The impact of the recession on local art galleries is there will be less of them plying their trade in the near future. What people will see more and more in the galleries that do manage to survive is more conservative, safe and cautious fare. Nowadays, it’s going be more bowls of fruit and flowers rather than art intended to provoke, a return to traditional notion of beauty and quality. Which is why a depression is not so depressing in the art world. Though there won’t literally be much in this exhibit in the order of fruit and flowers, still lives or figurative art, there will be a return to quality and value in art and design.
Paris based industrial designer, Arik Levy, is known for a signature blend of technical skill and aesthetic sensibility. Inspired by natural forms, Levy’s rock and log series of benches and tables in stainless steel are gem-like in their beauty and preciousness. Zaha Hadid, internationally known for both her theoretical and academic work, became the first woman to be awarded the distinguished Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 2004. The works presented reflect Hadid’s organic language and illustrate how Zaha Hadid Architects continually translates the natural into the sculptural. “Orchis”, designed with Patrik Schumacher, is a series of seating elements consisting of fluid, twisting, and biomorphic forms recalling the shape of the Orchid flower. Carolyn Quartermaine is an artist whose limitless inspiration is expressed through architecture, art and design. In Quartermaine’s pieces, old is combined with new in a palette of sorbet colours with patterns, signs, and text hand painted onto silks and thick canvases.
Designer Mathias Bengtsson sees technology as an overriding force in the creative process, while also looking to nature as a source of innovation and inspiration for new areas of design. The ‘Slice Chair’ combines organic shapes with cutting-edge technology; the slice is constructed as an assemblage of horizontal cross-sections, laser-cut to a thickness of only 3mm, that stack together into a uniquely lateral profile. London atelier, Based Upon, have created a new limited edition series of ‘Cracked’ coffee tables in their signature finishes. Based Upon experiments with natural processes such as patination and ageing while exploring naturally occurring textures such as cracks and leaves. French designer Maria Pergay has been creating contemporary objects and furniture for over fifty years. Well known for her pioneer use of stainless steel in the 1970s, her most recent work focuses on the unusual combinations of steel and other precious materials like bronze and wood, challenging them to function harmoniously.
Peter Harvey is a British industrial designer living in Berlin. ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is the result of his ground breaking work with large blocks of acrylic that are pigmented and machined into seating elements that are unique and pushing current fabrication technologies to their breaking point. Max Lamb is known for using low-tech materials and low-tech processes. His Pewter Stool was produced in the sand on the beaches of Cornwall by pouring molten pewter directly into the sand. World-renowned designer, Tom Dixon, creates pieces that perfectly straddle the line between art and design. In the ‘Flame’ series Dixon challenges our ideas of acceptable materials, processes and notions of fitness for purpose. Little concession has been made to practicality or functionality, apart from the ironic reference to flat-pack furniture.
British artists / designer Richard Woods works with existing architecture and materials to transform structures and spaces, engaging them with reality and fantasy. Using plywood and household gloss paint to employ the traditional technique of wood block printmaking, Woods has clad buildings and created floors in a distinctive cartoonish wood grain style from New York to Istanbul. Brendan Cass is a New York based painter of blended landscapes that incorporate elements of abstraction. The colours are wild and acidic and fall firmly into the category of good “bad” painting! Finally, we see the inclusion of two Cars! - the Mini ERA and a 1976 Daimler. As the modern car industry has ground to a halt and valuable older cars are being wastefully crushed to stimulate new car buying, we must seek out the undervalued and underappreciated designs of years past that are well-worth preserving and investing in, rather than destroying. The quick fix to the economy and harm to the atmosphere hardly justifies a pack of brand new Prius' with lead batteries that in fact will prove much less easily disposed of. And in fact, beneficial environmental conditions, not to mention the improved aesthetics of the streets, will be the re