Who says wood is always good? Using mixed media and playing with a range of material is in. By SHELLY ANAND
When Canadian- American architect Frank Gehry invented his line of furniture made of cardboard, he started a design movement that looked beyond wood. Other designers appreciated his idea of manipulating different lightweight materials in unorthodox ways where form need not follow function. Today, many others are choosing to be different as they move away from creating homogenous curated homes where decorating elements are monotonous. Their focus is instead on eccentricity and whimsicality, on performance and innovation, while playing with diverse materials. From making benches out of tennis balls to using shotgun shells to create a chair, from bringing together book spines to make a side table and moulding plastic to shape a trendy seat, these mavericks don’t shy away from giving furniture a new face and future.
Dutch duo Tejo Remy and Rene Veenhuizen definitely believe in doing things differently. Re- use and re- appropriation comes naturally to them. A look at the unusual and unconventional benches ( featured on the previous page) by them that make use of tennis balls shows how an ordinary piece can be made alluring yet fully functional. Constructed from dozens of small, bright yellow bouncy felt, rubber balls and a steel frame, the modern- day adaptation is both comfortable and sturdy. The designers decided to make the seating arrangement unique by connecting the balls over again, just like the process of cell division. Depending on the size, these units can easily seat two and more people.
The supremacy of a chair over other pieces of furniture remains unchallenged. Whatever the size, shape and style, it is still the first thing to be picked when doing up a home. A look at Brooklynbased Alexander Reh’s seat made of over 450, 12- gauge shotgun shells and London- based Tom Dixon’s polymer set- up proves how this four- legged contraption’s design dimensions have undergone a sea change.
Reh’s Fully Loaded creation has a perforated steel frame, gun- blued by hand and loaded with refurbished, once- fired gun shells. Due to different colour of the two
parts of the shells, it appears magical; golden when viewed from front and red from behind. Dixon’s Fresh Fat Easy chair on the other hand, smartly and conveniently uses extruded plastic which is formed by hand into a repeated link pattern. The clear- hued structure, which is quite comfortable to sit- in, can fit into modern and minimalist living spaces without much fuss.
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Creativity is all about connecting things. This simple and workable notion is the driving force behind US- based modern furniture studio BRC Designs. It melds timeless and peculiar materials into exclusive but simple designs. The brainchild of Benjamin Rollins Caldwell, the label recycles materials and pumps a fresh breath of life into them. The spineless side table and binary low table are two such examples from its wide- ranging portfolio.
Made from a vast collection of book spines taken from different areas of study and interest such as business, self- help, finance, encyclopaedias and literature, the aptly called spineless table is upholstered with brass nails that form an interesting patchwork surface. Finished in a red- stained oak and high gloss black lacquer, it has two drawer compartments to take care of storage needs.
If this was not enough to satisfy the creative quotient of the designer, the binary low height coffee table is simply out of the world. Fit for techie geeks, it is inspired by pallets of obsolete computers and electronics procured from a local warehouse. The surface is layered with a collage of motherboards, computer chips, LED screens and hard drive disks all held in place by metal screws.
Don’t touch wood anymore, or rather use it sparingly within the home. Take a break from this age- old staple when out scouting for essentials next time and do the environment a favour. There is a whole new world of exciting raw ingredients to be explored that can give your turf a new definition by moving away from the mundane.
Minimalist and intriguing, London designer Tom Dixon’s fresh fat easy chair is made of plastic
Go balistic with this hot seat, by Broklyn- based Alexander Reh, made from used shotgun shels
Binary table made from computer and electronic chips ( left); spineless table that uses books as the base material ( below). Both are by US- based BRC Designs.