A solid piece of richly textured copper forms the undulating surface of blacksmith Conrad Hicks' Chaise Muse, which will be exhibited next week at Design Miami/Basel as part of the Southern Guild Collection. Hicks specialises in hand-forged metalwork, which he uses in his sculptures as well as in his architectural and interior design projects. Like all of his designs, the chaise emerged from the process of working with the raw materials in his forge at The Bijou, an old Art Deco cinema in Observatory, Cape Town.
While working on a series of benches made out of steel, he started experimenting with copper.
I found the very soft, almost fleshy quality of the copper very exciting. I made a hand-hammered surface out of copper that reminded me of a soft duvet that still has the impression of the person and that is how the Chaise Muse started, he says.
The piece is once-off; Hicks is committed to hand-forged production and eschews techniques such as welding.
The patinaed surface of the chaise is held in place by its own weight, supported by gently curving stainless steel legs that form a fine filigree echoing the silhouette of the surface.
"When I was working on previous benches I liked the way light fell through the legs and cast a shadow. I wanted to recreate this quality but slightly differently and more naturally," he explains.