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  • Writer's pictureJim Bessman

Roric Tobin Designs debuts at ICFF with geode-inspired furniture

Roric Tobin at ICFF, sitting on a Baguette sofa beneath an Agata rug and behind a Radiant coffee table

Roric Tobin Designs (RTD) made its debut last month at the high-end luxury ICFF furniture fair at New York’s Javits Center.

“From my beginnings designing theater sets for friends while at Yale University to my years working with design icon Geoffrey Bradfield, with expansive global travel and designing palatial spaces, I’ve continually had a passion for growth and forward movement,” Roric Tobin explained.

“Furniture design was something I’ve always wanted to pursue,” said Tobin, who remains with the Bradfield Tobin Global interior design firm while launching his new line. “Now is my perfect opportunity to take this next step in my career and bring something special to clients.”

Arguably the most striking piece on display at Tobin’s exhibition booth was the Radiant coffee table, which features an oversized slab (approximately 36 x 30-inches) of geode, which is then lit from below to highlight the rich natural variations of the stone. Below it are two shelves--one glass, one solid—both framed in exotic veneer and making the table functional as well as a room centerpiece.

“I was a geek when I was a kid and bought a lot of stuff at The Nature Company,” said Tobin, sitting on his deeply tufted, geometric Baguette sofa in his booth. In front of him was the Radiant table, and hanging on the wall behind him was his dyed cowhide Agata rug, its design based on that of his Solitaire side table, which was off to the side and features a natural slab of agate as its top.

“I’m drawn to the visual dynamic nature of these stones and use them in a way that sets them off and showcases them, upon wood and steel legs, in an almost jewelry-like setting,” continued Tobin. Of the Radiant coffee table he added, “You never see this big of a geode, but my importer said, ‘I can get you a handful of really big ones from Brazil. Any interest?’ And now I can make a coffee table instead of just a side or end table.”

Working with stones that size, though, “takes a lot of engineering,” said Tobin, noting that they require a diamond blade likewise used for cutting marble and granite.

“They’re very dense and heavy, and you can’t just plunk them down!” he said of the giant geodes. “The legs have to be engineered to balance and distribute weight evenly so it’s a stable item, so each piece is engineered individually based on the specific slab.”

Tobin also noted that the imperfections in the stones heighten their individuality.

“Some people try to [artificially] replicate them, but the imperfections let you see that they’re natural,” he said, adding that “until you cut the stone open, you don’t know what you’ll find inside, and then you let the stone decide what the design is.”

Geodes are found within volcanic rocks, explained Tobin, “so because of a volcanic explosion, you can find a color burst in the center, or a void [hole] in the surface. Sometimes they’re completely hollow inside and show a range of crystal formations.”

Sure enough, Tobin’s Radiant table showed both a burst in the center and a void near the edge.

Other items in the RTD collection shown at ICFF included the Signet table (its top made of semi-precious amethyst, set into a base of crossing supports in exotic veneer with polished steel accents), a perfectly round Diode side table with glass top encased in elegant wood veneer and attached with a simple metal band, the River Rock buffet table with glass top set on an elongated oval base resembling a smoothed river rock, and the white Crane chair deriving from the classic origami crane form.



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