Even as a child, Paris-born artist Cristophe Quarena would build huts from branches he collected in the countryside. That love of design stayed with him, and he now employs age-old artistry with a contemporary eye when creating his unique wooden pieces.
After an apprenticeship as cabinetmaker and furniture designer, Quarena received a grant from the Fondation de Coubertin of Paris to specialise in curved wood. He was soon drawn to the vibrancy and creativity of Florence, and in the early 1990s he set up his own furniture design workshop here, making the city his home.
Public success came during the 1997 Artigianato e Palazzo fair, when he was awarded the Perseus Prize for best artisan as chosen by the visiting public, who responded to his pieces, a number of which were on display for the first time at the event. Today, his statement designs are on display in various art galleries for the public to enjoy.
Quarena’s profound understanding of his material enables him to experiment with ever more expressive designs in making furniture and household objects. These works of art, both beautiful and unusual, are in high demand by collectors in Italy and elsewhere. He prefers to work with laminate, joining thin layers of wood and moulding them into the unique shapes that are the signature of his style.
Moreover, Quarena is eager to share his skills with upcoming generations. At present, he is teaching young French artisans, and he hopes soon to pass on his skills to young Italians, too.
This article is published in collaboration with Artigianato e Palazzo (www.artigianatoepalazzo.it)