The CURATED SECTION, dedicated to emerging and mid-career independent designers and design studios, is a space for radical experimentation and discovery where participants are invited to explore pioneering ideas and processes in design.
For its 6th edition, the CURATED SECTION 2023 will be chaired and curated by Paris based designer, artist and curator Leo Orta around the curatorial statement: 'What is your story?'
'WHAT IS YOUR STORY'
by LEO ORTA
The curatorial proposal ‘What is your story?’ is driven by essential questions that have arisen at a poignant moment in history.
The pandemic, increasing scarcity of resources, spiralling oil prices, and climate deregulation are forcing us to reflect on the directions we must take. It has become clear that the new route should consider significant adjustments in the production process, such as local sourcing and manufacturing and the use of sustainable materials to reduce human impact on the environment.
‘What is your story?’ will focus on the collaborations and networks that a new generation of artists, designers, and architects are building together to restore and empower a collective force of creativity from the grassroots, alongside local communities, artisans, and manufacturers.
The proposal aims to encourage collaborative processes, honour craftsmanship and champion sustainable material choices by tracing the supply chain to expose the carbon footprint.
“My Happy Blue” is a sculpture from the project “Clay as Form as Play as Function”, and functions as a chair as well as a vase.
The project is rooted in the idea that self care is a radical act, and explores how it can be employed in creative processes through the plasticity of clay and the healing properties of haptic perception, pleasure activism and play as a tool for critical thinking to batte Eco-anxiety.
Haptic perception is how we relate to the world through touch and is a fundamental aspect of human experiences. It is the first language we learn, for as newborns we rely on touch to know that we are safe and loved. To be held and stroked calms and regulates our nervous system. We comfort each other through a hug, a kiss, a smile.
As friends we keep ‘in touch’ with each other. Later on in life we develop strategies to reassure each other through intellectualised forms of communication, but our body-rhythms synchronise through touch. In other words, the surface of our bodies resonates with the subconscious depth of our being.
I see humans (amongst other things), as story tellers (some are story makers), by processing imagery we learn to tell stories, by narrating a sequential storyline. In this new work I have been inspired by this creative and playfully dark way in which we extract, compose and project ourselves on to the world in order to build narratives we feel safe in. When we deal with trauma and depression, we deal with detachment. A lost mind is referred to as someone being ‘out of touch’. Words and images alone are enough to access the brainstem through which emergency responses can be resolved. To mend a broken spirit, we need touch and movement. Timothy Morton says that being aware is synonymous with being depressed, so how do we stay hopeful in a place we do not feel resilient? We interact. We become interconnected and we adapt. We play. When working with clay, pulling, punching, pinching, stroking and smoothing, I experience a feedback loop of motor impulses and sensory awareness that is not verbal. The material quite literarily bridges the gap between thoughts and emotion and manifests as lived form. By cultivating those movements, forms and colours which intuitively feel good, give rise to objects which visually reflects that sense of compassion and resilience developed in the movement. Each object is a reminder to make space for our emotions, be curious about them, seek the wisdom in them, treat them with kindness and remember that they are temporary.
“They Told Me” chair: Throughout history, furniture has been a way to express cultural attitudes while showcasing an expertise in production techniques. The current phase of globalisation enables artists and designers to live and operate globally while using distinct local craftsmanship and cultural resource.
The chair is a collaboration between the artist and the Shanghai region’s local textile industry and artisans. 80 hours of Chinese hand-embroidery on locally produced silk symbolically reflects the artist’s global lifestyle. Words, symbols of cities, postal codes, and luggage tags become ornaments that record the artist’s emotional attachment to places he has been to. The exposure to these various places has played a significant role in shaping the artist’s experience and approach, which results in this global and local piece.
The project "Shaping Residue" (2022) is about working with what is already here; by using industrial residue of the metal-industry as 'new' materials in the field of furniture design.
By utilising pre-given structures that are regularly thrown away by companies, the design and shaping process is different. You have to adapt to the previous shapes, tear them out of their context and form them outside of what they are meant to be, while still responding to their attributes and advantages and not by seeing them as unusable junk. The rests always come back and allow to plan ahead, and to multiply the outcome.
Reliques of the Plasticene, Coline Le Quenven, 2022 “Reliques of the Plasticene” offers new aesthetics for plastic waste. The research began with an observation of the sheer scale of single-use plastic discarded during the pandemic crisis drawing Coline’s attention to the wider impact of plastic pollution.
Alarmed by the recent discovery of plastiglomerates, a new type of rock formed by plastic waste melting onto natural debris, the designer reflects on how we can craft these new conglomerates and build resilience to the continuous degradation of the planet. Crafted from locally sourced plastic waste, these artefacts of the Anthropocene are dystopian witnesses of plastic entering the natural environment and becoming an integral part of Earth’s geology. Drawing a parallel between plastic and archaeology, the “Reliques of the Plasticene” are references to the ostentation of the Victorian and Roman eras, being the sum of translated ancient crafts and ideologies to digital techniques and our contemporary waste.
The mirror object utilises digitalised animal bones scavenged on the internet and a found car mirror, reflecting on the Anthropocene. The cup is inspired by a bronze cast of the “Three Graces”, honouring the craftsmanship of French sculptor Germain Pilon through a 3D printed reinterpretation. The jug top is made from plastic bags refashioned as a roman style container. The coral is fully 3D printed and embellished with a 3D pen to extrude recycled plastic and mimic traditional goldsmithing. And the nautilus is a mix of plastic debris worked on a 3D printed base largely inspired by nautilus shells seen as natural marvels and therefore often given elaborate and precious mounts in the seventeenth century.
Didi NG Wing Yin's work enhances the aspects of wood that are usually hidden by playing with sight and touch. In the case of Pleats Vase, the vessel’s shape directly followed the natural twisting of the wood fibre inside a tree trunk. A unique, yet approachable object that invites people to interact with it.
Employing a brushing technique emphasised the natural, twisting grain line of wood and provided an almost cloth-like surface. Pleats Vase speaks of the natural poetic beauty of wood and invites people to touch it through its multifaceted, light, and soft appearance.
‘Ova’ is a cabinet collection inspired by the vivid colours and striking patterns found in nature. Each cabinet was created to celebrate life through vitality, fertility, and creativity.
One of three cabinets in the collection, the ‘Ova Pink’ is inspired by the bright pink egg clusters of the apple snail found in the most unlikely places in nature.
Five hundred sixty hand-sewn balls were created with a unique hand-woven fabric called 'Kutnu' from my hometown of Gaziantep in Turkey. They are then carefully upholstered to completely cover the walls of the steam-bended cylindrical cabinet. A secret compartment in contrasting oak wood awaits inside.
Each of the soft balls is unique and imperfect but arranged repetitively to help tie a piece together by bridging disparate elements to create a sense of unity. During the limited travel during the pandemic, I rediscovered my culture by working with local craftsmen & artisans within Turkey to bring traditional textiles and materials into contemporary design. 'Kutnu' - a semi-silk fabric woven from plant silk warps and cotton wefts was of particular interest to me, as it is known for its striking colour and designs. Produced since the 16th century, each batch of woven fabric is unique and is still made today with the same weaving and natural dyeing techniques that were once used to make royal fabrics used for Ottoman palace furnishings and gowns.
The earthstone coffee table is inspired by the aesthetics of the "concrete branch" that appeared at the end of the 19th century.
It modernises it by integrating the mathematical method of "optimised topology" which allows to reduce the weight of an object while keeping its resistance.
ALIEN CHAIR /'EILIEN/
1.A HYPOTHETICAL OR FICTIONAL BEING FROM ANOTHER WORLD.
The Alien chair is our fantasy about one chair from outer space. Experiments with different materials within one concept allow us to recognise how a particular material affects the shape, the functionality of the object and its final look. It leads to new discoveries of metamorphoses happening with one chair. Alien chair.2 was handcrafted in natural wax. In wax version it is turning into side table. Fragile, opaque, imperfect, with twisted and melted edges, always unique - this is how wax is playing with rigid shapes.
The table shown is part of the Gemiverse series, based on the speculation of the discovery of potential alien materials from an artistic standpoint.
Each piece of geology is an expression in materials with form, shape and colour experiments. Materials such as ceramic, self grown crystal, steel, thermoplastic, resin, concrete, copper, tin and recycled materials. The functional aspect of the table serves as the rock from which the objects are excavated from. The geometric metal structure acts as a net, linking all parts of the furniture together. Geometric nets are often found in diagrams of space theory with regards to showing the relation of objects held together in the universe.
A wooden chair made of left overs from Henrik Ødegaard's own production. A mix of structural wit combined with a playfulness of already existing shapes.
Can you create a machine that behaves like something it is not? Or translates one material into another? Fascinated by how looms and knitting machines render digital pixels into textile patterns, Jibbe van Schie manipulated the input and workings of a self-made 3D-printer. His aim was to create an output that resembles a multi-coloured knit or weave - in a ceramic version. Weaving viscose strands of clay, layer by layer, stitch by stitch, Jibbe's fascination took on a solid form. Adapting both the machine and the code led to new outcomes that prompted new adaptations. The ongoing conversation between input and output gives shape to the merging of two crafts, shaking up conventions and exploring alternative translations from digital files into tactile products.
Description of the project - Fluff Stacks Collection. Fluff Stacks is a collaborative project with the Dutch denim brand G-Star RAW for their art platform The Art of RAW.
During my collaboration with G-Star, my goal was to see if I could push the qualities of denim and show different possibilities of the material. When I started working together with them, I wanted to investigate their production system and see if there was a waste stream in denim that I could use. This leftover material was the perfect starting point to my project. While working with denim, I was curious to see if I could develop a new type of material. By using an old paper recycle machine I created denim pulp from old jeans. The pulp is mixed with a natural binder, giving the final material the solid result. The Fluff Stacks collection consist of the following three objects: a lamp, side table and a stool. By making three objects I wanted to show the possibilities within the staking of the material. To keep the focus on the material, I created solid blocks that are stacked on top of each other. To keep the build straight-forward the focus will stay on the material used, instead of the complexity of the shape and connections. By doing this it will be comprehensible for the viewer.
Louise Begue Teissier and Mathis Broussot met during their studies in Paris and Eindhoven and graduated in 2021. A project is a way for us to question Design, meaning the meeting of aesthetics and technic. Our fascination for digital practices and their physical application allowed us to develop projects through object, spaces, and fashion.
The presentation of the project : The industry is trying to copy the look and feel of wood in various ways of application. While we did not copy wood in the same manner, we used the dna of the digital approach to find a new essence of wood. Wood's lenticular layer revealed its moving chracteristic. The motion in the material is not trying to trap the users with a fake material but to draw a new aesthetic of this material for interiors.
Idiotic Agents, as animate objects interacting with each other and with humans, are occupying domestic environments to expand human-machine entanglements beyond functionality. Challenging constituted models of ‘intelligence’, they exhibit absurd and unpredictable behaviours, provoking inhabitants to explore them, to figure them out and build relationships with them. An agent that has a thing for parties and bubbles, obsessed over one particular song that randomly disturbs moments of silence; an agent constantly asking for care but equally caring for others, that loves singing to plants or sunbathing for hours, one that best expresses itself through weather phenomena; agents that like to be chatty with each other through a language incomprehensible to humans, and agents with secret love affairs. But most importantly, idiotic agents are acting on their very own terms instead of being commanded.
Their discursive materiality speaks for their inner workings, manifesting their non-human agency that emerges to converse with humans and other objects around home in ways that are not pre-scripted but are rather open-ended. But there are further well-hidden stories behind them. Idiotic agents were constructed in the margins of industrial companies with large-scale production lines based in Greece; BlueCycle, an innovative company collecting and reusing plastic from the Mediterranean Sea to produce their own recycled-plastic materials, a heavy industry producing metal components from screws and gears to beams and fireplaces, and a local marble company specialising in building “our last homes”, quoting here one of the employees working on the construction of graves. Working with technicians and crafts-people on the sides of large-scale production lines that were genuinely motivated by their own personal excitement for something out-of-the-ordinary, and willing to take up tasks that others rejected (due to greater profit from clients with bigger and easier commissions), each idiotic agent has a material story to say – one that is also representative of the collaborative practices behind their materialization.
All components were carefully thought of and produced one-off to avoid complaints about me distracting the production line. This process acknowledges and embraces the ‘risk’ of irreversible imperfections, letting even the tiniest flaws become part of each object’s inner life. *This family of work has been produced as part of my current practice-based PhD research undertaken at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures (Coventry University), funded by the UKRI (UK) and the Onassis Foundation (GR).
Klinker chair 9v3 is an attempt to rethink the principle of form and function of a brick wall, to strip it of its historical characteristics giving it new and changable forms.
Klinker chair 9v3 was created out of a brick wall that did not seperate, nor includes or excludes - a brick wall that did not have to be torn down, but could be dismantled into its individual courses and bricks. The archaic characteristics of the clinker brick turn klinker chair 9v3 into a sculptural object being an homage to the clinker brick itself.
Ori Orisun Merhav showcases her latest pieces of ‘Made by Insects’, with a family of objects that celebrate the new future of the lac polymer, the coating material that grew into three dimensional shapes. The objects explore the interaction between material and light, and together they create a landscape inspired by the way the insects are forming their cocoons on tree branches.
Together, through blending yarns, light and textiles can bring about magical stories.
This coral reef knitting project is based on combining yarns that respond to light in different ways. The great beauty of textiles is in the many atmospheres, shapes, colours, harmonies, and effects that can be created through these unexpected yarn combinations interacting with light. Through collaboration with the TextielMuseum in the Netherlands, ‘Knitted Light’ looked to find the sophisticated beauty of mixing textile materials through the technique of knitting. The used thread called monofilament(recyclable fishing line) has a reflective property. It produces a new texture when combined with light and mixed with various yarns. When the monofilaments meet flexible elastic yarns, the material shows a new type of formative fun of contraction and expansion, giving rise to various 3D-type knitting experiments. The play of light and 3D shapes from the textile experiments are aesthetically inspired by the incredibly beautiful mystical atmosphere produced by the glow of the coral reefs beneath the sea.
The material shows different reflections to various sources of light which expose its versitality. In daylight, it remains as a sculpture, we observe the natural colours, patterns, and textures. When exposed to an artificial light the textile changes to produce a new beauty and dimension. When removing the light, in darkness, the textile glows, it produces its own light resembling the glowing coral reefs, we observe the patterns and shapes again with nuance. Recently coral reefs are losing their own colours and glow due to the rising temperature of seawater. Therefore, ‘Knitted Light’ does not only presents the phenomenal beauty of light through objects composed of textiles materials, but also showcases a new reflection of our nature's beauty.
Studio Basse Stittgen (Germany), Tree of culture, 2022.
Tree of Culture European Spruce (Picea Abies) has evergreen leaves and likes to grow in deep, wet soils. Once harvested it can be turned into wood chips, and then into cellulose fiber by ways of extracting a brownish substance called lignin.
Cellulose and lignin are the two most abundant organic polymers on earth. While one is used excessively in a host of different industries such as the paper and textile industry, the other stays largely unexplored, remaining an underutilised by-product. In fact, to date lignin is mostly burned in thermal waste plants for the production of energy, with all the consequential negative emissions. This project traces the journey that those two polymers take, back to the moment when the cellulose fiber was held together by the lignin in a tree. In Europe’s agroforestry, Picea Abies, or European Spruce, is one of the most cultivated trees, often grown in large monocultures for its pulp, timber and resin. Complex industrial production uprooted the connection between plants as suppliers for products and the consumer. It is difficult to hold a piece of paper and see a tree.
The objects made in this project are meant to evoke mindfulness and a connection to the source of their material, when held they can hopefully remind you of a tree, the rough texture of the bark, the year rings that keep track of the seasons and the landscape in which the tree grew. The Tree of Culture is a design-research project exploring, through storytelling and by means of tangible physicalities, the immense potential offered by lignin when reconnected with cellulose, through processes of recombination and rematerialisation of residual matters.
Fluid Residuum is a site-specific material investigation into the overlooked and so-called “waste” materials produced in large volumes by the construction industry. In collaboration with the local gravel company in Rabius-Switzerland, Studio Eidola have been exploring alternative uses for gravel quarry silt which is usually used as landfilling material. Rain-shaped surfaces were captured from the site and sculpted into blocks.
Celebrating the rough and naturally eroded look of the material, “as found” pieces were minimally intervened. Kiln fired brick-like fragments of silt were joined with recycled tin to create a series of pedestals.
The Jagae table is a unique coffee table with inlaid mother-of-pearl embellishments on lacquerware furniture. Every piece of mother of pearl was cut off by a knife into designated shapes in a mosaic format. The table is designed by WKND Lab and handcrafted by a nacre master who has been doing nacre for 50 years as a collaboration.
This table was an attempt to make a contemporary piece to escape the typical style of overly decorating figurative ornaments. Furniture using jagae(mother of pearls) is considered “old-generation’s furniture” in Korea. To change the misconceptions and make them approachable to younger generations, we introduced contemporary aesthetics to this piece. In addition, the Jagae table uses wood resin for its finishing, which makes it biodegradable and eco-friendly.
ForestBank is not simply lumber, but a material design that looks to find the variety of value in entire forests. ForestBank researches the problems and possibilities around forests, and rather than simply creating lumber, seeks to find the various value in whole forests, performing experiments and developing materials that realise that desire. These products are made from small trees, foliage, bark, seeds, soil, and other items considered worthless for construction or furniture making by mixing them only with a reactive mineral base and water-based acrylic resin that uses no organic solvents or volatile organic compounds.
These materials have patterns that vary depending on the angle and depth of the cut, creating a variety as fascinating as wood grain, and this is multiplied by difference in season, land, and other conditions of the forest at the time of harvest. The characteristic yellows and greens are the actual colouring of the trees, which are dyed by bacteria found in nature. The mixed in green leaves change to orange and brown as the seasons change.
In addition, earth from the forest floor can be mixed in, adding browns and blacks. In the piece, you can see the complex patterns of the cross sections of roots and seeds which are normally hidden in the earth. Take notice of the different colours of the various species of trees. By looking at the ubiquitous nature of wood from a different angle and finding new value, a new material that condenses the whole forest is found. This material can be shaped with ordinary woodworking methods, and applied in various fields like furniture and interiors. Plus, forests do not have to be its sole source. It can be made from waste pruned from trees lining streets, in parks, gardens, and from scrap wood from woodworking studios to create original patterns that tell a unique story.
Zuzanna Spaltabaka, Cabinet 01, 2022.
The Cabinet 01 is a part of a series of objects that derive from an attempt to reinterpret traditional artisan techniques. Bringing the philosophy behind the craft to the forefront allows the objects to break away from the forms commonly associated with the technique. They embrace the honesty of the materials and reveal shamelessly how they were made, showing proudly carefully thought-out joints and hand-made mechanisms. In her recent works the artist combines raw materials such as carbon steel, rough wool, float glass, porcelain and wood. All objects are manufactured in close collaboration with local craftsmen.
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