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Hamptons Life

Sep 20, 2019 3:35 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Maximilian Eicke Is A Designer Whose Work Will Be Sought After

Sep 24, 2019 12:53 PM

Recently, I was contacted by a reader who needed some advice and an appraisal of furniture in her late parents’ home in Westhampton Beach.The house was built in 1950, and most of the furnishings were purchased between 1950 and 1955, what we now call the mid-century modern period. Indeed, the furniture was all circa 1950, designed by Paul McCobb, manufactured for The Planner Group. One can find items by Paul McCobb on auction sites selling for 20 times what they would have cost in the 1950s.

As I was driving home from this appointment, I began wondering if there were any furniture designers or manufacturers today that will be remembered in 2090 for their forward-thinking modern aesthetic. Or will most of what is now available be consigned to the trash bin of history? Most, I think, won’t even last that long, let alone be sought after in 70 years.

So, resuming my thoughts about who or what might make the long haul in terms of appreciation, I suddenly thought of the son of friends of mine in Sag Harbor. I decided to take a detour to stop and see if Maximilian Eicke was in his shop.

Mr. Eicke is in his early 30s but has the presence of someone older, because he is very knowledgeable, and younger, because he has a whimsical side.

Born in Germany and raised in East Hampton (he attended The Ross School), his parents are Elfi and Michael Eicke, owners of Christy’s Art Center in Sag Harbor. Both parents have been involved in the fine arts and decorative arts their entire lives, so it was inevitable that Mr. Eicke would transition into the family business at some point, albeit bringing his own eye and aesthetic with him.

Mr. Eicke wanted to do his own thing and put his own stamp on the family business. To prepare himself, he studied at Griffith College in Dublin, Ireland, where the emphasis is on furniture design and architecture. Later, he was employed by Polenz in Germany, where he gained hands-on experience working with metals and metal fabrication, producing designs for companies such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton.

Mr. Eicke has a vision and a distinct point of view that sets him apart from most contemporary designers. He’s not creating for a catalog or companies that are interested mainly in units sold per annum. He has created collections that are astounding in their visual impact and use of materials.

Like the masters of furniture design who have come before him, Mr. Eicke is uncompromising. He has a commitment to using the best materials, whether that be the solid teak for tables and chairs, or the solid steel he uses for his cutlery collection, or the blown glass he uses for his new glass collection. His designs will last the test of time because of these authentic materials, and the value of each piece corresponds to the material used.

You can see all these collections at Max ID NY, in his seasonal pop-up gallery shop in Sag Harbor.

Maximilian Eicke is provocative! By his own admission, he likes to be a bit “over the top,” and he doesn’t disappoint. He is particularly gifted at engineering cantilevered, free-standing pieces, all of which are finished on the underside as well.

Note the “seesaw” bookshelf. It’s evocative of childhood games yet sophisticated at the same time, and it would be a statement in any interior.

This is also the case with his dining table, with marble spheres supporting, and his console and occasional tables. Not only that, his furniture all comes apart; it has been engineered to effortlessly disassemble.

I am astounded by the sheer attention to detail evident in all of Mr. Eicke’s work. After talking with him, I am not surprised by his attention to detail, since it is obviously part of his make-up. This is how he thinks, this is his vision, this is his point of view.

Mr. Eicke, as creative director of Max ID NY, is literally like a one-man Bauhaus, designing and manufacturing high-end furniture, ceramics, glassware, outdoor furniture and more. He’s part artist, part architect, part engineer, part salesman, and full-time futurist. He has developed a facility in Bali, Indonesia, where he manufactures, and where access to the authentic materials he uses is plentiful.

He has been showcased in The New York Times, is involved with products for international causes, has been awarded design awards by Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, and most recently been invited to show at the prestigious London Design Fair.

This is a young man on the go, with fierce determination, and with a genuine creative mind. My advice: Keep your eye on Maximilian Eicke!

So, when people say that no one is doing anything noteworthy or creating things that will be appreciated in the future, refer them to Mr. Eicke’s work. As I have previously noted in my columns on collecting, the thing to look for is authenticity, the types of materials used, the respect the designer shows in how pieces are engineered, and the statement they make in an interior. Things that become truly “iconic” have the kind of uncompromising creators who insist on quality down to the last detail.

It is wonderful that someone is still taking this as their work model and making it their unique lifestyle.

To me, anyone who is looking for these unique qualities needs look no further than Maximilian Eicke.

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