Wittmann is breathing fresh life into two traditions through Antigua – the notion of ornamentation as a design feature, and the genre of the independent, free-standing item of furniture. With characteristic effortlessness and expressivity, Luca Nichetto picks up on a thread once held by the great master Josef Hoffmann. Precision handcraftsmanship and the perfect interplay between the most exclusive materials bestow treasured-piece status upon the items that make up the Antigua collection.
Elevating functional objects to new heights through artistic design was the overriding goal of the Wiener Werkstätte collective – and a discipline that Hoffmann mastered like virtually no other. It was ornamentation that played a defining role in this approach. Nichetto references this principle in Antigua, arranging the leather elements in such a way that they appear to hover proud of the fronts. He also articulates his appreciation of what went before by giving this ornamentation not just an aesthetic role, but an essential function, too: arranged asymmetrically yet in harmony with one another, each drawer and door is adorned with an element that performs an additional function as a handle, in a direct reference to the elegant logic that defined Wiener Werkstätte design.
A logic that extended beyond aesthetics and into the realms of functionality. Like the pieces’ distinctive independence of form, the practical compactness of the individual storage spaces echoes Hoffmann’s philosophy. Antigua is a present-day take on a hutch or linen cupboard. A modern interpretation of an armoire or mid-century sideboard. The cupboards are a statement of new and contemporary opulence. Spectacular, yet unobtrusive. Antigua’s true role is as a repository for the precious items in our lives. As a dining room sideboard, it provides ample space for cherished tableware. Used as a bar, it can accommodate wine glasses, luxury spirits, tumblers and all the other utensils of a stylish evening arrangement. In a bedroom or walk-in wardrobe, it lends itself to clothing, jewellery and other accoutrements, while in an office environment it offers a smart way to store digital tools and stationery.
Antigua is a small but perfectly formed series, with each item of furniture a virtual one-of-a-kind. Each cupboard is the product of outstanding handcraftsmanship executed to the highest standards. Different materials come together in a captivating liaison. And not a single detail is left to chance. The luxuriant finish adds a sense of glamour to the understated grain of the ash, while solid walnut adds gravitas to the body. The leather-covered ornamental handles are the apotheosis of handcrafted precision. Sleek in colour, the slim feet – like the finger-jointed drawers – are yet another indication of the uncompromising drive for perfection. The outcome is refined furniture that creates joy and enriches any interior setting with its singular properties.