Undulation, infinity, and cantilevers are touchstones for Emmerson, a British furniture designer working in L.A. 'I wanted to create a shape that was fluid and effortless,' he says of his Ripple chaise, one ribbon of plywood that appears to casually perch atop another yet whose metal skeleton is so carefully aligned that a 200-pound person can sit at the foot without tipping it over. The sinuous curves are remarkably ergonomic: 'This isn't just sculptural. It's a functional thing that can be a piece of art in your living room or used by the pool.' (Its lacquered finish is similar to the high-gloss, weather-resistant paint on a car.)
He's serious about quality construction, too, having apprenticed with a master carpenter; he and three craftsmen now fabricate his high-concept pieces by hand. Emmerson's work caught the eye of dealer Ralph Pucci, who represents heavyweights like Andree Putman and Vladimir Kagan and was an early champion of Ruben Toledo and Stephen Sprouse. 'My clients except the unexpected,' says Pucci, 'and William is the unexpected here now.'