Acrylic Furniture by Charles Hollis Jones – We Have The Hots for Hollis
When American artist and furniture designer Charles Hollis Jones began working with acrylic and Lucite back in the 1960s, these materials had never before been taken seriously as fodder for fine art and furniture. But the pioneer designer had something up his sleeve. He was just 16 in 1961 when he founded CHJ Designs and began selling his work to department stores. Two years later, he moved to Los Angeles from his native Indiana and began creating bespoke furniture in just these materials for famous LA showrooms such as Hudson-Rissman. Soon enough he began to attract attention from stars like Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, and Lucille Ball, who all commissioned custom pieces for their homes. In the ‘70s, Hollis Jones launched the Edison Lamp, the steel and Lucite lantern housing a simple Edison bulb that won him the California Design 11 Competition. He went on to create hundreds of designs in acrylic, from table lighters and candlesticks to four-poster beds and spiral staircases.
Charles Hollis Jones in his studio.
Now 65 years old, Hollis Jones is still living and designing in LA and this year marks the 50th anniversary of his design studio. His acrylic and metal coffee tables, side tables, chairs, and light fixtures have become iconic to such an extent that, if you don’t know his name, you probably still recognize his work. Last month, at Chryssanthou Art & Design in West Hollywood, California, Hollis Jones had a retrospective and also introduced his new “O” line series in shapes inspired by the circle, whose geometric perfection asserts itself in motifs sculpted into polished nickel handles and runners. Among the collection’s highlights, the “O” Rocker is constructed of transparent light reflecting acrylic sandwiched between polished nickel frames. Hollis Jones actually embedded a Presidential Seal in one of the rockers and gifted it to President Obama. Is Jones experiencing a renaissance? With the promotion of the new series at Chryssanthou and the Obama stunt, he certainly is positioning himself for attention.
The “O” Rocker made for President Obama by Charles Hollis Jones
And you can’t fight him on it. Especially in the dead of summer heat, Hollis Jones’s work is refreshingly light and airy, with forms that seem to float delicately between gleaming silver runners and prismatic edges. Offered by VandM.com dealer Material Environment in LA, the Ziggurat side table is an original production from the ‘70s and features one of the designer’s signature zigzag profiles.
Charles Hollis Jones “Ziggurat” Table from VandM.com Dealer material [Environment]
Also in LA, dealer Cain Modern brings us several key HJ pieces. A trio of custom Waterfall barstools date to 1970 and each swivel 360 degrees with comfortable foot rests. The dealer recommends reupholstering, but otherwise the 35 ½-inch-high, 16-inch-wide, and 21-inch-deep stools are in excellent condition. From the designer’s Metric collection, a dining table in Lucite and brass sports a glass rectangular top that Cain Modern is happy to switch out for a larger surface if desired. Characteristic of the Metric series, the metal and acrylic are attached without revealing any hardware, a signature Hollis Jones detail. Two storage devices find shape in an acrylic magazine rack with chrome fittings and a sleek vintage shelf of glued, one-inch-thick Lucite panels.
Charles Hollis Jones Set of Three Waterfall Barstools (3 available) from VandM.com Dealer Cain Modern
1970s Charles Hollis Jones Dining Table From The Metric Collection, Brass, Lucite & Glass from VandM.com Dealer Cain Modern Odyssey Dining Set produced by Lion In Frost “Lucite & Glass” from VandM.com Dealer Cain Modern
Talis joined VandM.com ( http://vandm.com ) in March of 2009 and is responsible for overseeing the company’s marketing, advertising and business development strategies. Before joining VandM.com, Talis led the account management department at The Creative Directors, Inc., a boutique advertising agency held by VandM’s parent company, EUE/Screen Gems ( http://www.euescreengems.com/ ). As Vice President, he managed new business as well as the company’s retail, financial and pharmaceutical accounts, including Office Depot, Silvercrest Asset Management, Wyeth and Schering-Plough. Prior to The Creative Directors, Talis was at the advertising agencies McCann Erickson New York and Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis, working on accounts such as Weight Watchers, Breyers, Klondike and several other Unilever brands. Talis started his career as a television producer, working on network news shows such as The Today Show, Dateline, CNN, and Good Morning America; reality shows such as Joe Millionaire and Big Brother; sporting events such as the NBA Playoffs and NHL All-Star Game; and documentaries such as Intervention on A&E. Talis received a BS in advertising from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Inside info: Talis climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, ran the NYC Marathon, and can eat fire.