By Geoffrey Montes
Known professionally as OrtaMiklos, Leo Orta and Victor Miklos conjure functional works of art through a Surrealist lens, recalling the fantastical creations of design luminaries such as Gaetano Pesce and Maarten Baas. Intensely colorful and organically shaped, the daring furnishings by the Franco-Danish pair made a splash when they took over New York’s Friedman Benda gallery during the summer in a Dogville-inspired solo exhibition that was made entirely in quarantine. The lustrous works also caught the eye of prominent collector Beth Redmond, who commissioned a Seussian suite of dining chairs and table lacquered in vivid hues of fuchsia and violet.
Lockdown mode: When the COVID-19 crisis started in France, the designers invited their team to isolate with them in their cavernous workshop, located in a former mill in Boissy-le-Châtel. “We used what we had in house,” recalls Orta. “Nothing was outsourced.” Among the materials available were polished iron blocks, discarded wood, cardboard, and fiberglass. “We got to dive deep into developing our own techniques and experimented in a lot of new directions,” adds Miklos.
Open interpretation: With imaginative pieces ranging from TV stands to cocktail tables and even lamps, the duo seeks to introduce an abstracted language into the design scene, particularly during the pandemic.
Coming up: “We’re supposed to participate to Collectible design fair both in Brussels and Montecarlo (April-May 2021) with Functional Art Gallery from Berlin,” says Orta. “We have a solo show planned in September/October 2021 with them, and are planning an upcoming solo show at New York’s Friedman Benda for September 2022. There is big chance that we throw an open studio as an excuse to organize an exhibition in Paris in June 2021 at Les Moulins, where our Paris studio is.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2021 Spring Issue under the headline “Creative Minds.”