Native New Yorker Joann Berman has dressed the likes of Michael Jackson, Diddy, Salt-n-Pepa and Jodeci, but now she's focusing on a client that's a little bit closer to home - your home, that is. The fashion designer's trippy aesthetic and talent for transforming old into new earned her the moniker "the reigning queen of reconstruction," and now she has turned her sights to furniture design with a bevy of bespoke chaises, couches and sidechairs in retina-searing hues. Screened with 3D images that will have you wondering exactly what kind of mushrooms were in your marsala, the custom-made line is made of upcycled vintage furniture that is printed in Long Island City, Queens. We recently visited JoJo at her Bushwick, Brooklyn studios to find out more about these one-of-a-kind treasures.
The best way to describe Joann Berman Bespoke Furniture is that it looks like Berman simply replaced the people she usually dresses with pieces of furniture. A beautiful baroque style sofa gets “dressed” in dayglo fabric and a run-of-the-mill 70s lounger gets a reclaimed anaconda facelift. Berman could have simply stopped there but it wouldn’t be like her to do so. So she pushed the envelope a bit further, layering intricate and at times 3-D graphics of men in gasmasks, delicate French toile, and of course, Mick Jagger over top.
“I was very inspired by cannibals and the colors they use particularly the Tupi Guarani of Brasil, so I mixed those two metaphors,” Berman told us. The pieces are all a mix of art murals and vintage chair frames, with found and reclaimed fabrics like snakeskin given to Berman by a friend mixed in.
As with her clothing, Berman chooses to make everything in her beloved NYC, which is as much a conscious design decision as it is an ethical one. “I work in a very moment by moment fashion and I change things as I go so it’s much more a design mixes art process which is why I like to have everything at my disposal on site,” she explained.