Pea And Poppy Stool

Returned from Berlin a few days ago. Things to post over the next few days but in the meantime, some images here of the finished Pea And Poppy Stool commission.

We will be working through another version for ourselves on a stool in holding, with the view that there is more to be gleaned from this piece of language. Both grew in our garden this year and offered wonderful observational drawing; the vocabulary out of this therefore carries something for us.


Architecture is defined by the actions it witnesses

Bernard Tschumi, via Super Ordinary. Hannah and David both recommended to go see Surreal House at The Barbican. It hadn't registered, I suppose because the tag 'surreal' has been so overmisusediluted. But a timely expo. Freud's chair. Steamboat Bill Jr. rediscovered. Lots of rediscovered. Svankmajer too.

But the mezzanine section was particularly well curated, with pairings of films such as Godard's Le Mépris and Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, with art and architectural thought. Most memorable were these Advertisements for Architecture (1976-77) by Tschumi.

Which recalled a spring read of J. G. Ballard's The Enormous Space.

(via) Helped greatly with present work.

Reminded of Thomas Schütte's early 1990s basements. These scale 1:50 ply models I saw at the Whitechapel, with sawdust wake of the make still in each. Went to an 'in conversation with' Adrian Searle and Schütte was really acute in his working thought.

Unrelated but current is the opening of Polytechnic at Raven Row. A favourite, with already strong backlog of exps. The space itself is worth it, designed by 6a. Think/hope that this beautiful poster would be by John Morgan Studio.

John Hejduk, via WAUA. Discovered for the first time also at Barbican. His House of... models not so findable on the web. This, one of relatively few realised buildings in Kreuzberg, Berlin, is the subject of a campaign to arrest its unsympathetic 'restoration' currently underway (Hejduk died in 2000). Just beginning to read about this man's wonderful ideas.

via Design Observer. 'If you want to follow architecture's first rule, break it'. Which lastly recalled my Brighton Gra. Des. booklist pre-course read:

Bob Gill, via HI + LOW.


Stool Study

In the moment of studying the set of found chairs for Direktorenhaus. In the context of an exhibition, I want the treatments to be functional but then to exchange information concretely with the spaces and to carry through a narrative staked out in the previous post. This is a stage of unpacking the stool's structural character. A lot of measuring and handling and drawing. Here too, adding found pieces which sit naturally in existent apertures or that echo and offset what is already there.

The foam, from a poor last reupholstery, has however these very interesting ghosted marks of the rivets and base holes which I am going to formalise and take back into the reworked pad.

The flipped base, showing how it interlocks with the frame. The orange wooden pieces in the top image are placed to north-south-mirror this attribute.

The previous vinyl, a vivid, sheeny mustard with a piece of found rawhide leather. Leather we will use but I'm thinking of retaining the vinyl in some respect. I like the idea of interchangeable permutations; possible with the unlocking mechanism and apertures.

Sally found this stool and we both recall the same from childhood. Hers had a plum vinyl top, mine a turquoise. I guess they were rife in 1975.


The Red House

A couple of Sundays ago we visited The Red House, William and Jane Morris' home of only five years. It was designed by Morris with architect Philip Webb in 1859. Recently acquired by the National Trust, having been somewhat restored by Ted and Doris Hollamby from the 1950s onwards.

Never visited Kelmscott Manor, which would appear to be more as-was and more representative of his textiles. But the Red House had a lack of assumption that we appreciated. It felt a home. But also something askew in its atmosphere, perhaps because they had to leave for financial reasons; perhaps because of its contemporaneity with Jane's ongoing affair with Rossetti. Or that's whimsy. And I really don't want to be whimsical about Morris. Too much of that already, in the laminated tablecloths and Laura Ashleyisms to take away as souvenir from anywhere with anything to do with WM.

Been discussing him with Adrian Holme (Adrian is a constant source of inspiration; read his blog here).  WM is viewed sentimentally and also is seen to have romanticised the working class and the nature of craft. But in a context now where he is cited by, for example,Rollo Press, there is something to be understood about the way the technological cycle has returned to and now facilitating small volume, close-to-hand work. A foresight.

"To own the means of production is the only way to gain back pleasure in work, and this, in return, is considered as a prerequisite for the production of (applied) art and beauty." 

Certainly there is rigour in the junction points between holistically designed components of the House. An intensity that belies any mediated idea of Morris-lite. The weight of the hand. First hand. The objects, the conjunctions, the decisions are too vital.