Design – Twenty out-of-the-box ladde designs are now on show at Galerie kreo Parisian exhibition Step by Step [31, rue Dauphine, until November 5]. The gallery specially commissioned the pieces to influential designers, including Virgil Abloh, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Pierre Charpin, Konstantin Grcic, Jaime Hayon, Hella Jongerius, and more.
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The new ladders are mixed with primitive pieces such as the Dogon ladder, a Y-shaped wooden pole with step-like notches carved on its sides to allow people in West Africa to access the upper levels of granaries, climb onto roofs, and bridge clefts in cliffs. Also on show is a utopian design by Alessandro Mendini where pink steps merge with a chair and a Shaker stepladder from the ’50s. Enlightened by humble values, the Shaker sept’s culture is renowned for its highly functional design imbued with architectural purity.
Step by Step is an intriguing exhibition and research project that began with Marc Newson‘s Carbon Ladder, the first design produced by Galerie kreo in 2008. “My idea was to take a mundane functional implement and turn it into an esoteric, airy, sculptural object that serves its intended purpose while being exceptionally sturdy and lightweight.” Explains the designer.
“Undoubtedly, thanks to the simplicity and potentialities of the ladder-object, each of them is a portrait of its designer, their sensibility and, perhaps, their era, shadows included.” Explained art and design critic, journalist, and curator Clément Dirié. The exhibition features a previously unseen work by the late Virgil Abloh that he created for the show. The World Leaders ladder displays on each lacquered rung the name of a historic Black figure whose life significantly impacted him, his motivation, and his vision.
Rowan and Erwan Bouroullec created Ciel, a dreamlike ladder and a shelf for precious objects wrapped in gold leaf. Tree ladder by Swedish studio Front is inspired by the designers’ childhood memories of climbing trees. Carved in natural solid oak, the piece takes us back to the shapes of the branches. Hella Jongerius’ suspended rope ladders allow her to pursue her textile research, full of lightness.
The Lassù ladder by Pierre Charpin is topped by a mirror, inciting us to climb and look into the mirror at its top. Level by François Bauchet is inspired by the red and white checkerboard water level on the banks of large rivers or the scales used in archaeology.
Jaime Hayon and Konstantin Grcic created furniture-like ladder designs. Aerophone by François Lafortune leads to a platform more than 2m high. At the top, an armrest integrates two sound walls that diffuse a sensation of wind. Climb it to feel the breeze and escape with a few steps.
All photos by ©Alexandra de Cossette – Courtesy of Galerie kreo.