Saturday Oct 20

rhino1 It was a few years ago when I was perusing Facebook (or was it MySpace? It’s been a long time since MySpace was actually relevant, so it’s possible), with a friend, enjoying the simplicity of the newfound easiest way to manage and share content, when I came upon something that could only be descried as bizarre and wonderful. We were checking out photos of the strange and unusual housewares and furniture that people were posting to the world, and we came across an incredible chair. This chair was octopus1 an octopus.

Now, that may sound strange unless you’ve seen it before, but this chair was quite literally an octopus chair, crafted by Maximo Riera, an artist dealing with sculpture of exotic animal furnishings. The size and shape of the design was incredibly accurate. In fact, when I passed the photo on, certain friends of mine exhibited concerns that these chairs were made out of real (taxidermy) animals. Worry not, folks, no animals were harmed in the elephant3 making of these gorgeous pieces of furniture. These works of art are just so believably realistic, and that’s part of what Mr. Riera is bringing to the table.

Each piece is made of a high dense polyurethane and contains an internal metallic frame that supports the weight of the structure and the composition of the materials. “They have required the highest technology (CNC) and engineering to develop and manufacture,” said Jose, assistant to Mr. Riera. “More than 30 professionals from 5 different companies have been involved in the process.”

walrus2 Maximo Riera’s operation is based in the UK, where his artistic chairs can be purchased directly from the studio located in London. Each design is copyright registered and protected.

The pieces in Mr. Riera’s series are as pricy as they are stunning, but I’d say they’re well worth every pound, considering the work that goes into the individual making of each piece, and the craftsmanship and unrivaled detail of each design. The best part of this collection is that you truly know you are acquiring something rare. Only 20 of each piece will ever be produced. The series is a limited edition, so if you have the option and means to purchase, you know you’re getting something special. Each piece comes with a certificate of authenticity, signed by Maximo Riera himself. And I hope there’s still an Octopus Chair left for me if I ever have the money to spend. Mr. Riera’s toad1 accommodating assistant, Jose, provided me with the price chart. It is as follows:

The Octopus Chair £35,000
The Rhino Chair £40,000

The Walrus Chair £45,000
The Toad Sofa £55,000
The Elephant Chair £60,000
The Whale Chair £65,000

rhino3 The pieces take approximately 9 weeks to produce from order date to completion date, as each piece is manufactured to order. “Each one needs an average of 170 hours of machinery and 160 hours of workman as it is assembled, sanded and painted by hand, which makes them unique.”

The team is working on the next pieces, due to be completed in the upcoming months. There are 15 different pieces in total in The Animal Chair Collection. This article will be edited in the future as updates come in. A special thank you goes out to Mr. Riera and his assistant, Jose, for contributing to the composition of this Artisan Review.  Please feel free to visit the website here for more information, pictures, and an exclusive look at Mr. Riera’s poetry. If you would like to become a Facebook fan, his fan page can be found here.


Maximo Riera interview, with Brittany Connolly

Do you live to sculpt, or do you sculpt to live? How does your art fuel your life?

The creative world could be in any job as it is in any kind of art (literature, sculpture…) because it is closely related to sensibility. No matter what you do, creativity can and should be there.


octopus2 The Octopus Chair is absolutely stunning, and probably one of your most acclaimed pieces. Does the octopus as a living creature have certain significance to you? What draws you to the specific animals you choose to replicate for your creative work?

I have tried to combine both of my biggest joys: nature and art. I normally focus in endangered species for my creations. I want to point out their uniqueness and how special these animals are, I hope we all realize this before it is too late.

This collection gives us an option of admiring what nature is capable of; this is the main reason why from the beginning I wanted to be faithful to the animal’s physique.


toad3 Each and every piece of the animal furniture series is definitely a luxury product. What fine materials go into the making of these exquisite seats?

There is so much work and effort put on this project. It takes an average of ten weeks to produce one of these chairs since they are finished by hand. What I like the most about the chairs is their accurate realism and theatrical appearance.

It was a difficult task to find and develop the technology necessary to achieve this. The chairs are made in a high density polyurethane and contain an internal metallic frame, which allows for holding the structure and weight of the composition.


I understand that you’re working on a beetle piece to add to your Animal Chair Collection. When can we expect to see more on this addition?

I am planning to release three new pieces this year. The Beetle Chair will be finished in the next few weeks.


whale2 What can you tell me about your medical career?

For many years my artistic career was relegated to a secondary role due to my professional life in the medical industry. After selling my company and professional retirement, I could concentrate on the creative work which has always been my true passion.


Have you ever explored a technique or artistic style that’s out of your range of comfort, or one that’s gone against your usual methods?

I am always trying new techniques and materials. From the brainstorming, I have the intention for creating something new and different. Art always has to break boundaries and being an artist nowadays means that you have to take risks in order to create something new and different – innovative. This is the key to keep art evolving.


rhino2 Which of your creations is your personal favorite?

If I have to choose one, it would be the Octopus Chair. This was the first piece of the collection. In order to produce it, lots of challenges have to be faces. It is by far the most recognized work of mine worldwide.


Not only do you sculpt, but you’re a poet, to boot! Apart from on your website, where else can your poetry be found?

I have been featured in several publications in Spain (magazines, newspapers and books).


elephant2 It was an absolutely pleasant surprise to find that you are so multi-faceted. You are also an esteemed photographer. What advice would you give to others who are multi-faceted, like yourself, who wish to become successful in their various crafts?

I consider each artistic field (writing, painting, sculpting…) a channel to express yourself.

My motivation was the necessity to discover and innovate; there is an internal energy that drives you to throw yourself into each one of these areas.


Social media helps us all stay connected. Between Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest, and your website, where is the best place to go to find updates on your projects?

At the moment we are developing the new website. It will help us stay more connected and in touch. We are implementing a blog and social media to increase both our reach and means to communicate.

I believe that social media is a fantastic way to send your message to the world and the different platforms give you the opportunity to choose what suits that particular content best.