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When it came to designing the new furniture collection," says the Los Angeles-based decorative artist Robert Kuo, "I wanted to combine the ancient Chinese techniques I've used over the years and take them to a new level." But the 58-year-old Beijing-born master's 30-piece line not only mixes three venerable crafts—cloisonné (the firing of enamel onto a metal base), repoussé (the hammering of decorative relief into metal), and lacquer (the application of coats of translucent sap onto wood or metal)—it also melds several design aesthetics: Asian and Western, ancient and modern, high and low. His Cube and Spot tables are inspired by aristocratic Ming furniture, while the Oval Drum Stool derives its shape from a humble rice bucket. And the Buffet, with repoussé doors that mimic the folds in a paper lantern, is very French Forties ("After all, the Chinese didn't have buffets," laughs Kuo). Designed for the McGuire Furniture Company and handmade in Beijing, each limited-edition piece is constructed in the traditional Ming manner: mortise and tenon joints without a single nail or screw.
Robert Kuo for McGuire is available nationwide. For store locations, call 800-662-4847 or visit www.mcguirefurniture.com.