Design – To launch the partnership with Samuel Ross, the British designer of fashion brand A-COLD-WALL* and founder of design consultancy SR_A, New York City gallery Friedman Benda presents a solo exhibition at Design Miami/ featuring three discrete but intersecting series: SIGNAL, RUPTURE and AMORPHOUS STRAND.
- RELATED STORIES: Read more about Design Miami/ 2021 on Archipanic…
The designs track 300 years of Black culture, from the African diaspora to piecing together a fractured identity and class struggle, even in a globalized, post-colonial, digitally driven world. West African furniture archetypes collide with references to Modernism, Brutalism and Colour Theory.
The tall and imposing Trauma chair, for example, resembles an African tribal throne that talks about slavery, violence and healing. The Rupture chair explores cubism and modernism’s influence in Western Africa, as well as the tension between craft and industrialisation.
The SIGNAL collection of chairs concentrates on “notions of survival, impermissible scarification and hopeful, yet the wholly unassured, recovery from inflicted wounds,” explained at Friedman Benda. Amorphous forms are rubberized. OSB – a decimated and then reconstituted, grainless man-made material – is stained with molasses lacquer or gently waxed. Milled steel die-cut rounds puncture backs and seats, inclusions that disrupt and distort once coherent planes.
The RUPTURE collection comprises a low table, a stool and a lounge chair, all in hand-crafted marble and machine-cut, powder-coated steel, finished in Ross’ signature Safety Orange. “Operating as a moniker, the works exemplify historic absurdities that reflect homogenization as a normative when contextualizing the diaspora’s being.”
The AMORPHOUS STRAND series features a bench and a three-part low table in steel and fired OSB. “Reflective of scar tissue, the series is a case study on compounded experiences and the concept of stress, contortion & absurdity as an operational state of being.”
The confronting fusion of European and Western African references “fissures the hierarchical dominance of Western intellectualism. Via the clefts created, an access point is made possible for the intensive examination of the impact of contemporary culture’s absolutes on collective experience.”
All images by James Harris, courtesy of Design Miami/.