New Attitude

March 5, 2024

A Young Lithuanian Designer Puts The Feeling Back In Furni­ture In Her Solo U.S. Debut.

By Sarah Medford


          Like any good design student, Barbara Zilinskaite studied Scandinavian modern furniture while in school in her native Lithuania. The pieces, which were supple and crafted from natural materials, made less of an impression than the way she saw people re­sponding to them-more like close friends than inanimate objects. “The interaction was interest­ing,” says Zilinskaite, who observed chairs being touched, almost caressed. She realized that the power to build an emotional bridge between people and their stuff belonged to the designer­and she wanted that job. Now 27, Zilinskaite has created a collection of surrealistic tables, chairs and shelves in figurative shapes that beguile with their supersized fingers and toes, equal parts strange and playful. By hinting at human forms, she gives the pieces an uncanny emotional pres­ence; in a perfect universe, she says, they mightlure our attention away from screens and back into the world around us. This winter, Zilinskaite’s first solo show in the U.S. opens at Friedman Benda gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition will include 10 editioned pieces, each painstakingly shaped by the designer from a Play-Doh-like mix of sawdust and glue. Says gallery co-founder Marc Benda,
“Her autonomy is noteworthy, and her voice is entirely her own.” 


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