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Biomorphic Sculpture, 1970's, Switzerland. Courtesy of Rayon Roskar.

Biomorphic Sculpture, 1970’s, Switzerland.
Courtesy of Rayon Roskar.

Steel Sculpture, 1970's, Switzerland. Courtesy of Lost City Arts.

Steel Sculpture, 1970’s, Switzerland.
Courtesy of Lost City Arts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pair of sculptures shares the same creative principle in large exploring the form of abstraction. They are also from the same period, 1970’s, and the same region, Geneva, Switzerland.

However, the juxtaposition of the two sculptures reveals a very interesting visual language of opposites; while the Steel Sculpture poses a solid shape piercing the space, refusing any traces of human hand (in a way this is what humans do, removing the trace of hand-made but seeking for a machine-like perfection in the modern world), the Biomorphic sculpture is burgeoning from inside into an organoid shape, the abstract form originating from an observation of nature. The traces of carving proudly but present the hand of creation.

Biomorphic Sculpture (detail), 1970's, Switzerland. Courtesy of Rayon Roskar.

Biomorphic Sculpture (detail), 1970’s, Switzerland.
Courtesy of Rayon Roskar.

 

Interestingly enough, the seemingly aggressive Steel Sculpture embraces the void within whereas its biomorphic counterpart holds solid mass.

In this case of these two sculptures, the antithetical nature and yet the creative principle within in turn ties them into a bigger idea of artistic creation.

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1brand

noun \ˈbrand\

: a category of products that are all made by a particular company and all have a particular name

: a particular kind or type of something

: a mark that is burned into the skin of an animal (such as a cow) to show who owns the animal

The world seems crazy about brands or branding. Not to mention the craving for the “named” brands over “no name” brands in a market place, the notion of brand, or branding, is deeply penetrating into our daily life.

Art world is one of the places where the notion of brand plays a powerful role. People seem to feel more trusting when there is a name attached to an object. Of course it is understood and even forgiven when old stuff doesn’t have a name (of designer, creator, producer, etc.). But when it comes to a modern era certain information is expected, like who made this, how he/she made this, why he/she made this, and so on. However, in reality not all modern objects can have a clear label attached to them. Are they, if they don’t have name with them, not noteworthy or less noteworthy?

Many eminent people and their works are recorded in the history. In many cases, however, people invert this logic. In other words, if there is no name left in the history it is not important. This is the premise that I want to re-evaluate.
There were so many creative minds and still are. The creativity is smeared into all creation, in different level, whether the artist is known or unknown. And at some point all creators have their names. It just that we don’t know it now, or just yet.

So this venue, the Book of Anonymous Design, is dedicated to the objects of “no name brands” that are underrated, under-appreciated, and sometimes forgotten. Do you want the name of artist? Do you need a brand to appreciate the beauty? Here it is; these are by “nemo.”

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Swiss debut!

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There is a saying in Korea that you might know 1000 mile path in the deep ocean but you never know what is coming to your path. As growing older, I realize it more and more in my life.
So here I am back to where I was standing 1 year ago. I never knew that I would come back to this place. As you can sense from the 4 months of absence on the online world, it’s been quite a journey both physically and mentally to settle in the new home.

Choosing Geneva might seem like an unlikely move for a vintage dealer. however, now that the name Eames has become an indicative of certain era and you can find a pair of diamond chairs by Harry Bertoia at $1500, it is a challenger for design savvy customers, not to mention the dealers, to find new items beyond the popular hype for overrated design icons. I believe I have found the potential in Geneva and we will see how it will span out.

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2012 is also a year of big change in Korea; we have the presidential election, too. The TV campaign of candidates has started; every corner of the video is already analyzed and criticized. One of interesting points other than promised policies is the lounge chair that one of the candidate is sitting on in the campaign. 

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It is the lounge chair designed by the husband and wife duo Charles and Ray Eames for their friend Billy Wilder, the director of “Some Like it Hot” and “Sunset Boulevard,” and manufactured by Herman Miller since 1956. It is still in production and without a doubt one of design icons that are highly sought after all around the world. In Europe, works of American designers are not really highly regarded, however the ones by the Eames are exception. The Eames pieces might feel like a “proven” work (hence worth investing). 

The chair uses rosewood and leather for the seat. It comes in different colors besides black, but black seems the most poplar and classic. It is in fact quite comfortable. And to add to its luxurious feel the ottoman provides a comfortable support for your tired feet. Well, now it sounds as if someone like presidential candidates who would struggle everyday to make the nation better deserves such sitting.

For my taste – in fact a lot of people (especially vintage dealers) agree with this – the old ones are better than newly made chairs. Considering Herman Miller’s statement that they have kept the craftsmanship since its first creation, the quality should be the same if not better. However, the ones from the 60’s have beautifully aged wood and most of all beautiful leather. Why?! Maybe because people could kill animals more freely back then??

The critics of this campaign, or rather the candidate himself, questions how and why a presidential candidate, who of course emphasizes on his care for middle class, can indulge in such an expensive chair. As for the price, Herman Miller posted $3824.15 (it’s on sale now. Originally it was $4499) for the set, and I believe it should be the price of its official retailers. If the shipping, custom fees, all other expenses and the markup for the local retailer are considered, the price here in Korea could be between 5,000,000-7,000,000 KRW ($5,000-7,000 roughly). Then, how about the old ones? It varies depending on the condition or the location of seller (the ones in New York would price it more highly ) but generally costs around $3800-5000. Because of the value for the age and the widely shared understanding that the old ones are better, vintage can be more expensive than the newly made.

I didn’t mean to express my political opinion through this writing. I don’t want any criticism or explanation (well… the campaign of this candidate did release their explanation saying that he acquired this chair, the used one, at a very low price). However, I am really curious what his PR people were thinking when they placed this chair in the TV commercial. Didn’t they think that people will nag on this chair? Or was it their intention to plant this chair so that it could create a sensation and hence people will watch the campaign one more time? If they did, they did succeed. Bravo!   

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For the past few days, for some reason, I’ve devoted this blog to British stuff: Elliott’s chairs, Salvage Hunters (Drew is British) and finally the one and only Anglepoise!

 

The first “Anglepoise “ was designed by the British automotive engineer George Carwardine (1887-1948) in 1932 and manufactured by Herbert Terry & Sons from 1934. In 1935, the original model was modified for domestic setting to the one now known as Model No. 1227.

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As a herald of task lighting, Anglepoise embodies the innovative concept of balancing weights with springs, cranks and levers. The constant-tension principle of human limbs applied to the basic structure of the lamp allows flexible repositioning and as a result the light remains highly stable and holds any position. It can literally afford almost all position in 3 dimensional space! The shade concentrates the beam on specific points without causing dazzle. This focused beam enables the lamp to consume less electricity, and thanks to this feature it was advertised as the best lamp for black outs during the war time. (A funny side note: it uses a French bayonet mount and bulb and I happened to get 4-5 of them from my last trip to Switzerland before I acquired Anglepoise. I am proudly saying that I am probably the only one in Korea who has the largest possession of bayonets.)

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Celebrating Anglepoise’s 75th anniversary Terry & Sons reissued the original design of Model No. 1227 in 2009 and it was honored by being placed on a Royal Mail Stamp commemorating British Design classics. I’ve never been into stamp collecting but would love to get my hands on one of those design stamps.

In fact, my first encounter with Anglepoise was with its new model: Giant 1227. Yes, it is gigantic!

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Anglepoise Giant1227

Although it is cute (well, big but cute) my heart still falls for the original Anglepoise for the creativity, ingenuity and human scale. But nonetheless congrats on the second wind of Anglepoise!

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http://www.ekmodernkorea.com/cat129_en.html

Many visitors are surprised at this pair of English chairs sitting in the gallery for two reasons: they are in such nice condition considering the age (4-50 years) and the distance they traveled (England to who knows where to South Korea), and they are very low (in Koreans’ mind all “westerners” are tall and have long legs).

I’d like to add one more reason; in fact the first impression I got from these chairs (and fundamentally the reason why they are sitting in EK Modern waiting for the future owner) was that they looked quite Scandinavian. In a way it is true.

The chairs were made by the famous British aircraft manufacturer, Elliotts of Newbury. Elliott’s of Newbury was founded by Samuel Elliott in 1870 as “Elliott’s Moulding and Joinery Company Ltd.” It produced ammunition boxes during the World War I and aircraft components during the World War II. After the wars the company continued with aircraft production of which the most famous example is the EoN Olympia series. At the same time, it started furniture production after WWI and continued until it closed in 1970’s.  

So it is clear that the chairs are following the design of Scandinavian design, which reached its zenith during the 60’s and 70’s. Look at the sleek legs, reddish Teak color and scooped back! Among the Elliotts furniture, a few items show very very very strong influence of Danish modern. 

Some very nice people (thank you!!) again share the information which shows a couple of pages from Elliotts 1950’s catalogue.

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http://www.newbury.net/forum/m-1312629244/

They are probably too early to show the Scandinavian influence. But nonetheless it is an interesting primary source. 

What’s good about these late Elliotts chairs is that you can enjoy now highly sought-after Danish look at a very economical price. 🙂 I also found an amazing interior arrangement using a different type of Elliots chair. I am not posting the pics because I haven’t asked the blogger who posted her/his pictures yet. But it is good. so please do go check out!

http://fatcatbrussels.blogspot.kr/2012/09/dining-area-before-after.html 

 

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