MAGNI Home Collection’s “Jewel” side table is a structural, perfectly
balanced work of shimmering bronze and hand-cut glass. The airiness of the minimalist design plays beautifully against the substantial materials that comprise it. James Magni, the talent behind the exquisite piece, believes furniture is the ultimate fusion of architecture and sculpture.
In that sense, Magni is truly in his element. He started art school wanting to be a sculptor, inspired in part by his Italian heritage. An astute instructor pointed out that Magni’s pieces were all utterly architectural and encouraged him to pursue architecture. He quickly rose to the top of his field; his subsequent design firm enjoyed comparable success and Magni was named one of Architectural Digest’s Top 100 Designers.
Furniture was a natural next step in Magni’s artistic and professional evolution. Since it launched in 1996, MAGNI Home Collection has
consistently been recognized as an innovative and important voice not only in the design world, but also in the art world. Magni is clearly very knowledgeable about art, and his conversations are littered with references to artists of all kinds. “I see myself as blurring the line between fine art and fine furniture,” Magni says.
The freedom of furniture design was a welcome change from the budgetary and regulatory restrictions involved in architecture. But Magni is quick to acknowledge that his extraordinary success as an architect is what enabled him to do what he wanted to do: get in the studio and create. Eschewing the derivative designs of mass-produced furniture and setting his sights on the luxury market and a discerning clientele, Magni favors sumptuous materials like cast bronze, genuine silver leaf and solid stainless steel. This is furniture that commands attention. “I create the ‘star’ in the room,” Magni says. “These are foreground pieces, and there can only be one or two of those. I don’t expect a client to fill an entire space with them.”
Magni likens his Los Angeles production studio to a 20th-century artist collaborative in the manner of Andy Warhol. Together for fifteen years, all are artists in their own right, together creating a vibrant and intense creative environment.
Magni is particularly excited about his latest project, a line of rugs. Inspired by architectural landmarks, the rugs were first displayed not in design showrooms, but in art galleries. “I wanted to evoke the essence of the architecture, abstracted and rendered in shades of black, white and gray,” he reveals. He compares some to the work of Canadian artist Agnes Martin, describing them as “just textures.”
With this most recent collection, it seems clear that Magni will continue to be recognized as one of the most talented furniture designers in the business. With impeccable quality and a unique aesthetic sensibility, MAGNI Home Collection has certainly earned its place in the Robb Report’s Best of the Best.