The auctioneer table
ALEX HELLUM: RED-BLUE DESK
For Alex Hellum, the ‘red- blue chair’ by Gerrit Rietveld is, more than a modern classic, a statement of early modern design with a move away from craft as means to an end. This piece is presented as a compliment to component-constructed chairs, and it is thus composed by the exact same generic components necessary to build the ‘red- blue chair’. Those square and rectangular components were hence rearranged into what Alex Hellum describes as a “Rietveld-esk design”. The answer to fake was driven by the idea of copying – with its connotations and creative potential – and processed with the designer’s practical mindset.The thread to appreciate the reference to Rietveld is discreetly introduced by a 30mm x 30mm square painted yellow n every side elevation as the original design had.It is behind this piece that the auctioneer will perform and top the gavel firmly hit. After the auction, this piece is to be used as a small writing desk with a raised sliding platform for a laptop or a note pad you can hide stationary and other things away.
HUGO PASSOS: WHOOSH!
Inspired by the object’s direct involvement in the final and decisive action of establishing the winning bid, Hugo Passos focused on movement to make the gavel for The Auction Room. The symbolic image of a loud auctioneer, buffeting with a hammer in hand was taken as a representative dynamic portrait of a live auction. The geometrical journey of the hammer from its highest position to its lowest, draws a conclusive arch which determines the afterlife of the auctioned item. The long seconds that this gesture encompasses are exciting for some and deceiving for others: what one wins is what the other just lost. This divergent fortune found its parallel in a playful and simple solution: table tennis. The designer took a ping pong bat and turned it into a hammer. The fusion of these two archetypal objects became an exercise between form and function – staying true to the ping pong bat reference without compromising the usability of a hammer.
MONIKA PIATKOWSKI: ROOMSCAPE
The inspiration for the rug derives from the many definitions and historical associations with the word fake. A deliberate choice was taken to use a synthetic mass manufactured material and apply a hand made process of shearing to imitate a machined wool tufted rug. This ironic gesture proves the rug as a counterfeit, intentionally made to appear otherwise than it actually is. Presenting itself as a ‘fraudulent’ copy of something valuable – the imprints of the unique objects – the rug functions as the mapping of the Auction Room: it represents the fake reality of a staged scene.Once the bids have fallen like a final judgment in a courtroom, the rug leaves behind the phantoms of the real objects as a sculptured forensic scene.
The Tea Set
PAUL BISHOP/THE NEW ENGLISH: MADE IN CHINA
There is an interesting irony in the fact that the origins of the UK ceramics industry and its global preeminence was catalyed by early traders returning from China with collections of porcelain. These items were highly prized and were displayed by the nobility and wealthy of the time as a symbol of their prosperity and importance. Following the decimation of the UK ceramics industry over the last decade or so as a result of its failure to respond to the challenges of far eastern competition, we are today witnessing (albeit embryonic) a complete reversal of fortune. In an interesting twist much of the seeds of recovery lie in the UK ceramics industry exporting luxury pieces back to China to feed the insatiable demand of the new elite. Made in China, (a play on the story and the material) seeks to highlight this strange phenomenon and signpost the future for the industry
POSTLERFERGUSON: STADIUM LIGHTS
Postlerferguson elected the auctioneer as the star and decided to make him shine like Maradona.Exploring the similarities –dynamics, competition, strict regulations – between a live auction and sports, the design duo decided to strain the crucial role of he who executes the bidding: the auctioneer moderates the competitors and makes the event as effective and exciting as possible to reach the highest bids. For that, they developed a lighting system that puts the auctioneer into the spotlight.Drawing inspiration from the artificial and surreal quality of sports stadium lighting, they designed light boxes made of a thin and rigid aluminium composite over which they stretched different materials from high reflective mylar to nylon. A string of LED’s is placed inside the frame of the lamp to wash down the spanned material causing indirect illumination. By adding the different layers of mylar and nylon the light appears as a non transparent high reflective object when the light is switched off. Switching it on the light becomes semi transparent letting illumination permeate the body and emitting light out of its opening. The Stadium Lighting series can be hung from the ceiling, leaned against and hung from the wall as well as connected to each other.
The Light Switches
KATRIN BAUMGARTEN: EXPOSED LIGHT SWITCHES
Exposed light switches
The “exposed light switches” broadcast shame in order to confront us with this concealed emotion.
According to Katrin Baumgarten, shame is the fundamental reason for human disconnection, as it motivates the building of a fake faade towards others. ‘This faade is nourished and kept as tidy as possible to secure one’s place in society’. As she argues, ‘only by revealing our weaknesses can we connect to another person in a profound way’, and shame is the moment when one feels really weak. The light switches are usually aseptic , and our interaction with them rather remote, subconsciously marginalized by habit. Katrin Baumgarten decided to change this by applying emotions to our dehumanized relation with machines: the “exposed light switches” react. Ashamed, they prevent us from manipulating them, they disappear, they freeze, they disguise.
Jórun Høgnesen: Knitchair
Jórun Høgnesen ’s work is influenced by her home country, the Faroe Islands, known for its tradition of knitting. There, where the ratio between people and sheep is one to two, Faroese wool means both identity and waste material. There’s too much wool to be consumed by the locals, the la often burning it to avoid the effort and cost of turning it into the traditional jumpers. Some designers are now looking into new ways of using Faroese wool often keeping it within the fashion industry. Jorun’s project pastes the language of clothing directly into the universe of furniture. The aesthetics of the covers clearly repeat that of the jumper (buttons, patterns) moving the chairs away from design pieces and bringing them closer to manifestos, inventing new scenarios and functions to channel the wool. Dressed on the simple and honest Thonet bentwood chairs, the cover them an entirely new – welcoming and comfortable – shape.Ironically, these two chairs disclose the Faroese vulnerability by showing a path to its solution – declaring comfort as a functional and customiable seating requirement.
Harry Trimble: Surgeons Chair
The process that has brought about this chair is driven by the idea that something being – or appearing - ‘fake’ leads to some type of revelation. In the case of The Surgeons Chair the revelation it unveils is the potential to use London’s trees surgeons and the hazardous or deceased trees they cut down, as a purely local means for manufacturing furniture. The Surgeons Chair is simply cut from one piece of timber with a chainsaw. It was brilliantly designed as to allow for the fewe possible cuts to turn a chunk of wood into a recognizable chair. Chain-sawed by the tree surgeon Steve, the ash trunk that the chair once lived in the City of London Cemetery. The chair is banded with the post cof the place it was made, to emphasise the holy trinity of design localism: material, place and people.
Studio 801: Solid Shadows
Solid Shadows is a series of three pieces inspired by three chairs from different eras of design, a Louis XVI Medallion Chair, Thonet’s Model 14 Bentwood Chair and Jacobsen’s Ant. These were selected for their iconic status and aesthetic similarities, which echo through the pieces and connect them throughout time. The collection plays on the iconographic nature of the original pieces to create a sense of familiarity with something that is new.
The process behind the pieces refers to simulacra and transformation through repetition and inversion. Mike Khan started by translating the iconic chairs from three dimensions to two dimensions: images of the original pieces were made into stylised silhouettes, compressing the subtleties of the original to a simpler pictorial representation. The designer then extruded those silhouettes back into three dimensions, creating entirely new versions of the originals.
The translation between two and three dimensions is further expressed physically through the use of forced perspective to create the illusion that the solid object is turning back to its two dimensional representation when moving around the pieces. The collection uses artifice and geometry to involve the viewer in an experiential journey through design.
Hendzel + Hunt: The Great Victorian Porky Pie
Sing a song of sixpence, made in Peckham rye
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,
When the pie was open the birds began to fly.
It soon became apparent; it was all a porky pie…
Hendzel+Hunt’s piece plays on deception: it appears to be one thing reveals to be another. The Great Victorian porky pie is based around the Victorian conversation chair; whose use by young lovers accompanied by a third party chaperone, made for an environment that was not best suited to excite conversation; nor the awkward arrangement of back to back seating which further inhibited its natural flow. By producing a table and chairs that accommodate nine companions, sitting shoulder to shoulder and outwardly facing, the social etiquette of polite dinner-time chatter is greatly inhibited: at first glance remaining authentic to its conversation chair origins. Once the chairs are arranged to draw companions into the table facing one another, the tabletop unfurls to the diners’ delights. The deception unfolds literally and figuratively as the Great Victorian porky pie invites you to dine.
Max Cairns: Stool
Playing with perception and preconception, this stool evokes both the comfort of a soft cushion and the roughness of a building site. These two conflicting components meet to form a sarcastic piece of design that serves its critical purpose when carefully analysed: The stool reflects the theme fake through its use of waste woodchippings cast into the form of a soft, chesterfield cushion. The use of the waste material combined with a toxicologically safe, plant-based resin gives the pillow a sustainable edge over its conventional leather original and demonstrates the advantages of casting wood in a mould. The polished re-bar in the stool also gives the impression of new components when in fact all materials have been reclaimed from waste. Cast on a local building site, the concrete base of the stool contains a specific context that will disappear once the building is finished. The stool remains as a tangible memory of that transitory place.
Thomas Ives: Dis-fake-tional
What does it take for a chair to be ‘real’? Where does the physical difference between a real and a fake chair lie? Thomas Ives started by investigating fake experiences: recreating the experience of seating around town halls, stands, bins and trolleys he then interrogated the accommodating functionality of such suburban makeshift seats. Could any of those be defined as a chair even though they were not designed to be sit on? The result is that exact same question turned upside down: is a chair still a chair if you can’t sit on it?
The Dis-fake-tional chair is an apparently perfect chair that doesn’t fulfill the promise of a seat. By missing an essential piece, it interrupts one’s impulse to use it. The chair provokes a consecutive action of attempt and deceit, in a frustration movement that reflects upon pretending, trickery, masquerade.
Yehrin Tong used her psychedelic jungle themed tiger pattern to represent the theme of “fake” on Graphic Relief’s tiles for The Auction Room.
Influenced by hallucinogenic inspired and psychotropic paintings of jungles, Yehrin used motifs of nature blending and shifting to borrow a sense of hypnotic trance to the pattern. This was further enhanced by the collaboration with Graphic Relief, who turned the pattern into a three-dimensional object. The fine detail that the pattern gains when applied to concrete makes it readable from some points and completely invisible from other perspectives. Depending on the position of the viewer, the Tigers hide or show. Playing with perception (what’s real what’s not) the tiles reveal the fine line between delusion and fantasy, suggesting that reality is essentially, just like fiction, another trick of the mind.
Felix How: Pious Chair
Localism taken to its extreme. Locally sourced and locally produced, this piece was entirely made at the designer’s garden with nothing but hand tools. No electricity was used, no fuel spent in transport, no waste materials remained. The wood, bought at the timber shop down the road, was cut from the forest that can be seen from the shop’s windows. Responding to the contemporary context of globalisation and standardisation, the chair materialises a realistic comment on mass production, firming an ethical – almost idealistic- position. The piece emphasises concepts like context, tradition and craftsmanship, presenting itself as a – scandalously – outsider in the design arena.
“I don’t know whether I’m a designer, or an artist. Or neither.
All I know is that I’ve made a chair. It’s ethically sourced, and you can sit on it.
The rest is up to you.”