There’s nothing quite like traveling to a far-flung locale and bringing home a beautiful object that will always remind you of the trip. For Elad Yifrach, founder of lifestyle brand L’OBJET, the souvenir he values most is the inspiration he gleans from all the places his travels take him. His globally influenced collections tap into the soul of a location, its traditions of craftsmanship, and its materials to create modern dinnerware, table accessories, and home décor that feel anything but old world. We’re partnering with L’OBJET for the latest in our series of home decor installations at our Madison Avenue flagship’s Chelsea Passage floor to debut Yifrach’s newest collection, which was inspired by Tulum, Mexico.
“When Elad shared the preview of the Tulum collection, we knew it was the right time to partner with L’OBJET and share these special pieces with the Barneys client,” says Toni Russo, senior buyer for Chelsea Passage. “The Tulum collection is both refined and luxurious, while also showing a uniqueness and craftsmanship that we look to offer our clients.”
Those elements are central to the L’OBJET brand, but Yifrach is quick to point out that his approach to design is two-fold. “When describing L’OBJET, there are two main facets—the aesthetic and the vision,” he tells us. “The aesthetic is well traveled, culturally inspired, and rooted in ancient techniques melded with a modern sensibility. The vision, though, is about working with the five senses and creating pieces that appeal to all the senses and creates an emotional reaction.”
The other secret ingredient in the mix is Yifrach’s love of travel itself and how it finds a way into the pieces he creates for L’OBJET. “I’m a travel junkie. I love to discover new places, and I always try to go deeper than the surface level to understand what moves a place, what moves its people, and what their history’s like—I try to make connections between the past and present,” he tells The Window. “I’m also very sensitive, so the energy of a place affects me. There are places you go where you just feel the energy and get inspired. Tulum is one of them.”
For his newest collection, Yifrach channeled this inspiration from Tulum into new areas of design he had never attempted before, including lighting, soft goods like throws woven from baby alpaca, and vintage one-of-a-kind pillows. The place, he says, stimulated him in unexpected ways.
“Tulum caught me off-guard, and I fell in love with it right away,” he enthuses. “What captured me were the textures. The sea kisses the jungle there in a way that I’ve never seen anywhere else, and the textures, flavors, and the energy of those two contrasting elements of nature coming together create something magnificent. Everything has a different light and tone to it, from the spices to the earth to the vegetation. There’s a constant dusty feeling that I love—like someone sprinkled powder on everything and left it muted.”
Those muted tones and rich textures have found their way into the Tulum collection in a variety of ways, but most notably in Yifrach’s ceramic pieces, which draw from the Yucatan’s long history of earthenware artifacts and architecture as perfected by the Mayans. “They used to bake their clay pieces in the sun, and while the clay was still wet, would carve designs into using their thumb,” he says. “You can really feel the hand of the artist in each piece, so the stools and some of the bowls in the collection are created using the same technique.” Yifrach also experimented with the minerals he found in Tulum, a process that led to the collection’s deeply textured, hand-applied ceramic glazes, which he developed in collaboration with the ceramists who work on the line.
“I absorb a lot from the places I travel, and I take that to the artisans and craftspeople I work with and we find a way to take something that feels very earthy and artsy and give it our own touch, which is more refined.”
That sense of refinement is evident throughout the collection, but Yifrach’s hope is that the beneath their glossy veneer, his pieces connect with people on a personal level through the stories that they convey.
“The L’OBJET client really appreciates the story and the amount of thought that goes into our pieces, as well as the travel element of the brand,” he says. “Even if you’ve never been to the specific place, you can recognize the beauty, the energy, and the story behind the product. They’re beautiful pieces that honor old world crafts and artistry, but make them more relevant to the way we live today. If you just want to honor old world craft and technique, you can go to a museum and look at beautiful old pieces. To live with them requires taking a piece, thinking about it, creating a story, and then crafting something that’s modern, relevant, exciting, and that adds texture to our lives.”
L’OBJET is currently installed in Chelsea Passage, Madison Avenue’s 9th Floor.