Why billionaires can't get enough of these £65,000 leather chairs

Why billionaires can't get enough of these £65,000 leather chairs

Late morning, at the Louis Vuitton store in Miami's ritzy Design District, and some of the world's most esteemed designers have gathered to present their work for Objets Nomades. They're in town for the annual Design Miami, a fiesta that attracts the famous and the monied; this is the pinnacle of their week.

Objets Nomades is a collaborative furniture project Louis Vuitton launched in 2012, which now encompasses everything from a complex foldable mirror to a £34,000 hand-twisted leather hammock, each link joined by a gilded rivet.

Why billionaires can't get enough of these £65,000 leather chairs

Below the mezzanine where I'm standing, a spotlight shines directly down on to a vibrant green seat. It's the new Petal chair, by Dutch design studio Marcel Wanders, and the lighting creates diamond-shaped shadows on the white plinth. How clever, I comment to its creator, Gabriele Chiave, to have engineered the chair to throw LV monogram-shaped shadows. (There is of course a diamond among that famous grid of symbols, invented in 1896 by Georges Vuitton.)

Chiave laughs and peers over the edge of the balcony to check the effect. 'I'm seeing it now for the first time! I never realised it, but seeing it now in this light - it's very interesting. Sometimes you get these things for free as a designer.'

Serendipity is a surprising ingredient in the project, which might otherwise appear extremely serious. For the past 10 years, the French maison has worked with a roll call of important designers: the Campana brothers, Patricia Urquiola, Atelier Biagetti, India Mahdavi, Atelier Oï, Raw-Edges and dozens more.

This year it draws the Beijing-based designer Frank Chou into its orbit with a first item of outdoor furniture, the Signature, which is constructed from elegant curls. Available either as a chair or elongated into a couch, it is fit to grace any billionaire's terrace.

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George Washington

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