American-born midcentury designer Arthur Umanoff combined a forward-thinking attitude with a signature mix of materials, as seen in his sleekly shaped namesake candle holder. Crafted from solid walnut tapering to a point and then suspended from a polished brass frame, it adds graphic character to a single taper. Dating from the 1950s, the candle holder joins a select grouping of singular Umanoff originals revived by Danish brand Menu.
7.9" h x 3.8" w x 2.6" d (20.1x9.7x6.5cm)
Solid brass, solid walnut
From lighting and furniture, tabletop to bath, the wide offerings of Menu speaks to this Copenhagen-based company’s guiding quest for functional originality. “It’s about creating aesthetically pleasing designs that evoke true feelings as well as improving processes in people’s daily lives,” says Menu founder Bjarne Hansen. This is also reflected in its stable of influential creatives including Norm Architects, Afteroom Studio, Jonas Wagell and Krøyer-Sætter-Lassen among others standouts.
Menu is just as dedicated to responsible manufacturing as innovation. Working to locate new partners in developing countries around the world, the company searches out local factories or small private co-operations to turn out high quality goods and also provide a better economic foundation for the people involved in that production.
An intriguing figure in the midcentury American design years, New Yorker Arthur Umanoff (1923–1985) has seen a revival of his work among collectors and most recently with Danish brand Menu reintroducing select pieces. Reflecting warmth and practicality, the designer often worked in natural materials such as wrought iron, rattan, walnut and birch with an eye to functionality as well as slender, elegant lines.
“His designs and the materials he used are still really prominent today," says his daughter Wendy Umanoff. “Natural materials don’t go away, and he was in touch with that early on." A graduate of Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, he collaborated with several furniture companies during his career. “In those days it was not hard for a young designer interested in furniture or architecture to be familiar with the European design movement to simplify the home, inside and out,” says Wendy. Ever prolific, Arthur Umanoff’s take on pared-down style has truly proved to be timeless.