Studio furniture makers Zelouf+Bell and their team of master craftsmen have been making bespoke museum-quality furniture to commission in their workshop in Ireland since 1992. Their award-winning work is in private collections, public offices, embassy residences, churches and museums, at home and abroad.
A convergence of oceans, the alliance of Belfast-born Michael Bell and New Yorker Susan Zelouf may seem a collision of cultures and characters; instead, a kind of alchemy occurs, engendering extraordinary pieces grounded in practicality, a dialogue between art, history, and design. “We don’t fit in, but for us that’s a strategy.”
Theirs is an intensely personal new modernism, a distillation of what delights and moves them, informed by that which came before.
“When two bodies of water meet there is tension, a difference in salinity, temperature, density, currents, colour, sediment… eventually, they mix. It's like that with Michael and I. He's from Northern Ireland, from a science, maths and engineering background. I’m from New York, from a theatre arts, music and writing background. Both of us believe a thing well made is a thing worth making.”
Zelouf+Bell’s approach embraces the handmade, merging materiality with technique. Lyrical in form and rigorous in function, literate in design language and innovative in the use of low-tech engineering solutions, Zelouf+Bell’s oeuvre marries artistry with artisanship.
Zelouf+Bell’s extensive portfolio of architectural furniture spans residential and commercial projects, garnering worldwide recognition, with prestigious commissions including twelve Embassy residences abroad, from Berlin to Beijing, The Hague to the Holy See, Ottawa to Tokyo. With no house style, just high standards, each piece or complete interior is a thoughtfully designed and exquisitely made response to a specific client brief, often in collaboration with an architect and interior designer.
Zelouf+Bell work has been recognized by the Irish government, with three pieces included in the collection of the National Museum of Ireland. A 20 year retrospective of their work was presented in Paris at Le Centre Culturel Irlandais in 2012.