Willo Perron’s New Furniture Collection Is Firmly Anti-Coaster

Walking into Matter Projects—the Lower Manhattan gallery, showroom, and manufacturer—you may be surprised by the immersive environment you find. The scene of Willo Perron’s “No Coasters,” the show running at Matter Projects from September 22 to November 30, will come as no surprise if you’re familiar with the creative behind it. Perron’s work is dependably enveloping, from the uniform American Apparel store design that he developed in the early aughts to the stage sets he’s designed for Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Rihanna, and perhaps most notably, Drake, for whom he pulled off floating a Ferrari above the heads of concertgoers

Beyond these more dramatic affairs, he and the studio he cofounded, Perron-Roettinger, have worked on interior design projects aplenty. With these spaces, Perron showed how deftly he can create intimate and memorable spaces with no less imagination. Naturally, the polymath began designing furniture for these projects, and the show at Matter Projects marks the first time people can see the pieces in person. The seven natural-toned pieces are set in three site-specific backdrops, reminiscent of the Hollywood Hills desert-scape that the Canada-born designer has long called home.

Below, we talk to the prolific designer about working on these pieces and how his work in the entertainment world informs the shape of his show at Matter Projects.

Willo Perron’s “No Coasters” show runs through November 30 at Matter in Lower Manhattan. 

Photo: Marco Galloway; Courtesy of Matter Projects

The Vanessa Chair sits behind the Dino Bench and the Dino Table. 

Photo: Marco Galloway; Courtesy of Matter Projects

The Mesa bed and Dino Coffee Table sit in front of the site specific backdrop. 

Photo: Marco Galloway; Courtesy of Matter Projects

Architectural Digest: Tell me about your mantra and the title for the show, “No Coasters.” It’s such a funny and apt title.

Willo Perron: Yeah, I love beautiful things, I don’t like fancy things. I like things that function really well. Objects, and clothes, and things in life don’t have to be uncomfortable to be beautiful, and it also doesn’t negate more visceral things, and doesn’t make it less attractive. They don’t need to have those constraints to be beautiful. It was kind of a joke that I was just very anti-coaster. I’m pretty anti-doily coaster, anti any sort of extra layer of things. I think the gift of the modernists was that they made things to live with, really, that use well, and they can get thrown around, and weren’t so delicate and fragile. I like that idea of being able to live in the things that you have, and they’re not museum pieces.

Would you say that most of these pieces were made to solve specific problems you’ve had when decorating?

Some of the furniture pieces came from us trying to find pieces for interior projects that we were working on at my studio, when we couldn’t quite find perfect options with the right energy. It was just developing pieces to put into projects. I like the idea that in doing people’s interiors or their homes a lot of the pieces are unique, and they’re not that commercially available. But I think that some of them were out of necessity, and some are just frivolous. There’s a giant 40-foot long kind of sausage beanbag thing, it’s some adult playground stoner dream. That one really comes from growing up, my parents were hippies, and my neighbors had this giant beanbag, and as kids we would all just jump around in this thing and just play in this thing all day long, so it’s kind of a nod to that.

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