For his latest role, Brad Pitt joins a familiar ensemble cast. No, it’s not George Clooney and the rest of the Ocean’s Eleven gang reuniting for another film. This time Pitt’s costars are Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Pierre Chareau, and Paul Dupré-Lafon. In his debut as a furniture designer, the actor is presenting about a dozen pieces—tables, chairs, and one rather fantastic bed—alongside 45 or so works by his collaborator, Frank Pollaro, whose New Jersey firm is noted for its impeccable reproductions of Art Deco furnishings.
The unveiling, which will take place November 13 through 15 in New York (register at pollaro.com for details), has been years in the making. “I’ve been doodling ideas for buildings and furniture since the early 1990s, when I first discovered [Charles Rennie] Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright,” says Pitt. “Actually, I found Wright in college, when looking for a lazy two-point credit to get out of French. It forever changed my life.”
By now, Pitt’s passion for architecture and design is well established, evidenced by his Make It Right foundation, which enlists prominent architects to create quality affordable housing in post-Katrina New Orleans, as well as by his high-profile collecting of modernist and contemporary furniture. But it wasn’t until he met Pollaro that he seriously considered making his own furnishings. When Pollaro paid Pitt a visit to install a reproduction Ruhlmann desk the actor had commissioned a few years ago, he spotted Pitt’s sketchbook, filled with drawings of furniture designs. Pollaro didn’t hesitate. “I asked him, ‘Why don’t we make some of this stuff real?’” he recalls. “Brad said he thought that could be fun.”