2013 CH+D Award: Sculptural Amsterdam Collection

As an art student growing up in rural Nebraska, designer James Magni didn’t have much to sketch besides the latticed network of trees and creeks that gives shape to the Great Plains pastures. Yet as he celebrated his firm’s 25th anniversary this year, the Los Angeles designer let those forms inspire the bronze skeleton of his latest creations: the Amsterdam side table and chair. 

By Sarah Virginia White
Photo credit:

“I like things that are organic and flowing, and there’s a very treelike quality to this pair,” says Magni. 

Photo credit:

By casting each signed piece from a clay mold that he sculpted at a nearby foundry, the designer imbued the objects with the deliberate carved character of a bronze statue. 

Photo credit:

“I made them more as a sculpture—I didn’t think they would sell,” says Magni. The demand for the limited-edition collection, available at the Thomas Lavin showroom, has proven him wrong.

Photo credit:

“My motto is, 'Create fewer, more important things,'” says Magni of his commitment to working with California artists and high-end materials such as bronze and hand-stitched velvet. “I’m not concerned with quantity.”

Photo credit:

Despite its Midwestern roots, the Amsterdam collection takes its name from the Dutch capital’s network of canals, which reminded Magni of the branching forms that he sketched as a younger man. 

Photo credit:

“When trees lose their leaves in Nebraska, they become very spooky and mysterious—I wanted to capture that feeling.” 

Add a Comment