Ideas + Inspiration

William Wegman + Modern Furniture Design

If you don’t recognize the photographer William Wegman, you’ve definitely still seen his work. Known for using his Weimaraners as models, Wegman’s photos have captured his dogs playing dress up and taking on human-like qualities. William Wegman’s newest work showcases some of our favorite mid-century and iconic modern furniture pieces alongside the perfect model, man’s best friend. Take a look:

William Wegman and Flo, 2015 via Wallpaper
William Wegman and Flo, 2015 via Wallpaper

William Wegman has been showcasing Weimaraners in his art since 1970, when his first dog Man Ray, became Wegman’s most important “found object.” Since Man Ray’s debut in Wegman’s video art such as Stomach Song (1970), Spelling Lesson (1973–74), and Two Dogs (1975–76), the stoic canine and his descendants have been featured everywhere from the Museum of Modern Art to guest starring on Sesame Street. Eventually, William Wegman moved on from video and entered fully into the world of photography.

x
Stop Action, 2015 via Wallpaper
'Ace' counter stool; bar stool, both by Bernhardt Design via Wallpaper
‘Ace’ counter stool; bar stool, both by Bernhardt Design via Wallpaper

Despite his switch in media, Wegman’s art has maintained a similar conceptual simplicity: an idea, a dog, and a prop. Together, these three elements have birthed an art that’s as comedic as it is commanding. Wegman’s dog pictures have become iconic pieces of contemporary art that have broken the mold. His work is fun and entertaining as it expounds upon modern furniture in an interactive and dynamic way.

Giant Cubebot, by David Weeks via
Giant Cubebot, by David Weeks via Wallpaper
'Library' chair; 'Plank' table, both by Robert Bristow and Pilar Proffitt, for Poesis Design, from Ralph Pucci. 'Mini Farrago O2' light, by Jason Miller for Roll & Hill, from The Future Perfect via
‘Library’ chair; ‘Plank’ table, both by Robert Bristow and Pilar Proffitt, for Poesis Design, from Ralph Pucci. ‘Mini Farrago O2’ light, by Jason Miller for Roll & Hill via Wallpaper

Today, Wegman’s hounds can be seen artfully poised atop contemporary American furniture. The blending of something so static, like furniture, with as dynamic of a creature as a dog into a single, still photograph, has created a kind of art that is pleasing and endearing. The canine, man’s best friend, poses in a way that humanizes itself while at the same time causing the viewer to question, ‘just what does it mean to be human anyways?’

'Turn' stool, by Blu Dot, from ABC Carpet & Home. Pulley lamp, by Tyler Hays, for BDDW via
‘Turn’ stool, by Blu Dot. Pulley lamp, by Tyler Hays, for BDDW via Wallpaper
'III Navy' chairs, by Emeco
‘III Navy’ chairs, by Emeco via Wallpaper

Wegman’s two Weimaraners make the furniture come alive, blending the use of living and static props. Though they appear as if only sculptural objects, these sleek Weimaraners fully emote, which adds drama, humor, and a playfulness to Wegman’s photographs.The dogs seem to emulate the silhouette and style of the furniture they’re photographing alongside of. The shape and poise of modern chairs become reflected in the dog’s posture and stance, a distinct feature Wegman’s photographs capture.

Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair from Herman Miller via
Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair from Herman Miller via Wallpaper
via
Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair via Wallpaper

This addition to Wegman’s photographic collection is a series of photographs showing off one of his Weimaraners atop of mid century modern classics from Charles and Ray Eames and George Nakashima. The dogs seem made to lounge around in Eames. The brightly colored shells and sleek woods of the Eames chairs contrast beautifully against the silky coats of the hounds. The dogs sit with such majesty and grace; their balancing act highlights the aesthetics of the modern furniture they’re modeling upon.

Eames Walnut Stools and Eames® Molded Plastic Side Chair with Dowel-Leg Base from Herman Miller via
Eames Walnut Stools and Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair with Dowel-Leg Base from Herman Miller via Wallpaper
Left: Lit from Within, 2015. Right: 7 Legs, 2015 via
Left: Lit from Within, 2015. Right: 7 Legs, 2015 via Wallpaper

We just can’t get enough of these modern canines. What do you think?

For More Inspiration:

Team Y

Team Y

Team Y is a dedicated group of design devotees. We love everything that has to do with modern design, from products like lighting, furniture and decor all the way to interior design, architecture and city planning. What inspired the design? How does it work? What does it mean? We want to know. And once we know, we are constantly inspired to share what we've discovered with others who love design as well. That's Y.

Use #YintheWild to show us your modern space. VIEW GALLERY