Coffee grounds and Himalayan sea salt are common in in the kitchen, but interior designer Samuel Amoia and sculptor Fernando Mastrangelo are using them in the studio to create stunning new furniture. Their Bushwick, Brooklyn-based AMMA Studio utilizes a combination of concrete or plaster fused with silica, rock salt, coffee grounds, Himalayan sea salt and sand to create stools, tables and benches. Their first collection debuted this at Sight Unseen as part of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, but with their innovative drums already snatched up by the likes of J. Crew Creative Director Jenna Lyons, it's only a matter of time before their mixed-medium pieces become icons of modern design. We spoke to Mastrangelo about their design process, how they got started and what's next for this duo.
How did you both get started as designers?
Sam opened his firm a couple of years ago, and had previously been working with Stephen Sills. I started working as a designer when Sam approached me about making a piece for his Elle Décor House in Miami last December.
Do you both still work on your own design and sculpture businesses in addition to AMMA Studio?
We were both already working full-time on our own practices before we started working together, and have found time to do both somehow and keep three studios going, and in fact blurring the lines between them all.
What inspires you?
Materials are what we are most inspired by. For AMMA we seek to innovate from the standard design materials commonly used and we're constantly working on new approaches to casting these untraditional materials.
What new trends in the design world are you excited about? What's a trend you would never get behind?
Honestly, we're not too excited about what's going on in design and that was one of reasons that we started AMMA. There are of course designers we love and follow, but they tend to be from the past. We're very interested in simplicity, using simple geometries and allowing the materials to speak for themselves, so design that it "over designed" we tend to not get behind. Purity of materials and simple forms, that exciting to us.
How did you come up with the idea to use such non-traditional materials in your furniture?
I have been using non-traditional materials in my sculptures for about 10 years now, when Sam came to my studio for the first time, we thought we could translate the materials into design objects and so we made our first piece in collaboration and 5 months later we had launched AMMA.
What’s a Mad Genius Tip you use while designing your pieces?
Reduce, reduce, reduce. Allow complexity to come through simplicity.
What's next for AMMA Studio?
We're doing an exclusive collection for Delorenzo Gallery, part of which will be shown at Salon on November 13. We will also have a solo show at their new space in 2015. And we're collaborating with Collective Design Fair on a major project in May 2015.