Designer Michael Anastassiades and the pursuit of timelessness.
Written by: Sam Grawe
Video by: Christopher Sturman
Michael Anastassiades is fixated on quality. Or as he puts it less mildly, “I’ve always been obsessed with perfection”. So much so that in 2007 the designer was driven to launch his own brand, and put to rest his ongoing concerns over materials, manufacturing, marketing, and so on. And the work is indeed impeccable, to the point where describing it seems as futile an exercise as trying to explain what a Bach cello suite sounds like, or what a perfectly fried egg tastes like.
The limitation of words is that they are a poor substitute for experience, and Anastassiades’s obsession with the quality of an object is closely linked to the qualities that object conveys when we experience it. This is not accidental; it’s a critical part of his process. “As a product designer, I felt I had the duty to make my designs because I didn’t want them to remain sketches in a sketchbook”, he explains. “I need to see them physically. I need to live with them. I need to try them out, and then see where they take me”. His London studio not only houses his design business and residence, but also serves as a kind of proving ground for his work – examples of which, both new and old, can be found in nearly every space over its four floors.
The results of this process are objects that Anastassiades hopes “will survive time”. Part of this comes down to the physical properties of the materials employed. He asks himself, “Can an object become more beautiful as it ages?” And he answers, “If so, it needs to have an interesting life in how it changes”. Yet despite the patina of age, timelessness also requires always appearing contemporary. In Anastassiades’s view, this can be achieved through a detailed attention to the “subtleties of proportion”, and by bestowing an object with qualities of anonymity: something that allows for it to go almost unnoticed. Ultimately, it's never a formula, but rather an ongoing quest.
“Can an object become more beautiful as it ages?”
— Michael Anastassiades