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.
- RELATED STORIES: Read more about Milan Design Week 2023 on Archipanic.
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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.
All photos: courtesy of Nendo.