BREAK TO MAKE exhibition by Nendo and Daniel Arsham - Photo by Masahiro Ohgami Katsuaki Kobayashi.

BREAK TO MAKE exhibition by Nendo and Daniel Arsham – Photo by Masahiro Ohgami Katsuaki Kobayashi.

Design – New York City art gallery Friedman Benda brought together Japanese design firm Nendo and New York-based multidisciplinary artist Daniel Arsham to create-destroy-a-repurpose furniture through an unexpected creative process. The result of such collaboration was exhibited at the Break to Make exhibition in Milan.

First, Nendo created objects without an intended use. Then, Arsham hammered them to give them a new function. From a bathtub-like form, a loveseat emerged. From a long and narrow block, a bench or a stool was born; from a tall, square shape, a console table was revealed. The pieces are colored in pastel tones, typical of Daniel’s work.

BREAK TO MAKE exhibition by Nendo and Daniel Arsham - Photo by Takumi Ota.

Photo by Takumi Ota.

An artist who creates by breaking, and a designer who creates things to be broken. An artist who creates by breaking and a designer who creates things to be broken. An artist who expresses present objects as past artifacts, and a designer who makes present objects that anticipate the future.” The collaboration between Nendo and Daniel Arsham may be seen as “an overlay of these two contrary perspectives,” explains Oki Sato, founder of Nendo.

BREAK TO MAKE exhibition by Nendo and Daniel Arsham - Photo by Takumi Ota.

Photo by Takumi Ota.

The exhibition highlights an unexpected perspective: destruction is not strictly negative as it can be used to create something new. “It’s all about functionality,” explained Daniel Arsham. “Eventually, everything becomes a relict. By upcycling and repurposing it, we can go beyond the idea that deconstruction and decay are not beautiful or useful.”

BREAK TO MAKE exhibition by Nendo and Daniel Arsham - Photo by Takumi Ota.

Photo by Takumi Ota.

The ‘break to make’ theme that has long dominated Daniel’s practice. Indeed, he coined the Fictional Archeology concept referring to the partial breaking of everyday things to transform them into ‘excavated’ artifacts. This theme of ‘reverse-engineering from breaking’ is also often explored in Nendo’s work.

BREAK TO MAKE exhibition by Nendo and Daniel Arsham - Photo by Akihiro Yoshida.

Photo by Akihiro Yoshida.

On the other hand, traditional Japanese craft’s idea of ‘creating to be broken’ is honoured, as displayed in the easily dismountable joinery of wood construction or barrels made of wooden planks held together by a hoop.

BREAK TO MAKE exhibition by Nendo and Daniel Arsham - Photo by Akihiro Yoshida.

Photo by Akihiro Yoshida.

All photos: courtesy of Nendo.

BREAK TO MAKE exhibition by Nendo and Daniel Arsham - Photo by Akihiro Yoshida.

Photo by Akihiro Yoshida.

BREAK TO MAKE exhibition by Nendo and Daniel Arsham - Photo by Akihiro Yoshida.

Photo by Akihiro Yoshida.