Gino Sarfatti “Moon”
Gae Aulenti “Rimorchiadore”
Gino Sarfatti “N°1063″
Ettore Sottsass “Asteroid”
Michel Buffet floor lamp
If there is a domain in which Italian design shines — likewise for Scandinavians — it is light. Only the birthplace of Renaissance could renew and enhance this accessory, indispensable to man for the pursuit of activities whatever the time, with such creative freedom in the post-war years. From this creative profusion, Galerie BSL unveils its pantheon of 1950s to 1980s lighting, a vintage selection rigorously guided by quality and rarity. This new gallery — which opened only a year ago but which has already exhibited at the prestigious Pavillon des Arts et du Design and will do so at Design Miami/Basel — has chosen to only show twenty handpicked pieces. A welcome commitment to help collectors, at a time when everything is ‘design,’ in a market where the best and worst are displayed side by side.
Can be found: duly referenced, often award-winning, always admired lighting icons. Pieces which are above all a metamorphosis of an everyday object into a contemporary sculpture, amazing in their strength and unique character. For many specialists, Gino Sarfatti, creator of hundreds of models, is the 20th century’s greatest lighting designer. “I have never been interested in form,” he confesses, defining himself as an artisan. Everything starts with the bulb for this great chrome stand enthusiast who invented a lamp kit to change as you wish into nine different types of lighting, wall light, reflector, etc.
Credit where credit is due, Gino Sarfatti occupies a core place in this exhibition. The most spectacular piece and the most important: the large N°2068 ceiling light designed in 1952. With its thirty lights, it conjures up a modern castle, a church candelabra or the crown of candles worn by young girls in the procession during the Festival of Light in Nordic countries. Everything is sober, meticulous, but also ethereal with Sarfatti, who chooses to leave the wire apparent “because you have to be able to look at the reason for the lamp.”* Amongst others is the extremely rare wall light N°194 (1950) in brass and lacquered metal, the audacious lamp N°1063 which totally changed the idea of domestic lighting (Compasso d’Oro in 1954, prestigious Italian design award), the table lamp N°604 called Moon (1969), with a scattering of micro-bulbs like lunar craters.
For at the era of the conquest of space, tomorrow’s light comes from outer space, following the example of the Asteroide (1968) table lamp, a very ‘pop’ creation by Ettore Sottsass, leader of the Memphis neo- baroque movement. Made of perspex, it reflects peninsula designers’ taste for new materials adaptable to the craziest shapes. The Golden Gate by Nanda Vigo features amongst the exhibition’s centrepieces, extensive refined architecture spanning two metres which won its designer, influenced by the silhouette of the eponymous bridge, the New York Prize for Industrial Design in 1971, or Rimorchiatore by Gae Aulenti (1969), an example of which appears in the Centre Pompidou collection. Also featuring are creations by the Italians Angelo Lelli – the Calder of lighting -, Studio A.R.D.I.T.I., Matteo Thun and Joe Colombo (honoured by a retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 2007).
Without forgetting, for comparison, works by Français Michel Buffet in the vein of Serge Mouille and the German master Ingo Maurer. Finally to complete this vintage selection the Escargot (snail) lamp, created by Le Corbusier in 1954 for the Cité Radieuse in Marseille, produced for the first time in 2011 by Cassina with a limited edition of 150 numbered pieces. In short, a historical and didactic journey displaying all that today’s creators owe these exemplary light designs.
– Alexandre Crochet, journalist, art historian.
Italian Lights, May 20 – July 23, at Galerie BSL
The Lectori Salutem Desk is imbued with a symbolic value as it conveys the intimacies of Verhoeven’s own personal life. While ostensibly a desk, produced through a combination of highly-skilled craftsmanship and carefully-programmed technical processes, the personal mark of the maker is strongly evident within the work as two silhouette portraits of the artist’s design collaborators, Joep Verhoeven and Judith de Graauw, are subtly shaped into its undulating surfaces. Thus, the piece combines design functionality with an artistic rhetoric that subliminally communicates the importance of Verhoeven’s immediate creative circle. Constructed using highly-polished steel, the traditional industrialism of this material is inverted to produce an elegant and seemingly lightweight object. Through a delicate distribution of weight, the piece combines streamline curves and flowing contours to create a physical equilibrium and an illusionistic sense of movement and speed.
138 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 40 x 40 x 40 cm. Zimoun.
200 prepared dc-motors, 2000 cardboard elements 70 x 70 cm. Zimoun in collabortation with Architect Hannes Zweifel.
“Zimoun is best compared to a watchmaker of a self-reproducing time constructing his own gauging station.”
- Radjo Monk
Sound Sculptures & Installations, by Zimoun
In this fresh look at the work of Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), the Petit Palais reveals for the first time the part played by photography in her creative process, both as a source of inspiration and sometimes as an actual component of her pieces. When she joined the Le Corbusier/Pierre Jeanneret studio as furniture design associate in 1928, she at once began using photography for her preliminary studies, then as a means for observing the “laws of nature” — in the mountains, especially — and the urban context. This provided her with inspiration for her experiments with forms, materials and spatial arrangements. The exhibition also particularly emphasises her passion for objects found in the course of her walks; in their distancing of the rationalist spirit of the 1920s, these brought greater flexibility and formal freedom to her work.
Charlotte Perriand 1903-1999: From photography to interior design
April 7 – September 18, Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
Prototypes & Material Compositions (Pile Up) Including Basket Lamps and Basket Low Tables, 2010
Material Composition 1 (Totem), Polystyrene, Paper, Senegalese Sweetgrass and Polyethylene Basket, Birch Plywood, Acrylic Paint and Oak
The Studio Museum in Harlem is pleased to present Stephen Burks: Man Made, a unique project that furthers industrial designer Stephen Burks’s ongoing exploration of the global economy of artisanal craft. Inspired by Burks’s collaboration with Senegalese basket weavers based in New York and Dakar, as well as projects with artisans in South Africa, Peru and India, Man Made starts with the traditional basket-weaving process as its core concept. During the exhibition, the Museum’s galleries will be transformed into a workshop where New York-based weavers and artisans will create a series of functional and experimental objects and installations conceived by Burks.
Stephen Burks: Man Made, March 31 – June 26, at Studio Museum New York
Photography by Daniel Håkansson for Readymade Projects
This pioneering exhibition of approximately 180 objects from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw, featuring the most important examples of Polish design, rarely seen in the west, explores the significance of the objects of everyday use in shaping modernity and the modern Polish identity emerging during the post-thaw period.
The collection of post-1945 design in the National Museum in Warsaw is the most comprehensive in Poland, and the exhibition benefits from it, showing a whole range of applied arts of the period, including ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture, and other household objects, periodicals, photographs, and films.
Polish Design 1955-1968: We Want to Be Modern, at The National Museum in Warsaw, February 4th – April 17th
In Between, Installation, Skizze, Socle, Frame, Red Thread, Magnets, Plattform10 ewz-selnau Zürich, by Sebastien Verdon
Designed for modern mind and ritual, SUUM SUMS are wearable architecture that requires the human form to build, support, and embody. More than metal. SUUM SUMS are the experience of acquired function and multi-faceted beauty when beings and design concept work together. Each SUUM SUM is a collection of precision, interrelated stainless-steel components. Original compositions are chosen and may evolve over time with additional sculpture- and material-altering components, known in SUUM terminology as EVOLVERS.
Wearable Architecture: Rings, by Nava Wiegert, Brianna Kenyon SUUM
Wunderboxes is a temporary installation designed for the V&A Friday late programme “Archive Live” in the grand entrance hall of the V&A museum in London. PostlerFerguson was commissioned to visualize parts of their research and the design team responded with an installation of differently formatted cardboard boxes each one housing a bright orange light box displaying a variety of three dimensional models to create an abstract but strangely familiar collection of “things”. Spectators were encouraged to come closer and examine the partly hidden and camouflaged objects being drawn in by the warm and hypnotising orange glow of the boxes. From a tiger attack helicopter to Han Solo in Carbonite – from a Lobster to the iconic “Nike Swoosh” the objects represent the designers divers interests and fields of research from science to popular culture.
Wunderboxes, by Postlerferguson, for Victoria and Albert Museum
At the Milan Furniture Fair Dilmos presents a series of mirrors that contain historical references combining the present with the past and that, like the nine lives of a cat, represents the possibility of inner lives. In the series 9 mirrors Ron Gilad suggests that the mirrored image contains a hypocrisy which reflects only our exterior selves. He is asking us to contemplate a more complex and poetic possibility of reality. The title, like the nine lives of a cat, represents the possibility of inner lives or the soul of the mirror.
Gilad’s mirrors are simple rectangular wooden frames that have been injected with stories. The reflection of the spectator is no longer only objective but contains more than the present. The functional aspect becomes secondary; the cords over the glass, the voided gilded frames and the bronze sconce in front of the user’s face are not here to decorate the mirrors. Some of the mirrors contain historical references combining the present with the past; a reference to other lives besides our own. Others play with structure, distorting our perception of the mirror as an object.