Universal to auction off chair featuring student’s Kandinsky-inspired design


Universal will auction this chair off at High Point Market.

At the upcoming High Point Market, Universal Furniture will be showcasing and auctioning off a one-of-a-kind chair: Its Bahia Honda accent chair upholstered in a custom Kandinsky-inspired fabric created by high school junior Isabella Rocque.

The chair will be part of a silent auction – the company’s first – at the Universal showroom (101 S. Hamilton), where attendees can bid on the chair (retail value of $1,595) and proceeds will benefit the New York School for the Deaf.

Rocque’s joyfully abstract print was a result of a school art project that her mother shared on Instagram. Hamilton Fabric saw the post and transformed Rocque’s watercolor into a textile. The Universal Furniture upholstery team then saw it and felt the playful print would be a perfect fit for the brand’s Bahia Honda chair.

The design from the 16-year-old Rocque started as a journal cover image for an art project on Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky. According to Rocque, she called her print Noetic as the term relates to mental activity or the intellect, and rhymes with poetic.

“From the time I was a young child, creating artwork has been my passion—painting, sketching, taking photographs and creating in other mediums,” she says. She likes Kandinsky’s use of different colors and that he mainly did abstracts, she says, and for this work, “I set out to test abstract watercolor shapes and swirls on a simple piece of copy paper and Noetic was born.”

Rocque has been to High Point Market before, as her father is in the industry and has a showroom there. For this market, however, she will be at the Universal showroom. “Having my artwork featured on a chair at the Universal Furniture showroom this spring is a dream come true for me.”

Rocque has chosen the New York School for the Deaf as her charity for Universal’s silent auction as her late grandmother both fostered her passion for art as well as taught at the NYSD for 27 years.

“I think it’s a great cause and it helps lots of kids,” Rocque says, who used to be fluent in sign language but now understands it better than she signs it.


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