Decorex is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
Blackman Cruz isn’t just one of Los Angeles’ most compelling furniture and art showrooms – it is also one of the city’s foremost design houses, best known for infusing age-old craftsmanship techniques with an offbeat point of view. Our content partner Stylus visited the core design team – Adam Blackman, David Cruz and Lika Moore – to learn more about their creative process.
As Cruz puts it, BC Workshop pieces are designed to be future collectors’ items. “I want the pieces to have a history,” he says. “I would love to think that they’ll go from one generation to the next, becoming more valid as time progresses. That’s why we use so much bronze in our work – it will be here for centuries.” Yet although there is an undeniably classic air to Blackman Cruz pieces, many of them – like a hanging, bat-shaped incense burner, or the spiked Time Bomb desk clock – are also infused with a sense of humour and oddity
I like to think there’s heft to our design, whether it’s a little perverse or a little provocative or a little funny. Our clients are adventurous, eccentric and rather enlightened. We want the BC Workshop line to be as unique and curious as some of the vintage pieces we buy from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries,' says Adam.
In fact, many of the BC Workshop pieces are informed by the antique and vintage objects found in the Blackman Cruz shop. For example, the Horny Lamp – one of its signature items – was inspired by a bronze sunburst lamp from a Mexico City flea market, and a collection of found gazelle horns. Another popular piece, the sculptural Deliquescent table, has its roots in a baroque porcelain side table.
Blackman, Cruz and Moore are constantly working on new pieces, adding one or two new elements to the collection every few months. For the most part, they all design independently, coming together to help each other solve specific problems.
The typical BC Workshop piece changes hands several times before hitting the showroom floor. “The base of a lamp will be cast at the foundry, then it’s brought back here,” explains Blackman. “Then we’ll give it to someone else to wire it, and then the lampshade guy comes here to do measurements and put the shade on.”
The shop holds an inventory of popular pieces, such as lamps. Everything else is made to order, taking up to four months to complete, depending on the complexity of the item and any special customer requests.
“We’re trying to tighten up the collection and make a more cohesive statement,” says Cruz. “We’ve been very independent as designers, which has been great, but in the future we want to work together to make more sets of pieces, like living room suites.”
Cruz also notes that they’d like to start experimenting more with computerised design and manufacturing programs, though they “haven’t gotten around to it yet”. Lately, their focus has been on revamping the Blackman Cruz website, which will be relaunched next month. “We wanted to give people the full experience of being in the store – to see it online, then come visit us in person to see how magnificent it is,” says Blackman.
“The thing is, once we’ve done something, we move onto the next thing,” adds Cruz. “You just have to keep making it fun for yourself, and hoping that other people think it’s fun as well.”
Blackman Cruz carry the work of London-based Clarke & Reilly, who curate similarly styled artefacts with historical resonance.