AD100) praise its versatility. Explains Tommy, “It works in a formal living room, surmounted by a Picasso, or as a recamier in the middle of a walk-in closet.” Case in point: Adam Levine’s sneaker-filled L.A. dressing room.

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