ince he opened his Los Angeles interior design firm in 2005, Oliver M. Furth
has won several Young Designer awards from national shelter magazines.
One reason his work has earned such accolades is his enviable ability to
balance art and interior design, a skill he credits to his background in art
history. As chair of the Decorative Arts and Design Council at LACMA, Furth
also has plenty of access to the museum's collections for inspiration. “I like
to think I’m modern,” he says, “but not a Modernist."
"I have to applaud my clients,” says the designer, who recently completed
a Los Angeles pied-a-terre for a doctor and his wife. "They were really quite
daring in their choices." The one-bedroom apartment, which has windows
running along two sides, was hampered by a tight, conventional layout. To
brighten the spaces, Furth and his team, which included architect Sonny
Ward, opened up an entire wall between the living room and the bedroom
suite, replacing it with innovative sliding panels made of resin.
"I wanted something that would allow light to filter through from the
bedroom windows but also provide privacy, and I thought resin would be
much softer than glass," explains Furth. "But no one had ever used resin in
this way before, so the Utah-based company developed the technology
step by step while we were working on the apartment." He also discovered
that resin sheets could be larger and needed less structural support than
glass. Unfortunately there was one problem: "The panels didn't fit into the
elevator,” Furth remembers with a wry smile. "They had to be hoisted up the
side of the building and brought in through the windows."
The design team opened up the entry, where a low concrete block-like
table serves as archaeological evidence of the building's infrastructure.
Stripping out the low ceilings revealed air-conditioning ducts and the
raw concrete shell, which Furth and his clients decided to leave exposed
throughout the apartment. "We came up with the concept of loft living,”
notes Furth, “but in a way that involved more luxury and a certain