A Second Life exhibition opens at sketch
London Design Festival exhibition designed by PiM.studio
Commissioning one architecture and three design studios, Matter of Stuff is presenting an array of experimental new works made from a single raw material. Hosted by sketch, the iconic artist-conceived food and drinks destination in London’s Mayfair, the exhibition will run from Monday 14 September through to November 2019.
In preparation for the exhibition, PiM.Studio, Brodie Neill, Matteo Fogale, and Studio Furthermore have transformed 5,000 cylindrical Burbridge pine dowels provided by Matter of Stuff to make a resolute and ongoing statement about the infinite possibilities of sustainable design, upcycling and waste avoidance.
“By injecting new life into waste material to create varied and extraordinary sculptures for an iconic venue, we want to make a statement that goes beyond the importance of sustainable design practices,” says Matter of Stuff co-founder, Simona Auteri. “Through four different iterations of reuse, we seek to redefine waste as a legitimate raw material with enormous potential for creative renewal.”
The dowels measuring 2,400mm in length with a 15mm diameter were originally used by Matter of Stuff in 2018 for a pop-up gallery it opened in Kings Cross. Hand punched and threaded with string, each dowel was hung individually from a ceiling mesh to create a floating vertical wall that divided up space while keeping each ‘room’ relational to the other. Today, in place of recycling the material through mulching, Matter of Stuff commissioned four designers to reinterpret, explore and experiment with the material to create new sculptures while maintaining some of the structural integrity of the original.
Creating a dynamic, new spatial experience within the sketch entrance, RIBA award-winning architects PiM.studio has used the pine dowels to create temporary walls. The dowels are treated with a graphic pattern painted in natural hues, which reveals itself as visitors walk through the exhibition. The pattern also adds a textural quality to the walls, while the soft illumination from the back produces a subtle, warm ambience.
Longstanding champion of upcycling waste into new material streams, Brodie has reused 137 dowels to create a sculptural bench, “Latitude”. Handcrafted in Brodie’s East London studio, “Latitude” uses a lattice-like technique reminiscent of traditional Japanese bamboo constructions where linear elements are bound together to create seemingly simple scaffolding-like structures. The linear element of the dowels is repeated into a crisscrossing maze, creating a web of rectangular voids where each cell has a golden section. The undulation on the underside of the bench brings Brodie’s signature aesthetic of refined sculptural simplicity to a work of contemporary design using innovative processes to repurpose an existing material.
In a collaboration with stylist and costume designer, Emma Archer, and taking inspiration from traditional tailoring techniques and couture details, Matteo has used the wooden dowels as both the base structure and the interior of his design for two screens. Using left-over fabrics donated by Kvadrat one screen is linear and geometric, with visible dowels keeping the fabric in tension and revealing different tailoring techniques. The second screen features an organic shape made from repeated segments. Here, the dowels are used as structural elements hidden beneath the fabric while giving the material its pattern and shape.
When tasked with reusing the wooden dowels to create new designs, Studio Furthermore noted that experimentations with sawing, routing and planing created waste. The more the designers explored what to do with the dowels, the more sawdust they produced. Inspired by the natural world where there is no waste – all matter breaks down into smaller matter before seamlessly reorganising into another form – Studio Furthermore applied this principle to their designs, creating light sculptures from dowels dressed with a textured sawdust surface. The designers limited themselves to working only with leftover components and materials stored away in their studio from previous projects.
“ For us , attention to detail and workmanship is the ethics of design,” says Matter of Stuff co-founder, Sofia Steffenoni. “Our mission is to decode the multiple narratives that exist between an object’s function and its feeling, its material and its craftsmanship, its empty and filled spaces, its physics and balance, its finish and its raw origins. We are interested in an object’s materiality.”
A bespoke exhibition lighting design by SEAM will compliment and enhance the installation.
To celebrate the London Design Festival, sketch mixologists will create a special cocktail called A Second Life, available throughout the festival week. Named after the Matter of Stuff exhibition, it is inspired by last year’s creation Blown Away – the cocktail, which was a twist on a classic venetian aperitivo will see its recipe re-imagined for the occasion. A mix in the making, A Second Life’s main component will be Japanese Gin Rokuit.
Supported by a collaborative network of architects, cutting-edge joinery makers, ceramicists, resin, metalwork and stone facilities, glassblowers and more, Matter of Stuff can realise, curate and commission design and architecture projects of any scale and scope, from one-off pieces and limited editions to installations and interiors. Matter of Stuff clients include Kering Group, Gucci, Swarovski, Friedman Benda, Bohinc Studio, Universal Design Studio, Acme Architects, Sir Robert McAlpine, HBA, MusaLab, Ga Design, Shanghai Museum of Glass, Rossana Orlandi, Camberwell College of Arts, and Kingston University. Exhibition Curation: Matter of Stuff
Installation design: PIM.studio
Lighting design: SEAM
Design Pieces by: Brodie Neill, Matteo Fogale and Studio Furthermore