The architect Charles Gwathmey and the singer Marc Anthony have already surrendered themselves to the Chris Lehrecke’s clean-lined yet lyrical works in wood. Since the 1980s, the designer has been captivating audiences with custom furniture for a select group of architects in his Manhattan studio. Now, at his workshop in upstate New York, he is turning out one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces that are drawing admirers from the whole world.
The main concept at the production of Lehrecke’s pieces, besides craftsmanship and artistry, is to do, as himself describes “comfortable, beautiful things that people want to come home to.” And the development of the knowledge to produce these beautiful “things” started early, he grew up surrounded by 1950s Scandinavian modern pieces in his architect father’s home.
Lehrecke came to his vocation gradually after a childhood obsessed with sports. “Then I got badly injured and began to think about what I really wanted to do.” A few art classes led to a studio art degree and a flirtation with architecture before an apprenticeship with a cabinetmaker set him on the right path.
His first collection was presented at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in 1991, and in 1995, in this same fair, he won an award, followed by the Brooklyn Museum’s Modernism Young Designer Award in 1996, and the George Nelson Award from Interiors magazine in 1999.
Pedestals made from tree trunks have become Lehrecke’s signature pieces. This raw material is turned on an industrial lathe and either sandblasted, weathered look or finely machine-sanded and hand-rubbed to acquire a warm luster. His lamps are also pieces that deserve a stand out, one of the most famous model have translucent shades made from wood veneers 1⁄42-inch thick, that appear to be neither the product of this moment nor any particular one in the past.
Lehrecke’s work, is available through the prestigious Ralph Pucci showrooms and in at his own shop in Warren Street, New York. He shares his space with two no-less outstanding talents, jewelry-and-decorative-object designer Ted Muehling and Muehling’s former pupil (and Lehrecke’s wife) jewelry designer Gabriella Kiss.