College, a trying but formative period for all of us, is where Brad Pitt, Chanel No. 5 spokesman extraordinaire, stumbled upon Art Deco and did nothing short of fall in love. “I’ve been doodling ideas for buildings and furniture since the early 1990s, when I first discovered [Charles Rennie] Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright,” he told Architectural Digest. “It forever changed my life.” Pitt reportedly spent his first acting paycheck on “a period Craftsman chair and a Frank Lloyd Wright–wannabe lamp.” Decades later, now that his paychecks are capable of financing much larger things, he’s turning his doodles into a luxurious new line of furniture.
In a recent interview with the magazine, Pitt waxed poetic about how the uninterrupted lines Mackintosh’s Glasgow rose, or the elegant use of lustrous exotic woods by French Art Deco masters Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Paul Dupré-Lafon have led to his collaboration with New Jersey-based custom furniture designer and manufacturer Frank Pollaro. The two are planning a joint show in Chelsea this month, slated to feature about a dozen of Pitt’s creations — ornately crafted tables, chairs, and a bathtub for two — alongside 45 of Pollaro’s.
Pitt is already known as a modernist furniture collector and an architectural enthusiast (he tapped the likes of Frank Gehry and David Adjaye to build homes for his Make it Right Foundation), but the effort and extravagance of his line is on a wholly unexpected level. Characterized by the splendor of 24k gold, Statuario Venato marble, and tropical woods; painstaking handcraftsmanship; and a luxurious scale ”capable of seating, one imagines, the entire Jolie-Pitt clan” (Zing!), the collection promises to be pricey. Without getting into specifics, Pollaro, whose work already goes for prices at the higher end of the custom furnishing scale, threw the $45,000 figure as a low-end estimate.
The ever-humble Pitt said he would rather not “get ahead of ourselves” by identifying himself as a furniture designer. But to quote the whispering melodrama of his recent Chanel ad, the label is going to be “inevitable.”
The images of Brad Pitt’s upcoming furniture collection can be seen here. The entire collection will be unveiled November 11.
— Janelle Zara