BY MARY GRAUERHOLZ
While Andrianna Shamaris has carved a reputation as a leader in organic furniture design, the life she leads is as rich and polished as the works she creates for worldwide clients, including A-list oceanfront homeowners and fashion houses like Louis Vuitton.
As principal and creative director of Andrianna Shamaris Inc. in Manhattan, Shamaris scours Southeast Asia, searching for wood so intricate that each piece tells its own dramatic story in one glance. She and her staff in Sumatra and Manhattan then create one-of-a-kind furniture and architectural elements that balance wild beauty and elegant perfection: a bleached-teak coffee table soaked with untamed nature; a small cocktail table that crackles with aqua resin; a slab side table with live-wood edges, a teak base, and inlaid wooden or brass butterflies.
She recently debuted her Made in New York Collection, pieces built from reclaimed North American wood such as claro walnut, cherry, and white oak.
Each piece in Shamaris’s collections has the organic refinement that only nature can offer, with unexpected shapes, meandering lines, and dramatic compositions of materials. The beauty is in the individuality and nonconformity. As Shamaris likes to say: “Perfection is imperfection.”
Her St. Barts Collection is imbued, literally, with ocean effects. In Shamaris’s workshop, artisans apply an organic white wash to naturally weathered teak furniture. It is then bleached and left in the sun and salt air for more than a year. Sometimes the pieces get a touch of resin that mirrors the ocean on a bright day. “Teak is great for the oceanside,” she says. “It’s very solid. After all, teak is what boats are made of.”
One particular beauty from the St. Barts Collection is a side table with enough visual power to be a room’s centerpiece: a gleaming teakwood cube set off with generous swathes of mesmerizing “Deep Sea Blue” resin.
The Triple Burnt Collection is smooth and solid, with a quiet matte finish, the teakwood burned three times for a charcoal finish. When sourcing teakwood and other Southeast Asian wood, she works with local artisans to find quality materials while working to protect the environment.
A London native, Shamaris seems perfectly at home in all corners of the world, whether she’s searching for fallen banyan trees in Sumatra, working with clients on custom pieces in her Manhattan showroom, or building her new house in Greece, so she can visit more freely with her English family. (Her son, Redmond Royston, is director of business development for Shamaris’s namesake design.)
Her road to success was serendipitous, including a stint at London’s first Ralph Lauren retail store, where she assisted Princess Diana—after she noticed a woman on her knees, going through a rack of jeans—and became the princess’s personal Ralph Lauren shopper.
Eventually Shamaris sojourned to California, where she formed a business with clothing retailer Fred Segal and discovered—and fell in love with—Bali and its timeless beauty and charm. She began her furniture design business in 1988, often working 18 hours a day with clients that include hotels, fashion houses, stylists, architects, and celebrity homeowners. She offers several collections and custom-made pieces, including regular orders for Harrods and Soho House in London.
In January, Shamaris debuted her Mid Century Couture Collection. Here, teakwood is molded by hand to render tables and other pieces with beveled edges and softly rounded sides, some fashioned with ironwood pins and wooden inlaid butterflies. The look is polished, stripped-down elegance with a mid-century influence.
The craftsmanship and individuality that Shamaris has pioneered has spun imitators, she says. “My work, my quality, is very different. These are heirlooms; they’re meant to last forever.”
For more information, visit andriannashamarisinc.com.