Known for peculiar designs of furniture, sculptures, experiential installations, and interior design, Fernando Mastrangelo is a Brooklyn-based contemporary artist sculpting most of his works by hand. Experimenting with unusual materials like salt, sugar, and coffee beans as raw material for interior sculptures and furniture and the use of materials such as hand-dyed sand, concrete, recycled plastic, and powdered glass complements his concerns with ecological issues and sustainability. Exotic landscapes experienced during his many trips around the world influence Mastrangelo’s works. He references the cultural and geographical identities of the places that influence his work through metaphors. Abstract depictions of the effects of global warming engage the audience through his art.
Below is the list of 10 Projects by Fernando Mastrangelo:
1. Audemars Piguet
The Audemars Piguet booth at the Art Basel 2019 conceptualizes the Vallée De Joux in the Swiss Jura Mountains, the company’s base since 1875, through sculptural design with seamless tones and textures. Fernando cast crushed boulders from Vallée De Joux into walls, furniture, and display cases inspired by its natural landforms. Central sand and silica-molded sculptural forest, with abstract spruce trees, showcases the brand’s latest collection.
A delicately carved wall sculpture weighing about 1360 kilos displayed in an authentic Greek restaurant, Avra Madison near Central Park, NYC. Brought about by hand-dyed cement and salt, tightly layered, hints of the sea. The rough undulating edges press further into the natural state of the sculpture.
3. Drift Series
Contrast again becomes a focus in this collection of sculptural furniture inspired by extraordinary natural earth formations sparked during Mastrangelo’s journeys to the Grand Canyon and Patagonia. A mixture of meticulously polished elements merging into more uncontrolled textures; the gradient palette of the six pieces refers to the endless horizons with hand-dyed sand, powdered glass, mirror, and cement. The showstopper of the collection is the sofa, which is a rough concrete sculpture contrasted by the grey silk velvet upholstery.
4. Escape Series
Furniture as escapism; a collection that expresses a three-dimensional abstract painting depicting water, hills, and skies, on seamless curving surfaces. Made with hand-dyed granules of sand, powdered glass, silica, and coffee, Mastrangelo’s trips to the American Southwest inspire the collection.
5. Rebecca Taylor
The Rebecca Taylor store in Dallas showcases the sculptural displays matching the crystallized pink salt rock and cement wall, made of hand-dyed sand and powdered glass. A neutral yet playful color palette embraces the brand’s signature color and evokes a feminine aesthetic. Colors blend into the walls, floor, and displays providing a subtle backdrop for the subtle designs of Rebecca Taylor.
A life-size sculpture of a coca farmer made with USD 70,000 worth of cocaine as the primary material. Binding cocaine with epoxy made the sculpture, mounted on a mirror base, inedible. The sculpture discusses the secret economy prevailing from the production to consumption of a product that implies luxury and yet made by impecunious farmers.
In 2014, a local collector commissioned SPIRAL, a 50 feet wall sculpture, to be the pièce de résistance of his townhouse in the West Village. The piece rhythmically “spins” to music owing to an integrated light and sound component. Composed of salt and fiberglass, it displays the same form in both the positive and the negative. It sits next to a fireplace and almost covers two storeys in height.
8. Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney, a fashion brand known for their sustainability commitments through their products and their stores, enlisted Fernando to create sculptural consoles and sofa with organic elements to complement their eco-friendly store in Palo Alto. A contrast, clear in the design, shows the jagged minerals forming a natural texture inside, packed with a smooth box of white cement on the outside. The exterior is hand-dyed cement contrasting with the rock salt composition of the inside. To end it, the floor tiles are hand-cast cement that carries the concept throughout the store.
In collaboration with SHoP Architects, Mastrangelo creates the first retail store of the Thai-American fashion designer Thakoon Panichgul in New York’s SoHo District. Mastrangelo cast the walls on-site in his signature striated effect seen in his furniture. The concrete used to create seamless curved walls and furniture, layering the concrete in small batches, gives a sense of seductive movement throughout. The total of 1400 square feet of cast cement took over 3000 hours to complete.
10. Tiny House
Part of NYCxDESIGN, New York’s design week, the Tiny House exemplifies sustainability through design and the use of discarded plastic. This rendition of a future house uses recycled glass, sand, and plastic. A hugely collaborative effort, this installation’s interiors feature responsive scent and sound that changes as the visitors move through. It also houses a courtyard concept, all the while incorporating Fernando’s signature cement casting techniques.
After shooting to fame over controversial installations like “Felix”, which caught the eye of the D.E.A., for using cocaine as the base material, and “La Salvamara” for using the human ashes of slain MS 13 gang members as raw material, Mastrangelo still isn’t shy of making bold (political) statements, but he is more aware of their interpretation. In Mastrangelo’s words, “In my work Felix, I am discussing the powerful secret economy of illegal drugs, from production to consumption, and the antagonisms implicit in this trajectory.” After having seen the Tiny House’s facade made of discarded plastic, you can expect to find his future works to grow out of something that you very well may have thrown out.