The Snøhetta-designed furniture at José Parlá’s solo exhibition It's Yours at the Bronx Museum is energized by Parlá’s work and the artistic and architectural connections developed from a decade-long relationship as colleagues and collaborators. The Petal Stools and Table set is just one in a series of projects with Parlá, including the integrated artwork for the façade of the Far Rockaway Public Library in Queens, the design of Parlá’s studio in Brooklyn, and Parlá’s mural, Nature of Language, which now lives in the Snøhetta-designed James B. Hunt Jr Library at North Carolina State University.
Inspired by the interlocking letter shapes from Parlá’s work, two Petal vitrines were created to display the artist’s early sketchbooks. Fifteen Petal stools, some of which were painted by Parlá himself, are spread throughout the gallery inviting visitors to arrange them as they please to contemplate the paintings.
The asymmetrical, five-sided surfaces of Snøhetta’s custom Petal Stool and Table set allows edges to touch when placed side by side, embracing the social dimension of taking a seat and gathering around an idea.
A variety of configurations are possible, encouraging interaction and play. Contiguous surfaces can be created when a mass of stools are grouped together, or focused viewpoints when seated alone. The tactile, unfinished wood will patina over time.
One of the fundamental aspects of Parla's paintings is to build a sense of place. His work is often reminiscent of deteriorating walls as well as transitions and movement within the city. The show’s title, It's Yours, asks viewers to think about the ownership of culture and property as the city changes and traces of the past are left behind. The stools become a physical reflection of this question on ownership and movement as visitors leave their mark on the exhibition space with their placement of the furniture.