Calligraphic Chairs

Sally and I are working towards Midcentury Modern, happening next month. Nearly completed a set of four c.1960s dining chairs, restored, reupholstered and hand embroidered by Sally from my drawings, shown below.

Interesting to anticipate the quality that will come with the handwork. We discussed CNC embroidery technologies, direct from the drawings. But too many memories of sample blouson jackets emblazoned with mind-melt-motifs coming in from the supplier in Sally's fashion days put pay to that. She is just beginning to use something of the shift and variety possible in hand-stitch and we are studying a growing shelf of reference books to understand and incorporate a wider scope of stitch. For me too, to anticipate types of stitch when drawing.

Here's the original drawings. They work aligned horizontally as a set, with motifs drifting from one chair into the next.

A funny amalgam of not-so-esoteric and long-loved and digested visual matter feeding the language used. The consistent is something of a space between images and words. That's why they're named Calligraphic.

So, some (only some) of the cues. Cornelius Cardew's scores...

...Unknown Pleasures...

...Pastoral Pylons...

...Striped Socks...

...and Miró's colourfield paintings, particularly Blue II (1961).

Also Catalan Lanscape (1923/4). His paintings of this nature really broke typography for me in college; the behaviour of the elements, their mutable character and line. Illusion and abstraction. All in one undersea-overland picture.


I, Me, Mine

It's Nice That invited me this week to write an article for their feature 'Weekly Discussion'. Saying 'I, Me, Mine: do we specialise too soon?' Go, read and tweet your thoughts. It's live until next Monday, I think.

Somehow the point I'm attempting to make is evidenced (albeit from then, not now) in the work of Max Bill. Each of these projects is borne of intimacy with material, use and unfettered thinking. The result is a work which often synthesises two previously discreet functions or habitual forms.

Bill's applied, tactile understanding of the behaviour and limitations of process and materials in no way hampered his ability to think laterally.

(via Kultur + Kontext, cianomagentagiallonero, V&A, thebestoftime)


Joint Effort

A couple of weeks ago we reassembled 32 studio tables, originally built last year to Enzo Mari's Autoprogettazione plans, published in 1974. The open-source, self-design logic and aesthetic uses cheaply available timber (2 x 1) and arrives at an object that, as he says, does not 'seem' but simply 'is'.

During the reassembly, Autoprogettazione Revisited opened at the Architects' Association.

Invited designers have been asked to develop plans for furniture, responding to, yet adapting, the originals in the book. Round-table public discussion next Friday with Himself.

This, however, is a direct translation by AA student Korey Kromm, via

There was pleasure in the lack of skill required to cut and build such a volume of the tables. But the junction points have a kind of basic certainty, equivalent to, but without the finesse of this beautiful shaker joint, via An Ambitious Project Collapsing.

Some parallel with Max Lamb's stool, for Reference Library / Apartamento Magazine's Everyday Life Objects Shop; and that of the Ulm Stool, shown in a previous post.

As seen at Richard Lamb's The Everyday Life Collector show, during Design Week. Son Max responsible for the shelving. Family resemblance to the stool.

Mr. Lamb was very interesting and welcoming. An RAF man, with 15 years of collecting studio pottery, mostly rooted in Cornwall. His folder-bible of magazine clippings was great. More meaty and indispensible than a blog. Weird time for Ceramics. Beautiful newly refurbished galleries at V&A; threatened courses throughout the UK. At a time when there is so much exciting work.

Such as this, by
Jochem De Wit. Saw his work round the corner, also during Design Week.

Back on the joints. Allan Wexler's Crate House (1991). Out of my most-treasured, now-hard-to-get, twice-lost-and-found book, Custom Built (as designed by Daniel Eatock and Andrew Blauvelt. Wexler's vocabulary is 2 x 1 timber...

... and 8 x 4 sheet. Permutation out of limitation. Often with misalignments and overlaps highlighted in a flat colour paint.

The almost-isometry and jointed configurations above, call to mind Oscar Reutersvärd's Impossible Figures (via
Galleri Bergström).

Immortalised as Swedish stamps in 1982, with granular, hatched tints that, for me, surpass the flat washes of the originals.

Finally, Sam Windett's Cup with Sticks 2 (2008), via The Approach. Somehow fusing the structures and vessels above.

Sorry- also Claire Barclay's Untitled (2007), via Stephen Friedman gallery. If you can, go see her work. Rewards you if you stand back. And if you look very close.