Founded by Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer in 2002, Roman and Williams is an American multidisciplinary architecture and design studio that offers exquisite craftsmanship in a contemporary paradigm, through their buildings and interior design practice. With every design, Alesch and Standefer materialise their vision of marrying luxury with nature and sustainability. Their prime collaboration for the design studio has helped the designer duo strengthen their practice and expand their vision to establishing the restaurant—La Mercerie, RW Guild, and Guild Gallery in New York city where they continue to embrace every facet of design and innovative intervention. While RW Guild was established in 2017, Roman and Williams design studio is completing 20 years of embellishing the world with their furniture design. To celebrate their two-decade-long anniversary; Alesch and Standefer announced the launch for their new series of furniture design collections for RW Guild titled—Ovo Collection, Dado Collection, and the Seed and Branch Series The American design studio was previously in the limelight for their mesmerising decorative interiors for the NoMad hotel in London.
Challenging the overly engineered and mass-manufactured pieces that circle markets, the product designers Alesch and Standefer strive to embrace impactful design, ethical creation, and a sustainable design approach. Each piece crafted as part of the collections is unique, in a way that reflects its authentic artisanship and hand tooling while bearing the marking of its maker through the construction and fabrication process. Each piece is consciously handcrafted at wood work rooms in the United States and abroad while honouring the time and natural resources. “These new pieces represent a design language that expands on the curvaceous branch of the family, a branch that may feel geometrically and architecturally apart from the rest, but spiritually shares the same DNA, and harmonises with the broader collection,” share the duo.
Creating furniture objects which serve a complete living system, the American designers conceived the Dado Collection for dining, working, leisure, entertainment and display spaces. Comprising tables, benches, sofa designs and side table, the Dado Collection takes its cue from strong, structural creations and retains only the most necessary components, showing the simplicity of its construction. The joint and groove structure of the furniture pieces exemplify the sophisticated outlook, ease, and durability of the wooden joinery. The Dado tables also offer uniquely pillowed joints, highlighting construction techniques and connections as a reflection of superior craftsmanship.
“The OVO chair and table continue a narrative we set out to explore in our founding collection for RW Guild: to continue to develop and build a family of furniture with a variety of shapes that can live together,” says Alesch and Standefer. The Ovo collection, comprising shades of wooden chair design, represents an evolution in the designers’ creative oeuvre. Ovo embraces nature’s soft curves and organic shapes, particularly the oval-shaped ovate leaves that inspired the name of the collection. Unlike other objects, the Ovo collection underwent a rigorous two-and-a-half-year process of ideation, sketching, prototyping, and refinement, after which the final design was realised. Bearing semblance to the structure of ovate leaves, these wooden chairs hold a narrow top and an elliptical base. Characterised by a slender void on the back, the gentle slopes of the Ovo chairs perfectly capture the look of the sturdy ovate leaf.
Lastly, RW Guild also launched their Seed and Branch Series in bronze, consisting of the Seed pendant light and the Montauk Branch Candelabra. Both unique pieces have been created from cast bronze using ‘lost wax’: an ancient technique that has been rigorously employed by iconic metal sculptors including Alberto Giacometti and Auguste Rodin. The Seed pendant lamp, a minimal luxury lighting design comprises a cast bronze chair and a hand-blown glass shade. Every bronze link is individually assembled, opening the scope of custom drop heights. Additionally, the Seed shade that completes the lighting design features an oblong glass globe. Complementing the glass pendant lamp, the Montauk Candelabra is hand sculptured and has a limited production of 20 signed pieces. The one-of-a-kind sculptured object evokes a botanic shape with elegantly tapered curves and openings, holding candles at different heights.
With the launch of the three collections, Roman and Williams has raised the bar in serving quality products that hold deep researched narratives, going beyond the design concept and accommodating a story of progress, process, and innovation.