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Magazine    November 2001

Rattan for the 21st Century

Toscana rattan lounge chairs and ottoman

Salon dining chair in mocha finish

Salon host dining chair in honey finish

For minimalist designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, the task of redefining the 50-year legacy of McGuire Furniture Company for a new millennium could only be achieved by staying loyal to its founding principles.

“We had come to the realization that the furniture was getting rather traditional,” he says. “So their request was for me to design furniture made of exotic materials such as rattan, bamboo and solid teak, that have become the McGuire signature to project their image into the future to a new and younger audience.”

The future of McGuire, as told by Diaz-Azcuy in his second collection for the established company (his first debuted in 1996), is cleaner and simpler, highly functional and, he explains, “much more 2001.” His pragmatic nature has lent itself to the creation of 22 occasional pieces that fit a variety of lifestyles and environments. “These pieces can be used everywhere—from terrace to dining room,” the designer says.

The eclectic collection echoes Diaz-Azcuy’s penchant for artistic silhouettes, solid construction and, above all, comfort. The Toscana group (top) features a retro-inspired lounge chair with a relaxed sloping back, sweeping rattan arms, full boxed seat and fitted back cushion. The Scala dining chair (on the table of contents) is generously scaled, answering the call for high-back designs, while the Salon dining chair (above and lower left) features a substantial seat cushion and gently sloping armrests—a detail Diaz-Azcuy never dismisses.

In response to growing market demand for sectionals, Diaz-Azcuy created another modern version of this type of seating with the Loggia group (below). The three pieces in Loggia—a rattan corner lounge chair with side arm, an armless chair and an ottoman—are true to the McGuire heritage of using exotic materials. They're made of finely woven rattan frames that have been crafted using a technique developed exclusively by McGuire. “With this rattan sectional—as with the Cambria design from my 1996 collection—the rattan has been woven directly onto the wood frame instead of over it, which is the traditional method. This is to prevent the rattan from becoming brittle, and the furniture lasts a very long time,” he explains.

Though the renowned architect kept his focus on the functional for this collection, his primary concern was communicating an artistic vision. The Ventana side table (below) features a glass top through which its intricate geometric base can be seen from all angles. Diaz-Azcuy’s skill and his eye for architectural elements are what make these bold new designs a natural progression for the established company.

Loggia collection: rattan corner lounge chair with side arm, armless chairs and an ottoman with the Ventana table

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