Évran, France

Frank Maximilian was born in 1971 in Winchester, England. He studied photography at the Arts University (then the Arts Institute), Bournemouth, from 1998 to 2001, graduating with honors and a Bachelor’s degree. He established Miltonpriest, a design and manufacturing studio in 2014 in Évran, in the Brittany region of northwestern France. Miltonpriest specializes in handmade furniture and objets d’art that utilize both traditional and contemporary processes. The work is often poetic and even whimsical in character. 

Maximilian frames his work in this way: “I have arrived in the design industry by a somewhat less conventional route than most professionals, as my formal education was in photography. The style of photography most influential to me and my work is the genre of still-life documentary. Documentary photography embraces the technological strengths of the medium to reference a subject in an exacting manner. The resulting document is less concerned with the author. Rather, the emphasis is on the thing itself, although the author does choose the subject.  The subjects I make reference to in my work are often banal in nature and sometimes rather industrial in terms of their lack of adornment.  By juxtaposing certain objects with distinctly different identities, I create a relationship; the interplay becomes somewhat theatrical, sometimes tragic-comical.”

To date, standout projects include Monsieur Flaubert (2014) and Chuckle Brothers  (2014), two valet designs inspired by the evocative folkloric symbol of the crow, as well as the Peanut Gallery Side Table (2014), which references Birdland, an historical New York jazz club named for its regular headliner, Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. As of this writing, the studio has exhibited work at both the London Design Festival (2014) and Milan Design Week (Salone del Mobile, 2015).