Salone del mobile and Fuorisalone 2019

“When function meets fantasy there is magic” – L’Objet founder Elad Yifrach

Together with Haas Brothers, the New York-based brand presented a massive collection of oneiric objects for the home, inspired by the fantastical monsters residing in Joshua Tree National Park.

L'Objet, Milan Design Week 2019, photo Giulia Di Lenarda

A series of 65 collectible pieces that range from tableware to lightings, vases and textiles: the collaboration with Haas Brothers is truly massive and it drag visitors to a parallel universe.

Launched at Dilmos Milano during Milan Design Week 2019, the collection by the Los Angeles-based artists draws inspiration from a place in their heart, the Joshua Tree National Park in California. “We decided to take their imaginary monsters from that place, with its landscape, the desert, the cactus, the stars, the colours and the pebbles”, says Elad Yifrach, Creative Director of L’Objet.

“One of the motives in this collection is the octopus, as the Joshua Tree was originally a body of water, an ocean that dried. We say that the octopus is the most intelligent creature in the sea and sometimes it comes in the skies to visit its old home...”.

The collection is a sumptuous journey that involves every single sense, including a fragrance that mixes all the scents of woods found in the Californian desert.

Your production is full of magic. Where does it come from?
I like to create things that have the function and the fantasy together: when these two components meet, there is magic. When you turn fantasy into something practical your life becomes fantastic. That’s the way I like to design, therefore I had a strong connection with the Haas Brothers, which have this beautiful ability to brink their world forward: they are constantly in a fantasy and I am constantly in a function, so it was a beautiful marriage.

What is this imaginary world you drag us into? What truly inspires you?
I travel a lot. So, I’m always very inspired by different cultures and places and sometimes imaginary cultures too: cultures that don’t exist anymore and you just read about them. That’s even more of a fantasy because you get to imagine what it would look like. If you go to Morocco or Mexico, you see what it is like. But when you think about some ancient dynasty in China you can only use your imagination, you can’t visit it. I am very inspired by that because it gives you a lot of freedom to create from clues. Also craftsmanship inspires me deeply. Seeing the way that craftsmen work and trying to challenge them to do things slightly differently, pushing them. You only grow when you get out of your comfort zone.

I always ask myself does it make a difference in the world? Does it need to exist? Does it make the world a little better? If you don’t know the answer, then the answer is no.

 Aren’t artisans disappearing?
It’s very sad. We are investing a lot in the craftsmen that we work with, to keep their legacy alive. People don’t like to work with their hands anymore, I fear. But I think that people that are born with it simply can’t resist it: if you were born to be a singer, you have to sing all the time. Same for this, if you were born to design you cannot become a lawyer. My responsibility as a brand is to help the artisans understand how noble their work is and give them a stage to shine again. We have our group of artisans we have worked with for many years now. We developed a language together.

How did it all start for you?
I started as an interior architect 15 years ago and when I was designing homes I was always looking for objects that I couldn’t find, so my mentor suggested me to make my own pieces. I then produced a very small capsule collection of some plates and bowls, with a lot of shapes that would break the mould, not to make everything look the same. Then I showed them to a few stores who liked them and that’s how the idea was born. Each year I have more and more ideas, and L’Objet organically became a lifestyle brand.

Elad Yifrach, Creative Director of L’Objet. Photo Giulia Di Lenarda
Elad Yifrach, Creative Director of L’Objet. Photo Giulia Di Lenarda

How do you deal with limited editions? Don’t you miss them once they’re gone?
Yes, but I feel that some pieces need to have a limited expression and need to stay with special people that will enjoy them. When is a small limited edition, special people will buy it. It’s actually like sending your kids to the best house. Plus, there are some things that you can’t produce in big quantities, it takes a lot of patience and effort to create. These pieces are a bridge between art and design: some are more accessible and others are a little more exclusive. When you have objects that are so particular, also people who buy them have a particular taste and this is very important to me.

Who are your clients?
People who appreciate beautiful craftsmanship and good design. My goal is to make people smile. Even here at Salone we are selling everything: every time you go to Salone you can see things but you can’t take anything at home with you, and I think that a memory of something beautiful should always come with you. I want to start this tradition where I can offer people who come to Milan pieces to take with them. They are small enough to carry and it gives you a memory. I think it’s very frustrating when you see a lot of beautiful things that you cannot buy or that are not available right away. I know is not orthodox for Salone.

People don’t like to work with their hands anymore, I fear. But I think that people that are born with it simply can’t resist it

Are these pieces accessible?
Price-wise? Yes, we start from a hundred euros and it goes up to 3.000 euros. It’s accessible but there is a lot of beautiful craftsmanship behind it.

An object should have a story to tell...
And a reason to exist. I feel that the world has too much. I think there is a bit of a visual pollution and designers have a responsibility in it. I always ask myself “does it make a difference in the world?” “Does it need to exist?” “Does it make the world a little better?” “Is it worth coming to life?” And, if you don’t know the answer, the answer is no. That’s my philosophy. Otherwise it’s just waste.

In collectible design is all about limited numbers, making you crave for something.
You put more consciousness and you live with the object longer. I think that’s beautiful because today the world is so consumerist and there is no connection to the product, it’s horrible. It is important to have a deeper connection to it, where you actually collect and live with it, making it part of your life. I work really hard to make sure that an object enhances people’s life, not just today but also five, ten years from now. And hopefully if you give it to your kids they and it becomes part of their life. Not something that you just throw out because is not relevant anymore.

L’Objet Haas Brothers, Milan Design Week 2019. Photo Giulia Di Lenarda
L’Objet Haas Brothers, Milan Design Week 2019. Photo Giulia Di Lenarda

How did you get in touch with Haas Brothers?
I met them originally at Art Basel / Miami three years ago. Then, after a while, a friend came up with the idea to have a stronger dialogue with them, and we just met again with the intention of bringing to life this collection and it was pure fireworks. So many ideas! Our worlds are very different but at the same time they complete each other.

How does the design process work in this collaboration?
I give them the shapes, then we discuss ideas of what to put in them. They do the sculpting and it’s a lot of back and forth. Sometimes is more abstract, sometimes is very concrete.

What’s next for L’Objet?
I want to continue create beautiful moments for with inspiring stories. Continue the lifestyle, and give people access to stunning objects that are collectible but also approachable. Also to inspire the artisans in keeping growing, making their hands even more special.

L’Objet Haas Brothers
Haas Brothers, Elad Yifrach
Milano Design Week 2019
Dilmos Milano, Piazza San Marco 1, Milan

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