Eco By Design
Eco By Design
By Lucine Kasbarian
Michael Wolohojian creates functional art that imitates organic forms.
Known as Michael Aram, the 30-year old artisan draws his models from shapes like twigs, leaves, vines and saplings to make furnishings and decorative pieces that exude a sense of fragility and resoluteness. While preserving the delicate appearance of their organic origins, Aram creates works in a variety of metals, including silver, iron, copper and stainless steel.
The artist says much of his inspiration comes from the superb crafts traditions of India, where he traveled extensively during the 1980s. With a background as a painter, sculptor and art historian, Aram eventually settled in New Delhi, where he worked on his early designs.
After completing a series of sketches, he set out to find the craftsmen who could produce the metalwork. “I hunted them out in remote areas, basically listening to the beating of metal and by smelling the baking of earth in the sand casting,” Aram recalls.
The initial batch of finished products, which he first marketed in New York in 1989, have helped him launch a thriving career that has won him the admiration of peers and ecologically-minded consumers throughout the US and Europe. He has since set up his own factory in New Delhi, where he still lives and works.
Aram says he is closely involved in every aspect of the production process. “My work does not end up at the drafting table, but on the assembly line,” he explains.
Though most known for his “Twigware” cutlery, Aram creates an ever-evolving line of decorative and functional objects that range from letter openers to tables.