aniel Libeskind and his wife (and business partner) Nina are waiting for a train to Somerset under the four-sided clock at London’s Waterloo station. It’s just past ten in the morning on Friday the 13th (of July). The fact that Donald Trump is in town is adding to the date’s traditionally doomy atmospherics. ‘Look at this,’ says Libeskind, showing us a snap of the infamous Donald baby blimp. ‘I think it’s brilliant. So funny. That’s the kind of thing that will annoy him, he’s so humourless.’
The track number appears on the timetable; we shuffle aboard. But about an hour into the journey the train is diverted: there’s a cow on the rails, poor thing. We arrive at our stop nearly four hours after departure. There, a jazzy new Land Rover whisks us down winding country roads, up a small gravel path and deposits us in front of a former barn, now a metal workshop.
Waiting in the centre of the lofty main space, against a backdrop of heavy machinery and the ripe smell of manure, is the thing we’ve all come to see: a 350kg fusion of bright white Carrara marble and bronze gone brilliantly blue thanks to a chemical treatment. A seat, a sculpture, a piece of architecture, it is a hunky block of quintessential Libeskind language: all hard lines and imposing angles, yet somehow more poetic than bombastic.
‘I’m very happy,’ says Libeskind, seeing the completed piece for the first time, running his hands across its planes. ‘It reads like the model of a building: it generates context, creates architecture rather than responds to it.’ The train ride and unpresidential distractions forgotten, he sits down and tries out this now physical manifestation of his imagination. ‘It’s actually really comfortable,’ he says, sounding almost surprised.
The chair will make its debut this September as part of Libeskind’s first solo exhibition with one of London’s most established design destinations, the David Gill Gallery in St James’s. ‘I wanted Daniel to create something that he had
A fierce-looking console featuring bands of sharp-edged stainless steel
A monumental, 5m-long glass and stainless steel dining table
A futuristic stainless steel and carbon fibre armchair