Francois Stahley

Symbols, Shapes & Synchronicity

When it comes to inspiration, the more I dig, the more I find. Lately I’ve been drawn to symbols, carved in relief, sculptural shapes and the synchronicity of linking childhood influences to my current designs.

The intersection of the ancient past and the imagined future was a popular theme in the later 20th century. One of my favorite films Blade Runner (which incidentally is set in 2019) incorporates Mayan inspired carvings and architecture in the future apocalyptic earth. The famous Ennis House by Frank Lloyd Wright makes an iconic appearance and influences the otherworldly feeling with its bunker shapes and geometric carved stone.

You can also find similar symbols on the costumes of the Apes in the original film “Planet of the Apes”, another post-apocalyptic prediction of humanity causing its own extinction with a heavy subtext of racial inequality. Sounds like the world today….

Predictions of impending doom aside, the use of carved relief and geometric symbols is something I am absolutely loving. It adds dimension to raw materials and texture to minimalist color palettes. I recently acquired a pair of carved lamps that reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mayan revival style tiles and drew me down this rabbit hole and I decided to use his incredible tiles for a current project. Can’t wait to see the results.

Another recent obsession is the work of sculptor Francois Stahly. His molded wood carvings looked almost liquid and his stone sculpture recall the same flow and shapes of the Mayan inspired style. It’s interesting how looking back helps us to envision the future; and it’s certainly fascinating that some of the oldest evidence of human ingenuity is still the ideal structure for a future world.

Further evidence that maybe we truly always come full circle.