Incorporating elements of drawing, sculpture, and architecture into his practice, Serban Ionescu is known for boldly-colored, playful, anthropomorphic forms that blur the boundaries between the sculptural and functional. R & Company began exhibiting Ionescu’s work in 2019, and most recently featured two of his works in the survey exhibition Objects: USA 2020. The gallery is planning to include Ionescu’s work at the upcoming editions of Salon Art + Design in New York and Design Miami, and will also present a solo exhibition of his work in spring-summer 2022.
Much of Ionescu’s work originates from fluid, free-form drawings, which he then translates into three dimensions through a masterful use of digital-cutting technologies. Using CNC waterjets and plasma cutters, Ionescu replicates the raw and loose quality of his drawings in steel, creating a striking and dynamic contrast between the freedom of his line and the sharpness of his chosen material. The precision of the machine-cutting allows Ionescu’s imaginative, sometimes cartoon-like illustrations to be faithfully rendered in 3D—almost as if his sketchbook has come to life. This animation is accentuated by the designer’s exaggerated use of screws, fasteners, and other connecting mechanisms, as well as his bold use of color.
Born in Communist Romania in 1984, Serban Ionescu moved to New York at the age of 10. In talking about his childhood, he recalls being overwhelmed by the color and abundance of his adopted country. Ionescu has also spoken about how drawing enabled him to communicate as a child before he was able to speak English, as well as his interest in graffiti and the idea of constructing meaning through enlarged scribbles and shapes. Today, these early memories and influences are clearly manifest in Ionescu’s creative explorations and in his use of vibrant color and range of scale.
Ionescu’s work has been published in the New York Times and Dwell Magazine, among other notable publications. He has been featured in five solo exhibitions in New York and several group shows. He presented his first collaboration with R & Company in September 2019 and recently completed his largest project to date, Chapel for an Apple, an outdoor architectural folly, in Hudson, NY.
A Thing On A Table In A House is the first book on the designer’s work, published by Apartamento. The book surveys the last five years of the artist’s colorful steel works and is accompanied by a play written by the artist James English Leary.