ILIAD has always provided our customers with the very best in antique furnishings from the Biedermeier, Neoclassical, and Art Deco eras. From time to time, a request is made for a piece that is not part of the genre, such as an over-sized extendable dining table or a king size bed. As a result, ILIAD Design creates elegant and imaginative period-inspired furniture to the specifications of our private and design industry clients, using the same high-quality craftsmanship used to restore our antique furnishings. Bringing an intimate understanding of historical design to the repertoire, Iliad Design was conceived and launched in 2001 by MFA sculptor Andrea Zemel, owner/partner of ILIAD New York. As a world-class purveyor of fine French Art Deco and Austro-Hungarian Biedermeier furniture with ateliers in Prague and New York, Zemel’s step from showroom to studio was an intuitive response to industry demand. Blending Old World craftsmanship with innovative 21st Century techniques and processes, ILIAD Design has conceived and produced superlative original designs for discriminating clients and collectors for nearly a decade, and has brought a level of aesthetic virtuosity and technical insight to each and every creation.
ILIAD Design evolved out of the practical need of collectors and designers to accommodate period genre furniture to the demands of the contemporary setting. Each Iliad Design creation is conceived as a collaboration between the client and our artistic team. The process involves several steps, from ideation to fabrication to final installation. During the initial consultation, we explore the needs, interests and tastes of the client to determine a directions for the design process. Photos, sketches, and veneer samples are all materials used to spark a dialogue to develop ideas that will lead to a visualization of the desired piece. Iliad’s extensive library of visual references include photographic documentation from our antique database, art historical texts and periodicals, complemented by the significant practical benefits of having an important collection of 19th and 20th century period furniture at hand on our 5,300 square-foot showroom floor. Once a clear idea is formulated, shop drawings and finish samples are prepared for approval before fabrication is started. During construction, each piece is formed and assembled with the utmost attention to detail, using both traditional and innovative techniques. Sumptuous veneers are hand-picked and laid out according to the natural figuring of the wood flitches as they complement the overall design of the piece. Veneered furniture can be enhanced with inlaid or ebonized detailing, metal trim work and hardware, gilding, parchment or shagreen elements. When fabrication is completed, we turn our attention to the exquisite finishes that are Iliad’s signature standard. Whether it’s French polish, lacquer, or a hand-rubbed synthetic, ILIAD’s finishes are well-known for their lustrous opulence that will enhance any environment with elegance and sophistication.
Andrea received her MFA in Printmaking & Sculpture from Penn, teaching at the university prior to co-founding ILIAD New York. With over 25 years of experience as a sculptor and artist, and 15 years experience as a premier dealer of period furniture and decorative arts, it was a natural progression for Andrea to enter the realm of period-inspired design. A skilled draughtsman, Andrea’s compelling renderings give life to the design process; her in-depth understanding of the human figure gives her special insight into proportion and form that is essential to the design of furniture. As a former educator, she is able to communicate process to layperson and professional alike with ease and competence; as a dealer and businesswoman, she is sensitive to the complex demands of the architecture and design industry and the special needs of clients.
Barney has spent over five years training in our Prague atelier to learn the art of fine period furniture restoration and construction. Third-generation in the line of a family antiques business in the U.K., Barney has worked in the industry for more than 15 years. His in-depth understanding of restoration techniques has shaped his technical insight into the design process, and as client liaison he oversees every project from the start to final installation.